SNOW CANYON STATE PARK PETROGLYPHS – St George, UT
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Distance: 5 miles
This is one of the most popular hikes that no one in St George really knows about that I have found. In other words, I am surprised at how many people have heard about the petroglyphs, or even know where they are, but they are not clearly documented anywhere! To follow the purpose of this site, they will now be documented forever more. There are four main petroglyph sites (that I have been able to find) in this area. If you know of more, feel free to comment below, or send me a personal contact through the site. Two slot canyons you could almost trip over and not know what you missed, a wall of petroglyphs rightly called “Newspaper Rock”, and a rock cleverly named “Sinking Ship Rock”. An approximately 5 mile moderate hike through the red rocks and sand will bring you in a loop to see all these sites. You would never guess it is right off the road, and you could almost throw a rock and hit some of the houses in the neighborhood – they are so close. One of Snow Canyon State Park’s true treasures, and now it can be one of yours! (Updated 5/27/17)
***UPDATE 4/6/19*** This trailhead has been temporarily modified…
Until further notice, the currently advertised trailhead is closed. 4200 N now has ‘No Parking’ signs posted and vehicles will be ticketed that park there. Also, the stepover at the end of the cul de sac is on private property. Snow Canyon State Park, SITLA and the City of St George are trying to quickly work through some access to the south of 4200 N, but it will take some time. If you park on SR-18 and walk the south fence line of the properties that front 4200 N, you can make your way to the Gila trail, but the Park will be closing access to that stepover until a more permanent solution has been resolved. The Park is encouraging access from the Gila trail at either this access point on the south, or this access point on the north. The trip from either access makes this about an 8 mile roundtrip hike. We will keep you updated as this changes.
ROUND TRIP LENGTH
AVERAGE HIKE TIME
2-3 hours roundtrip
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, Snow Canyon State Park
DISTANCE FROM ST GEORGE
7.3 Miles (13 minutes driving)
No Restroom Available
Out & Back
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO HIKE
Spring, Fall, Winter
BEST TIME OF THE DAY TO HIKE
No Permit Required
WATER SOURCES AVAILABLE
No Water Sources Available
No Camping Available on Trail
Dirt Single Track, Slick Rock, Sandy
Full Sun Exposure
DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD
Directions to Trailhead. From I-15 take exit 6 onto Bluff Street and head north toward Pine Valley Mountain. Bluff Street turns into Hwy 18 as you head up the hill. Continue up the hill about 4 miles until you come onto a plateau where you will see a ranch and some houses on the left. Take the first road on your left (4200 North) and travel slowly down to the cul de sac and park. This is a public road, but please be respectful of the resident’s access to driveways etc. (Updated 5/27/17)
FLORA AND FAUNA
Documenting this hike was a challenge that I enjoyed. I had to go out three different times before I finally found what I was looking for on this hike. The first trip took me (I would later find out) right past one of the slot canyons with some of the most significant petroglyphs. The second trip I found one of the petroglyph sites and stopped my search just short of finding the other three. The third trip I slipped my little baby girl in her sling and went out determined to find all of the petroglyphs and make a trail worth following! At last I conquered, and I’m proud to present my report.
Ever since I was a kid I have had a sense of awe when I’ve seen petroglyphs, or any historical site for that matter. I feel like I’m stepping into the past and witnessing the result of someone’s great efforts to create something that was meant to last for later generations. I think part of the reason it has been so hard to find a documented hike that takes you to these sites is because of the fear that people will disrespect and deface these precious artifacts. I trust you more than they do. Respect these sites. They are beautiful and sacred, and should be preserved for your children and grandchildren to see!
Park in the cul-de-sac at the end of 4200 N (be respectful of the access needed by those that live here) and step over onto the trail that heads west toward the Park. The trail will open up after a couple of minutes and you will meet a dirt road. Head left and follow the trail(road) south until you meet up with a step over into the park. This hooks you into the Gila (hee-la) Trail. Follow the trail as it meanders through the lush desert foliage. There are spectacular views of the Park and Red Mountain from this trail. After winding around for a couple of miles you will crest a hill. Watch closely for the trail to fork and take you down across the slick rock toward the petroglyphs in the slot canyon. They are easy to miss, but if you watch for the State Park marker it will lead you where you need to go. After you have viewed these, head north on the trail toward Sinking Ship Rock (about 3/4 mile away).
The other petroglyphs can only be accessed by following unauthorized trails or “bushwacking”, which is not approved by Snow Canyon State Park. I’m hoping that with some community support, the Park will help open “official” routes to view these sites.
As you head back to your vehicle, I just want to remind you that you still have one more great site to see though, so continue up the slick rock until you are back on the dirt and moving toward the black plateau in front of you. Now, turn around and look back…what a view! You can’t buy that view or the experience you just had with all the money in the world. Consider yourself lucky. I know I do, every time I head outside and have a chance to spend time in the amazing creations that surround me! Now continue up the hill and you will see the boundary fence again. Cross over and you can make your way back to your vehicle.
Until next time…Remember, your next adventure is just out your door!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
HikeStGeorge is a project that began as a seedling for Tim LeBaron in the early part of 2008, but really didn’t begin to blossom until the latter part of 2011. The original idea behind the site was to bring to light all of the harder to find, or “less known” hidden gems of the area. It was more of a pet project than anything. As excitement about the site began to spread, there was more of a push to develop information about all hikes in the Southern Utah Region.