For a little taste of everything outdoors in St. George, there's no better place than Snow Canyon State Park. Desert hiking, slickrock, slot canyons, lava caves, sand dunes, rock climbing, mountain biking, cycling, great views--Snow Canyon packs it all into one day-trip-sized destination. Camping here is great, too, if you want to spend a weekend in the park or use it as a base camp for the area.
There are more than 25 miles of trails in the park. Names like Petrified Dunes, Lava Flow, and Whiterocks are often very descriptive of the terrain. All are well signed, and helpful brochures are readily available at the park entrance and at the visitor center. Some trails allow horses. The only trails that are open to bikes are the gravel West Canyon Road and Whiptail paved path, but mountain biking is allowed in the southern section of the park.
Paradise Canyon is to the south, right next to St. George, and it is somewhat separate from the rest of the park because there are no entrance stations or fees, but it connects via two long trails that go north. Paradise Canyon has even more red rock scenery, rock climbing, and mountain biking is allowed.
The most popular climbing areas are Chuckwalla Wall in Paradise Canyon and Island in the Sky in the main park. Both of these are very near the entrance to their respective areas and have a very short approach. They offer mostly sport routes with some trad lines.
The campground is in the main park area right next to the visitor center. There are 14 RV sites with water, electric, and individual picnic shelters with grills for $25. There are 17 drive-up tent sites with a fire ring, table, and grill for $20. There are also two group sites. Bathrooms and showers are available for campers. The campground is very consolidated, but trees and shrubs around the sites offer some privacy. The setting is pretty impressive, with the campground tucked tightly against red sandstone cliffs on side and huge desert canyon views on the other. For reservations call 801.322.3770.
Snow Canyon is best during spring and fall when temperatures are moderate, but any time of year is good if you are prepared for the weather. Summer is sweltering hot during the day and comfortable at night. Winter is freezing cold at night and comfortable during the day. The park is open year round, even on holidays.