Another Scenic Delight Near St. George: Snow Canyon State Park

Spent a lovely morning exploring this spectacularly scenic Snow Canyon State Park near St. George, Utah.  With dramatic, diverse scenery everywhere you turn, this park does not disappoint. If this epic landscape seems vaguely familiar, it’s because it was the backdrop for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Electric Horseman, and Jeremiah Johnson..

This 7,400 acre park has everything from black lava flows with tubes that you can crawl into to red rock and sandstone cliffs that you can scramble up. Here you’ll find 38 miles of hiking trails, a 3 mile paved trail, technical climbing (170 designated sport routes) and ~15 miles of  equestrian trails. If that’s not enough for ya, there’s some mountain biking and road biking with great climbs here too. Oh, and there’s also a  33 unit campground.

wildflowers black lava red cliffs Snow Canyon
Wildflowers, black lava rocks, and stunning red cliff vistas
snow canyon stream
Photo Credit: Ken Wells captured this spot much better than I did.

Snow canyon vastnessSnow Canyon red mtnsScenic snow canyon

Lava Tube Snow Canyon
Into the lava tubes
Snow canyon textures
Amazing textures
L Tree pose
On top of the world in Snow Canyon
dancer attempt pose
My attempt at dancer pose – a long way to go, I know
black lava rock and white mtn
Black lava rocks, desert vegetation, and white sandstone cliffs – oh my!

The park is actually inside of the 62k acre Red Cliffs Desert Reserve that I romped around on my first day in town. Note, these areas are all exposed so not recommended in the summer heat. Be sure to bring water, sunscreen, and a hat.

I just had time for a quick stroll as I’d already visited Gunlock State Park earlier in the morning and still had more sights to see and things to do. (Mountain bike ride planned for the afternoon.) The trail I took by the lava flows was more suited to a stroll versus hiking at pace or trail running due to the sharp rocks. Not sure if all the trails in the park are like this, or if it’s just near the lava flows. If you’ve been here and hiked around let me know. Otherwise, I’ll update on my next trip to St, George.

You know me, trying to pack as much into my short Utah road trip as possible.

Railay Rocks!

Spectacular scenery, iconic limestone crags of monolithic proportions rising out of the Andaman Sea – that’s Railay.

 

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When I arrived by longtail boat, I checked into my hotel and took a walkabout to stretch my legs after the taxi (half hour), ferry (2hr), bus (2 hr) minivan (half hour with1 hr delay) and longtail boat ride (20 minute) – phew!

Actually, it wasn’t bad at all. It’s extremely easy to get around in Thailand. My full day of travel was coordinated by 1 agency for $33. Travel agencies are almost as ubiquitous as 7-Eleven’s here. Tip: It can be worthwhile to check with different agencies if you are looking for a specific itinerary and time. Some offer more choices than others.

I’ve been touring up and down Thailand for 3 weeks and the only wild things I’ve seen so far are some unruly Americans and Australians, feral cats, bats and myna birds. Accessible only by water, this tiny peninsula is literally crawling with wild things. And I’m not just talking about the rock climbers who flock here from around the world. Here there are macaques running amok, water monitors skulking about, squirrels flying overhead, and apparently some dusky langors in hiding too. You just follow the boardwalk from the pier in East Railay and head for West Railay Beach. When you make that right, you are in what I call monkey alley.

 

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Tip: Pay close attention to your belongings (monkey’s steal) and keep an eye out for movement on the rocks. Monitor lizards blend in well, but you can detect them with a keen eye. They are a bit noisy going over brush, tree limbs or leaves so keep your ears open too.

Awesome, right? I know! And all within the first 20 minutes of my arrival. Next to a conspicuous “Danger” sign was a rope climb / hike to a vista point that beckoned to me. I’m a wee bit leery of heights and hence not the biggest fan of rock climbing though I’ve done it before. This looked a bit sketchy…To be continued…