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Top 5 Must-Do Hikes Near St. George

  • Zion

St. George is a top travel destination for many reasons. It boasts a distinctive landscape, fascinating historical sites, excellent golf courses and even well-preserved dinosaur tracks. St. George has something to offer everyone, from young kids to aging couples, and everyone in-between.

But one thing in particular draws visitors to St. George from all over the globe: the hikes.

It’s hard to go wrong with a hike in St. George or any of the surrounding national and state parks. No matter where you go, you’ll see something interesting. However, below, we’ve provided a list of five stand-out hikes you can’t miss. The next time you visit St. George, check out one (or all) of these trails.

1. Cinder Cone Trail, Snow Canyon State Park

This trail is not for the faint of heart. If you’re new to hiking, out of shape or have small children with you, skip this one. However, if you’re up for it, this is one of the most fascinating hikes around. Along with its neighbor, the Santa Clara cinder cone, this extinct volcano created the lava flows and volcanic rock that make up Snow Canyon State Park.

The hike is relatively short—just 1.5 miles—but fairly strenuous, with a steep elevation gain of over 500 feet in just .75 miles. If you can make it to the top, you’ll have the reward of a view of the surrounding area, which was shaped by this relatively young volcano, and the top of the volcanic crater.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and wear a hat. The volcano’s side doesn’t have shade. Instead of trying to walk straight up the volcano’s North face, take the trail that starts on the South face. It’s less difficult and much safer.

2. Separation Canyon, Zion National Park

You can find this backcountry trail in East Zion. While many of Zion’s trails alternate between difficult (like Angel’s Landing) and easy (like the Narrows), this one strikes a nice balance between the two. The hike requires minor scrambling, but generally stays flat with some great views.

The Separation Canyon hike takes 2.8 miles and can work well for the entire family, as long as you feel comfortable scrambling and assisting your children. You can hike along the slickrock or through the wash; both offer interesting views of Zion’s unique rock formations.

Unless you’re an experienced climber, don’t try to make your way up Separation Peak. Regular hikers can benefit from the beautiful views near the peak without attempting the climb.

3. Tempi'po'op Trail, Santa Clara River Reserve

For an accessible trail that gives you a new perspective on St. George’s land and history, choose Tempi’po’op. This trail belongs to a trail system managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The word “Tempi’po’op” is Southern Paiute and means “rock writing.” Along this trail, you’ll see many examples of Ancestral Pueblo petroglyphs. Tempi’po’op also leads you to Land Hill, which gives you a spectacular view of Snow Canyon, the Santa Clara River, the Red Mountains and the Beaver Dam Mountains.

The current trail can prove steep and rough in places. However, a surfaced trail links the Anasazi Valley Trailhead to the area’s cultural and historical sites, including the Ancestral Puebloan Farmstead and many of the petroglyphs. If you prefer an easier hike, have a child in a stroller or are in a wheelchair, the paved trail will lead you to these interesting sites.

4. La Verkin Creek Trail to Kolob Arch, Zion National Park

Most people who visit Zion head for the area’s most popular sites. If you’re tired of dealing with the crowds at these busier locations, spend some time in Zion’s wilderness areas. The La Verkin Creek Trail is a 7 mile-long route to Kolob Arch, one of the largest natural arches in the world. Since this long hike goes through the area’s backcountry, only experienced hikers who know they can complete the 14-mile round trip should attempt this trail.

Bear in mind that the trail from Lee Pass to the Arch descends 1000 feet, so you’ll have to hike back up at the end of the day. Save extra snacks and water for the return journey. You can also camp at one of the trail’s camping sites to give yourself more time to explore this seldom-visited section of Zion.

5. Water Canyon to Top Rock Trail, Utah/Arizona Border

This hike lies a little outside of St. George, near the Canaan Mountain Wilderness. However, if you have the time for a short drive, this trail will reward you with scenic views that span two states. To access the trailhead, drive past the town of Hildale. You should see a large natural arch above the mouth of the canyon.

The path can be either difficult or moderate depending on how you choose to hike it. Stay near the top of the canyon for easier hiking. The wider canyon eventually becomes a slot canyon leading towards the Water Canyon Waterfall, which sometimes dries up in the summer heat.

The hike becomes substantially more difficult if you choose to hike from the waterfall to Top Rock. If you want to continue your climb, take the switchbacks out of the slot canyon. At the end of a steep hike, you’ll find yourself at the top of Canaan Mountain, which offers beautiful wilderness views.

Plan your trip

When you book a hotel in St. George, you’ll be in close proximity to all of these hikes and more. Don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy these unique hikes; schedule your St. George vacation today.

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