The National Parks in southern Utah are spectacular: Arches, Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands. If you haven’t been, that would be my recommended route, a day or days in each. In past years, my son and I hiked every trail in Arches, and I’ve waded through the river in the narrow canyon in Zion more than once. However, after spending time through there on many occasions, I was looking for a more direct route on this road trip, that passed through country I hadn’t seen before.
I was just beginning to think that the road through central Utah was boring, when I came upon a stretch of dramatic red rock shapes, Black Dragon Canyon. And there would be more as I drove on to my stay for the night.
St. George sits in the southwest corner of Utah, just before the desert lands of Nevada and California. A wall of red rock rises along its northern edge. I had a couple of days to explore hidden treasures in that red rock landscape.
Snow Canyon State Park seemed to be a misleading name. Although some of the signage claims that there’s snow in winter, on this mid-February day it was warm enough by mid-day to just wear a t-shirt. I chose a few short hikes: Jenny’s Canyon, Pioneer Names, Petrified Dunes, and Johnson Canyon trails. Each had some interesting features that beckoned to me. I was disappointed to learn that the Red Cliffs trail known for petroglyphs had been closed.
Settlers from as early as 1881 wrote their names in wagon axle grease on the canyon wall along what is now Pioneer Names Trail. Protected by an arch above, you can still read them today.
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