Pioneer Park

North of the town of St. George, Utah, the big draw in Pioneer Park was the Narrows, a slot canyon. I watched while two youngsters squeezed through the stone passage. Their father stood by and encouraged them, then climbed around the rocks to meet them on the other end. I too declined to go through and worked my way back out through a line of kids that had formed, waiting to sidle through.


The park is home to the Red Hills Desert Garden, the first of many cactus and arid landscape displays for me on this road trip. This area, Washington County, sits at the intersection of three major ecoregions—the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert—creating a unique and diverse habitat for plant and wildlife.

Red Hills Desert Garden

I’m drawn to the close up shapes, the patterns in the plants, the curves and the shadows.

And who knew there were so many types of prickly pear cactus?

Trails around the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve wind around red rock shapes. I wasn’t able to spot the Mojave desert tortoise, who was probably hiding somewhere in the shade, well away from the trail.

Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

46 thoughts on “Pioneer Park

  1. Wow, what a park! I would’ve thought it was a national park, seeing just how large it is. The narrows are certainly distinctive in Utah (as I found out during my time in Zion), and your photos reflect just how stunning they all are. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, that looks a bit “narrow” at The Narrow 😉. The area looks so similar to some of the mountainous and desert areas here in South Africa (even the plants looks familiar). Your photo’s are beautiful – thanks for sharing this amazing place.

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  3. Such wonderful photos, Ruth and so many varieties of cacti! I love the red rock sandstone but I wouldn’t try to squeeze through the Crack – just by looking at it I can feel the claustrophobia setting in! It’s extremely narrow! Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

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  4. Beautiful desert scenery Ruth. I would not have gone through that narrow slot canyon either. Love the cactus, but hate the cholla balls, especially when walking. Thanks for sharing. Allan

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  5. Did you see any desert wildlife on this hike, Ruth? Seems like the perfect environment for all sorts of creatures to make their presence felt. As for the Narrows, I think I’d hyperventilate if I felt any sort of physical pressure as I squeezed through. Then I’d really be in trouble. I expect it’s not a brief passage, but one where you have to work your way through for several minutes. No thanks 🙂

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    1. I was disappointed not to spot any lizards in desert country. I recall seeing so many in the tropics of Central America when I lived there. My eye is not trained to the desert landscape – perhaps others would have spotted some along those trails.


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