Southern Utah: Camping in Snow Canyon & Hiking the Anasazi Indian Trail

Utah the Great

This past weekend we escaped to Southern Utah for sunny weather and new adventures.

Utah’s landscape is mesmerizing and diverse. One moment, you can be atop a snow covered mountain in snow boots, and four hours later you can be checking out petroglyphs in the red rock desert.

While the national parks were incredibly tempting, the crowds were not. We also wanted to go somewhere that would be both kid and dog-friendly. So, we chose Snow Canyon State Park.

Snow Canyon promises a diverse terrain with petrified sand dunes, jutting red rocks, a slot canyon and gorgeous views. It’s conveniently located just outside of St. George (and Ivins) Utah. So, if you need to travel into town for butterfly sutures when your husband clips his hand with a small ax like we did, you’re covered.

The Trip

On Friday afternoon we set out towards Snow Canyon, scheduled to arrive at camp just before sunset.

As we pulled up to the entrance of Snow Canyon, we were greeted by gorgeous white sandstone peaks.  There was no park staff present, just a trusty, cash-only, self-pay station ($6/car).

As you follow the road, the structures appear to flow and bulb in spots, turning orange and black with streaks of white. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly the only campground in Snow Canyon State Park was full.

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Makes Me Wanna Take a Back Road

So, we drove out of town a ways, found a dirt road, put it in four-wheel-drive and found a spot for the night.

We had dinner, relaxed, and went to sleep underneath the stars just the way we like…but it was a cold one. Colder than I imagined. Rockier than I imagined but fun, peaceful, quiet–which was perfect.

In the morning, all bundled up, I anxiously awaited that magic moment when the sun would greet the tent.

And the second it did, ahhhhh…instant warmth.

Shortly after, everyone woke up and we got started with the day.

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Rise and Shine. Good morning. Howdy.
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I love all the desert cacti.
Sterling Digging
Little boy’s dream. Dirt. Rocks. As far as the eye can see.
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Our little neck of the woods [for the night]. Check out the wicked little purple orb in the grass.
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Setting up a tent: something I could do but I’m glad I have him to do for me :).

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Caught the sun peaking through the trees.

Breakfast consumed, tent down, car packed and we were on our way back to the state park.

Snow Canyon Campground

With our fingers and toes crossed, we drove back to Snow Canyon Campground where we only hoped we would find a spot available. Lo and behold, there was one!  And it was all ours for the next day.

It was a beautiful camp ground, extremely clean with great amenities like showers, drinking water spouts, trash, recycling, restrooms. The campsite had a parking space, designated tent space, fire ring with cast iron grill and a picnic table.

All of the views pictured below are from the campground. I especially loved all of the naturally blossoming desert wildflowers and sitting in the shade enjoying the park’s rocking chairs (not pictured).

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Campsite tucked away. White and orange sandstone formations. The red sandstone has a magic component that turns it that color: iron oxide.

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Beautiful backdrop

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Love this old gal.

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Hiking With a Dog In Snow Canyon

Apparently dogs are mostly allowed in the campground, on the leash, never unattended. There are only two dog-friendly trails in Snow Canyon, and we didn’t do either. Mostly because one runs right along the street and the other is basically a dirt road.

Anasazi Trail

We decided to take a recommended hike outside of the park, the Anasazi Trail in Ivins, Utah. It’s been on my list to check out some petroglyphs. I enjoyed checking out the desert vibes but man, this hike was all in the sun for just over 3 miles roundtrip.

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It was hotter’n heck out there!

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“But the truth is, I want to be some woman’s work boots, not her high heels.”
“Work boots?” What was sexy about that? And did women have work boots?
“Yeah. You know, the boots she pulls out when she wants to get down and dirty, hiking or gardening or boating or painting the kitchen. The ones she relies on and trusts and lives her life hard and good and on her terms in. Her favorites.”
― Erin McCarthy, Hard and Fast

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Big Hands (or feet?). I didn’t mean to touch it. It’s kind of like a pregnant woman’s belly. Once you’ve caught yourself, your hands already there.
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Little hands or feet. Whatever it is, they sure had a lotta toes

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Then, my phone died…and the camera lens kept falling off. So, I just enjoyed my time without capturing the moment ;).

I wish I got to explore Snow Canyon in it’s entirety. The slot canyon, the petrified sand dunes, the lava tube–none of it can be seen with a dog. 😦 So if you go there or have been there, I’d love to hear about your experience in those areas I missed out on.

 

Dining Paleo Style While Camping

Dinner

For dinner the first night I had tilapia with lemon pepper and salt and diced up asparagus drizzled in coconut oil, all wrapped up in tin foil. We set the pouches up directly on the hot coals for about 20 minutes.  It was divine: the fish was flaky and steamy, and the asparagus crunchy and tart. Best campfire dinner I’ve had!

The next night I had chicken skewers with squash and zucchini and some extra asparagus leftover from the night before (seasoned with coconut oil, salt and lemon pepper). The campsite had a really cool fire-pit with a cast-iron grill. I just turned it every few minutes until it looked safe.

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Lunch

For lunch I had AIP Tuna Lettuce Wraps (I made this before leaving home).

Breakfast

I brought Kimberly Snyder’s glowing green smoothie (blended just before we left home, chilled in the cooler). It was big enough for two mornings.

Snacks

Honestly, mostly I just ate fruit. I am doing a food elimination diet and am just at the tail end of it. Otherwise, I would have had nuts and things with more sustenance. Ideally, I should’ve definitely had more protein and fats–but I couldn’t make it all happen… at least I didn’t break my diet! 😀

Soulshine

Camping always does it for me. Something in my soul just feels incredibly soothed and relaxed by the echoes of nature.

Maybe it’s the stars. Maybe it’s the quiet. Maybe it’s being without modern amenities. Maybe it’s just nothing but time with the people I love. Whatever it is, I dig it.

Maybe we didn’t get the weekend we wanted as far as the planning, but we had a great weekend. I hope as the years go on, we will continue to make many more little outdoor adventures together as a family.

“The Mountains are calling and I must go.” -John Muir

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