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12 Best Hikes in St George, Utah [Hidden Gems Outside of Zion]

12 Best Hikes St George, Utah
While Zion is by far one of the greatest National Parks in America and is definitely a St George highlight, there’s also much more to explore in St George than just Zion.

I’ve always liked all the great hikes in St George but it wasn’t until we spent a winter in Montana that I really fell in love with the beautiful red rocks and warm tones of St George hikes.

St George, located right by the southwest border of Utah, is commonly known as the gateway to iconic Zion National Park.

St George is an amazing winter destination!

While Zion is by far one of the greatest National Parks in America and is definitely a St George highlight, there’s also much more to explore in St George than just Zion.

What initially drew us to St George was all the amazing winter climbing but we also discovered that St George has its own separate world of amazing hikes! In this blog, we’ll cover all the best hikes in St George that are outside of Zion National Park.

If you visit St George, of course, I also encourage you to spend some time exploring Zion. You can even visit Zion in the winter and it’s actually our favorite time to visit!

St George is also apart of 2 of our favorite west coast road trips including our Southwest National Parks road trip and our Utah Road Trip Itinerary.

Best Time to Hike St George

St George can be hiked year round and that’s the real beauty of it! It’s one of our favorite places to explore in the wintertime! 

Spring and fall have the best weather if you like warm 70 to 80 degree temperature. Plus, much of the trees, waterfalls, and flowers are still in bloom.

In the Winter, you might occasionally get snow or rain, but highs in the 50’s is common.

Related: Why You Should Visit Zion in the Winter

In summer, temperatures can reach into the 100’s but surprisingly, this is the most crowded time to visit. If you visit in summer, you really have to be good about hiking early in the morning since most of the hikes are fully exposed to sun.

Note: From March 15 to September 14 a rare few trails including Johnson Canyon are closed in St George for desert tortoises.

St George Hiking Pack List

What’s nice about hiking in St George is the weather is typically mild so you don’t need to pack a ton.

Winter essentials:

Summer essentials:

RV Tips for Hikes in St George

We travel in an RV so we think it’s really important to know if a trailhead is RV friendly. We’ll let you know when there are any hikes that aren’t accessible by RV.

All hikes in Snow Canyon are accessible by RV. Parking Lots are not particularly large but there’s a great RV campground that gives you direct access to many of the best trails.

I think it’s assumed, but when I say something is RV-friendly I’m talking maybe 30’ max RV friendly. See our Best Campgrounds in Utah for recommended places to leave big rigs.

Best Hikes in St George [RANKED]

1 | Yant Flats, Yankee Doodle Hollow

Distance + elevation gain: 3.4 miles, 300′
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Yant Flat Trailhead

Yant Flats is located way out in Pine Valley Mountain away from the more popular hiking regions of St George.

Many consider this to be a hidden gem, however, it wasn’t the case when we visited. It was actually quite busy and had limited parking. This off-the-beaten-path hike is quite easy and brings you to vast rock cliffs open to be explored.

The marbled effect of the sandstone is very unique and we enjoyed scrambling down and back up the rocks.

Pro tip: This is an amazing BLM camping area all throughout the 7 mile dirt road. I wouldn’t personally recommend big rigs but there were 2 big RV’s that still managed to snag a spot near the beginning of the road.

Getting there: Getting here isn’t as easy as other hikes in the area. While 2WD vehicles can make the drive (not RVs though), it’s requires a long, steep, and windy drive on a dirt forest road to get there.

From St George, take the I-15 north, take exit 22 to Leeds. Head left at the main street then turn left again onto Silver Reef Rd under the freeway.

After about 1 mile the road turns to dirt and continue for 2 more miles. When the road forks, stay left following the sign to St George, not Oak Grove. Follow this forest road FR031 for 7 miles.

From here, keep an eye on your odometer or GPS. The road goes up a windy ridge road then drops down onto the plateau on the other side. Keep going past this. It’s a longer drive than your might expect but it’s hard to miss the the parking area. 

Related: 21 Best Campgrounds in Utah

2 | Middle Fork, Kolob Canyon

Distance + elevation gain: 5 miles, 700′
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead: Middle Fork Trailhead, Kolob Canyon

Most people forget about this western edge of Zion National Park. While the main canyon of Zion is often packed with people year round, this side is secluded and almost equally as beautiful.

Kolob Canyon, which is accessed via exit East Kolob Canyon Road, 30 miles north of St George on the I-15, has a variety of different hikes.

The Middle Fork trail, accessed from the first parking lot, is one of the best hikes in St George and the best choice if you’re looking for a good hike longer than 1 mile but shorter than an overnight adventure.

The hike features tall red striated cliffs and the end of a 2.5 mile walk brings you to a vast, open cave. We did this hike in the middle of winter and the icy tones make for beautiful contrast on the warm tones just like Zion in the winter.

Another cool feature on this hike is that it goes past two cabins built in the 1920’s.

If you hike this in winter, it’s a good idea to wear micro spikes to prevent you from slipping. When we hiked it in January it was very icy and we slipped often.

RV tip: I’m pretty sure there are not RV parking spots at this trailhead.

3 | Add on: Timber Creek Overlook Trail

Distance + elevation gain: 1 miles, 250′
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Timber Creek Overlook Trailhead

If you’re out in Kolob Canyon, I highly recommend you add the quick 1 mile roundtrip jaunt to Timber Creek Overlook which lies at the end of Kolob Terrace Road.

If you’re in St George, it’s a bit of a drive to get up to Kolob Canyon. You might as well see this popular overlook trail while you’re at it.

Related: Ultimate Travel Guide to Bryce Canyon NP

4 | Elephant Arch, Red Cliff Conservation Area

Distance + elevation gain: 4 miles, 350′
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Elephant Arch Trailhead

Elephant Arch surprised me with its beauty. While it’s no Angels Landing, Elephant Arch was peaceful and untouched.

The trail initially starts off on a double track trail through desert shrubbery. After making a slight right onto Bone Wash trail, the trail soon bends down into a wash where it becomes more pristine.

Elephant Arch is your destination and to my surprise, it actually looks like an elephant. There are plenty of rocks to go scramble and explore up here and if the arch isn’t enough for you, the views are beautiful as well.

Getting there: A brief 1 mile on dirt road will bring you to the small trailhead parking area. For RVs, this is probably not your best option for accessibility. It might be doable after rain however, you’d have to be careful if not because the sand can be pretty soft even in winter.

5 | Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs Campground

Distance + elevation gain: 2 miles, 200′
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Red Cliff Campground/Red Reef Trailhead

This gem of a hike is located in Red Cliff Conservation area. The nature on this hike feels like a small little vortex and takes you to some small swimming holes and a waterfall.

What makes Red Reef trail so unique is 2 things. First, there’s a cool little rope you can climb up and around to go explore beyond the waterfall. Second, in the spring many people cliff jump from the rope side cliff edge into the small waterfall pool below. Do so at your own risk after assessing the pool depth.

We did this hike in spring and thought it was the best time for this hike because the water was warm enough to play in and the waterfall flowing added to the beauty of the hike.

Getting there: This trail starts directly from Red Cliff Campground so it’s definitely RV friendly. The only thing important for RVers to note is that there is a 12’x12′ max height and width tunnel to get to the campground. Our 30’ Four Winds Class C just barely made it with only 2-3” inches to spare. If you are traveling in a big rig RV, there is a KOA right outside Red Cliffs however, it is quite a trek from there to the trailhead so you may want to still drive in.

6 | Jenny Slot Canyon, Snow Canyon State Park

Jenny Slot Canyon, Snow Canyon SP
Jenny Slot Canyon is one of the best bang-for-your-buck hikes in St George

Distance + elevation gain: .3 miles, 10′
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Jenny’s Canyon Parking Area

On a whim we decided to do this hike after rock climbing at Island in the Sky. I’m so glad we did because what a cool little gem this is!

RV Tip: This parking lot isn’t huge, RV’s will have to get there early to get a spot or stay at the campground in Snow Canyon and walk to the slot canyon.

Save this blog for later, PIN this:

11 Stunning Winter Hikes in St George, Utah
11 Stunning Winter Hikes in St George, Utah

7 | Hidden Pinyon Overlook, Snow Canyon State Park

Distance + elevation gain: 1.5 miles or 5.4 miles when combined with Petrified dunes, 200′-400’
Difficulty: Easy or Moderate
Trailhead: Snow Canyon Campground

Snow Canyon State Park is filled with dozens of amazing trails it’s almost impossible to know which one to try first!

Pro tip: I highly recommend camping inside the park, which is one of the best campgrounds in all of Utah, so you can really explore all the great trails here

Personally, this is my favorite spot in Snow Canyon and even though it’s so short you could barely consider it a hike, it’s still stunning.

The end point is a beautiful rocky outcropping where you have panoramic views of the tall rock cliffs of Snow Canyon.

If you want a real hike, it’s super easy and awesome to combine this with my #2 pick in Snow Canyon, the Petrified Dunes. You could go a step further and check out 2 of the 3 Lava Flows.

Snow Canyon Hiking Tip: If you’re an intermediate to advanced hiker, it’s really fun to just grab a trail map for the area and just go off and explore everything all at once for a grand hike. Pretty much everything meets up again at some point due to the variety of trails.

8 | Petrified Dunes, Snow Canyon State Park

Petrified Dunes trail, best hikes in St George
It’s not hard to see why the Petrified Dunes trail is one of the best hikes in St George

Distance + elevation gain: 1.2 miles , 100′
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Petrified Dunes Trailhead

The Petrified Dunes are a cool add-on or standalone hike in Snow Canyon, St George. As the name suggests, the frozen sand dunes are uniquely beautiful and fun to scramble around. 

Continue onward to Lava Flow if you love hiking.

Related: 26 Amazing Gifts for Hikers

9 | Lava Flow Trail, Snow Canyon State Park

Distance + elevation gain: 1.4 miles (or 6 miles if you start at the Hidden Pinyon), 100′
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Lava Flow Trailhead

I’ll be honest, the lava flow isn’t my favorite hike in St George but that’s only because I’ve been to a lot of lava tubes. 

If you’ve never explored a lava tube, it’s a really cool experience that you gotta see for yourself!

There are 3 separate lava flow spots in Snow Canyon State Park, the southernmost flow is the best in my opinion. It has a cavern that goes quite deep. 

The middle one also has a cave that you can kinda crawl down into which can be fun.

There are 3 ways to explore this hike.

Route 1) Lava Flow only. You can also just do this as an out-and-back from the Lava Flow Trailhead.

Route 2) Out-and Back. The lava flow trail is easy to add onto the route from Hidden Pinyon trial as an out-and-back.

Route 3) Make it a loop. Following this route on AllTrails, start on Butterfly trail to the right (counter-clockwise). When you reach the Lava Flow trail, head left (optional, take a peek at the West Canyon Overlook). Descend down and left onto West Canyon Road until you reach the junction for Red Sands Trail, then go left on the Petrified Dunes trail.

Related: 10 Unforgettable West Coast Road Trips 

10 | St George Narrows (Optional Owen’s Loop)

Distance + elevation gain: .2 miles (or 3 miles, 400’ gain if you hike Owen’s Loop)
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Pioneer Park

The St George Narrows are a local gem that turned out to be way cooler than I expected.

This slot canyon is located within Pioneer Park, an awesome little hub for hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. You can even rock climb right inside the slot canyon!

Although the actual slot canyon is only .1 mile long, the fact that it narrows down to a wee 8” makes it exciting and adventurous. Near the end there’s even a cool little canyon arm where you can exit the Narrows via a little scramble.

If you’re in Pioneer Park I recommend checking out some of the other adventures. The wider entryway to the Narrows is bolted with awesome sport climbing. You can also sport climb over at Dixie Rock in the park.

Owens Loop trail, downtown St George
Owens Loop trail on the edge of downtown St George

Owen’s Loop is the most popular hike in Pioneer Park and since the Narrows isn’t much a hike, I recommend adding the 3 mile loop. This hike takes you through red rock terrain and gives you panoramic views of the cityscape.

Mountain bikes can’t ride Owen’s Loop however, there is a small Pioneer Park loop for bikers.

Related: Best Climbing in St George for Beginner to Advanced Climbers

11 | Johnson Canyon, Snow Canyon State Park

Distance + elevation gain: 1.7 miles, 150’
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Johnson Canyon Trailhead

After hiking Jenny Slot Canyon, I didn’t find this hike particularly amazing. I mention it more so you know we’ve tried it and other hikes are worth doing first.

That being said, we didn’t regret adding this hike on to the end of our 3 day visit to Snow Canyon in the winter!

The hike starts in an exposed desert area then weaves its way into a wide, red canyon, similar to Kolob Canyon but smaller. You’ll pass a pretty natural arch then the trail dead ends at the canyon apex.

RV Tip: This parking lot isn’t huge, RV’s will have to get there early to get a spot.

12 | Chuckwalla + Turtle Wall Trail

Distance + elevation gain: 3.8 miles, 450’
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Chuckwalla Trailhead

Our final noteworthy hike on this best hikes in St George blog is within the Chuckwalla Trail network. Like Pioneer Park, this is another great adventure hub of St George with all sorts of outdoor activities.

The Chuckwalla network has some of the most fun rock climbing in St George plus it’s a great mountain biking network.

There are so many hiking variations you could do in this trail system but our recommendation is Turtle Wall and Paradise Rim Loop.

This hike falls at the bottom of our list because while it’s still nice, the prior hikes are far better. The mountain biking and climbing here are definitely better than the hiking.

Rv Tip: Plenty of parking for small RV’s here except for especially crowded days and we would not recommend bringing a trailer here.


Bonus: Hikes In Parowan [Outside St George]

If you’re heading from St George to Salt Lake City, you’ll pass the town of Parowan, we recommend stopping to hike Vermillion Castle or Noah’s Ark. We went to the Castle in winter and parked the RV down the road in the dirt parking lot. In the summer, there is a campground right at the trailhead to both of these hikes.

Vermillion Castle

Distance + elevation gain: 1.3 miles, 531 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Vermillion Castle or Noah’s ark Trailhead

Noah’s Ark

Distance + elevation gain: 3.0 miles, 1,151 ft
Difficulty: Hard
Trailhead: Vermillion Castle or Noah’s ark Trailhead

Hope this helped you plan your next hike in St George! If you have questions, be sure to let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, subscribe to our newsletter for weekly inspiration, join us on Telegram, or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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