The Taylor Tour of Utah* kicked off hiking season with a trip to St. George for a day in Snow Canyon – A state park that would be a national park anywhere else.


The day started with things going quite swimmingly. I rocked a scenic run in Snow Canyon’s neighboring towns of Santa Clara and Ivins. Enthusiasm was high, everyone consumed carbs mingled with a little protein, the weather was delightful and kind words were spoken oft to each other.

Things started getting a bit dicey on the 10-minute drive to the park's entrance. Cries of “How much longer” from the littlest. Lots of “He supposedly hit her,” and “She supposedly hit him,” followed by a definite “I hit the brakes” to temporarily halt the insanity. An action packed 10 minutes to say the least.

At last we arrived at the park entrance and were greeted by a super duper nice lady who gave us a map, some tips, and a lovely smile. We told her we’d like to start the day hiking the Johnson Canyon trail to Johnson Arch. She quickly pointed out that the trailhead was just outside the park entrance and no fee was required. I blame the chaos caused by the three bickering crazy people in the backseat for my failure to notice that. She helped us revise our agenda and we pressed on full of renewed confidence and enthusiasm. I can’t remember her name. Again, I blame the aforementioned crazy people.


Jenny’s Canyon


Three kids hiking through red rocks in Southern Utah in Snow Canyon

Round-trip distance: One-half mile
Difficulty: Easy
Knowledge: Trail is closed annually from March 15 to June 1


Petrified Dunes


Kids at the Petrified Dunes

Round-trip distance: 1.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate for kids, easy for adults
Knowledge: More of a confession…we didn’t hike the whole thing. The kids ditched the trail to play on the dunes. So, it’s cool to veer off this hike’s beaten path.


Pioneer Names


Pioneer Names Trail Sign

Round-trip distance: One-half mile
Difficulty: Easy
Knowledge: Don’t enter via the north trailhead to see the Pioneer names. It’s cheating. Legal, but lame.


Johnson Canyon


Family with kids hiking at Johnson Canyon trail

Round-trip distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Knowledge: Trail is closed annually from March 15 to September 14


Bonus: Pioneer Park


Kids hiking and scrambling on the red rocks in Pioneer Park in Southern Utah

Location: Red Hills Parkway in St. George (See Map)


Chad's St. George Tips

Grab a hotel. Kids love pools and St. George has plenty of hotels with pools.

• Stop at Larsen's Frostop on St. George Blvd. Burgers, fries and shakes in a classic drive-in atmosphere.

• Ask the experts. Stop by and see the folks at the St. George visitor center. Located inside the Dixie Center. Maps, recommendations, you name it.

*Chad Taylor is the General Manager of He's spending much of 2016 exploring his home state of Utah with his family (wife, boy/13, girl/8, and girl/5).