Friday, November 25, 2016

Hiking in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

 After our Padre Canyon hike, we spent the night in Snow Canyon State Park in late October during our fall break. The campground is small and often fills quickly, but we were able to get one of the last spots. The state park doesn't allow climbing on the nearby rocks (Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas does allow scrambling on the rocks at the campground, if this is important to you). So we decided on a hike the next day that would allow us to do lots of scrambling. Since we had brought our bikes, we thought it would be fun to make a combo hike-bike trip. I drove the truck with everyone's bikes uphill to where we wanted to end our hike, then biked down to the parking lot where we would start the hike, which was near the campground.

We started on the Hidden Pinyons trail, which has great parts like walking between these rock features.

There was even an optional jump. The kids realized that this wasn't going to be a normal hike. They were happy.

We soon were on the sandstone. Our basic plan was to take the trails north.

Soon we didn't even see the trail markers. But the park isn't big and we figured we couldn't get lost, so we just scrambled where ever we wanted to.

For the kids, that meant vertical trails!

My brother was a good sport. The clouds made hiking really comfortable.

We saw a few other people wandering around, but we had plenty of space to ourselves.

The cross bedding was amazing.

At this point, the kids didn't look that thrilled with the route I chose.

But we got to see some cool Hemiptera (true bugs) mating or something.

We kept going up...

...the views were stupendous, with contrasting red sandstone, white limestone, and black lava.

And finally we reached the top of a sandstone knoll. The kids thought they should celebrate by sticking out their tongues.

Next we descended and tarted the lava tube part of our adventure.

This is what we had the helmets--and lights--for. We met one family with no helmets and just one phone light for all seven of them. There were flip flops in the group. Hopefully they made it out. Unfortunately there's a lot of trash in the lava tubes and more glow sticks than you can imagine. It was sad. The kids really seemed upset about it. Hopefully some scout troops will go help clean up the lava tubes.

When we finished the hike, it was the biking part. It was all downhill, so super fun. I drove down to pick them up and get my bike.
I highly recommend hiking in Snow Canyon State Park, especially during the fall, winter, and spring. In the summer it can get so hot you have to take some special precautions. Here's their website to learn more.

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