Hike to the Snow Canyon Petroglpyhs

St. George, Utah

based on 4 reviews



1.8 miles

Elevation Gain

200 ft

Route Type



Added by Thomas Burton

This is a short hike, roughly 2hrs. long with NO fee to park at the trailhead. One of the best places to see Petroglyph in a slot canyon.

These are the coolest petroglyphs I have ever visited, but they are very difficult to find. They are located in Snow Canyon State Park; the parking is outside of the park and you enter the boundaries by crossing over a barbed wire fence. Bring a GPS if you have one because the petroglyphs are hard to find and it's easy to get lost.

Parking is at 4400 North, just off of Highway 18, north of St. George. There are a few farms on the road, but parking is plentiful. From here, cross over the gate and continue down the road and along a dirt path which takes you to a fence. Most of the fence is barbed wire (except where the fence goes perpendicular to the trail) and is very easy to cross through. From here, look a little to the right and head down into the wash. You should see a cement barrier that has been built in the wash. Newspaper Wall is to the right (toward the trail you just came down) as you hike up the wash toward the cement barrier. It is very easy to find and has tons of petroglyphs on it.

To get to Sinking Ship, head back down into the wash and head north until you come to the boundary fence. Don’t cross over the fence but follow it parallel, heading west for about .2 miles. You should see houses on your right. Sinking Ship is the rock that looks exactly like a ship sinking and was very aptly named. The petroglyphs are on the north face of the rock and the rock below it makes for a very nice rest as you lie back and look up at the petroglyphs.

From Sinking Ship Rock you should be able to see the Gila Trail to the west. Meet up with that trail and follow it around until you start heading east. The trail is easy to follow and anytime it goes along the sand stone it has many easy-to-see cairns. Eventually, you will pass through two rock formations – one has hoodoos on top, then you will end up in a wash.

The trail here forks and it looks like there are three directions. The trail heading straight is lined with rocks and continues on as the Gila Trail. To the right, down the wash, you can explore this fun area and eventually reach Arch Canyon. The left trail follows the wash uphill and toward the slot canyon. Continue left and you will eventually leave the wash and head right (south), following in between some rocks and trees. This will lead you to a small wooden bench and a sign stating there are petroglyphs.

As you enter the slot canyon you get to pass by my favorite part of the whole adventure. A tree has grown in between the two walls of the narrow canyon. The roots are twisting through the canyon bottom and you must climb over them and past the tree before you can see the petroglyphs. Once you are past the tree there are petroglyphs nearly everywhere, but the majority are on the right wall. They are difficult to see, but a group that was there pointed out that if you use your smartphone camera to view the wall, the contrast on your screen makes it a lot easier to find the petroglyphs.

GPS Points:
  • Trailhead = 37.184841,-113.623392
  • Newspaper Rock = 37.185374,-113.626847
  • Sinking Ship Rock = 37.186548,-113.630634
  • Slot Canyon Petroglyphs = 37.182107,-113.628188
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Hike to the Snow Canyon Petroglpyhs Reviews

Due to everyone parking where they shouldn't you can no longer park where this tells you to. There are no parking signs everywhere. We turned at 4200 and at the end there is a walkway that has a sign telling you how to get to the petroglyphs we followed this, and worked great, however there are houses going up in this area so be considerate where you park. We did have problems finding the actual petroglyphs we were on the right track just didn't look hard enough to find them luckily there were others hiking who did spot them and we did get to see them. (we were very close)

Your description of the trailhead and access to the trail are incorrect. 4400 is a private road and you could be towed or have your car damaged by farm implements. 4200 is the correct trailhead and is a public road 37°10’52.4″N 113°37’25.6″W. Access is through a wooden stopover and 30 feet farther are markers/maps on posts which indicate how to get to the petroglyphs. Turn left onto the horse trail and travel .6 of a mile to the entry of Gila Trail. This trail will take you to the Petroglyphs loop - which is clearly marked by carsonite posts and rock cairns. Do NOT climb over or under the barbed wire to reach the site as you will damage the fragile ecosystem of Snow Canyon State Park and would be fined if caught. Please keep your dog on a leash. Hantavirus occurs in southern Utah and your dog may pick up the dander carrying it.

This is a great hike and the petroglyphs are amazing! But you really need to use GPS to find the way as the trails are not very well marked if there are any trails at all. Most of the time you are just scrambling over rocks and finding your own way to the landmarks. I took the GPS coordinates from the Author and marked their location in Google Maps. Then we just set off in the direction of each land mark checking our position every quarter mile or so. We over shot the sinking ship but managed to get back on track easily! This is a good fun hike close to town. If your in the area check it out!!!

This is a short, easy hike with amazing petroglyphs and a cool small slot canyon, but the trails in the area aren't well marked so it's a bit difficult to find the landmarks.

Leave No Trace

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