The Butterfly Trail is one of the most overlooked trails in Snow Canyon. This trail is advertised more as a connector trail than anything, but it really can and does stand on its own! After parking, head down the Petrified Dunes Trail and continue West where the Petrified Dunes Trail turns south. The trail drops down and follows along a huge petrified dune until if finally climbs up and turns west again. You will feel like the only person in the Park on this trail. The views are fantastic as you look up and down the canyon. Eventually this trail connects with the Lava Flow Trail, where you can turn around or follow down to the West Canyon Overlook (adds another .8 miles round trip). This is a great trail to take your family on, even if you don’t hike the whole trail. The views and colors on this hike will not disappoint!
The Zion Canyon Overlook Trail is a fun way to experience the thrill of Zion National Park without riding the shuttle or dealing with the herds of people at the visitors center. This is a family friendly hike, but you’ll want to keep your kids close as there are many ledges and drops. There are incredible views into Pine Creek canyon for the first 1/2 mile, and then into Zion Canyon, at the overlook. You will climb staircases cut into the rock face, pass over the bridge that hangs out over the expanse and enjoy vistas of the wide open canyon. Bring your camera, because you will want to capture these views for keepsakes!
The Silver Reef Trail is a fun, short trail that weaves right through the Red Cliffs Recreation Area camp ground up to a lookout point. This is a fun trail for families of all ages. Not only is the beauty of the surrounding area a huge payoff, there are also dinosaur tracks along the way that are exciting for every explorer! There are two areas with dinosaur tracks and you have to look closely or you’ll walk right over the ones on the way to the look out point! Whether you stay in the campground and go for a walk, or make a special trip, this trail does not disappoint!
The Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks are some of the most impressive in the area! There are at least three different types of dinosaur tracks evident in the rock strata. According to the archeologists who have studied the area, there are over 400 fossilized tracks! Not only is this a fun and easy hike with great historical value, but the area is shockingly beautiful! On your drive you will pass flaming red mountains and colorful clay filled rolling hills. The tracks are just a short walk from the parking lot! The trail heads up a small rise and then drops into a dry wash. The dry wash leads down to the dino tracks!
The Children’s Forest at the Kiln trail is a well groomed single track trail that is wide enough for a single stroller. It is a great trail to take kids on. This trail is in Dixie National Forest, and the Forest Service has placed plaques along the way, next to the native plants, to describe what each one is. The drawings and descriptions are all done by children and it is actually very cool, and very educational! This forest is described as a “pigmy forest” because the trees and shrubs found there are short, rather than tall and reaching. If you’re looking for a great walk with the kids, this is it! Unless you have a pretty good jogging stroller, I would recommend carrying kids or letting them walk. The trail ends at a very large kiln that was used in the 1800’s to produce charcoal used in the separation process for the Silver Reef mines. This is a great one! Check it out!
The Pioneer Names Trail in Snow Canyon State Park is a short and fun little hike from the main road. It is a crescent shaped trail that passes by, among other things, a canyon wall that was written on by early St George settlers as early as 1881. The names were written in wagon axle grease and has remained protected by the arch that it sits under. Early Mormon Pioneers would often picnic in the canyon, and these writings were likely left by members of picnic parties and/or cattle ranchers. Hikers on this trail can now enjoy the beauty of the unique rock formations and the surrounding vegetation, or clip into the climbing hooks and scale the canyon walls. There are two trail heads for this trail. The north trail head is much closer to the Pioneer Names, but it is a short hike from either trail head, and easily passable by people of all ages. The trail is sandy in some places, so proper footwear is advised. Enjoy this beautiful hike and soak in some history too!
The Middle Emerald Pool Trail takes you to the second pool in this trail system. As you pass along the Lower Emerald Pool section, you will walk under a misty waterfall that is actually fed by the Middle Emerald Pool. The Lower Pool is wheelchair and stroller accessible, but as you head up to the Middle Pool, the trail changes and is only accessible by hikers. The trail takes you up through some breaks between huge sheer sandstone boulders, and into more tree coverage. The Middle Pool is actually split into two sections and is a fun place for children to play, or just cool your feet off. Depending on the time of year, you will probably be visited by local wildlife, and might even be greeted by tadpoles swimming in the pool!
There are multiple petroglyph sites in Zion National Park, and these ones just happen to be within a few steps from the road! The beginning of the trail has a couple of different possible routes to follow, so take the one that suits your skill level. Your goal should be to head down to the sandy wash at the bottom of the hill. From there you will head up the wash, under the culvert under the road and into the canyon ahead. After walking in the wash for a few minutes, follow the trail to the left and check out the petroglyph sites (wooden fences sit in front of the sites to protect them). Please be respectful of these sites and help make them available for future generations! Remember that touching the rocks causes accelerated deterioration, so please do not touch. Enjoy the cool weather in the canyon and then head back to your vehicle!
The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is part of a trail system in Zion National Park that leads to three beautiful pools and, at the right times of the year, two magnificent water falls. This trail begins by the Zion Lodge and crosses over the Virgin River on one of the many walking bridges that Zion is known for. The trail meanders along the river and then turns to the west and heads up Heaps Canyon. This hike features many clear views up the main canyon toward Angels Landing, and sheer Navajo Sandstone cliffs that reach toward the sky. The Lower Emerald Pool trail is wheelchair and stroller accessible, and is a great trip for adventurers of all ages. The trail leads to a waterfall that falls over an alcove into a couple of clear pools. The pools are not open to bathing, but are fun to look at, and hikers can get a refreshing little shower from the mist of the waterfalls before heading back!
The Sandstone Quarry Trail is a fun, short, family friendly trail that passes along next to the Red Hill Golf Coarse in downtown St George. This trail is suitable for small children (with help in a couple of places), and leads to a cool little historic site where a monument has been erected by the Sons of the Utah Pioneers. The Sandstone Quarry was where they quarried rock for many of the historic buildings in town, including the St George LDS Temple and Tabernacle, the Historic Courthouse (Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum), the Washington Cotton Mill and many other buildings and homes. This hike provides beautiful desert views along side luscious golf course greenery.
The Riverside Walk (Gateway to the Narrows) is a nice little paved trail in Zion National Park that starts at the Temple of Sinawava and takes you along the river bank to the mouth of the canyon that takes you into the Narrows hike. This hike is a perfect one for families with kids that want to explore the canyon, and still be a safe distance from the river. If you want to get to the river, you can do that too! It is even stroller and wheelchair friendly. Don’t miss the little pool and the little hanging gardens along the way!
Weeping Rock is a delightful hike for adventurers of all ages! The trail can be a bit steep in some areas, but it is a short climb to an exciting overhang that “weeps” even in the dry Southern Utah summers! You don’t want to miss this hike, and your kids will be fascinated by this crying rock face, and hanging ferns that grow from the rock wall. Early, wet springs will afford you a chance at seeing the waterfall running to a nice clear pool below Weeping Rock. The trail is paved the entire way and is stroller accessible. Although short, this will be one of the more memorable trips for your family!