The Enepitsi Trail in the Santa Clara River Reserve is a nice, family friendly stroll that takes you right down into the Santa Clara River bottoms. You will start at the Tukupetsi trail head, which is a dirt single track, and then you will fork to the left and follow an old dirt road down into the river bottoms. Because of the proximity to water, the plants are all big and lush, and is a beautiful walk! As you walk along and admire the foliage, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for the petroglyphs that spot the sides of the cliff face. They are everywhere along the trail, but are easy to miss if you don’t climb up next to the rocks. You will also see some up high along the top of the cliff if you keep your eyes peeled. Go enjoy some of Southern Utah’s natural history, and always remember to treat them with respect so future visitors will have the same opportunity to enjoy them! Review this before you go!
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 Pa’rus Trail is one of the best, and often overlooked hiking trails in Zion National Park. This is a paved trail that begins next to the Watchman Campground and follows the river for just under 2 miles and ends at the Canyon Junction tram stop. This is a great trail to beat the crowds at the tram terminal! The views along this pathway are incredible, and for those looking for great photo ops, there are many along this route. The trail crosses the river several times and meanders through the incredible landscape of Zion Canyon.
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 Upper Emerald Pool Trail in Zion National Park has a lot to offer for being one of the shorter hikes in the park! This trail starts at the Virgin River bottom with views up and down Zion Main Canyon, then turns and continues up Heaps Canyon and affords views of hidden water falls and sheer Navajo Sandstone Cliffs. These water falls are all runoff fed, so depending on the amount of rain/snow fall, the waterfalls can be a gushing flow, slow and steady, or nothing but a drip. That said, there is typically enough flow during the year that each of the three pools along this trail has some water in it. In just a few hundred feet of elevation gain, the vegetation changes from cottonwoods to pines, and spotting local wildlife is common along this trail. Many travelers take a picnic with them to eat at the top of the trail as they enjoy the view of the Upper Pool and waterfall. This trail is a must on your next trip to Zion!
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!