If you’re living in the Southwest, you’re lucky enough to be in one of the best regions for year-round recreation. But summertime always inspires us to get outside more than normal. So if you’re looking for new hikes to explore, you’ll definitely want to hit the dirt on these awesome Utah trails in the state’s southwest corner.
The Zen Trail is a 6.3-mile loop with a moderate rating. You’ll be able to explore a cave along the way and bring your dog as long as you keep him or her on a leash. You’ll grab a total of 1,023 feet of elevation gain over the length of this trail and it offers chances to glimpse some of Utah’s native bird species.
This trail does offer minimal shade, so you’ll want to wear a full-brimmed hat and bring plenty of water along. If you’re in this area, you’ll also be able to explore this trail on a mountain bike if you’re looking for a little more fast-paced adventure.
The starting trailhead for the Zen Trail is located just over ten minutes from downtown St. George on West Canyon View Drive. There are also some great views from the top of this trail, but you should be careful to follow the rock stacks in order to stay on the trail.
Turtle Wall Trail
The Turtle Wall Trail is an easy 3.8-mile loop trail with moderate levels of traffic all year-round. This is a kid-friendly hike and dogs are also permitted as long as they remain on-leash. It’s a multi-use trail so don’t be surprised if you encounter both hikers and mountain bikers while you’re out there.
The trail provides scenic views of the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and it’s also a great option for trail runners. Expect hot temperatures and minimal shade on this hike, so be sure to bring plenty of water and apply sunscreen or wear UV-protectant clothing.
It’s a good idea to start this trail early before temperatures soar into the triple digits during the summer. The trailhead for this hike is located less than 10 minutes from downtown St. George on the east side of Bluff Street.
Owen’s Loop is a short out-and-back trail within Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. It covers a total distance of 2.7 miles and the terrain is fairly moderate. It can be a heavily trafficked trail year-round, so you’ll want to get an early start to make sure you get decent parking at the trailhead.
Over the hike’s total distance, you’ll only gain a total of 416 feet of elevation, so it’s kid-friendly and also offers opportunities to glimpse native bird and reptile species. Many locals use this as an easy morning trail run and dogs are allowed as long as they are on-leash.
The trail follows the northwestern edge of St. George and offers spectacular views of the town from the top of red sandstone bluffs. The easiest way to get to this trailhead is to park at Brook’s Nature Park and hike the canyon north to the main trail.
The trail up Snow Canyon makes a full loop and covers a total distance of 3.5 miles. Over that distance, you’ll gain just 495 feet of elevation and this trail usually sees a moderate amount of traffic throughout the year. It’s easily one of the best wildflower hikes in the region.
When summer is in full swing, you’ll find very little shade on this trail. Pack heavy on water and be sure to wear a full-brimmed hat. This trail is friendly for both kids and dogs, although the latter will need to be kept on-leash to be respectful to other hikers.
The canyon walls offer great places for birds of many species to build their nests. So you might want to bring binoculars around for bird watching and wildlife viewing on this trail. The trailhead is located off the main road in Snow Canyon State Park just over 20 minutes north of St. George.
Paradise Canyon Trail
The Paradise Canyon Trail is a moderate loop hike that you might be sharing with a considerable number of fellow hikers during the busier months. It covers a total distance of 5.4 miles and requires 839 feet of elevation gain. Feel free to bring your dog along as long as he or she remains on-leash.
When hiking this trail in the summer, the recommended direction to proceed on the loop is counterclockwise. Going this direction will give you more shade on the way back once you’ve sufficiently warmed up. There’s also a cave on this trail about three miles out that’s worth exploring.
Be prepared to see quite a bit of wildlife on this trail. Some species you might encounter include quail, hawks, rabbits, lizards, and maybe even a desert tortoise if you’re lucky. The trailhead is located just over ten minutes northwest of downtown St. George off North Cascade Canyon Drive.
Best RV Parks Close To These Trails
If you happen to be making a regional trip over to St. George to hit these southwest summer trails, these are two of the best RV parks to stay at in the area.
This is a pristinely kept RV resort right in the heart of St. George. Its amenities include a heated pool and hot tub, WiFi at overnight sites, 30 and 50 amp service, pull-thru sites for big rigs, and a host of other activities you can enjoy on the park grounds. It’s also conveniently located within 25 minutes of all these summer trails and within walking distance of St. George’s Main Street.
If you want to get out of town and find an RV campground within walking distance to one of the trails we listed earlier, this campground is located inside Snow Canyon State Park. It offers RV sites with 20 amp and 30-amp service and their sites are able to accommodate RVs up to 56 feet in length. They also have restrooms and showers, but this campground is best for those that want to get off the beaten path and spend a full weekend hiking and exploring nature.