Hiking the Lava Flow & Whiterocks Trails, Snow Canyon


Located near the northern end of Snow Canyon State Park, the Lava Flow Trail doesn’t look terribly exciting at the beginning.  The trail begins by dropping down from the parking area along Snow Canyon Drive (the main park road)…

…then passing through a flat area that’s covered by typical desert brush.  It only takes a few minutes…

… until patches of volcanic rock begin to appear.

Look closer, and you’ll notice caved-in areas.  Some of these open into lava tubes.  If you have a flashlight with you, you can walk down into the tubes and explore underground.  I didn’t find an easy entrance to the tubes, but I did see some people inside one of them, so I know there must be a way.

The lava flows aren’t far from the white mountains at the northern end of the park.  They’re also near the start of another trail.

The Whiterocks Trail leads from the lava flows north, then east, eventually connecting with a parking area along Route 18, then climbing into a natural amphitheatre in the middle of those white mountains.  Instead of hiking all the way there, I just hiked a short way up the Whiterocks Trail.  It quickly ends up somewhere interesting:

The trail passes by these rounded, loaf-of-bread shaped hills, which are mostly white, but have a peculiar stripe of orange cutting through the center of them.  These hills are slightly off the main Whiterocks Trail, but it’s easy to walk out onto them, and find a good vantage point for viewing the south end of the valley…

… as well as the box canyon at the end of West Canyon Road (the maintenance road and bicycle trail that’s closed to vehicles).

All this time, I was keeping a careful eye on my watch, trying to calculate the very last minute that I would need to leave for Las Vegas.  I decided I had just enough time to return to my car, then drive up to the trailhead along Route 18, and rejoin the northern end of the Whiterocks Trail.

Snow Canyon has attracted Hollywood movie producers on several occasions.  The canyon played a role in movies such as The Electric Horseman, Jeremiah Johnson, and perhaps most famously, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

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