Whiterocks Natural Amphitheatre, Snow Canyon


Utah’s scenic Route 18 passes through the northern end of Snow Canyon State Park.  Up here, you’re on the honor system to pay your park admission fee, if you stop at the northernmost trail in the park: the Whiterocks Trail, leading to the Whiterocks Natural Amphitheatre.

From the parking area, the trail makes a brief pass through a typical desert landscape…

… before the soil turns white, and the trail skirts around the foot of one of the white mountains that stand at Snow Canyon’s northern end.

As you round the corner, you enter Whiterocks Natural Amphitheatre.  The bowl-shaped valley is surrounded on three sides with white slopes.  The official trail ends here, and you’re free to go wherever you want.  I started climbing the walls of the amphitheatre, and noticed a couple of people scaling to the top of the mountain on the left-hand side of the picture.  The top of the hill seemed like a lofty goal…

… especially considering the steep slope.  But I knew it could be done, since there were people ahead of me.  So I gave it a try, on hands and knees.

About halfway up the slope, I turned around and got a great view of Route 18, as it curves east, then north again.

Finally at the top, I found plenty of places to wander around, and an unlimited number of great viewpoints.

The red hills that line the west side of Snow Canyon State Park are quite a contrast to the white rocks of the hill I was on.

Click for a larger version

Here’s the big picture.  You can see all of Snow Canyon from here.

This was definitely one of those find-a-spot-and-relax-for-a-while places.  So, I took the final picture of my feet on this trip, while admiring Snow Canyon, my final stop on this 12 day journey.

I left Snow Canyon with slightly more than three hours to spare, before the deadline to return my rental car, and catch my flight out of Las Vegas.  It’s exactly 120 miles from St. George to Vegas, a distance easily drivable in two hours.  And indeed, I made it to the outskirts of Las Vegas with an hour to spare — an hour that quickly disappeared as I sat in traffic on Interstate 15.  I barely had enough time to stop by In-N-Out Burgers for a Double-Double, the final meal of my trip.

At the rental car return, I snapped a picture of the odometer:

Trip total: 12 days, 3,086.8 miles.

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