When we were in the St. George area last year, we checked out Sand Hollow State Park, which is about a half an hour southeast of St. George. We made reservations in December for a full service site on the outside of the loop. The site (#18) was ideal for us, with a view of the lake (reservoir) on one side and a panorama of mountains on the other. The sites are also well spaced out.
Nearby to our campsite was a slickrock area known as “the jumping rocks.” The first day we walked there it was cooler than the next Saturday that was full of people, with teenagers jumping off the rocks into the chilly water.
We hiked at Snow Canyon State Park, which is nine miles north of St. George. No chance of snow here; it was named for Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, prominent pioneers. We love the spectacular scenery, especially in the area known as the “Petrified Dunes.”
We had a couple of good days biking as well. First we rode at the JEM trail area just above Hurricane. The JEM trail from the lower parking area winds its way up on the edge of a canyon then climbs steadily up through the desert brush environment. It was a fun flowy ride down.
We also rode the Church Rocks loop, which is in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. We accessed it from a new highway interchange at Washington Boulevard (Grapevine to Prospector’s to Church Rock loop). Prospector’s has a steep “hike-a-bike” section, but otherwise we were pretty much able to ride everything. If you look at the photos below, the trail is along the top of the rock behind Wendy.
We also had time for some birding. We found a great spot in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, right around the Orson Adams house (a pioneer family of the area). Quail Creek runs right by the house which is a draw for the birds. The cottonwood trees had verdins and yellow-rumped warblers. White crowned sparrows foraged below the scrubby bushes, and a black phobe enjoyed the water’s edge. There is also a good view of the red cliffs.
Being so close to Zion National Park, we just had to go again. We chose to do some birding along the Riverside Walk. Most of the people on our early bus got off before the last stop at the Temple of Sinawava. The 2.2 mile trail is mostly in the shade, so we were well bundled up. We got a good look at some Common Mergansers. A house wren was singing loudly, a posed for enough time for a photo.
On our way back to the Visitor Centre, we chose to get off the bus at the highway intersection (Canyon Junction) and walk back via the Pa’rus trail (1.7 miles). The paved trail follows the Virgin River and allows good views of the Towers of the Virgin.
From one of the pedestrian bridges, we watched a couple of black phobes catching insects.
As we got closer to the campground, the birds were more plentiful. There were lots of western bluebirds and yellow-rumped warblers.
We stayed at Sand Hollow for eight nights. Two bike rides, two hikes and a morning of birding, which means we also had time to relax, read, and Wendy had some time for quilting. We’re learning to slow down a bit and enjoy our time in “Big Red.”