St George in Southern Utah is one of the most visited places in Utah to explore. There are several National and State Parks hours and even minutes away from St George. Many families come to Southern Utah to hike Zion’s. For information on all the nearby National Parks, you can head to this site here. But, if you have a younger crowd traveling with you- might I suggest checking out some of my family’s favorite hiking spots, awesome walking trails and great playground parks to explore.
1.) Johnson Canyon- Snow Canyon State Park
This easy trail in St George is right outside the entrance of Snow Canyon park so you do not need to pay to go inside Snow Canyon Park. This well-worn trail goes through a lava flow field, dry stream bed, and partially shaded in the Red Mountains into Paradise Canyon. This trail is seasonally closed from March 15th– September 14th- but perfect to hike in the winter months. The end of the trail walk stops at a magnificent arch spanning 200 ft and is quite lovely.
Ideal for: all ages.
- This trail is easy for kids (I did it once 9 months pregnant!) and only one area of the trail is near a cliff, the rest of the trail, however, is safe.
- The arch itself is blocked protected from climbers, so you can only view the arch from below.
- The base of the arch is sheltered within the mountain, so parts of the day the area by the arch is covered and quite chilly- so bring a jacket!
- CON: No bathrooms or water facilities on sight- so pack everything in and out.
Located: Southside of Snow Canyon State Park
2.) Pioneer Park & Dixie Sugarloaf
Beautiful breathtaking 360 views of St George! There are plenty of rocks, picnic areas, caves, slot canyons, and caverns for kids to explore. This area of Dixie rocks is ideal for all ages, however, climbing the Sugarloaf to view everything on top of the hill is a challenge! So make sure you bring more adults than kids to help the kiddies climb.
Ideal for: all ages.
- Exploring Dixie rock is fun for kids and there are beautiful sites all around. Watch for surprise dips in the rock- my kids have tripped and scraped their knees before.
- There are several parking lots to explore the Sugarloaf, however, the bathrooms are only located at the South end of the park.
- Con: There are hidden cut-outs on the side of the Sugarloaf for people to climb to the top. These are cut-outs are hugely spaced out and very challenging to climb as adults, let alone children. Highly suggest big kids or experienced hikers for the Sugarloaf climb.
Located: Red Hills Pkwy, St George, UT 84770
Family-Friendly Walking Trails:
3.) Tonaquint Nature Center:
Ideal for: all ages.
- Lots of wild animals live here. Bring bread crumbs to feed the ducks and watch for the peacock that lives there.
- The pathway through the nature center is not paved but pushing a stroller works.
- Near the Tonaquint Nature center is the playground: Thunder Junction All Abilities Park: which is great!
- This path is partially covered with plenty of covered benches and sitting areas.
Located: 1851 South Dixie Drive, St. George, UT 84770
4.) Red Hills Desert Garden
Ideal for: all ages. Nicely paved walkways, stroller-friendly and fun alternative paths too!
- St George is also known for its Dinosaur fossils that were discovered in this area. In this Desert Hills walkway- they have several dino prints that guide visitors to a dinosaur fossil replica discovered here in Southern Utah.
- My kids and I love using the porch swings sprinkled throughout the walkway.
- During the Fall holidays, the garden walkway is decorated. For Halloween, we’ve seen: a scarecrow walk, pirate themes, and spooky scarecrows. Our favorite time to visit the Desert Garden is in the winter for Christmas. There are beautifully lit cactus, plants, a candy cane lane, and other festive themes throughout the area.
- Limited parking to the Red Hills Desert Garden.
- The outer perimeter of the Red Hills Desert Garden is beautifully paved and easy to maneuver. However, if you choose to come as a family- make sure you have extra adult hands. Although one can usually use a stroller, there are many fun and alternative paths like jumping on stepping stones across a shallow river or taking stairs to a secondary level that presents a challenge for a parent to keep up with a toddler AND push a stroller.
Located: Red Hills Pkwy, St. George, UT 84770
5.) Temple Quarry Temple Hike:
Ideal for: all ages- easy -uncovered- walk for all ages. A few benches along the trail. Not paved for a stroller.
Distance: 2.2 miles- average hike time: 1-1.5 hours.
- This walk is light with loose gravel, however, it is close to the edge of a cliff- so parents with young children hold onto them!
- Watch the ground for uneven ground and lava rocks but ALSO look for the markings of the pioneer wheels used while creating the foundation of the St George LDS Temple.
- No bathroom nearby, but across the street from the trailhead is a small playground.
Located: 50 South Main Street
After all of that hiking, my kids still have energy and beg to play at a playground park. If your travel kids are anything like mine, they will love our favorite parks too. Word to the wise: Visit the parks in the early summer mornings to avoid the scorching heat, or pack a swimsuit to many of our playground/splash parks.
Favorite Parks in St George:
6.) Washington City Veterans Park:
Newly updated in 2019– Fantastic park!
Equipment: Playground; perfectly situated in mature trees mostly in shade throughout the day.
Ideal for: Five and older handle the park fine. Note, my 18-month-old could play on the park with hands-on assistance. My 9, 6, and 3-year-old had a blast climbing the four-story tower to ride the big slides down.
- Slides are steep and fast! The four-story tower can ONLY be accessed by climbing ropes and very complicated with adult assistance- an ideal playground for older kids.
- The picnic pavilion is steps away from the park as well as a grassy area for a picnic.
- Con: Park is located right next to a busy road. There is, however, a small fence separating the playground and street.
7.) Cotton Wood Cove Park:
Equipment: Playground; Not covered
Ideal for: all ages. Variety of equipment for both baby/toddler and big kids.
- This park is hidden from the street- you have to look for this one.
- Multiple entrances to this park- one is walking through a rope walkway. It is high- and intimidating for young kids. Suggest 7+ take this entrance.
- There is also a tall rock wall
- The picnic pavilion is steps away from the park as well as a grassy area for a picnic. Wonderful park.
Con: Park is located quite the distance away from the parking lot and bathrooms.
Located: 1027 South Dixie Drive
Favorite Parks in St George with Extra Perks:
8.) Hidden Valley Park:
Equipment: Playground; large and small, partially covered, AND splash park
Ideal for: All ages with a variety of equipment for both baby/toddler and child.
Water park features: Spraying, bubbling, and one shower-head type water spray.
Parent notes: Plenty of close shaded benches surrounding the playground, steps away from the covered picnic area, close bathrooms. There is a tricky rope area that connects one playground to the other.
Location: 3505 South Barvelona Drive
9.) Town Square Park:
Equipment: Splash park AND $1 vintage carousel
Ideal for: all ages. Includes a variety of equipment for both baby/toddlers and kids.
- This park is directly downtown St George – the fountain runs year long, the river walk-way is seasonal.
- Plenty of covered benches, sitting areas, and grass to sit on
- River walkway is not rough,- cuts little feet- highly suggest water shoes.
- The walkway is littered with large and real stones for children to play and jump on- which is also a mother with toddler’s worst nightmare.
Located: 50 South Main Street
10.) Thunder Junction All Abilities Park:
Equipment: Playground; partially covered, AND Splash park AND $1 Train Ride
Ideal for: all ages and abilities. This St George playground is purposely structured to accommodate wheelchairs throughout the rides and swings of the park.
The water park features: Waterfall, shallow river to splash in, small streams of water, T-rex skull water feature to play in.
- This park is always busy- but it is spacious and amazing! A smoking and rumbling Volcano, dinosaurs to climb and slide on and a train. You can pay $1 to ride the train that goes around the park and see buried bones etc. Playground equipment is very handicap friendly and caters to all- allowing all ability-children to play on the equipment.
- One entrance to this park- huge perk! And gated train track- so no one could get hurt.
- One covered picnic pavilion, but plenty of covered benches throughout the park.
- Parent tip: take more adults than kids. Kids can take many different (covered) paths to the top of the slides where the parent can lose sight. The many times we’ve gone, I’ve assigned older kids to go with younger kids, to avoid kids getting lost. Lots of hands-on assistance can be needed at this park!
- Con: Park is always busy- don’t go after school or during school break, go in the early morning, or during school to avoid the rush of crowds.
Located: 1851 South Dixie Drive
*Bonus * 11.) Fire Lake Park- Ivins Reservoir
Equipment: Lovely beach sand, bathrooms, outdoor showers, foot showers, drinking fountains, picnic area, grassy area, two water areas. As a parent with little ones- you feel like you pack the entire house in your trunk to go to the beach. To make your life easier- we have a favorite beach packing list you can find here.
Pros: FREE! It does not cost anything to visit the reservoir. Also, the limited parking- means once the parking lot is full- no more may enter. So, show up early if you don’t want to wait for a parking spot. One of the major reasons we make the trek out to this reservoir (about fifteen minutes outside of St. George) is the beautiful restoration and a massive overhaul of sand that occurred in 2018. Also, there are two separate bodies of water with a cement walkway all the way around one body of water. Makes bringing all the things to the beach in a wagon easier. There is so much to do here! Play on the beach, bring your paddle boards or kayaks. My family spends hours here playing.
Cons: Limited shade by the bathroom, not by the beach. So bring your own shade. My favorite shades are linked here. Another con- Goose poop. All over the cement and sometimes on the sand too. We have to watch where we walk and usually have to clean up the beach of goose poop before we set up camp.
If you’re looking for other amazing summer ideas be sure to check out our latest Summer Resources eBook for Families. You can snag your free copy here.
Have you visited Southern Utah and gone hiking before? We have a whole article on all of the hiking tips with kids here. Have you visited St. George before? What hike or park would you add to our list?