Review of campgrounds camping experiences suggestions for equipment and supplies review of travel destination tips on travel,kids,camping,activities,fun,games,books,travel,roadtrips,equipment,supplies

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Camping and Exploring during the 2011 Pahrump T@B Rally

I took the "brats" along for the March 2011 T@B Rally in Pahrump, Nevada at Terrible's Lakeside Casino and RV Park.  All of the Tabbers were lined up lakeside and most of us turned our T@Bs so the doors faced the lake.  The kids had a ball feeding the ducks, they used up more than a loaf of bread during the 3 days we were there.

I had wanted to come back to the rally and the organizers were very gracious to include the kids.  I hope to go again and join in with the other T@BBERS, but with the kids we pretty much tried to stay out of the way and do exploring on our own.

My first destination was China Ranch Date Farm, a place I had wanted to get to since the 2010 rally.  It's quite a road to get there and I was glad I had my Tahoe as it is a little rough and dusty.  We went through some interesting little towns, Tecopa and Shoshone, then through a fantastical landscape similar to the Death Valley area.  See my next blog post for a comprehensive look at our visit to this oasis.

Several groups from the rally spent a day at the Furnace Creek area of Death Valley National Park.  The kids and I took along one of the others and we met up several times with participants throughout the day.  We didn't really do any hiking because the lady we took along with us wasn't interested in that, so we'd like to go back, but it was OK on this trip as I had so many other activities planned and places to go.  I will be adding a blog post about our side trip here also.

We also visited the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, I will be including a post later about this trip as well.  We went to Devil's Hole and it was a devil to get there out in the middle of nowhere.

Of course the highlight of the rally for the kids was the lake, the ducks, and the paddle boats (that was quite a work out, but a lot of fun).  It was so nice of Terry to include them at the pot lucks and drawings, she gave them goodie bags with crayons, little trinkets and books and they each won a prize in the drawings.  We got a nice screwdriver set and a wonderful hot dog roasting stick made by Jim Harvey, our T@B innovator extraordinaire.  With help from Dagon, we put together a puzzle to win a napkin/salt and pepper holder in the shape of a T@B which he also made and which I will always treasure, especially since he has now passed away.  So glad I got to help celebrate his 90th birthday at this rally.

I am so grateful to Terry ( Don't miss her rallies, they are wonderful!!) for allowing me to attend with the kids and all of the other Tabbers for putting up with us. It will be a cherished memory especially since it was the last time I was able to see Pat and Jim Harvey and enjoy their enthusiasm.  I especially want to thank Dagon's new best friend, Mick;  and also Susan who presented each of us with a framed photo, here's mine and I treasure it.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Camping and Hiking in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Snow Canyon, or Snow's Canyon (as most of us locals still often call it),  has been a great local place for as long as I've been around and longer.  Family Reunions were held here annually, birthday parties, taking the kids to climb rocks and play in the sand.  Easter egg hunts and picnics.  Sometimes it was considered the poor people's place to go for vacation.  Now it is a State Park complete with entrance fee, restrictions, a campground and established trails.

The Snow Canyon area, as much of Southern Utah, was once covered by huge sand dunes which eventually cemented into colorful sandstone.  Most of the park is made up of Navajo Sandstone, either red, where iron oxide is present, or white where it is not.  There is abundant desert varnish present on the walls as well, and the east rim is capped by black lava rock which flowed atop the sandstone from surrounding volcanoes, where cinder cones can still be visited.  There are other more recent lava flows in the canyon as well, making a wonderful backdrop for colorful flowers and as a contrast to the red sand.

Since this part of southwestern Utah is at the junction the Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and the Colorado Plateau there are many species of flora and fauna not ordinarily existing together.  Here you may see quail, roadrunners, gopher snakes, canyon tree frogs, coyotes, kit foxes, 18 species of bats, side-blotched lizards, and leopard lizards.  If you are extremely lucky you might see a Gila Monster or Chuckwalla, although they have become much more scarce in recent years.   There are twenty-two sensitive species protected within the park including peregrine falcons, desert tortoises and the gila monsters.

You may find tracks of ringtail cats, racoons, coyotes, or foxes in the mud near the pond at the end of the Three Ponds Trail, or tracks in the sand dunes of beetles, snakes, birds, or lizards.  I took my cub scouts to the sand dunes years ago, just to see tracks, and it was amazing to see little bugs make tracks that seemed much too big for them.

Plants indigeonous to the area are Creosote, narrow leaf yucca, sand sage, blackbush, scrub oak and desert willow.  Often in the fall and especially the spring if conditions are favorable, there will be wildflower blooms of indian paintbrush, yucca, and cactus, and many of the shrubs will have blossoms as well.  The sacred Datura blooms most of the year, as well as many yellow and white desert wildflowers.  Look closely as most flowers are small and many are close to the ground.

Several years ago, I took my two oldest grandsons for a picnic at my favorite spot, a place where for many years we had an Easter picnic and egg hunt.  Then we hiked to Three Ponds, checked out the tracks in the sand dunes and they had fun climbing on rocks (which really isn't allowed, but most do it anyway), and played in the sand. 

That's when I took the photo of the side-blotched lizard, I remember Justice commenting that it was doing push-ups, and they do look like they are, I understand this is a territorial stance.  When I saw this photo after developing I thought the side blotch was an injury of some sort and not a normal marking.

Relaxing in the Sand Dunes
I hadn't really gone back since then, but on a week-end early in October I took the "brats" so they could play outdoors and I could get some photos and a little information about the campground.  We went again to my favorite spot, this time we hiked from the Pioneer Names site along a wall in the shade.  They had so much fun playing in a little alcove of sandstone, playing in the sand and looking for lizards.  So when they were out of school for fall break a couple of weeks ago, we went camping so we could spend more time there and hike a few more trails.
Pioneer Names Trail

We had to wait awhile for our campsite to be vacated, so we drove to Upper Galoot picnic area and had lunch in the trailer and they climbed on the rocks.  I sat on a bench and watched and took photos, all of a sudden Dagon yelled "Grandma, look behind you"  there was a roadrunner, just coming up to the tables.  No one else was around to scare him away, so I got a few pretty good photos, I have always wanted to get some of one in the wild, so it was exciting.

Upper Galoot Picnic Area

It was still pretty warm that afternoon when we finally got settled in our campsite.  I had hoped to get #21 or #22 as they have more shade, but we got the only spot left which was #15A.  It does have a big cottonwood tree on one side as well as a smaller tree on the west side.  I decided that late afternoon would be a good time to go on the Three Ponds trail, as it would be shaded since it's on the west side of the canyon.  I don't remember the hike having that much sand!   Oh those poor little ones, we almost turned back several times, but Dagon didn't want to, and it seemed a waste of so much effort to not finish. 
Three Ponds Trail

There wasn't much water in the pond, we didn't climb up to see if there was any in the upper basins, it was getting late, and I was worried we'd be hiking in the dark.  It had taken us over 2 hours to get there and the sun was pretty low, actually below the canyon wall behind us.

Luckily, it only took a little over a half hour to get back (we took a couple of illegal shortcuts to avoid the deep sand in the wash) and Kali didn't stop constantly to play in the sand, look for bugs and lizards, and pick up acorns.  It was a nice hike back, but late enough that we observed quite a few bats flying about.  I don't recommend taking young ones, or anyone who is not in pretty good shape or hates hiking in sand to take this trail, it can be brutal.

Three Ponds Trail
It rained pretty good that night, the forecast had been rain and cooler weather, but I had inquired about one of the other campsites just in case.  I walked up to the office and paid for another night in the same spot as it looked like it would stay cool enough.  Then we took a short drive throught the park and hiked the Jenny's Canyon trail.  I had never been there before, now it will be a place I always go.  I hadn't known until I read a plaque near the little slot canyon that it was named after a teen age girl who used to live around the corner from me years ago.  She died in Snow Canyon after a fall several years ago.

On Jenny Canyon Trail

This is really a nice easy hike to a very interesting and shady little slot canyon.  The kids loved it, climbing in all the little holes and playing in the sand at the end, as well as on the trail.  (yea, another sandy trail, but short and not so deep)  Then they wanted to climb up to the look out, so we did and it provided a nice view.

Back to camp for lunch, just as we finished it started to rain again, but they enjoyed it.  We went inside for awhile to play games and draw and color, then back out they went for more fun in the sand. 

In Jenny's Canyon

The park has a Jr. Ranger program, so we worked on the requirements in the booklet, identifying plants, watching for different animals and rocks.  Then that evening we walked around the campground picking up trash.  The office was closed early since it was Sunday, so they would have to wait until before we left Monday morning to get their badges and take the pledge.

In Jenny's Canyon

We had dinner and watched videos until we all went to sleep, of course the kids didn't want to leave in the morning after receiving their badges, but their dad called, so we left before check out time.  Actually, by the time I dried things out (after the sun came over the rim) and got most of the sand off of everything, it wasn't really very early.  The ranger who checked their books and awarded their badges was impressed with their knowledge, well, this is their 4th Jr. Ranger badge, they are good little rangers, and quite the troopers after that 3 mile hike in the sand!!

In Jenny's Canyon



Phone (435) 628-2255
toll free  (877) 887-2757
Reservations 1 (800) 322-3770
or make reservations online at

 is located in Southwestern Utah
about 11 miles north of St. George, Utah

Open year-round although peak season is Feb-May and Sep-Nov

Park Headquarters is located near the north entrance
adjacent to the campground where there is also
a large grassy picnic area, restrooms, and dump station

Technical Climbing


From hwy 18 going south
just past the curve and downhill from the cindercone
turn right (west) to enter the park from the north

From hwy 18 going north
watch for signs about 10 miles north of
Snow Canyon Parkway
turn left (west) to enter the park from the north
Turn left on Snow Canyon Parkway and travel about
3 1/2 miles and turn right (north)
to enter the park from the south

From the City of St. George
travel north on Bluff Street to
Snow Canyon Parkway
you will be on hwy 18 after leaving
the city limits and can follow either of the directions above.

From I-15
Take exit 6 to Bluff Street
travel north on Bluff Street to
Snow Canyon Parkway
Either turn left to enter from the south
continue north to enter from the north

I prefer to enter at the north entrance and avoid the
traffic and residential areas leading to the south entrance
the campground is near the north entrance as well.

The view through our window

If you are coming from I-15 you can take a more scenic
route through the Red Cliff Desert Reserve by taking
exit #10 (Washington City)
Then turning north towards Green Springs Dr.
(Do not turn into Washington City)
Take a left on Red Hills Parkway and continue about 5 miles
to the junction with hwy 18 and Snow Canyon Parkway
then use either of the directions above
 to enter from the north or south


Day use entrance fee per vehicle   $6.00
(up to 8 people)
Pedestrian or bicycle                    $4.00

The Upper Galoot Picnic Area can be reserved
for group activities :                    $75.00
 minimum 25 people  Maximum 50 people
There is limited parking available

Bikes allowed on Whiptail Trail
and West Canyon Road only
as well as public roads, campground
and parking areas

Pets allowed on Whiptail Trail and
West Canyon Road
and in campgrounds only (on leash)

Fires allowed in designated areas only
no fires allowed from June 1- Sep 15
No gathering of firewood or starter allowed


Wildlife watching
 (170 routes for technical climbing)
See ranger for information
(permits required for commercial photography)

There are 12 designated hiking trails in Snow Canyon
and others nearby
Some trails are closed seasonally to prevent
disruption of sensitive species

Upper Galoot Picnic Area

There are organized hikes and activities
year-round, for info see below

For maps of the park, campground
and surrounding area
Maps and Publications

Park Headquarters


There is one campground located in
Snow Canyon State Park

14 Hook-up sites ...$20.00 per night
 (35 ft and under)
(1 or 2 sites may be used for hosts)
Only certain sites can be reserved
power (30 amp)
dump station

Typical site with hook ups

17 tent or small RV sites...$16.00 per night
campfire area
tent pads
parking area

water spigots sprinkled
throughout the campground

Hook up site  #8

*2 Group Campsites*

$3.00 per person per night
refundable cleaning deposit required
25 people min 32 max
6 vehicles maximum
tent pads

$3.00 per person per night
refundable cleaning deposit required
25 people min 50 max
20 vehicles maximum
tent pads

The view from our campsite

Restrooms are located near the
RV hook-up sites
Quail group site
Cottontail Group site
all have flush toilets and hot water

Hook up site  #14

Showers are located
at the Cottontail Group site

Picnic area near Headquarters

RV Hook up sites
#1  #8 and  #14
are more private than the others

#15A  has nice, shaded tent pad and water nearby
also near restrooms
#22 very shady and private with water nearby, also
near restrooms and showers

No climbing on the rocks behind the camp sites
Quiet hours:  10:00 pm - 8:00 am
Generator hours:  12:00 noon - 4:00 pm
Showers closed for cleaning 11:00 am - noon
Check-out time 2:00 pm
you must renew your site if available by 10:00 am

Maximum Stay: 
 5 nights within a 30 day period from Feb-May and Sep-Nov
14 nights Dec - Jan and  Jun - Aug

Store all food in vehicles
Gray water not to be dumped at sites
use the dump station near the restrooms
Tents allowed on tent pads ONLY
No fires allowed  June 1- Sep 15