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Hiking, USA

Hiking Scout Cave – Southwest Utah

Scout Cave is a must see if you love caves and are heading to southern Utah! We visited on our recent trip and it was one of our favorite hikes. It was cool, because although this hike has been on my bucket list for years, I had no idea where it was. I think I always thought it was in Arizona. That was until we literally drove by the trailhead and I exclaimed, “WHAT?! Scout Cave?! I know that hike!” So of course, we made sure to fit this hike in!

Scout Cave is located in Ivins, Utah just outside of Saint George. The trailhead is located right outside the entrance to Snow Canyon State Park. It shares trailhead parking with the Johnson Canyon Trail.

Trail Info:

Difficulty Rating:

Moderate

Directions From Saint George:

From I-15 take exit 6 onto Bluff Street and head north toward Pine Valley Mountain for about 3.5 miles.  Turn left onto Snow Canyon Parkway and continue about 4 miles.  Turn right on Snow Canyon Dr and follow this road for about 1 mile.  You will see a Trailhead on your right.  You can park on the left.

GPS Coordinates:

Trailhead: 37.178074, -113.644847 Scout Cave: 37.168139, -113.629056

Distance:

According to the trailhead 5.5 (online I have read 3.5-4.4, I did not track it so I am not sure!)

Other things to know:

  • There are no water or bathrooms available at the trailhead
  • Parking is free
  • This is an out and back hike
  • Much of this hike is in the full sun
  • Dogs are allowed on leash
  • Trail is open all year but may have flooding in rainy season

Our Experience:

My husband and I did this hike together. We left the kids with Grandma and Grandpa for this one, and I am mostly glad we did. I think my seven year old would have been able to complete the hike and she would have thought it was really cool, but I think my just turned five year old would have had a pretty tough time. Mom and Dad would have likely ended up carrying him by the end! lol! So, probably good we went it alone.

We visited in the winter (late January/early February) and hiked in the morning so we had perfect hiking temperatures. It was about 40 when we started our hike, and about 55 on our way out. Even this felt warm to us, so I imagine in the summer this would be a VERY hot hike. We began our hike at about 9:00 and there was only one other car at the trailhead. We saw no one the entire hike, until our way out. Then, there were quite a few groups heading in and the trailhead parking was much more packed. We were happy to have started when we did.

Trailhead Parking Area

From the parking area you cross the street to begin the hike. We stopped at the trailhead where we had a good laugh about the hike being longer than we were expecting. My husband is convinced I am always downplaying our hikes so he will agree to go, lol! Everywhere online I read around 3.5 or 4.4 but when we go there it was listed as 5.5 which I feel was likely accurate. I felt like we walked about 2.25 each way. Luckily, my husband was cool with 5.5 so we set out on our hike.

Trailhead Sign

The hike was immediately very beautiful. The start of the hike was through nicely packed sand, surrounded by lava fields, and surrounded by the beautiful Snow Canyon red rocks in the distance. The trail was easy to follow at this point. There is another hike that branches off of this trail, but it was very well marked, so we knew we were heading in the right direction.

A beautiful hike right from the start 😉

 

Nicely marked trails

 

Lava fields everywhere

 

Rocky & sunny paths

About a mile into the hike we got some cool canyon views, and were surprised when the trail eventually took us down into the canyon and some dried up stream beds. Once we were down in the stream beds the birds were unbelievable! We just stood and listened to them sing for quite a while! It was really enchanting! I would imagine in the spring it may get to wet to do this hike, but I am not sure. A lot of the hike was following  and crossing dried stream beds. This area of the hike was the hardest to navigate but there were signs often. We did definitely stop in our tracks a few times nervous we had lost the path, but luckily we were always able to find a sign to know we were back on track. Coming through this area was also interesting because you end up walking right behind some peoples back yards. It takes away from the beauty a bit, but it was also interesting. I also didn’t mind it because I knew if we got lost, we obviously could find help. lol.

Heading down!

 

Looking up!

 

Well marked the whole way

 

So much red rock!

Eventually you come to a long staircase and you climb back out of the canyon. This is when you get your first look at Scout Cave. From the top of the staircase it is a scramble up to the cave. From the bottom we were a bit confused and unsure of how hard it would be, but once we started climbing it was actually quite easy for us.

The beautiful staircase with the cave in the distance

 

Heading back up!

 

Finally getting a good view at where we are heading!

 

Climbing up!

We were excited when we got to the cave to find that we had the whole place to ourselves. It was awesome. We spent time exploring the inside, taking photos, and we had a quick picnic. Its a really beautiful view from the cave. There are houses and city that you are looking out at, but mixed with the beautiful nature its the perfect backdrop to sit and take in Utah’s diverse beauty.

After spending about 30 minutes enjoying the cave we saw a man an his dog heading up the trail, so we started our decent out of the cave, back down the staircase and back into the canyon, and towards the trailhead. The way out, like it usually is was faster and easier than the way in.

In the cave

 

The view looking out!

We loved this hike and would definitely recommend it if you find yourself in the Saint George area. Southern Utah is full of wonder and beauty and I know I cannot get enough of it! Keep an eye on my blog for so much more to come from the Saint George area!

Much Love & Happy Travels,

Lacey

 

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