Saint George Utah’s Pioneer Park is one of the most convenient day hiking spots you could ask for. This Mars-like landscape of Red Rock offers everything from a great view of the city to rock climbing. In between these extremes is a perfect way to experience a taste of canyoneering without having to commit to rappelling and wading through dirty water, like so many technical slot canyons require you to do. Pioneer Park’s slot canyon is a fun, non-technical, but very narrow slot. It may be a mere one hundred yards long and 20-30 feet deep, but it is only 1-2′ wide at its tightest points! Though some small children can scramble through the difficult spots fairly easily, it is challenging for the adults. At times, while shimmying sideways, feeling both your chest and back against the canyon walls at the same time, you choose to turn your head to look behind you, only to find that your nose nearly scrapes on the wall. That being said, it has a girth limit. Not everyone will fit. Most technical slot canyons are much longer than this, require training and experience, and involve some level of risk, however they rarely get as narrow as Pioneer Park’s slot canyon.
This is a great spot for pictures, especially at the canyon’s south entrance, by the parking area. Here, there is a large, scenic tree growing in the canyon and there are a few rock climbs. Start at this end and work your way up the canyon (north) as it becomes more and more narrow. There are three difficult exits leading out the left, but they are dangerous and are not recommended for children or anyone inexperienced in canyoneering or rock climbing. Continue north towards open skies. There are three to four tricky spots where you will have to scramble over a small boulder or ledge, inclkuding the final exit. After scrambling out the canyon’s north end, you can hike to the top of the canyon and get some great pictures with the slot canyon below in the background. But be careful as you near the edge, and throughout this park, as there are numerous ledges and small cliffs all over.
There are two entrances to this park off of Red Hills Parkway, between 200 East and 900 East. Turn north into the eastern entrance and continue straight as the road splits three ways. Look to your right for the tiny canyon with the tree that nearly fills the canyon wall-to-wall. Park at the northern-most point of this parking road, as close to the tree as you can.
The park closes at sunset. Have fun!