There is so much to explore and do outside in southern Utah that sometimes we forget the gems right in our own backyard. One of those gems is Paradise Canyon and while it is not in the heart of downtown St. George, it is right in the middle of everything and is easily accessed by the popular Chuckwalla Trail. If you are traveling north on Bluff Street, it is located just beyond Snow Canyon Parkway on the left off of Highway 18. If you have never been there, you must go and explore the “Central Park” of St. George.
Like Central Park located in New York City, Paradise Canyon is quite literally a park in town that feels like it’s out of town when you are there. Not only that, it has something for everyone: hiking, climbing, mountain biking, trail running, walking, rock scrambling, and even horseback riding — and all within minutes of town.
So if you want to get for some exercise, some sun, or have never been to “Chuck” and want to check it out, it’s a fantastic, close-by option. And, if you don’t have a lot of time to drive somewhere for a hike but still want to get some quality “outside” time, it’s the perfect place for a quick get-away. Chuckwalla Trail is the starting point and is located in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and connects with other trails located in Paradise Canyon (aptly named).
If you just want to do Chuckwalla Trail, it starts right at the parking lot, passes the popular Chuckwalla climbing wall, and ends when you can make a left turn. Round trip, it is roughly two miles. But there are loops you can explore within Paradise Canyon if you connect Chuckwalla trail with other trails. By combining Chuckwalla with the Turtle Wall, Paradise Rim, and Halfway Wash trails and then returning to the start on Chuckwalla, you get a loop that is roughly three and a half miles. Another loop involves continuing from Chuckwalla onto Beck Hill and cutting across Paradise Rim to Turtle Wall and back to Chuckwalla, a distance of close to four and a half miles start to finish. And you can mix it up and do those loops in reverse order.
The loops offer a great afternoon run, hike, or ride and not surprisingly, spectacular scenery. If you choose Turtle Wall Trail, you will not only get to see the rock formation that looks like a turtle, you will also get to see Paradise Arch. And no matter where you are on the trail system, you can see Pine Valley Mountain in the background offering a beautiful contrast to the red rocks of Paradise Canyon — unless of course it is socked in with clouds, but even then, it’s still beautiful. Coming up Paradise Rim you can see The Gap and Utah Hill to the west and the Arizona Strip and beyond to the south.
So take advantage of the outdoor gym literally right in our community backyard. Whether you are a longtime visitor to Paradise Canyon or a newbie, it never grows old — and you can’t beat the convenience. See you on the trail!