Trail Report: Padre Canyon (Snow Canyon)

Circular Whirlpool
 Impressive Cliffs on the Three Ponds and Padre Canyon Trail
Padre Canyon is a secret.  Not on the map given out at Snow Canyon State Park, this little gem is something I read about in the local newspaper.  I am not the 1st person to discover this but I believe I am the 1st person to create a trail report documenting my visit during the summer monsoon season.  What would normally be a very beautiful dry canyon, became an absolutely gorgeous, wet slot canyon after we had heavy summer rain.  I anticipated this would be a very good place to visit on a wet day.

Padre Canyon branches off from the 3 Ponds trail.  I have always been underwhelmed with this particular trail.  I was hoping to find something better.  Immediately after passing through the high canyon cliffs, the 3 Ponds trail turns to the north (right).  Padre Canyon is to the left (south).  My two daughters and I hiked up the canyon and saw a little trickle of water.  It seemed to disappear into the sand.  The farther we went up canyon, the greater the flow of water.

After a little bit of hiking, a very prominent and exciting sound delighted me: falling water.  There is no sound like a waterfall in the middle of the desert!  Nothing is more exciting, nothing is more welcome.  We could hear it a long time before we could actually see it.  When we finally climbed a little bit higher, this fantastic waterfall came into view.

Heard before seen, this waterfall was magical!
The closer we got, the better the waterfall became.  There were small pools, water flowing in circles and then falling over sandstone.  The biggest part of the waterfall dropped in several segments, make and diagonals, verticals and even horizontal movements back and forth.  What an amazing waterfall!

The next waterfall upstream
Close up required wet toes.
We took off our shoes, socks and waded up to the base of this waterfall.  In the summertime, this water felt delightfully pleasant.  There was nothing cold about it.  The bottom of each pond was lined with soft fine sand.

This fall could not be climbed.  We backtracked slightly and went around it.  We found another waterfall with a large pool at the bottom.  Not quite as scenic as the 1st, it still was a wonderful discovery.

Farther up, I found other pools and another waterfall that was quite small, forming a small circular shower room.  Not as photogenic as the first two waterfalls, I did not include a picture of that here but I hope to return and photograph it another day.  I also enjoy taking pictures of the wonderful sandstone and moss in this delightful canyon.
Climbing up above Padre Canyon, the view started to clear.

Sandstone and Moss


  1. This is one of the most interesting places I have ever visited. My friend and I really loved it.

    Brian Head


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