Pioneer Park is one of the top family-friendly outdoor attractions in St. George. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon exploring with your family, taking in the sights, and getting active.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about the park so you can make the most of your trip.
What Makes Pioneer Park Great?
Beautiful desert landscapes
Though it’s located near downtown St. George, Pioneer Park isn’t your typical town park– there’s no playground or splash pad, no grass to sit on, and no shade trees. Instead, the park is made up of 52 acres of sandstone rock and dirt.
There are hiking trails, small slot canyons, arches, caves, and a historic pioneer cabin to explore. Older kids and teens will have a great time clambering up and down the giant rocks, while younger children can squeeze into small caves in the rock walls. Many rock climbers spend time bouldering in various parts of Pioneer Park.
There are also stunning views of the city from atop Dixie Rock. Dixie Rock, also called the Sugarloaf, is the most well-known spot in Pioneer Park, thanks to the word “DIXIE” painted across it in tall white letters. You can see the rock from most places downtown. It’s a great spot for a photo op, and maybe a picnic on less crowded days. Just make sure to pack your trash out with you; there are garbage cans near the entrance.
Many of the paths are flat or gentle inclines, so people with limited mobility can also enjoy parts of the park. However, much of the area near the entrance is made of loose sand, which can provide some challenges– wheelchairs and strollers would likely have a hard time navigating most of the trails.
Opportunities for education
Right next to Pioneer Park is Red Hills Desert Garden. This is an educational garden that’s free to enter. Most of the paths are paved, so it’s wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. Kids can see and learn about plants and fish native to Southern Utah and the Virgin River.
Additionally, Pioneer Park (and Southern Utah in general) is a wonderful place to teach kids about the importance of respecting natural landscapes– trampling plants, throwing rocks, or carving into the sandstone walls is a big no-no, even if they see other children doing it. It’s such a great location to play and enjoy the wonder of the outdoors while practicing personal responsibility.
Easy access to downtown
Active families could easily spend 1-3 hours exploring Pioneer Park. Fortunately, it’s in the middle of town, so if little ones get bored or tired, you can simply head out early and get back to your hotel or one of the nearby restaurants within a few minutes.
Right down the hill from Pioneer Park is Main Street, which has lots of little shops and places to eat. Town Square Park is also very nearby– it has a splash pad and small creek, so you can cool off after a day of exploring in the sun.
There are also many electric scooters available for rent near Pioneer Park, especially in the downtown area. These can be a lot of fun for teens and adults. You won’t be able to ride the scooters in the park itself, but you can ride them on the nearby bike path. The path goes into downtown and along Red Hills Parkway to the west side of town.
Where is Pioneer Park Located?
Pioneer Park is on the north end of downtown St. George, just off Red Hills Parkway. It’s about a 5 minute drive from Town Square.
There are several places to park at Pioneer Park. There is a small lot on the west end of the park, though it only holds around 10 cars. On busy days, this lot fills up quickly. The main parking lot is on the south side of the park, near the entrance to Red Hills Desert Garden.
If the main lot is full, follow the road through the parking lot– it loops back around to the entrance, with several more small parking areas along the way. There is also a large dirt lot near the south entrance and a smaller lot across the highway for particularly busy days.
What Are The Hours Of Pioneer Park?
Pioneer Park is open daily from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Get there early to avoid the crowds, especially in the spring and fall. Dixie Rock can be a beautiful place to enjoy the sunrise or sunset.
Another popular activity, particularly for teens and young adults, is to go to Pioneer Park after dark and look down over the city lights from the top of Dixie Rock.
Best Ages For Pioneer Park
Pioneer Park is fun for people of all ages, though it’s best suited for kids who are able to walk and run on their own for extended periods of time.
If you plan to bring a baby or toddler, it would be a good idea to have a backpack or carrier for them to sit in, since strollers aren’t an ideal mode of transport in the sand.
Families with younger children may choose to stay closer to the entrance of the park, while older kids may want to go farther to explore. With 52 acres to wander around, it’s possible to satisfy children of all energy levels and attention spans.
Another important thing to keep in mind when visiting Pioneer Park is safety– there are many cliffs from which a person can fall. People who may not fully understand the dangers of playing near ledges, such as children and those with certain disabilities, should be closely supervised at all times.
Facilities at Pioneer Park
Pioneer Park has one set of restrooms and drinking fountains near the entrance to the park. There is also a covered pavilion at the entrance that can be reserved for 4-hour time blocks through the city website. While most St. George park pavilions have power outlets, the one at Pioneer Park does not. There are barbecue grills and tables at the pavilion.
There are picnic tables throughout the park, though they are not covered and most are not in shaded areas.
Best Time Of Year To Visit Pioneer Park
Like many outdoor areas in St. George, Pioneer Park is best experienced in the spring and fall. March-May and October-November are the ideal time to visit the park.
St. George temperatures can exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. If you visit between June and September, try to go early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. Bring sunblock, hats, sunglasses, and water for everyone in your party, because there is very little shade anywhere in the park.
If you’re more worried about crowds than temperatures, you can visit the park on a sunny winter day. Fewer people will be visiting then, though you’ll probably want to bundle up. Fortunately, St. George rarely receives snow, so you’ll still be able to enjoy the red rocks and dirt trails.
One thing to keep in mind is that even though Southern Utah is a desert, it often receives some rainfall in early spring and late summer. The park will be muddy and slick for a day or two after heavy rain, so it’s best to wait until things have dried out.
About the author: Jessica Peterson-Jeppson has spent her entire life adventuring around Southern Utah. She loves trail running and hiking among the red rocks with her two dogs. She and her husband enjoy traveling and trying new foods.