Balkan Dome is located across from Island in the Sky on the west side of the paved road through Snow Canyon State Park (7100 acres) north of St. George, UT. As you drive north through the park on its lone paved road, passing Island in the Sky on the right and the Enclosure on the left. Balkan Dome is the short feature across from the Circus Wall routes.
The west end of the park opens up to much taller canyon wall formations in the distance to the west of Balkan Dome. This unique dome feature has only two published routes (Todd Goss’s “Rock Climbs of Southwest Utah”) as of 2008, Ledinski Declines at 5.8 and 104’ Fever at 5.11d. Ledinski is on the east side of the dome and Fever is reached circumventing the south end to the west side.
Access is via the parking pullout at the “dip” or Pioneer Names trail well before you reach the campground further north. Snow Canyon is full of Red Navajo sandstone, capped by an overlay of black lava rock. This process creates significant, but sometimes delicate climbing holds called desert varnish. I have taken a 25’ whipper when one of these varnishes failed. These Ron Olevsky routes are rarely climbed. I run by Balkan Dome several times a week.
Please avoid walking on the microbiological soil. It is the dark crust that holds the surface layers together and prevents erosion. It takes centuries to reoccur. This whole ecosystem is much more delicate than most. Try to stay on the existing trail(s) and in the washes as much as possible.
Route Description(s)East Side of the Dome
Don’t rap off of the anchor, that would put your rope over the edge. Rather walk off south and down a chimney to an alcove and traverse slick rock back to the base of the route.
West Side of the Dome
Red TapeSnow Canyon State Park hours are 6:00am to 10:00pm. A day visit pass is $5.00 and camping spots are $15.00 to $18.00 (2007). Wildlife seasonal enclosures as of 2007 include all Hackberry Wash routes from March 31 to June 1 and all West Canyon routes from February 1 to June 1.
The sandstone rock at Snow Canyon State Park is not as solid as the lava influenced Black Rocks. As with most of the climbing in and around St. George, you should avoid climbing for at least 24 hours after any rain.
My favorite place for dinner is the sushi bar at Samurai, 245 Red Cliffs Drive. The best breakfast and coffee (Italian espresso) can be had on Main Street at the Bear Paw Coffee Company. The Outdoor Outlet is one of my favorite independent climbing stores anywhere. They know the climbing area well and have a great selection of gear at competitive prices.). Jazzy Java offers a decent cup, good sack lunches and free internet.
When to ClimbThe climbing is good all year round with the exception of daytime during the summer months. If you are climbing anywhere in southwestern Utah during the summer months, you more than likely better get up early and finish your climb early. The walls get brutally hot. That being said, Snow Canyon is at a higher elevation than other immediate Saint George climbing areas (Utah Hills being the exception). In the dead of winter, the warmer climbing is limited to the morning hours on the West End routes.
Camping/LodgingNo climbing is allowed on the rocks behind the campground. Quiet hours are 10:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m. Generator hours are 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. Shower hours are 4:30 p.m. to 11:OO a.m. Check out time is 2:00 p.m. You are to renew your site permit by 10:00 a.m. Maximum length of stay is 5 nights. Pets are permitted only on West Canyon and Whiptail Trails and must be on leash at all times. Do not dump gray water at sites, use the dump station by the restroom. Tents on tent pads only. Bikes on pavement only. NO FIRES June 1- Sept. 15. Fires in grills/fire rings only. Firewood gathering is prohibited. They have a volleyball court which is pretty cool. The restrooms are first rate.
Sites 1, 2, 9, 10, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 27 cannot be reserved. Sites 1 - 14 are hookups with water and electric. Prices are $15.00 - non-hookups and $18.00 -water & electric. For reservations call 800-322-3770.