Desert Tortoises in Snow Canyon State Park

May is mating season for the desert tortoise season in the Southern Utah desert. These images are all from the Toe Trail in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The Toe Trail is administered by Snow Canyon Sate Park.

Snow Canyon State Park is about 15 minutes from where I live. These images are from yesterday.

I don’t normally edit images this fast, and I have a pretty big backlog.  But I have never seen desert tortoises before and wanted to process the images.

There are more images below. If images of mating tortoises is offensive to you, then stop right here.

The above tortoises are not fighting. This is a mating ritual.

Feature Image Details

It was bright sunshine but all of these images like bright overcast because I brought a huge white umbrella. It was impossible to hold the umbrella and shoot but there were people around and I asked people on two different occasions to hold the umbrella for me. I saw a dozen different tortoises.

Hello. Is Anybody Home?

That’s my caption for the above image.

Mating Tortoises

Yummy Plants 

Love That Desert Mallow 

Tortoise Tips

  • Go on the Toe Trail but walk in the wash rather than the trail itself. The trail and the wash are very easy and level.
  • A bright overcast day is best if you can find one. Otherwise a white umbrella helps.
  • Don’t pick up the tortoises.
  • I am told that tortoises like it 70 degrees. I got to the park early in the morning when it was 63 and there were no tortoises to be found.
  • If it gets too hot they burrow back into the ground. By 10:30 AM they may be hiding.
  • May is mating season.

Other Snow Canyon Images


Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Please Share!

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Much more coming up Click to Subscribe by Email.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

3 thoughts on “Desert Tortoises in Snow Canyon State Park

  1. Thank you for your inspiration for my next holidays, Mish.
    I like the area around St. George, especialliy the Red Cliffs Campground.

Leave a Reply