He led a party of pioneers across the Great Plains and was called as one of the church's twelve apostles on 12 February 1849, shortly after settling in the Salt Lake valley. Over the years, he served five proselyting missions, in Ohio, Missouri, England, Italy, and northern Idaho. Because of his love for pomp, ceremony, cultural activities, and grand events he was always organizing plays, recitations, singing, and parades wherever he lived.
A significant force in colonizing northern Utah and one of its representative in the territorial legislature, Snow presided over the settlement of Box Elder County for more than twenty years. He named his community Brigham City after his close friend, LDS Church president Brigham Young. When first assigned to the obscure settlement, he described it as "unprosperous and more extensively patronized as a receptacle for bed bugs than for an assemblage of Saints." But within four years of Snow's implementation of a communal economic system, or united order, Brigham City became one of the most progressive and prosperous settlements in Utah.