Below the rim of the Great Basin sits Utah's warm-weather retreat, the town of St. George. The stunning valley combines transitional land features from the neighboring basin and Colorado Plateau with the landscapes and wildlife of the Mojave Desert. Red rock mesas and lush waterways create the setting for one of Utah's fastest-growing cities. Today, that growth and unique setting translate to family adventures, luxury spas, extensive shopping, championship golf and nearby outdoor recreation assets unlike anywhere else. In other words, fishing, climbing, canyoneering, biking, hiking, ATV and more — all in the unbeatable climate of beautiful St. George, Utah.
Under the direction of Brigham Young, settlers worked to establish a cotton industry in St. George. While members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were called to serve this mission faced many challenges (and the cotton industry never thrived), the town of St. George quickly established a reputation it holds today: a destination city throughout the year, but especially attractive for those looking to escape the winter chill of more northern latitudes. Of course, visitors interested in the area’s unique pioneer heritage can tour an old cotton mill, Brigham Young's winter home and the Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum. The city's LDS Temple, the construction of which Brigham Young oversaw, is an historic architectural gem in the heart of St. George.
St. George has blossomed into a haven for people of all ages and interests looking for mild to warm weather and amenities such as golfing on one of dozens of courses, including the top-rated Entrada at Snow Canyon, and renowned destination retreats like Green Valley Spa and Resort and Red Mountain Resort and Spa. Climbers can seek out numerous intriguing sandstone destinations, including Snow Canyon State Park (see below), Pioneer Park, Green Valley Gap and Moe's Valley. Aside from all the great outdoor things to do in St. George, the dining options are plentiful as well. From the chic Zagat-rated Painted Pony to authentic Neapolitan-style pizza at Riggatti's, St. George has emerged as a top dining town in Southern Utah.
For families, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm and St. George Children's Museum combine with a wildlife museum, nature center, aquatic center and multiple local hikes to petroglyph sites for a complete family getaway. St. George is also home to Dixie State University. The Southwest Symphony season runs October through May. The nearby Tuacahn Amphitheater & Center for the Arts stages theatrical and musical performances. Indeed, as a basecamp to Zion National Park, St. George offers plenty of cultural amenities to help expand your itinerary in southwest Utah once you've explored Zion.
Less than two hours from Las Vegas, St. George is a few miles from the Arizona border on I-15 in southwest Utah. It's about 4 hours from Salt Lake City by car or an hour flight to St. George Municipal Airport (SGU) via Skywest Delta Connections, which means one-transfer access for dozens of destinations. Many visitors to the national parks and other destinations of southwest Utah may opt for flights into Las Vegas.
St. George is a great hub for day trips around southern Utah. Check out these fun and scenic attractions and activities in the region.
Snow Canyon State Park
Located eight miles north of town, Snow Canyon is one of Utah's most spectacular state parks. The red Navajo sandstone cliffs accented with black lava rock make for a stunning and spectacular natural contrast, and a perfect backdrop for great photos. The park hosts great camping, horseback riding, climbing, nature programs and hiking, including a trail along ancient lava flows past the popular lava tubes, created thousands of years ago by the now extinct volcanoes. Please keep pets leashed and check for dog-friendly trails.
Southwest Road Trip
A two-hour dash from Las Vegas or intriguing escape from throughout the region, a southwest Utah road trip, with St. George as your starting point, features some of the nation's finest national park experiences — but these parks are not islands. They are surrounded by an exciting array of outdoor recreation and scenic drives to capture your imagination and help you make the most of your next extended vacation.
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
The approximately 60,000 acres of public land feature more than 130 miles of non-motorized recreation trails (hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trail riding). The Red Cliffs Desert Reserve (including the federally designated Red Cliffs National Conservation Area) is located at the transition between three ecosystems: the Mojave Desert, Great Basin, and Colorado Plateau. This creates a unique mixture of plants and animals from all of these regions, including plants found nowhere else on earth. Created to protect the desert tortoise, it also provides habitat for other sensitive reptiles, birds, and mammals against a backdrop of spectacular scenery.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a premier destination not only in southwest Utah, but in the United States. Grab the park's multipassenger shuttle from one of several stops in the gateway town of Springdale or at the visitor center to enjoy a leisurely and scenic ride to each adventurous stop including Angels Landing and the Narrows. Also don't miss the Zion-Mt. Carmel scenic drive. The distinctive red asphalt leads to the narrow 1.1-mile tunnel, a triumph of 1920s engineering, the trailhead to the Canyon Overlook and further east to a junction with historic U.S. 89.
For more information on attractions, accommodations and dining, visit St. George Tourism Office www.visitstgeorge.com. Start planning your trip to St. George, Utah today!
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