06 Mar Visit These 6 Spectacular Southern Utah Destinations
Southern Utah is known for its striking natural attractions and stunning national parks. From sharply rising peaks to deep gorges, the varied geology of the region is a wonder to behold. If you’re planning a visit to the area, make it a point to visit each of the locations on this list and explore the natural beauty of southern Utah.
1. Zion National Park
Zion National Park is Utah’s most-visited park and is one of America’s most-picturesque natural wonders. Take the shuttle from the park’s visitor center or at one of the many stops in the nearby town of Springdale. Highlights of the park include Zion Canyon, a gorge that continues to be shaped by erosion, and Angels Landing, a 1,488-foot tall rock formation that offers stunning views of the Canyon. This park is popular for a reason – the incredible columns of cream, pink and red rock rising sharply from the surrounding steppe creates expansive vistas that you just can’t find anywhere else.
1. Bryce Canyon National Park
Located in southwestern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its distinctive rock formations, called hoodoos. Rock formations at Bryce Canyon illustrate how wind, water and time can dramatically affect our natural environment. If you’re up for a hike, consider taking the Navajo Loop hike, which takes you through some of the highlights of the park including Sunset Point, Silent City and Wall Street. The park is open 24 hours a day year-round and is great for a visit during any season.
3. Cedar Breaks National Monument
Located near Utah’s Cedar City, Cedar Breaks National Monument is one of the state’s most unique parks. Rock formations here are similar to those at Bryce Canyon National Park, but the rock is more eroded and has formed a three-mile wide natural amphitheater. Bring your binoculars and a camera, as wildlife such as mule deer, porcupines and golden-mantled ground squirrels are often seen throughout the park. Visitors to the park can stop by the visitor center, open from June to October, at the monument’s rim.
4. Capitol Reef National Park
In south-central Utah, Capitol Reef National Park is a scenic treasure filled with natural bridges, rocky cliffs and deep canyons. The park gets its name from the whitish dome-like Navajo Sandstone formations that are found throughout the park as they are reminiscent of the white domes that often crown our country’s capitol buildings. During your visit, take a hike on one of the many trails in the park, and don’t forget to stop by Cathedral Valley, where stark sandstone monoliths that mimic the shape of cathedrals will provide a great backdrop for unique family pictures.
5. St. George
Located just one hour from Zion National Park, the town of St. George is known as the state’s warm-weather retreat and offers abundant adventures and cultural attractions for the entire family. The town is a quick eight-mile trip from Snow Canyon State Park, where visitors can hike among the Navajo sandstone cliffs alongside ancient lava flows. St. George lodging options will provide you with your home-away-from-home and will put you in the heart of the town’s Historic District filled with unique restaurants and shops.
6. Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
Just north of the town of St. George is Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, a 62,000-acre public land reserve that includes the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. Visiting this area will allow you to see plants that you can’t see anywhere else in the world, including the blackbrush shrub. Several animal species, such as the Mojave Desert tortoise, Gila monster and sidewinder rattlesnake call this area home so be mindful of your surroundings as you explore the area. Stick to the marked trails in order to keep yourself safe and protect the home of these native species.
Whether you’re visiting southern Utah for the first time, or you’re returning to experience the area again, you’re sure to be in awe of all the natural attractions this part of America has to offer. Enjoy your visit to this great destination and be sure to take in as many sights and adventures as you can.