Southern Utah is world renowned for its red rock, warmer weather, blue skies, and outdoor opportunities. While the National Parks frequently appear on many people's to-do lists; these southern gems offer the excitement and beauty of larger parks without the large crowds and extensive waiting lists.
Whether you're thinking of playing in the waters of Sand Hollow State Park, hiking along the petroglyphs on the Tempi'po'op Trail, or mountain biking the Gooseberry Mesa; Washington County has something for visitors of all backgrounds.
Sand Hollow State Park
Warm sandy beaches, red rocks and clear blue waters. Those are the three things you can expect on your visit to Sand Hollow State Park. This popular state park is located just 15-miles east of St. George and offers a wide variety of activities to visitors.
The reservoir is a popular draw to those who enjoy spending time on the water - whether boating, fishing, kayaking, jet-skiing or sailboat racing. Families, thrill seekers and those looking to just relax mingle with one another at this park, and one can rest assured good times are coming they way from the moment they step on the beach.
Sand Mountain - a favorite for local OHV enthusiasts - offers approximately 15,000 acres of perfectly sculpted dunes for your riding pleasure. One popular event seeing increased growth and interest has been the annual Winter 4×4 Jamboree hosted by the DesertRATS (Desert Roads and Trails Society). A premiere off-road event, the Jamboree encourages all those who enjoy the OHV lifestyle to join them in taking advantage of the unique and stellar Utah landscape.
Want to make the trip to Sand Hollow, but don't have the right toys to properly enjoy your vacation? No problem! The Beach at Sand Hollow has the perfect solution. With a wide-variety of outdoor rentals ranging from boats, wakeboards, wave runners and side-by-sides, these concessionaires have just the thing to boost your vacation. Be sure to grab one of their popular snacks before heading out on your adventure!
Planning to stay the night? Be sure to reserve your campsites spots early. RV's, tents and trailers are welcome, and the park has modern facilities to help ensure a comfortable trip for all.
Hiking and History
Southern Utah prides itself on being a premiere destination for hiking, and Washington County is no exception. Whether you're seeking geological marvels, historic petroglyphs or just looking for a challenge, there is a hike for you.
The Yant Flat is a marvelous destination located just 45-minutes north of St. George. The rocks have been sculpted and shaped by many years of natural weathering, and are now a mass of swirls beloved by all who are seeking an awesome photographic hike. "It's a gem worth a king's ransom" and just waiting for you to make your way to it.
While quite similar to the popular "Wave," the Yant Flat is one area that showcases the marvels of nature - but unlike its popular cousin, the Yant Flat does not require a permit to hike, and is open to all. The hike is considered quite easy to complete, and at just over a mile, it's a great option for first-timers or those looking for an relaxing day out.
For a those seeking a bit more of a challenge, the Tempi'po'op Trail (pronounced tumpee-poo-oop) is for you. The trail traverses geographical locations that were historically used by the Ancestral Puebloans and the Southern Piutes. The trail is dotted with numerous petroglyphs - rock writing left behind from the historical tribes.
The hike features stunning views of the surround red mountains, the Santa Clara River, and Snow Canyon State Park. The 3.5-mile hike is also open to mountain bikes and those hitting this trail will find it at a more moderate and difficult than the Yant Flat hike.
Mountain Biking in the Red Rocks
St. George is quickly becoming a large draw to those in the cycling community. With different construction projects being completed regularly, both mountain bikers and road cyclists will find plenty of trails and shops to keep their fix going.
Gooseberry Mesa, a trail near the City of Hurricane, has quickly become a favorite to many in the mountain biking community - and was dedicated as a National Recreation Trail in 2006. Consisting of a multitude of different difficulties, Gooseberry Mesa takes riders through sections of easy natural surfaces, to extreme and unpredictable terrain.
Another popular trail to both visitors and locals is the Bearclaw-Poppy Trail. Spanning almost eight miles and located close to town, Bearclaw-Poppy is a singletrack trail that riders can take in either direction. Once completed, riders can take the city streets back to where they began to create a nice loop course.
This trail has an easy rating, but riders should still be cautious as the trail does have the occasional steep hill. Keep an eye out for the trail markers which indicate the easier routes to take.
Quail Creek & Snow Canyon State Parks
If you're looking for a bit more to add to your trip in Washington County, be sure to stop by Snow Canyon and Quail Creek State Parks. Complete with lava flows, soaring sandstone cliffs, and stunning views, these two parks will be the cherry on top of a really great tip to the land of red rocks.
Be sure to check visit the Utah State Parks website, along with the St. George adventure site to learn more about the outdoor opportunities right in your own backyard!