Utah's Red Rock Country
The Red Rock region is like Utah’s southern California— warm and sunny year-round with plenty of golf courses. Northern Utahns head south for spring break to get their first sunburn of the season — and to play shuffleboard with grandma.
St. George is a land of condos and vacation homes, but it was originally settled in 1861 by Brigham Young and co. You can still visit his historic summer home in charming downtown St. George. If pioneer piety isn't your thing there’s always Las Vegas— only two hours away.
But we know why you’re really here. To see red rock. It’s hard not to see it. It’s everywhere. The Colorado Plateau and the Mojave desert made some beautiful children together. Zion National Park is the insta-famous hot older sister. Snow Canyon State Park is Zion’s quieter but more volcanic little sis.
Summertime around here is hot. To cool off, head north to Cedar Breaks National Monument. Those red hoodoos are formed by a cycle of freezing and thawing, so yeah, it gets cold up there. Cold enough to ski and snowshoe every winter. Grab a pass at Brian Head Ski Resort and see for yourself. Utah’s Red Rock region has something for everybody!
Views to expect in Utah's Red Rock Region
Zion National Park
Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park is an adventure that has to be experienced first-hand. You'll squeeze through a slot canyon and walk along a river bed.
Planning your Trip to Utah's Red Rock Region
Point your vehicle to the southwest corner of Utah and drive. St. George is a skosh north of Arizona and smidge east of Nevada.
Things to Do in Southern Utah
There are so many things to do in southern Utah. With all those temperature and elevation changes the fun never ends! Mountain biking, golfing, hiking and rock climbing are popular year-round. Boating at Gunlock State Park and Sand Hollow State Park is a great summertime activity. Skiing and snowshoeing are strictly a wintertime/high elevation pastime. Why stop there? Try them all:
- Mountain Biking
- Rock climbing
- Scenic driving
- Horseback riding
You probably don’t own all of that gear. That’s what guides and outfitters are for. Let them keep garages full of crap.
Where to Camp
Red Rock has millions of acres of public lands, so it shouldn't be hard to find a spot to sleep. This guide will clarify which government agency runs what so you know who to thank for that spotless vault toilet.
ZION NATIONAL PARK
The National Park Service runs three developed campgrounds in Zion National Park. South Campground and Watchman Campground are near the south entrance. Trees shade most campsites and the lovely Virgin River is nearby for wading. Both sites have drinkable water and flush toilets. Reserve early at recreation.gov.
Lava Point Campground is in the northern Kolob section of the park. Because of the higher elevation, Lava Point is only open seasonally. Bring your own water and cash for the self-pay fee station.
To camp in the backcountry of Zion, you gotta get a permit. Reserve in advance here. Or be one of the lucky ones to get a walk-in permit. Good luck!
SNOW CANYON STATE PARK
Snow Canyon has one campground: Snow Canyon State Park Campground. Bring your bikes to ride the paved path through the park. Note that summertime here is very, very hot. The campground has 27 sites total, 14 with hookups and two group sites with pavilions. Drinking water is available. Reserve early at reserveamerica.com.
CEDAR BREAKS NATIONAL MONUMENT
On the other extreme is Point Supreme Campground at Cedar Breaks. At 10,000 feet, days are cool and nights can be chilly. The wildflowers go nuts during July and August. Point Supreme has 25 sites for tents and RVs. Some can be reserved on recreation.gov and some are walk-in only. Bring cash for the walk-in sites or to bribe the NPS ranger. The campground is usually open mid-June to mid-September, weather permitting.
GUNLOCK STATE PARK
Gunlock Reservoir overflows in the spring and creates waterfalls over red boulders. Gunlock has one primitive campground with five sites and a few vault toilets. Bring your own water because amenities are barebones around here. Primitive camping is allowed on beaches.
SAND HOLLOW STATE PARK
Sand Hollow Reservoir is a local favorite for boating, fishing and off-roading on the sand dunes. Camp at Westside Campground or Sand Pit Campground. Both have restrooms and showers to wash off that fun sand in your butt. Reserve these sites early as Sand Hollow is extremely popular. Primitive camping is allowed on the south and west side of the reservoir.
Where to Stay
Buying expensive gear in order to sleep on the ground is not everybody’s thing. Luckily, St. George has plenty of hotels and getaways that are indoors. Get the Old West experience at Zion Mountain Ranch. Take a spa week at Red Mountain Resort near Snow Canyon State Park. Swim in the pool at Cliffrose Lodge after a long day of hiking in Zion. Or check out other places to stay in or near St. George.
Driving Directions to St. George
FROM THE NORTH
It's a straight shot. Get on I-15 S and stay there. St. George is about 4 hours and 12 minutes (302 miles) from Salt Lake City.
FROM THE SOUTH
St. George is about 1 hour and 51 minutes from Las Vegas (119 miles). Repent and head north on I-15.
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