Did you know that approximately 75% of Utah, or more than 35 million acres, is owned by the government? The state certainly has a lot of natural beauty to boast, and the state government in Utah is dedicated to preserving public lands for everyone to enjoy.

If you're thinking about buying a home in St. George, Utah, or the surrounding area, you'll be wondering what there is to enjoy in the area. Trust us when we say that just the state and national parks alone will take your breath away and offer plenty of opportunities for exploring the gorgeous terrain in the area. 

Come along with us as we take a look at just 4 of the incredible natural attractions near St. George. 

1. Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park might not be very big, but even so, it's a fantastic place to visit. It is often overshadowed by the bigger and more famous parks in the area and fewer out-of-town tourists visit. However, at less than 20 minutes by car from St. George, it's a fabulous spot for locals. 

Avoid the crowds and enjoy tons of hiking trails for all ability levels. See black lava fields and scramble through lava tubes as you explore this beautiful piece of nature. You can also go biking through the park, which is perfect for taking in more of the scenery. And rock climbers can test their skills on the iconic sandstone cliffs.

At dusk and dawn, it's possible to spot wildlife like kit foxes, quail, and, of course, coyotes and roadrunners. If you see any boxes labeled ACME, don't touch them! These are harder to see, but lucky visitors will see Gila monsters, peregrine falcons, and desert tortoises.

Kids will love playing on the sand dunes near the entrance to the park and it's a great spot to picnic for a fun family day. 

2. Zion National Park

At just an hour from St. George by car, Zion National Park is an easy day trip away from our delightful little city. There's plenty to see and do at the park so you can easily make several trips and still enjoy something new with each visit.

The scenery in the park is absolutely breathtaking. Red, striated cliffs rise sharply forming deep valleys and canyons. And these aren't little hills you're looking at. The lowest point in the park, Coalpits Wash, is at 3,666 feet, while the highest point, Horse Ranch Mountain, is at 8,726 feet. With a 5,000 foot difference in terrain, you can imagine how enormous these cliffs are!

The two easiest and most popular ways to explore the park are by driving along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. As the most dramatic section of the park, Zion Canyon offers some of the park's most famous sights. Shuttle buses run along this route from May to November, allowing visitors to hop off at the most scenic spots and take some iconic photographs.

If you prefer to go under your own steam, you can also bike this section. The shuttle buses are equipped with bike racks, which is nice just in case. In the winter when there are no shuttle buses, you can still explore the area in your own vehicle. 

For those who want to get more up close and personal, there are hiking trails for people of all fitness levels and horseback riding is available. The most adventurous will enjoy canyoneering, rock climbing, and other activities. Don't forget a quick trip to the Human History Museum to learn about the people who have lived in the region.

3. The Grand Canyon

St. George is located near the border, which puts it relatively close to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It is a little farther away than the other parks, but close enough for a weekend trip. If you've never stood at the top of the 6,000-foot deep canyon and pondered your place in the world, now is the time to do it.

As one of the most astonishing natural sights in the world, the park can get crowded, but at 277 miles long, there is plenty to see and do. If you descend down into the canyon where few visitors dare to go, you can find plenty of spots for a bit of solitary reflection.

The adventurous will jump at the chance to hike part of the 358 miles of hiking trails or float a section of the river at the bottom of this vast canyon. Just keep in mind that it gets HOT down there so it's best to avoid the hottest months of the year (June - August) if you plan to be adventurous. 

4. Lake Powell

It gets hot in this region during the summer so you might be looking for a summer weekend trip that involves water. A jaunt to Lake Powell is the perfect family outing. Lake Powell is also just over the border in Arizona and is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from St. George. Lake Powell is located within the 1.2 million-acre Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  

A big attraction is to go boating on the lake and the busiest access point is at Wahweap, though there are several other access points if you prefer. If you don't have your own boat, you can rent boats and any boating equipment you need to enjoy your time on the lake. 

On land you can visit the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, a huge natural arch rising out of the desert. This awe-inspiring spot is another place that'll have you contemplating your own existence.

Best Activities in St. George, Utah

There you have it, 4 of the best national and state parks to visit near St. George, Utah. One thing is for sure, there is plenty of natural beauty to soak in and appreciate in this gorgeous corner of the world. 

Looking to buy a home in St. George? Get in touch with the best real estate team around! Here at Ellis & Co., we're happy to help you with all your home buying and selling needs. Contact us today to get started!

Posted by David Ellis on


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