Southern Utah is a vibrant piece of living art that Mother Nature has crafted over millions of years. A land of hoodoos, arches, balanced rocks and other unlikely hunks of red, pink, yellow and white rocks, southern Utah is the destination for outdoors lovers, artists and photographers. Resorts based around popular destinations like Moab and St. George take advantage of southern Utah's superlative scenery and outdoor recreation.
Utah has a well-established ski industry with claims of the "Greatest Snow on Earth." The vast majority of that industry is concentrated in the Wasatch Range in northern Utah, however. Those who didn't know might think the red rock-crowned desert of southern Utah would be completely inhospitable to skiers and snowboarders. However, in addition to rocky desert, southern Utah is home to mountains topping 11,000 and 12,000 feet. Brian Head Ski Resort near Cedar City actually claims the highest base area in Utah and gets 400 inches of dry Utah powder each season. The resort is located across the street from Cedar Breaks National Monument, one of southern Utah's amphitheaters of red and orange rock formations, making for a dynamic contrast in scenery. In 2010, the reopening of Eagle Point (formerly Elk Meadows) brought a second option to southern Utah resort skiing for a total of over 1,000 acres of skiable terrain in the south of the state.
Southern Utah is home to one of the greatest concentrations of national parks in the entire United States. Five national parks run across the state from east to west. Only two of the five offer within-park lodging. The Zion Lodge in Zion National Park, the westernmost park in the state, is operated by Xanterra and has both motel rooms and cabins. Located in the heart of Zion on the shuttle route, the lodge offers direct access to the scenery, hiking and activities of the park. North of Zion lies the smaller but equally scenic Bryce Canyon National Park. The Bryce Canyon Lodge, operated by Forever Resorts, is located near the rim of the park's hoodoo-filled amphitheater. Stay in a hotel room, suite or cabin and enjoy the scenery from the property or explore it via the trail heads that begin steps away.
One of the top outdoor destination towns in the United States, Moab is known as "The Mountain Biking Capital of the World." In addition to biking, the town in southeastern Utah is a premier destination for 4 x 4ing, climbing, hiking, whitewater rafting and exploring Arches and Canyonlands national parks. Several resorts capitalize on Moab's outdoor endowments and add their own distinct flavor. The Red Cliffs Lodge combines activities like horseback riding, mountain biking and ATVing with an on-site winery and Western movie museum. The Sorrel River Ranch on the Colorado River is a spa resort with what it calls "Moab's only fine dining restaurant."
St. George-Area Resorts
Located almost all the way to the southwestern tip of Utah, St. George is another adventure and vacation destination. It serves as a gateway to national parks like Zion and Grand Canyon (North Rim) and offers nearby activities like mountain biking, hiking, canyoneering and climbing. It's also an established golf resort destination. The Red Mountain Resort and Spa, located next to Snow Canyon State Park, combines a full spa with an extensive adventure menu that lets users take full advantage of the recreational opportunities around them. The Inn at Entrada Resort is a luxury spa and golf resort located within Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club.
- Bryce Canyon image by Derek Miller from Fotolia.com