Winter time in Southern Utah is a great time to explore some of the area’s hidden gems. In addition to outdoor activities, there are many things you can do indoors. Typically the winters here are mild. It does get cold but the temperature averages just below freezing to 10 degrees Celsius, primarily at night. During the daytime hours it usually gets up to about 60 degrees F.

St. George Children’s Museum

View of the music room at the museum. Lots of hands on instruments.

The Children’s Museum is nestled in downtown St. George at the old Dixie Academy building. The historical Dixie Academy opened its doors in 1911. Teaching many students from Dixie High School and what was back then, Dixie State College. As well as preserving the building itself, they have kept it a place of learning. Which gives the Children’s museum a wonderful place to be. The museum itself was founded in 2011 but came to the Dixie Academy building in March of 2013.

As if one floor wasn’t enough, the museum is two levels. The purpose of the Children’s Museum is to allow children of all ages to learn, explore and create. Each room is kid-friendly with lots of interaction. Kids of all ages, adults included, can sit in the president’s chair or scale castle walls while fighting a dragon. The possibilities are endless.

Winter hours are 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday through Saturday, admission is $5 a person and children under 2 are free. This is one of the most popular winter activities.

Fiesta Fun

A view when you walk into the door of Fiesta Fun, arcades, grill and laser tag facility

Our Fiesta Fun Family center is another hub for indoor activities. Although they do offer some outdoor activities like bumper cars and Go Carts as well. The Bowling Alley is equipped with over 20 lanes, various bowling balls, and shoe rentals. If you’re not the bowling type, don’t worry, the rest of the building is packed with arcade technology complete even a classic game or two of Pacman and pinball.

Another great part of the facility is the 2-story Laser Tag arena. Team up with total strangers or girls versus boys and do your best under the black light to avoid being spotted by an opponent. After running around working up an appetite, walk across the room and they have a grill. The Grill is complete with pizza, burgers, and salads for those eating healthier. Fiesta fun also has a great space for hosting birthday parties and larger groups.

Hours are Monday through Thursday 10 AM to 11 PM, Friday and Saturday 10 AM to midnight and Sunday’s 11 AM to 9 PM. Pricing depends on the attractions you decide to do!

Brigham Young Winter Home

Brigham Young's Winter Home open for tours year-round, especially in the winter.
Photo Credit: Hike St. George

Brigham Young was one of the first “snowbirds” to come to Southern Utah. The year-round sunshine helped to ease his arthritis. His winter home is located in the heart of St. George. It was built in 1871 and after he died, the home was passed around until the LDS church bought it and began the restoration process. Now the home is open to the public for tours, as a museum.

 House of Jump: Trampoline Park

The House of Jump is one-of-a-kind in Southern Utah. Providing 25,000 sq. feet of pure bounce. Besides the main trampoline area, there are 2 dodgeball arena’s, climbing walls, and a stunt pit. In addition, 2 “warp walls,” “aeroball” and virtual reality. There is an activity for every age here! They love to host birthdays and larger groups as well.

The House of Jump is open Monday through Thursday from 3 PM to 9 PM, Friday 1 PM to 10 PM and Saturday 11 AM to 10 PM. Pricing varies depending on age and the amount of time you want to spend.

The Grip: Ninja Gym

If you’re looking for one of those hole-in-the-rock winter activities, The Grip Ninja Gym is a blast! in Southern Utah. Since September of 2018, they have been open, offering classes as well as open gym time for anyone to enjoy the facility. Take a chance at being a ninja on the various types of obstacles similar to that of NBC’s hit show, “American Ninja Warrior.” This particular place is sure to get the wiggles out and is fun for all ages. Locally owned and operated by 2 American Ninja warrior competitors themselves, the idea is to make fitness fun.

Open Gym hours are Tuesday through Thursday 7 PM to 9 PM with Friday and Saturday hours 6 PM to 10 PM.

All in all, there are plenty of winter activities in Southern Utah. Be sure to plan a visit to one, if not all, of the places when you arrive for your adventure tour with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours.

Written By: Kathryn Bowler

Zion National Park is no longer just a summer destination. The Winter Off-Season in Zion is becoming a quite popular time to visit the park. Last year over 4.5 million people visited Zion National Park, primarily in the summer months. The park slows down after Thanksgiving thru mid-March for the winter months. With the push to visit the “Mighty 5” national parks Zion has seen about a 70% jump in yearly attendance and can be quite crowded in the summer months.

Photo by N4rwhals

Visiting Zion in the winter months has many advantages. The foremost reason is you avoid having to wait in line at the entrance stations. The lines at the entrance stations can be very long in the summer. To avoid the long lines in the summer you want to enter the park no later then 7:00 am. In the off-season you can enter anytime of the day with little to no wait in line.  In the off-season you also won’t have any problem finding close parking, you can easily find great hotel options and you won’t typically have to jockey with so many others on the trails. Some trails you may not see anyone else on the trail during your hike in the off-season. The summer vs winter months at Zion National Park are like night and day.

In the winter you will find peace and quiet in Zion canyon. No wait at the tunnel and be able to see deer grazing almost everywhere in the park. The streets of Springdale are almost void of other cars. You can really experience the solitude and beauty of Zion National Park.

There are so many other reasons to consider planning your holiday in the off-season months too.

Mother Nature often gives us warm days in the winter months

Photo by James Udall

A big part of getting around in the winter at Zion is that you can  driving your own car on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Turn up the heater, open up the windows and sunroof and enjoy the majestic views. But this is a wintertime experience only. The weather in the winter is often quite the surprise for visitors. Southern Utah has much warmer winter days than people think. The average daytime temperature often climbs into the 50’s, 60’s or even up to the 70’s. But nighttime temperatures can get down into the high 20’s or low 30’s making for chilly night and outstanding days. Since the lower area of Zion National Park are roughly at 3,900 feet it is highly unlikely that you will see snow on the ground. The tops of the mountains and rock peaks are often blanketed in a beautiful white snow in the winter months. Winter may bring cooler weather but remember there are less crowds and the temperatures are not up in the 100’s in the winter months. You get the best of both worlds in Zion during the winter months. 

Accommodations cost a lot less and are easier to find.

With Springdale being less crowed in the off-season then finding the best in accommodations is also a lot easier. The boutique hotels that are booked a full year in advance for the summer often have more then enough vacancy in the winter months. You may even be able to arrive and get a room with no reservation. We do suggest still making a reservation ahead of time. This may not apply during the holidays so still make sure to plan ahead.

If you have always wanted to stay inside the park at the Zion Lodge then the winter months is the time to do it. It is usually very easy to get a room at the lodge during fall, winter and early spring at a much lower rate per night. The same hotel that may cost you several hundred dollars per night in the summer may now be almost half that amount. During the winter months in Zion you can also almost always pull up to Watchmen campground and get a camping spot. But remember it does it colder at night then during the day so if you are tent camping you will want to plan on bundling up a bit. In the summer months you have to have a reservation to camp inside the park but not in the winter. 

Less people mean less crowed trails

Photo by David Baldacci

With the shuttle bus not running in the off-season you will be able to drive into the park. You will be able to stop and  park at all your favorite trail heads. The trails are also less crowed and you may be hiking the ever-popular Riverside Walk and only see another person or two. The trails are very uncrowded in the off-season leaving more for you to roam. In the summer you may experience waits to get onto some trails but in the off-season typically you park and hike with no waits at all. Even getting up to and hiking Angels Landing and Observation Point will be a breeze with less crowds of people.

There are some good winter hikes where you will typically encounter snow, you may even need snowshoes. Check at the visitor’s center for these trails. Since the park is less crowed in the off-season please make sure to always check in with the visitor’s center and let them know where you are heading.

Winter Wildlife viewing in Zion National Park

Due to less people, traffic, noise and the cooler temperatures the wildlife comes down to visit. The winter or off-season at Zion National Park means more fantastic wildlife viewing. It is not unusual to see deer, elk, big horn sheep or wild turkeys on the side of the road or in the Zion Village. You will probably be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of bald or golden eagles as the soar by. Ask any park ranger where is a great place to view the winter wildlife and they will be more then happy to tell you. Just remember the animals are wild and do not approach them. Also, don’t think you are doing them a favor by feeding them. Enjoy from a distance and take all the photos you want. 

Summer crowds equal summer traffic but not in the off-season

During the off-season traffic in the park is almost non-existent. In the summer months you may end up waiting over an hour to enter the park.  Then another 30 – 45 minutes just to drive through the Zion Tunnel. In the winter months there is usually at most a 5 to 10-minute wait. This gives you more time to really experience the park. You can drive through the 6.5 miles of canyon at your own pace and stop at whatever trail heads or pull outs you choose.

In the summer you must ride the shuttle bus and get off at predesignated stops. In the off-season but you can just take your time and wander around a bit more. You will be able to enjoy the amazing sites such as Big Bend, the Great White Throne, East and West Temple and the three Patriarchs directly from your car if you choose. Don’t forget to take in the fantastic view of Checkerboard Mesa as well.

Less Crowds means easy parking in Zion National Park and Springdale.

Photo by Tinycaravan

In the summer season you may not be able to find parking anywhere in town and if you do it is going to cost you dearly to park. In the off-season you will more then likely find ample parking off the roadside inside the park or at any of the many pull out areas. You can often pull right up to the beginning of a trail head and park there in the winter months. No waiting for shuttle buses or waiting in line to get on a shuttle bus.

The parking situation in Springdale can be a bit over whelming in the summer months. In the off-season you will find parking everywhere. To park for the day it is still going to cost you, yes even for street parking, but you can usually find ample parking almost anywhere in the off-season.

Top 10 things you can’t miss during your winter trip to Zion National Park

Be it off-season or in the peak season there are 10 things you should not miss out on when you visit Zion National Park.

  1. Emerald Pool trail
  2. The Riverside Walk
  3. Weeping Rock trail
  4. The Mt. Carmel Highway Tunnel
  5. The Canyon Overlook Trail
  6. Seeing the Checkboard Mesa
  7. Court of the Patriarchs rock formations
  8. The Narrows, the water might be a bit cold in the winter months.
  9. Angels or Scouts Landing
  10.  Wildlife Viewing

Don’t forget to check out Springdale and surrounding areas

The cooler weather of the off-season is a great time to rent a bicycle to ride the 6.5 miles of the stunning canyon. Stop by Zion Adventure Company in downtown Springdale to check out all the bicycle rentals they have. Make sure to stop by the Springdale Visitors center to find out about all there is to do outside of Zion National Park. There are wonderful hiking trails just outside of Springdale. Or you can take a ride up to Gooseberry mesa for some great mountain biking or hiking or you can even visit Grafton which is a real ghost town. Or you can just take your time and stroll through the various unique shops and eateries in Springdale. Don’t forget to head on down the mountain to take advantage of less crowed ATV/UTV tours with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours.

Paradise Village at Zion, a master planned vacation resort community, was voted 2016 Best in State and is located in Santa Clara UT. It is home to some of the most beautiful vacation rentals, second homes and even primary residents in the area! These aren’t just your regular resort style homes though, enjoy arcade games, Jacuzzi’s, views and even green space. You will only be minutes from Tuacahn and about a 45-minute drive from Zion National Park!

Paradise Aesthetic and Amenities

Firstly, the views are unreal at the Paradise Village at Zion community. The majestic mountains of Snow Canyon State Park, Red Cliffs preserve and Red Mountain surround this incredible 25.5-acre area property as well as the lush ground on the property. Each home is equipped with modern technology, comfortable beds, and beautiful decor. All the homes are immaculate inside and out.

Not to mention the vast amenities. Most of the homes come equipped what a hot tub on the balcony or backyard and some even have a private swimming pool. Onsite there are also several pickleball courts, a sand volleyball court, a wonderful palm tree-lined pool area, a very large spa-like hot tub, and clubhouse with a fitness center and lounging areas. There is even a grocery store down the road from the property. All the amenities combined provide a supple resort-like relaxation. Currently, they are working on the finishing stages of a private water park and lazy river. All of this is included with your own private resort style home.

An accommodation for everyone.

Most importantly are the homes themselves! Paradise Village, part of Utah’s Best Vacation Rentals, is the place for vacation rentals, a second home or even a primary residence. They offer a variety of sizes of homes in the community. They are sure to have just the size vacation home you are looking for right here in Southern Utah. Southern Utahs Best Vacation rentals have homes from 1-bedroom to 9-bedroom. The smallest home offered is a 1 bed/1 bath spacious Casita, that comfortably sleeps two guests. If you’ve got up to 24 in your group, the 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a double-decked house will be perfect. With the largest home having 9 bedrooms I am sure they could accommodate almost any size party! Paradise Village is the place for any occasion.

Location, Location, Location!

Paradise Village is on the outskirts of Saint George about 10 minutes northwest in the city of Santa Clara, UT. A 5-mile radius accesses historical downtown Santa Clara, Snow Canyon State Park, and the world-renowned  Tuacahn Amphitheater. Tuacahn amphitheater is a fantastic venue to be able to take in a Broadway show with the red rock beauty surrounding you. There is also backyard access to bike paths, underground lava tubes near and numerous hiking trails.  Take a short 5-minute walk and you are at Gubler Park. Gubler Park has Baseball fields, playgrounds, pickleball courts, and even a splash pad! Not to mention its only about a 45-minute to Zion National Park. Due to the location of this property, you are in solitude but still close to everything.

How to book a stay?

Above all, Utah’s Best Vacation Rentals provides all the pricing, sizing and booking abilities you will need for your next getaway! Booking online is simple and fast. Not tech savvy? Give them a call to book and ask any questions. ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours is proud to say we are partners with some of the best vacation rentals in Southern Utah. Furthermore, don’t forget to mention your stay at Paradise Village and receive discounts on Tuacahn tickets as well as a discount on your next adventure tour with ATV and Jeep Adventure Tours.

If you are looking towards Southern Utah for your next family vacation, we have some favorite spots we think you should check out. Most of our staff lives in St George and have become well versed in the many attractions and activities around here. Our top “to-do’s” are listed below, let us know if you have any other favorites that should have made the list.

Lava Tubes at Snow Canyon State Park

The lava tubes in Snow Canyon State Park and the perfect adventure for family fun. There are 3 main tubes that you can explore and a few others that require some tights squeezing to enter. Inside you can find geological wonders and cooler temperatures. Some of the paths require a little bit of climbing so we suggest bringing a headlamp and backpack if you really want to explore. This excursion can take as little as 30 minutes or as long as 2 days if you explore in depth.

Zion National Park

If you are in the area and have the time, we highly recommend spending some time in Zion’s National Park. Zion offers great hiking and camping for all ages and experience levels. For the beginner we suggest the riverside walk, for the adventurer we suggest spending a day hiking the Angel’s landing trail. For a full list of our favorite hikes in Zion click here.

Kanaraville Falls

Kanaraville Falls is a beautiful hike that takes you on an adventure through a slot canyon with extraordinary views and a chance to climb up a waterfall! This hike is growing in popularity, but doesn’t have the same crowds that you will find in some of the larger national parks. This 4.8 mile hike is great for most ages, but keep in mind there are some trickier parts that might not be a great fit for young inexperienced hikers. Bring shoes you can get wet, some sunscreen, a camera, and an adventurous spirit to make this hike a memorable experience.

Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon

Hoodoos rock structures that resemble a totem-pole. These large structures are formed through erosion of land overtime, and range from 5 to 150 feet tall. One of the most common places to find these glorious formations is right next door in Bryce Canyon National Park. The variety in the rocks makes for a fun learning experience for children and geological enthusiasts alike! To learn more about these exciting formations check out this article on Bryce Canyon Geology.

Outdoor shows at Tuacahn

Tuacahn is a world famous outdoor amphitheater just a short 18-minute drive from St George, UT. The theater boasts visits from world famous performers and frequent Broadway shows. Their family-friendly season make this theater a must for any family vacation. Experience some of your Broadway favorites like you never have before with advanced technical design and the unique backdrop of Southern Utah red rock. For more information and a list of events visit their website  here.

ATV Adventure

Our final “must” for the St George area is taking an ATV adventure tour with our staff. A great tour for any level of experience would be our three-hour sandstone teaser. This adventure is perfect for individuals who don’t have a ton of time, or just want to try out an ATV ride. You will explore the beautiful Sand Hollow Park visiting geological sites and experience breathtaking views all guided by our skilled staff. This adventure covers 14-18 miles of unrepeated terrain. Climb red rock and glide over sand dunes in this thrilling adventure. To book this adventure click here.

 

 

Southern Utah is known for Zion and Bryce National parks but there is so much more to do and see, especially with children. The area is filled with wonderful neighborhood parks, tons of history and historical areas, several State Parks and even ghost towns. It seems like there is a park, playground or pond in almost every area of the Southern Utah. Washington County actually wants to have a park or pond accessible to every residential area that is within walking distance and they are doing a good job of providing that. Here are just a couple of our favorite parks/playgrounds for the kids.

Downtown St. George City….

Dixie Rock at Pioneer Park

Every visit to Southern Utah should include a visit to Pioneer Park (a.k.a. Dixie Rock). This is actually a city park that encompasses 52 acres of incredible hiking, rock climbing, slot canyons and caves. There area areas to have an afternoon picnic, BBQ or just to take a well-deserved rest scattered throughout the park. From the top of the Dixie Rock you can see the entire St. George valley, White Dome, Zion National Park and Arizona. While you are there don’t forget to hike up to Scouts Cave and try to go through the “slot canyon”. Both very popular places in the park.

Red Hills Desert Garden

Right next to the Dixie Rock is one of the newest parks in Southern Utah is Red Hills Desert Garden. This is the first desert conservation garden the state of Utah. The park includes a man-made stream with water pumped directly from the Virgin River with 6 native fish species as well as over 170 species of drought tolerant plants. There is a replica of a slot canyon that towers well over 7 feet in the air. While walking around in the slot canyon you will find a fantastic area where there are acrylic windows placed in the faux rock. These windows allow you to get a peak at the aquatic life living in the river. Parts of the river are made to be crossed because you will find huge rock stepping stones to navigate over to get to the other side. There is plenty of seating scattered throughout the park as well.

Town Square and Carousel

Just south of the Dixie Rock is the Town Square with a splash pad, lazy river, a vintage carousel and the Children’s Museum. This is a truly wonderful town square and park. The main attraction is the lazy river and the splash pad. The man-made river meanders through out the greater portion of the park. There is a rock waterfall on the north end of the river that flows into very shallow water where the kids can bet their feet wet but still be safe. There are also large sitting rocks in the middle of the river to relax on. You can’t miss the splash pad for great summer fun. This is the largest splash pad in Southern Utah and is usually filled with kids cooling off. To the west side of the park is the Vintage Carousel where people of all ages can go for a spin on their favorite horse or in a carriage seat. There is ample seating, shade and picnic areas, bathrooms and huge grass areas throughout the Town Square as well.

The Children’s Museum

Just next door to the town square is the Children’s Museum. The museum is fairly new and a favorite in the community. It is free for all children to enter and explore. The museum encompasses 3 floors and 10,000 square feet. Your children will be able to explore everything from prehistoric animals, milking “cows”, pretending to be a knight in a castle, a mechanic working on cars and so much more. They have a sports room, science, music, art and theater exhibits as well as an airport where every child can be the pilot! The Children’s Museum also has special exhibits throughout the year and is a favorite place for most of the local children to be free and creative.

Thunder Junction Park

The newest park on the south west side of St. George is Thunder Junction. Thunder Junction is the only all abilities park created for children in Southern Utah. Thunder Junction features a volcano pavilion for parties, lunch, etc. If you use the BBQ grill, then the volcano actually starts smoking to simulate an eruption! This prehistoric themed city park has everything from splash pads to water features to a vast amount of playground equipment. Everything in the park has been made so that a handicapped child can still have just as much fun as anyone else. There are handicapped accessible ziplines, swings, water features as well as a train ride that circles the park and crosses the park to give everyone a fun scenic tour of the park. There is a massive dinosaur with a double slide built in the tail and a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull that sprays water out of its mouth. Thunder Junction is truly a unique park for everyone of all ages.

Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum

The Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum occupies more than 35,000 sq. feet where visitors can see over 300 different species of animals found throughout the world all displayed in their natural habitat. Different parts of the world make up the displays. There is the mountains of Asia, the plains of Africa and the forests of North America. One of the main highlight of the museum is the 2-story mountain. The mountain has waterfalls and speakers that give the sounds of the animals and even a periodic thunder and lightening storm can be heard. You will see preserved animals such as mountain lions, elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, buffalo, crocodiles, giraffes and even a snarling cheetah as well as a vast variety of birds. There are also 100’s of insects and a wonderful butterfly collection. There is also a large kid’s room that has a full-size tree house, reading nooks, climbing area, a camping play area and a large variety of animal pelts, fur and horns that the children can touch and explore. Just outside of the museum is one of the best information and gift shops in the area.

The National parks are a must see but don’t forget about visiting the local parks as well.

Zion National Park is an excellent place to expand your adventuring repertoire, and a location that many people place on their bucket list for its unique offerings. One particularly adventurous attraction, is the vast and extraordinary climbing routes scattered throughout and around the canyon. In an effort to provide you with an insider look, we asked professional climber and geology expert Fallon Rowe about climbing in Zion and what she recommends for the novice climber all the way to expert.

Beginning Climbers

Even if you have never been in a climbing harness, there is still a place for you in Zion National Park. While Zion is known for its many trad climbs and multi-pitch ascents there are many beautiful spots to try your hand at bouldering or regular sport climbing. If you have never climbed before we suggest taking a guided climbing tour, there are several businesses surrounding the canyon that provide all the expertise and gear that you need to get close and personal with the grand rock formations the canyon provides. Fallon recommends checking out Cerberus Gendarme, this climbing location provides several routes of all levels that will fit anyone’s sport climbing needs.

Zion National Park climbing Fallon Rowe

Fallon on Headache -PC: Fallon Rowe

Advanced Climbers

If you are an experienced climber and are looking for a longer climb Fallon recommends the three following routes:

The Headache This climb is a 5/10 trad climb with 3 pitches. This route is well protected with breath taking views. (pictured below)

Monkey Finger – This climb is a 5/12 big-wall trad climb that is for experienced climbers only. This 9-pitch route has a lot of variety in the climbing so if you only have one day out of your trip to get climbing in, this is an excellent route to try.

Moonlight Buttress – Considered by some to be one of the best trad climbing routes in the world, moonlight buttress is an experienced climbers dream. This is a 10-pitch route that will take all day to complete. Plan to bring lots of water and know that you may need to aid climb on areas of this route.

Zion National Park climbing Fallon Rowe 2

Fallon Gearing Up – PC: Fallon Rowe

Gear to bring

If you are trying out climbing for the first time we recommend going with a guided tour company who can help provide you with the climbing gear you need, but you will still want to pack good hiking shoes, sunscreen, water, a flashlight, and a jacket. The basic climbing gear such as, helmet, harness, shoes, chalk, belay device, and rope are essential to any climb. When going bouldering, it is important that you always wear a helmet and we highly recommend using bouldering crash pads to prevent injury. When climbing a more advanced route you will need to bring at least a double rack of cams and nuts, tape, and be sure to bring extra containers for water. Fallon also recommends bringing a GPS device, as some routes are off trail and the canyon can get difficult to navigate if you end up descending in the dark.

Zion National Park Climbing Fallon Rowe 3

Sqeeze and Play – PC: Fallon Rowe

When to go

Zion National Park can get hot in the summer, so if you plan to incorporate climbing into your trip we suggest going in the early spring (March & April) or fall (October & November). If you decide to go during these times it is essential that you watch the weather reports for rain. Zion provides the unique experience of climbing on sandstone, however, sandstone becomes very brittle and dangerous when wet so be sure to wait at least 2 days after every rain storm before climbing to allow the rock to dry out. If your trip happens to get rained out, there are several climbs on granite in the surrounding areas of the park.

Snacks to pack

When going on a climbing trip it is important to pack light snacks that you can carry with you. You don’t want to eat anything too heavy as it can make it difficult to continue climbing and make your experience less enjoyable. Fallon recommended bringing light packaged items like fruit snacks, granola bars, or trail mix as well as a few items to sustain you in case the climb takes longer than anticipated like protein bars and jerky.

Transportation

Zion National Park provides a shuttle bus throughout their season, so be sure to study the schedule before you plan a climb or hike. The shuttle system shuts down typically around 8 p.m. so be sure to plan plenty of time to get to your bus stop before the end of the night. During the off season for the park, you can drive your personal vehicle to any of the shuttle stops.

Be sure to let us know if you have any favorite climbs or advice for climbing in Zion National Park!

We here at ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours like to think of ourselves as avid outdoor adventurers, and being only a short 35-minute drive away from Zions National Park, we have spent our fair share of time there. If you are an outdoor adventurer making your way to Zion’s National Park this year we have a few “must do’s” we think you should add to your itinerary.

Hiking

One of the things that makes Zion’s so great is the many hiking trails located in and around the park. Whether you are an avid mountain climber, or someone who prefers more leisurely strolls in the mountains, Zion’s has a hike for you. An easier hike to check out would be the Canyon overlook, it is short and sweet, but provides truly spectacular views. A couple of our other favorites are the Narrows (ranges from moderate to difficult depending on how far you hike) and weeping rock (short trail but has a steeper incline), both of which provide unique water elements that you will for sure want to see! For more details and information on our favorite hikes, check out this blog article.

Camping

There isn’t much better than sleeping under the stars on a warm summer night. If you like camping out, you will love the astonishing locations the park offers. Most camp sites in and around the park are fairly inexpensive, but they are typically reserved about six months in advance. Check out this listing of some of the available camp sites here.

Horseback riding

Riding a horse through the great canyons of Zion’s National Park provides a type of tranquil nostalgia reminiscent of an old western movie. There is something about riding horseback through the park that we just can’t seem to put into words. It is a great activity for the whole family and is an excellent way to unplug from technology for a while.

Food

Let’s be honest, the best vacations are the vacations that are meticulously planned around food. When it comes time to eat we have a few places to recommend. If you like a casual more laid-back environment we suggest The Flying Monkey, they have a large selection of beer on tap, fantastic brick-oven fired pizzas and breads, and we highly recommend the hummus (seriously, this is one of those musts). If you are looking for something a little more upscale be sure to get a steak at the Anasazi grill. Be careful though, they cook everything on lava rock which might just spoil regular grill cooking for you. For more restaurant suggestions click here.

Van Tours

A Van tour is an excellent way to keep the adventure going after a morning hike. You get to relax in an air-conditioned 4×4 van while an experienced guide takes you to awe inspiring locations that many locals aren’t even aware are in their back yard. These tours are jam packed with Petroglyphs, geological wonders, historical sites, and even dinosaur tracks. These tours can take nine people per van so they are a perfect family friendly adventure. For more information on Van tours click here.

We wish you luck on your next Zion’s adventure and hope you enjoy our suggestions. If you know of a Zion’s must that we didn’t include, be sure to mention it in the comments!

Here at ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours we like to help people experience and appreciate the exquisite natural beauty that is here in Southern Utah. When we aren’t guiding adventurers on ATV excursions or scenic van tours, you might find us hiking through this stunning terrain that we are fortunate enough to call home. We are just a short half-hour drive from Zion’s national park so we frequent the area and want to share with you some of our favorite trails.

Narrows Riverside Walk

The Narrows is one of Zion’s famous trails and is often listed for experienced hikers only. However, the Narrows Riverside Walk, the trail leading up-to the narrows, is the perfect hike to take great grandma and your toddler on! This hike is just shy of two miles and is almost completely flat until you reach the narrows. This hike provides scenic views of lush greenery which is rare in the park, and rewards you with sandy areas at the entrance to the narrows where you can splash around and cool off in the water. We recommend hiking later in the evening as crowds start to die down around 7 PM. If you are hiking this trail early in the season high water levels may restrict how close to the narrows you can get, so be sure to watch for trail closures before you go.

Many Pools

Many pools, also known as root canal for its shape on a topographical map, is another family friendly hike that has a fun water element. The name comes from several pools of water that you pass by throughout the hike that are formed from snow run-off. This hike is special for the fact that it is not a typical maintained trail so it gives the illusion that you are not even on one! For this reason, we suggest bringing a map of the canyon along. This hike is great for kids and provides several scenic views and fun scrambles over the rocky landscape. This hike is rated easy-moderate and is approximately 2.3 miles. Be sure to wear shoes with good grip and have lots of water and sunscreen with you as much of this trail is out in the open.

Canyon Overlook

This hike is short but spectacular. The Canyon Overlook is only about a mile long but provides exhilarating heights and extraordinary views. Because of the rocky paths and steep drop offs we don’t recommend this hike for young children. This is a Zion’s highlight so expect heavy traffic during the middle of the day. This trail is open year-round and is considered a moderate level hike. You can often see big horned sheep in the canyon while hiking this trail which can make for some memorable photo-ops. The trail head is a short distance from the parking lot so it is a perfect “warm-up” or “cool-down” hike. (Note: you cannot turn left into the parking lot when traveling west, so be sure to plan accordingly).

East Rim Trail to Observation Point

This trail leads to the highest point in the park and provides a breathtaking view of the canyon. This trail is only open March to October and is only for the experienced hiker. The Hike is rated difficult and is about 7 miles long. Be sure to start early as there are several spots on the trail (particularly the second set of switchbacks) that are in direct sun. We recommend bringing lots of water and lathering up in more than your fair share of sunscreen before tackling this trail. Be sure to take a protein bar or snacks to sustain yourself as this hike tends to take a while to reach the top. Rattle snakes are sometimes near the peak so be sure to keep an eye out for those as you go. The climb is tough but the views are worth it.

We hope you will check out some of these trails and have fun exploring this beautiful park. When your feet are tired but you still want the adventure to continue come see us for an exhilarating ATV ride and we will show you some of our other favorite spots here in Utah!

Do you have a favorite trail in Zion? Drop us a comment below!

Traveling with a family that includes children and teenagers can have its challenges. Younger children are typically happy with any family friendly adventure. Traveling with teenagers, whom are often opinionated and feel self-sufficient, can pose an entirely different set of challenges. ATV Adventures are perfect for any ages, even teenagers

It can be very difficult to find activities that will be interesting and fun for younger children, parents, AND teenagers. Outdoor activities are even harder to find for every age group. There are ton’s of activities younger children will love. You can do many different activities such as hiking, swimming, tubing or even horseback riding but finding any of those activities that will work for all age groups together at once can be a daunting challenge.

The solution for this is just may be an ATV tour for the entire family. Typically, you will find tours that offer ATV’s for one person, ATV’s for two persons and UTV’s for 4 persons. No matter what size your family is, this is an activity that can be enjoyed together.

An ATV Tour is pure excitement for all. Younger children love the excitement of riding on an ATV. The teenagers will love the thrill and power of an ATV. Teenagers like the power they feel from these massive machines. They also love having the ability to actually drive an ATV, depending on age. Parents will love the idea that they have found an activity everyone will talk about for years to come.

There are many reasons parents choose an ATV tour for the entire family. Here are just a few of the top reasons to choose an ATV adventure for your next family vacation:ATV Tour Group

  • Forming new and exciting bonds with your children and finding a common interest.
  • Being able to get the children outside in nature and leave the electronics in the car.
  • Your family will discover Utah in an entirely different way than you would with any other activity.
  • The ability to get up close and personal with Utah’s incredible geology, fauna, and flora.
  • Creating lasting memories that your children will never forget.
  • Learn about the history of the area as well as the three different eco-systems you ride though.
  • Lastly and most importantly, you move up on the cool parent ranking for thinking of this adventure.

At ATV & Jeep Adventure tours we love to help families connect with nature and one another by giving everyone an outdoor adventure that will be the experience of a lifetime.

 

 

There are a lot of free activities for kids in Southern Utah. The St. George area is a year-round recreational haven for singles, couples and especially for families. There are so many free activities for kids they will never be bored. There are parks for the kids, and adults alike, strategically placed all over town, Dinosaur tracks, museums, ATV riding, bike trails, petroglyphs, tons of water activities and so much more.

Thunder Junction All Abilities Parkthunder-junction

Thunder Junction, an all abilities park, has recently opened in St. George, UT. This is a special one of a kind park where no one is left out. Everything is accessible to everyone regardless if you are in a wheelchair, use crutches or not. The park has a dinosaur there with some really great features like an “erupting” volcano, splash pad and a 1/4 -scale train that has a 2,700-foot track.  This remarkable play space offers accessible and sensory-rich play space that will enchant and delight children and adults with or without disabilities.

Pioneer Park

Pioneer park is one of the most fabulous and free places to visit in the St. George, UT area. It is not your typical park because there is no grass or playgrounds. You have an entire 52-acre park that is a natural playground just waiting for you to explore. If your kids love to climb on rocks, then this is the place to come to. You can stay close to the parking area and still be able to climb several rocks or you can take the trail and find the historical pioneer cabin, Boy Scout Cave or connect off on another trail system to explore the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The views from the top of Dixie rock are out of this world!

Adjacent to Pioneer Park is the Red Hills Desert Garden. The primary focus of the garden is to teach and promote water conservation and landscaping principles but it is really so much more. There are waterways where you can hop on rocks to get over the water or take a bridge, watch the fish swim on by red-hills-13or you can head over to the view area. With the viewing area, the public can view the Virgin River’s native fish in the fish’s habitat. The Plexiglas panel is a great way to see how fish live in the lakes and streams in the area.

A fun surprise is the faux rock replica of a slot canyon. The canyon walls tower over you and kids love the feeling they are on a mountainous hike complete with overhanging archways. After checking out the “slot canyon” don’t forget the bonus trail over to the boulders where the kids can enjoy lots of rock to climb on and caves to explore.

Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks

About 15 miles outside of St. George is the Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks. This area is popular with adults and kids alike because it’s easy to get to as well as having the ability to see over 400 dinosaur tracks in one concentrated area. With many of the dinosaur tracks, you can see the toe pads and claw marks. You can see dinosaur footprints left behind by dinosaurs from the eubrontes and the grallator groups from the early Jurassic period. It is always fun to compare your foot size to a massive animal that roamed the earth many, many years ago.

Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site

This popular destination is just a few miles south of St. George on the Arizona strip alittleblack-5-lnd well worth the drive out. The Little Black Mountain Petroglyph site dates back over 6,000 years with over 500 individual rock-art designs, petroglyphs and elements on the cliffs and boulders. Along the 1.2-mile groomed trail you will notice the petroglyphs are mostly on the south side of the rocks and boulders.  Kids really love this outdoor activity. While you are there don’t miss going over to Glitter Mountain too.

In the same area as Little Black Mountain Petroglyph site you will also find Sparkle or Glitter Mountain.

Glitter Mountain is an old gypsum mine just one mile over the Utah state line into Arizona. It is a huge glittery mountain of fun! The gypsum looks like glittering crystals you can take home with you.  Don’t forget to bring something to chip away gypsum fragments from the pit. If you don’t want to chip off any rock, then you can just pick up a piece of the glittery rock from the thousands that are scattered on the ground. Bring a bucket to put the gypsum in so you can take a souvenir back to family and friends.

St. George City Town Square Park

Town Square Park is located in downtown St. George City, inside the historic district on Main Street. This park is fabulous for children and adults alike. There are several dramatic water features, a great splash pad fountainst-george-town-square with jets that spray high into the air to cool off in the summer months. Adults and kids really like the lazy river running throughout the park. They can wade in the water of the river to cool off their feet or play in the splashing waterfall. There is a lot of grassy area as well as pavilions with tables and chairs for relaxing. One of the newer additions to Town Square Park is the Carousel. It is a classic 36-foot carousel that features over 1000 lights, two sleighs and 30 beautify hand-painted horses. Children and adults alike can’t resist an old-fashioned carousel!

The St. George City Children’s Museum is also located within the park. This is a great place to take kids of all ages. The museum has ten exhibit rooms so everyone can have a blast.  In these areas is where everyone is encouraged to touch, feel, play and explore with everything. You can do everything from milk a cow to be a fireman for the day. There are two floors to the museum where there is everything from a science area to music and bubble rooms. You can spend an hour or a full day at this fantastic children’s museum.

Southern Utah has so much to offer no one can be bored, unless they choose to. When you are visiting Southern Utah, you will find there is something for everyone. The best part is that not all activities have to break the bank! After your ATV tour with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours there is still time in the day to relax and take in some free activities.