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Go here now: Greater Zion

Getting there

After a runway rehabilitation project this summer, St. George Regional Airport will reopen on September 26. It offers direct flights to and from Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Dallas–Fort Worth. Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport is a three-hour drive from Greater Zion.

Where to stay

Book at the Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, which boasts a landscape of the iconic local rocks along with mesquite trees and black lava gardens. Stay in one of the 24 villas for mountain views, fireplaces, and activities like energy healing.

Within walking distance of Zion National Park's entrance is Cable Mountain Lodge. For a large group, reserve the expansive Grand Residence, which includes three king-sized bedrooms along with panoramic park views and limestone soaking tubs. 

What to do

For the hiker:

Venture off the beaten path and head to Snow Canyon State Park near Ivins, where a pair of canyons slice through the Navajo sandstone. Pass lava flows and reach an elevation of 1,515 feet with the 7.3-mile Deidre Peak out-and-back hike. For a combination of land and water, visit The Narrows (10 miles total), so named because it's the narrowest part of Zion Canyon. 

For the equestrian:

Southwestern Utah is authentic cowboy country, as portrayed by classic Westerns like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which was filmed in the area. Explore on horseback with Snow Canyon Trail Rides, where guides point out species like desert tortoises, roadrunners, and peregrine falcons. 

For the water enthusiast:

One of the many surprises of Greater Zion is that the landlocked, arid region opens up to a deep blue reservoir at Sand Hollow State Park where you can go fishing or boating. If you're feeling adventurous, rent scuba gear and check out sunken wrecks like an old VW bus and a Cessna plane.

Where to eat

For breakfast:

Start the day at FeelLoveCoffee in St. George with a Buddha Latte with oat milk and turmeric or a house-made chai. Fuel up with a frittata or the La Jolla toast with almond butter and bananas.

Have a hearty breakfast at Oscar's Café, where husband and wife Hank and Kathy Moore have been the proprietors for more than 20 years. Located in Springdale, the restaurant serves fare like hiker's granola with dried fruit, nuts, oats, and coconut, huevos rancheros with homemade verde sauce, and a wide selection of omelettes.

For lunch:

Take in views of the desert and lava fields at Xetava's outdoor patio.  Try the chimichurri salmon with cilantro-lime rice or the herb and berry salad with candied walnuts, feta, and organic greens. 

For lunch at Cafe Soleil, sample the superfood veggie wrap with berries, pumpkin and sesame, flax, and chia seeds or the Southwest chicken and black bean salad. 

For dinner:

Enjoy inventive Mexican-inspired food with a side of live music at Bit & Spur Restaurant & Saloon. Start with the stuffed jalapeños or gazpacho salad before trying the smoked hen molé or polenta cakes with sautéed mushrooms and poblano chiles. Wash it all down with a prickly pear margarita.

Look out onto the valley at Cliffside Restaurant while you dine. Order the watermelon and feta salad, followed by farro risotto or almond-crusted Idaho trout. 

At King's Landing in Springdale, the dinner and cocktail menus change seasonally and the beers are locally sourced. There are a range of gluten-free options and dishes like charred Spanish octopus with Yukon potatoes and chorizo, pork porterhouse with roasted cauliflower, and the Zion veggie trio with saffron couscous, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and sautéed spinach.

For a nightcap:

George’s Corner Restaurant and Pub, a local St. George institution, dates back to the 1930s. Settle down with a cold Zion Canyon Echo IPA and listen to live music on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.