Otherworldly shapes, a shifting phantasmagorical landscape of red, yellow, and orange…views for miles…this is Southern Utah. This region of the US is known worldwide for its outdoor recreation scene and spectacular beauty. Hiking, biking, rafting, canyoneering, and snow skiing/boarding, are a few of the activities you can explore here. Put simply, Southern Utah is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts year-round.
We are fast approaching the cooler temperatures of autumn, which is ideal for hiking this region. Additionally, the ski resorts in this area, Brian Head and Eagle Point, offer summer activities and nearby lodging. Given their high elevation, the mornings are cool and crisp this time of year, giving way to t-shirt temperatures during the day (highs in the 70s), a perfect base your adventures.
Both resorts are within an easy drive of Zion and Brice National Parks. But there are beautiful trails much closer. Here are a few to add to your list:
Ramparts Trail – If your priority is scenery, this is your trail. The views start early on and only get better. It’s a
Alpine Pond – This is the trail to pick if you’d like something relaxing or if you want to introduce young kids to the outdoors. Short but scenic, it’s a winner either way. Pack a snack to enjoy by the small pond.
Spring Creek Canyon - This is a chance to see the dramatic beauty of a slot canyon on a 4-mile hike. It's a good pick for a family with small kids and doesn't get too overcrowded.
Kolob Arch Trail -This 14 mile trail is a great option for longer hikes, trail runs (my passion), and backpacking. Located near Cedar City, it's known for its scenery and waterfall and would be worth the drive.
Queens Garden Trail - Bryce Canyon sits just over an hour from Brian Head and Eagle Point. It's worth the drive! While I meant ion a coupe of Bryce Canyon hikes here, there are a bunch to choose from. This trail offers a chance to view formations and wide landscapes painted with color. It's 6.6 miles, but has options for a shorter hike.
Tower Bridge Trail - This less visited trail leads you by dramatic formations and Tower Bridge. It's just 3-miles out and back, but you'll get to see a variety of formations and terrain. When you're ready for quiet views, head over to Tower Bridge.
My advice is to plan a visit to Southern Utah for as many days as you can spare. Once you arrive, you'll find more to do than days. Basing at one of the ski areas gives you the benefit of cooler temperatures and a number of activities beyond hiking. Grab a mountain bike at Brian Head or plan a fishing trip from Eagle Point to mix things up. Ski areas are a sure bet for summer fun.
Oh and yes, I had fun with the dictionary on this post!
1. having a fantastic or deceptive appearance, as something in a dream or created by the imagination.
2. having the appearance of an optical illusion, especially one produced by a magic lantern.
3. changing or shifting, as a scene made up of many elements.