Not known to many travelers, Zion National Park is part of a much larger group of communities that often refer to 2,400 square miles as the Greater Zion Region. If you are heading to southern Utah, Springdale, the closest town to the national park, is one of the many areas worth a visit. So book a cheap flight with your United Airlines Reservations early.
There is so much to discover in Greater Zion – from hidden corners of the national park to nearby cities such as St. George and beyond, to nearby state parks, hidden artist communities, and scenic golf courses – so a trip to the area is easily a week’s travel.
Special Area of Greater Zion
While living in the Greater Zion area, I spent a few nights in Springdale and was able to experience a wonderful day in the National Park. But it was really exploring the surrounding communities that were willing to let me go back. But there is much to appeal to the few outdoor enthusiasts and adventure tourists.
The city of St. George is 37 miles from the park’s entrance, and is a thought center for exploring Greater Zion. The joke here is that everything is “20 minutes” away, and during my exploration of the area, it proved to be pretty much perfect (although the drive to the national park is just under an hour).
Shops, an old theater and mom-and-pop restaurant dot the streets of the St. George Downtown area. You will also find the second outpost of the region’s first microbrewery, Zion Brewery, which is ideal for sunbathing in the old firehouse with a courtyard area.
Take time to visit the local artist community of Kayanat, where you will find dozens of galleries, a day spa, a maze garden and a garden cafe. The area is also home to Tuacahn, a red-rock amphitheater that hosts family-friendly music and bands, including the famous Disney Productions.
National and State Parks
When you are in Zion National Park, you will encounter lines of tourists waiting to board the park’s shuttle buses along the main valley road, and you will be lucky enough to get a parking spot. But there’s more to see: I also recommend exploring the Kolob Canyon and Kolob terrace areas (note that Wilderness-designated land requires some permits). Check out the Timber Creek Overlook Trail and the South Fork of the North Fork or Taylor Creek Trails in the Valley area.
Also, don’t discount the area’s four state parks: Snow Canyon (which may actually be a national park), Quail Creek (home to a huge reservoir for boating), Gunlock (if you’re lucky, you’ll get Rare waterfalls and will be experienced. – They only occur once every 10 years), and sand hollows (one of the best places for ATVs).
Getting outside the national park
When you are ready to leave St. George, most attractions are buses, you guessed it is a 20-minute drive away. Is it playing rounds at one of the area’s 13 golf courses, tasting Mountain Berry Pie from Wayo Pizza (trust me on this, and send me an email if you go), mountain biking on Gooseberry Mesa, other- World-wide hiking Snow Canyon State Park, or the cancellation of relatively unexplored BLM land (Paragon Adventures hits for a unique experience), has much to do in the area beyond the boundaries of the national park.
Where to stay in Greater Zion
The newly opened The Adventure, an autograph collection hotel, has flawlessly decorated rooms, a rooftop hot tub and lounge, as well as a luxurious on-site restaurant and bar, Wood. Ash Mustard It is located in the center of St. George city.
If you are looking for a boutique-like experience in Springdale, Cliffrose Springdale, the Curio Collection by Hilton, is just a few steps from the entrance to Zion as well as the Virgin River. It is newly renovated and the outdoor hangout areas along the riverfront are perfect for families and friends to enjoy.
For a health and wellness experience in the Greater Zion area, book a package at Red Mountain Resort in the community of Ivins, just outside St. George. Located next to Snow Canyon, you will find plenty of time to hike and lounge in the pool or spa.
If you are after a more immersive experience, the area has two fantastic sites in addition to the national and state park camping areas. The first is Under Canyon Zion, located close to the Kolob entrance to the park. The second nearby site, Wildflower, is currently under development and is scheduled to open soon. If you are looking for affordable accommodation outside camping, there are plenty of budget-friendly and hotel chain options scattered throughout the region.