ZionDavid PettitIn 1861 Brigham Young, the Mormon prophet-colonizer, gazed northward up a desperately barren valley. Waving his hand to include the entire setting, he said, “There will yet be built between those volcanic ridges a city with spires, towers...and homes with many inhabitants.” And so St. George came to be.

Centrally located in some of nature’s finest scenery, St. George has become a winter resort for snowbirds, as well as a key gateway to the greatest concentration of national parks and natural wonders on earth. Within easy driving distances are such world-renowned destinations as Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon National Parks; Cedar Breaks and Pipe Springs National Monuments, Snow Canyon State Park, the Virgin River Gorge, Kolob Canyons, Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

Going To Zion
St. George is the gateway to Zion National Park. Whether you walk among the towering overhangs, hike through the narrow canyons or scale the sandstone cliffs, Zion is an awe-inspiring experience. A variety of trails allow people of all ages and skill levels to experience the grandeur of Zion Canyon. Stop by the visitor centre, museum and bookstores in the park to learn more about the park’s history and features. Zion Human History Museum chronicles the area’s American Indian and pioneer past and looks at the effect of water on the stunning natural formations.

Or join a one of the many ranger-led activities like junior ranger programs, guided hikes, daytime talks and evening lectures.

The Zion Canyon Shuttle is the only way to get to the Canyon between April and October. Leaving every 10 minutes from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, the route’s seven stops include major points of interest and trail heads like Zion Lodge, Weeping Rock and the Temple of Sinewava.

The Kolob Canyons area, the western portion of the park, offers stunning views of Zion’s trademark cliffs and canyons, while the Kolob Terrace area has a paved road that offers a scenic drive into the mountains, through lush forest, with classic Zion scenery all along the way.

St. George.St. George Convention & Tourism OfficeThe Great Outdoors
More than anything, St. George has become a fine place to get out and enjoy its amazing natural setting. St. George has a 40-kilometre network of trails and paths that cross the city connecting parks and scenic areas and are groomed for hikers, bikers and skaters. Many are accessible.

Bikers revel in the on- and off-road options. The Green Valley Loop, Snow Canyon State Park and Gooseberry Mesa Trail are for mountain-bikers, offering challenges for all levels of riders.

Along with hiking and biking, families find something to do around every corner. ATV trips, horseback riding, fishing, swimming, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Ste at Johnson Farm, the Tonaquint Nature Center, mini golf, bumper cars, even a chess centre – the list is endless.

Fore
And then there is the golf. In relation to its population, the St. George area has more golf courses than any other place in the Sunbelt. There are 12 courses, all within a 15-minute drive of each other that make up the Red Rock Golf Trail. Packages include accommodations and tee time reservations and can be booked at www.redrockgolftrail.com

Dixie Red Hills Golf CourseDixie Red Hills Golf Course

Test your skills on Sunbrook Golf Course, twice cited by Golf Digest as the best golf course in Utah; tee off amid the stunning red rock views of the John Fought-designed Sand Hollow Resort Golf Course; scenic Kokopelli Golf Club is named after the Anasazi god Kokopelli; Fairway Magazine says the course at Coral Canyon “plays like a symphony with a flow and a mix that piques your interest”; and Sky Mountain, a public course in Hurricane City, is “one of the best values in the area” according to Fairway Magazine.

St.George Live tourSt. George Convention & Tourism OfficeA Look Back
The St. George area is a historical gold mine, full of 19th-century homes, buildings and old dirt roads leading to fascinating ghost towns and prehistoric dinosaur footprints. Interesting Mormon historic sites include the town of Pine Valley, where you can see one of the oldest surviving Mormon chapels. At Jacob Hamblin’s home in Santa Clara, you can experience rustic, pioneer living. Several pioneer-era homes, including some built by prominent citizens, can be seen at Green Gate Village.

In St. George itself, pick up a free copy of “A Stroll Through History”, a self-guided walking tour of the city’s historic downtown area. Highlights include: Brigham Young's winter home, making the church leader the original snowbird; the Old Washington County Courthouse; and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum; plus beautifully preserved and restored buildings that once belonged to the “Who’s Who” of St. George in the late 1800s.

You can join “St. George Live” a 90-minute guided tour led by Brigham Young, Jacob Hamblin, Parley Pratt and other citizens from the past, or take a temple tour that includes stops at the St. George Temple and the Manti Temple before it ends at the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City.

The St. George Temple and the St. George Tabernacle are great monuments to the determined efforts of the early pioneers who were sent to settle the area.

Other historic sites in the area include Grafton, an old ghost town that served as a backdrop for the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Established in 1861, the early Mormon settlers fought the Indians and the Virgin River before moving on to safer places.

Another ghost town is Silver Reef, where the Wells Fargo building and the ruins of silver mines tell the story of a boomtown that swelled to 1,500 people between 1878 and 1882.

Break A Leg
St. George is also home to a very lively creative community that embraces visual and performing arts. Set before a stunning red-rock backdrop, Tuacahn Amphitheatre is the home of Broadway in the desert. Musical theatre productions for 2011 are Grease and Disney’s The Little Mermaid.The Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theatre, near Zion National Park offers a 37-minute film on the story of the Park in rotation with other large-screen features, plus Hollywood features.

Live music-lovers enjoy a full calendar of events at Dixie College in St. George and at the outdoor Tanner Amphitheater in Springdale.

The St. George City Art Museum hosts exhibits by regional artists and travelling exhibitions from national and international venues. For a look at art way ahead of our time, head over to Petroglyph Park or Little Black Mountain to see the petroglyphs and petrographs created by ancient artists from several groups including the Fremont and the Virgin Anasazi Indians.

For more information on St. George and Zion National Park, visit www.atozion.com

Save The Date

January
St. George Winter Bird Festival

February
St. George Area Parade of Homes
Art in Kayenta Festival

March
Springdale’s St. Paddy’s Day Celebration
Spring Home & Garden Show

April
St. George Town Square Arts Festival
Hurricane Car Show
Aqua Easter Egg Hunt
Cactus Hugger Cycling Festival
Lion’s Dixie Downs Race Meet
Dixie Escalante Kite Festival
Springdale Earth Day

May
Ironman St. George Triathlon
Washington City Cotton Fest
Zion Canyon Art & Flute Festival
NJCAA Women’s Fast Pitch Softball
Spring What Women Want Expo
Days of Camelot

June To October
Tuacahn’s Broadway in the Desert 2011 Disney’s Little Mermaid, Grease

July
St. George City Celebration
Ford Country Talent Showdown
Springdale Celebration
Gunlock Rodeo & Festivities
Utah’s Pioneer Day
Enterprise American Legion Rodeo
Washington City Celebration

August
Hurricane County Fair
Enterprise Corn Fest

September
Hurricane Peach Days
Santa Clara Swiss Days
Dixie Roundup Rodeo

October
St. George Marathon
Huntsman World Senior Games
Odessy Dance Theater’s THRILLER
New Harmony Apple Festival

November
Jubilee of Trees
Red Rock Film Festival
Springdale Turkey Trot
Santa’s Workshop Gift & Craft Show
Z-Artist Holiday Arts & Craft Fair
Frog Hollow Mountain Bike

December
Dicken’s Festival
Tuacahn’s Festival of Lights & Live Nativity
Twilight to Midnight Downtown Party
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