Utah Parks

Dixie National Forest, Utah

The following text is quoted from United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service

The Dixie National Forest, with headquarters in Cedar City, Utah, occupies almost two million acres and stretches for about 170 miles across southern Utah. The largest National Forest in Utah, it straddles the divide between the Great Basin and the Colorado River. The southern rim of the Great Basin, near the Colorado River, provides spectacular scenery.

Elevations vary from 2,800 feet near St. George, Utah to 11,322 feet at Blue Bell Knoll on Boulder Mountain. Colorado River canyons are made up of many-colored cliffs and steep-walled gorges.

The Forest is characterized by four distinctive geographic areas.
High altitude forests in gently rolling hills characterize the Markagunt, Pansaugunt, and Aquarius Plateaus. Boulder Mountain, one of the largest high-elevation plateaus in the United States,
is dotted with hundreds of small lakes 10,000 to 11,000 feet above sea level.

The Forest enjoys many climatic extremes. Lower elevations receive 10 annual inches while
Brian Head Peack receives more than 40 inches. At the higher elevations, most of the annual precipitation falls as snow. Thunderstorms are common during July and August and produce heavy rains.
In some areas, August is the wettest month of the year.

Dixie National Forest, Utah
Temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit near St. George to winter lows exceeding -30 degrees Fahrenheit on the plateau tops.

The vegetation of the Forest grades from sparse, desert-type plants at the lower elevations, low-growing pinyon pine and juniper at the mid-elevations while at the higher elevations, aspen, pine, spruce, and fir predominate.


Three National Parks and two National Monuments border the Forest. The scenic beauty for which these areas were set aside prevails over much of the Forest. Red sandstone formations of Red Canyon, Hell’s Backbone Bridge and the view into Death Hollow are breathtaking. See for miles into three different states from the top of Powell Point. Boulder Mountain and the many different lakes provide opportunities for hiking, fishing, and viewing outstanding scenery.

Recreational opportunities are almost limitless. Enjoy camping, hunting, viewing scenery, hiking, horseback riding, and fishing. Other tastes may enjoy picnicking, resort lodging, sledding, skiing, hunting, gathering forest products, viewing scenery, driving for pleasure, as well as snowmobiling, biking, canoeing, sailing, swimming, & water skiing.

Wilderness: The Forest has 83,000 acres of wilderness in three areas: Pine Valley, Box-Death Hollow, and Ashdown Gorge. Pine Valley and Ashdown Gorge offer opportunities for solitude, horseback riding, and hiking. Though Box-Death Hollow is too rough for horses, it too offers opportunities for nature-appreciation and hiking.

Nature Appreciation: The Dixie National Forest supports a wide variety of wildlife species and terrain.
Gentle plateaus and rocky cliffs provide habitat for cougar, bobcat, blue grouse, golden eagle, cottontail rabbit, wild turkey, antelope, and the Utah prairie dog.

Hunting: Big game hunting has long been a major wildlife attraction though recently there has been an increased interest in wildlife for its viewing and photographing enjoyment. Mule deer and elk abound.

Fishing: Good fishing is found in the many lakes, reservoirs, and streams throughout the Forest. Gamefish include brook, rainbow, cutthroat, brown trout. Many interesting birds and mammals provide interest in areas adjacent to bodies of water.

Dixie National Forest, Utah
Camping: There are 26 campgrounds and 5 picnic sites on the Forest as well as several group camping areas and group picnic areas for those who enjoy camping or picnicking as a group some of which are located near lakes and reservoirs (Panguitch Lake, Navajo Lake, Enterprise Reservoir). These areas have boating and fishing opportunities available.

Dixie National Forest
Winter Sports: Opportunities for winter sports, such as cross skiing and snowmobiling are available in many of the areas. There are also over a thousand miles of timber roads that can be used for these sports.
There is also downhill skiing at Brian Head which can accommodate 3,200 skiers at one time.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is one of Utah’s most beloved tourist destinations located in the far southwestern corner of Utah, where the Colorado Plateau meets the mountains and valleys of the Great Basin. Boasting nearly 230 square miles of sightseeing, people come from around the world to hike, camp or horseback ride. The park’s natural wonders include the Great Basin, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Plateau. The sculptured cliffs of Zion Canyon provide visitors with landscapes of unmatched beauty and diversity.
Zion canyon is known for its soaring towers and monoliths and its incredible slot canyons. Hiking possibilities are endless. With nearly three million visitors per year, Zion is Utah’s most heavily used park.

Enjoy a performance at the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater, where Ballet West performs most summers with the park providing a beautiful backdrop. Another must see is the Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theater, which shows the epic Kieth Merrill film “Zion Canyon: Treasure of the Gods” on a six story high IMAX screen. While you are in the area be sure and check out these other hot Utah travel spots: Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, Lake Powell National Recreation Area, and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Lodge at nearby Springdale, Las Vegas, Nevada, Panguitch Lake, Duck Creek Village, Cedar City, Brian Head, Kanab, and St. George.
Zion National Park Zion National Park

Zion Canyon has all of the amenities, activities, and entertainment options you can imagine. Whether you are looking to stay in an excellent Zion National Park hotel room, hook up your RV, or pitch your tent and light a campfire, Zion National Park welcomes you. The drive through the park is absolutely breathtaking. In Zion Canyon, rock walls tower 2,000 to 3,000 feet (620-930 m) above you. Within the park visitors to Zion can enjoy a picnic at the Zion National Park Lodge and walk along paved Zion National Park hiking trails to popular trailheads. Visitor centers at both Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon offer ranger guided hikes, naturalist programs, and evening campfire talks.
Hike to Kolob Arch Zion National Park Trails