St. George, Utah, is a dynamic community with many attractions for locals and visitors alike. It is a good starting point for exploring Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. There are, however, several day trips to scenic and unusual spots in the vicinity. These excursions provide outdoor activities, cultural encounters, and a change of scenery. Discover the beauty of southern Utah and go away from the city to immerse yourself in it.
#1. Zion National Park
Zion National Park, located in southern Utah, is a stunning site with towering red cliffs, flowing waterfalls, and diverse animals. The park’s environment is unlike any other, with towering sandstone cliffs formed by the Virgin River over millions of years. Hiking routes in the park offer stunning vistas, secret valleys, and tranquil meadows to visitors. The Zion Canyon, a steep and narrow gorge with stunning views, is one of the park’s most recognizable features. The Riverside Walk provides a calm stroll along the Virgin River for a leisurely excursion.
The Zion Narrows, a slot canyon, is also a popular site for a cool plunge. Zion National Park also has a rich cultural past stretching back thousands of years, with traces of Native American habitation discovered across the area. Visitors can learn about the park’s indigenous peoples and pioneers at the Zion Human History Museum.
#2. Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park, located in southern Utah, is a must-see destination for outdoor enthusiasts and environmental lovers. The park boasts towering rock formations with spectacular hoodoos fashioned by millions of years of wind and water erosion. Visitors can get up close and personal with the geological formations by exploring numerous hiking trails, such as the Rim Trail and Navajo Loop Trail.
The park’s beautiful metamorphosis of hoodoos as the sun sets is a highlight. The park also has activities for outdoor enthusiasts, such as horseback riding, camping, stargazing, and ranger-led programs. The Visitor Center provides useful information and resources to help you make the most of your stay.
#3. Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park, located just a short drive from St. George, is a hidden gem with a stunning desert landscape featuring red rock formations and vast open spaces. The park’s rugged beauty is a testament to the natural forces that have shaped the land over millions of years. Besides, with an extensive network of hiking trails, visitors can explore narrow canyons, ancient lava flows, and breathtaking viewpoints. The iconic Petrified Dunes Trail offers a surreal experience. Other activities include rock climbing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing.
#4. The Wave at Coyote Buttes
For those seeking day trips from St. George, Utah, the Wave at Coyote Buttes is a natural wonder in northern Arizona. It is known for its swirling sandstone patterns and vibrant colors. Access to this geological marvel is limited due to its delicate nature, and only a limited number of permits are issued daily. To explore, visitors must plan ahead and obtain a permit. The journey requires a moderate hike through the remote desert landscape, with guided tours or hiring a guide.
The unique lighting conditions and mesmerizing patterns create endless possibilities for photography. Visiting The Wave is a special experience, but it’s crucial to respect the environment and follow Bureau of Land Management rules to ensure future generations can experience its wonders.
#5. Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument, located in Southern Utah, is a breathtaking day trip destination with vibrant cliffs and a dramatic landscape that rivals Bryce Canyon National Park. With over 10,000 feet of elevation, it offers a refreshing escape from the summer heat of St. George. Hiking trails wind through the rugged terrain, catering to all skill levels and offering up-close encounters with the geological wonders. For a more relaxed experience, find a cozy spot along the amphitheater rim and enjoy the breathtaking display of light and shadows during sunset.
#6. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, located in southern Utah, is the largest national monument in the United States, covering over 1.9 million acres. The untamed wilderness offers awe-inspiring geological formations and endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking trails wind through slot canyons, leading to hidden waterfalls and ancient rock art. Backpacking and camping enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the solitude of the backcountry. The monument also presents breathtaking vistas for photographers, with golden hues of sunrise and vibrant desert sunsets.
Guided tours and educational experiences are available, providing insights into the unique ecology and geology of the area. The monument is a treasure trove of history and natural wonders, but visitors should be prepared for harsh desert conditions. Proper clothing, water, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing are essential to respecting the fragile ecosystem and leaving no trace, ensuring future generations can enjoy the untouched wilderness. It is indeed one of the must-take day trips from St. George, Utah.
#7. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, just outside of St. George, is a mesmerizing getaway from city life. The park’s unusual topography of coral-colored sand dunes provides a weird and magical environment. Visitors can go on thrilling excursions such as renting a sandboard or sled, or they can take a relaxing stroll along established pathways.
With unusual plant and animal species like the kangaroo rat and Townsend’s big-eared bat, the park is also a refuge for wildlife aficionados and photographers. There are designated camping spaces accessible for people seeking a peaceful getaway, providing a magnificent backdrop for morning coffee.
#8. Kanarraville Falls
For an exceptional day trip, Kanarraville Falls, located in St. George, Utah, is a hidden treasure for nature lovers and thrill seekers. This scenic hike includes waterfalls and slot canyons for an exciting experience. The trailhead provides a tranquil setting with towering red rock formations and bright colors. Small waterfalls cascading down moss-covered rocks provide a wonderful ambiance as you descend. The famed ladder portion, which features wooden ladders, adds a thrilling and exciting element. Because of its growing popularity, a permit system has been put in place to manage visitors and preserve the area’s natural beauty.
#9. The Narrows in Zion National Park
The Narrows, a thrilling hike in Zion National Park, is a mesmerizing narrow gorge carved by the Virgin River over millions of years. Surrounded by 1,000-foot sandstone walls, the hike offers a unique and exhilarating experience. With water levels ranging from ankle-deep to waist-deep, it’s essential to bring appropriate gear, such as waterproof shoes and walking sticks. The natural splendor of The Narrows is enhanced by cascading waterfalls, lush gardens, and interesting rock formations.
More so, the hike can be tailored to fit different skill levels, and it’s essential to check the forecast and secure permits for certain sections. This is one of the day trips from St. George, Utah that must not be missed.
#10. Kolob Canyons
Kolob Canyons is also one of the destinations that provide amazing day trips from St. George, Utah. It is located in southern Utah and is a hidden gem offering an immersive experience of nature’s grandeur. The canyon’s towering sandstone cliffs showcase vibrant colors, while the road winds through the canyon, offering panoramic vistas. Hiking trails lead deeper into the canyon, with the possibility of encountering wildlife like deer or bighorn sheep.
Whether explored by car or on foot, Kolob Canyons is a testament to the awe-inspiring power of Mother Nature and a sanctuary for those seeking solace and reminders of the world’s diversity.
#11. Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park, located in Utah’s red rock country, is a unique and enchanting destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The park features countless goblins, shaped by centuries of wind and water erosion, creating an enchanting landscape. Visitors can explore the park by hiking through its labyrinth-like trails, which cater to various skill levels and interests. For a more immersive experience, camping under the stars at Goblin Valley offers both primitive and modern campsites, allowing visitors to spend the night surrounded by the mystical landscape.
#12. Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park, located in southern Utah, is a must-see for environmental and history fans. The park’s scenery is magnificent, with towering sandstone cliffs, sculpted valleys, and vibrant rock formations. The park’s distinctive geological features provide an intriguing story of erosion and uplift. The ancient orchards, which date back to the pioneer era and offer fresh fruit and the possibility to select your own, are a highlight. The park also has ancient petroglyphs that reveal indigenous people’s lifestyles and beliefs.
#13. Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, located in St. George, Utah, is a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts and history buffs. The park features fossilized wood from millions of years ago, a reminder of the park’s rich geological history. The extensive trail system offers scenic views of towering cliffs, lush greenery, and Wide Hollow Reservoir. Visitors can learn about the unique processes that led to the formation of petrified wood at the visitor center, where knowledgeable park rangers provide informative presentations and answers.
#14. Lake Powell
Lake Powell, located in southern Utah, is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking day trips and natural beauty. With its vast expanse of blue waters, visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and exploring the surrounding landscapes. Boating offers stunning views of towering cliffs, hidden coves, and sandy beaches, while fishing offers a variety of species like bass, catfish, and trout.
The lake also offers opportunities for exploration and discovery, with kayaks and paddleboards available for exploring canyons and waterways. The area’s vibrant rock formations and hidden hiking trails make it an ideal destination for those seeking a day trip filled with adventure and natural beauty.
St. George, Utah, is a hidden gem for those seeking to escape city life and immerse themselves in nature. With stunning landscapes, a rich history, and proximity to attractions, St. George, Utah, serves as an ideal base for exploring surrounding areas on day trips. Top day trips include Zion National Park and Sand Hollow State Park, offering unique experiences for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and adventure seekers.
The ever-changing landscape ensures that every visit is a unique experience, with vibrant colors of fall foliage and wildflower blooms in spring. St. George offers a welcoming and vibrant city that provides an ideal base for memorable adventures while enjoying the comforts of nature.