April 4, 2011

Red Canyon on the way to Bryce Canyon


Red Canyon Tunnels

By William Fischer, Jr., November 14, 2010

Red Canyon and Butch Cassidy

History and lore of the old west are alive in Red Canyon, thanks to Butch Cassidy, who was raised nearby in a cabin in Circleville where he lived from 1879 until 1884. Rumor has it that when Cassidy was in Panguitch at a dance he got himself into a brawl over a girl. Cassidy thought he killed the fellow and fled to the craggy land where Red Canyon is today.  Turns out, the man he knocked out was just fine, but a posse was already sent out after Cassidy. He eluded them by hiding along what is now known as the Cassidy Trail.  Red Canyon is not quite as famous as old Butch, but it is part of the vast 2-million acres that make up Utah’s most famous forest, Dixie National Forest.


Red Canyon Tunnels Marker

Red Canyon Tunnels Marker


Red Canyon – Utah

Red Canyon is located along Scenic Byway 12, just 9 miles from Bryce Canyon. Passing through it is required to get to Bryce Canyon National Park from the west. From the east, stay on Highway 12, past the junction of highways 12 and 63 for 9 miles, to find Red Canyon.

From the Native Americans who traveled the canyons, to people like J.W. Humphry who constructed the tunnels, Red Canyon on the Dixie National Forest has fascinated people for centuries. Unique vermilion-colored rock formation and stands of Ponderosa pines make the canyon exceptionally scenic. Take time to discover all that Red Canyon has to offer.

The first stop when touring Highway 12 is the Scenic Byway Information Kiosk located at the mouth of Red Canyon. This information pavilion provides an overview of the entire byway and highlights significant features.

The Red Canyon Visitor Center, open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, has information on hiking, camping, picnicking, and sightseeing. A U.S. Forest Service campground is across the road from the visitor center.

As part of Dixie National Forest there are no entry fees to drive through or hike in Red Canyon. Red Canyon, a spectacular oasis of rock nested in a vast forest known to locals as “Dixie.” The two-million acre, 170 mile long forest ranges from Red Canyon’s arid desertscape of sandstone hoodoos to a lush high altitude forest on Cedar Mountain.

Filed under: National Parks,Travel Tips admin @ 6:00 am

March 21, 2011

Snow Canyon – Utah State Park


Sand Dunes at Snow Canyon State Park

Sand Dunes at Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park

Red Navajo sandstone, capped by an overlay of black lava rock, makes photography, hiking, biking and camping in Snow Canyon State Park a double treat. Contrary to its name, at an elevation of 3,200 feet, winter visitors will rarely find any snow at this 7,400-acre desert park. Named after Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, early Utah leaders, Snow Canyon offers 16 miles of hiking trails, technical rock climbing, horseback riding, year-round camping, nature studies, wildlife viewing, and photographic opportunities galore. Early spring and fall use of the park is especially appealing due to southern Utah’s moderate winter climate. Two recent volcanic cones are found near the head of the canyon.

All of this is set against a stunning backdrop of towering sandstone cliffs in red and white, and peaks and valleys of jumbled black lava rock interspersed with serpentine sandy washes.

Snow Canyon Near St. George, Utah

Snow Canyon Near St. George, Utah

Park History
Created in 1958, Snow Canyon has a long history of human use. Anasazi Indians inhabited the region from A.D. 200 to 1250, utilizing the canyon for hunting and gathering. Paiute Indians used the canyon from A.D. 1200 to the mid-1800s. Mormon pioneers discovered Snow Canyon in the 1850′s while searching for lost cattle. Modern-day the canyon has been the site of Hollywood films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Electric Horseman, and Jeremiah Johnson. Originally called Dixie State Park, it was later renamed for Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, prominent pioneering Utah leaders.

Park Hours:
Year-Round – 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Holiday Closures: None

Day Visits:
$6 Per Vehicle (up to 8 people)
$3 Per Vehicle with a Utah senior 62+

 For updated information regarding facilities contact Utah State Parks at:

(435) 628-2255

Utah State Parks Website

Filed under: National Parks admin @ 4:20 pm

January 18, 2011

The Bloomington Cave near St. George.


Bloomington Cave has been known since the turn of the century with the establishment of St. George. With the city growing only miles away, this well-known cave is facing increasing vandalization. In the mid-1950s, the Utah Dixie Grotto actually dynamited the cave’s entrances shut because they believed the cave was too dangerous. The cave was quickly dug open. Spray-painted graffiti littered the walls of the heavily traveled routes. In 2005, as a large volunteer effort, large amounts of the graffiti was removed through sand blasting. In July 2009, the cave entrances’ gates were completed and access was placed under a free permit system. The cave receives about 1,000 visitors/year with spring break being the heavily visitation time. See a HD YouTube video of the cave at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m77dEbdeXCY .


 Bloomington Cave

The Beaver Dam Mountains, which sit in the southwest corner of Washington County, Utah, are made up primarily of Permian Age limestone, which makes for great rock climbing, and sometimes, provides the foundation for spectacular cave systems. Located on the east side of the Beaver Dam Mountains, is the Bloomington Cave–the only cave in the St. George Field Office area that is open for public access. It can be found approximately 15 miles west of the City of St. George (see Directions). 

Bloomington Cave is the fifth largest cave in Utah, at a length of 1.30 miles and a depth of 240 ft. Larger caves in Utah include Little Brush Creek Cave(5.93 miles), Big Brush Creek Cave(4.92 miles), Duck Creek Lave Tube (2.28 miles), and Main Drain Cave (1.47 miles), Bloomington Cave still contains many unmapped passages. Several thousand feet remain to be surveyed.

Bloomington Cave is a fault cave. The cave trends north and south with a western plunge of about 40 degrees. This plunge allows the cave to be descended to its maximum depth without ropes. The cave is three-dimensional fracture maze. The cave’s floor consists of large steps that are pinched off by a consistently sloping ceiling. Many of the walls turn up to be low connecting passages. At many locations the walls are indefinable. And many passages overlie each other. Many of the passages appear as if they were carbon copied at hundred of locations throughout the cave. The cave is truly a mapping nightmare!

Bloomington Cave is the most extensive and well-known cave in the St. George Field Office. It is a large tectonic cave, and has at least six distinct levels and a maze of passages that are generally narrow, often with steeply dipping floors. The surveyed length of the cave is currently 1.35 miles (7,136 feet), making it the sixth longest cave in Utah. In 1994, this cave was listed as a significant cave on federal lands, under the authority and mandate of the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act (FCRPA) of 1988

This cave’s difficulty level is currently unrated. However, many users who are not experienced cavers have found the cave much more difficult than expected. Bloomington Cave requires crawling, squeezing through tight passages, climbing, and moving on slippery surfaces. Five routes are marked within the cave. View the Cave Routes page to see these routes and to read a description of their challenges.

Anyone wishing to enter Bloomington Cave must have a permit. The permit is free and available from the St. George Field Office. To find out how to obtain a permit – click here.

Know Before You Go

Filed under: National Parks,St. George Area admin @ 1:22 am

May 14, 2010

Zion National Park…only 45 minutes away!

Zion National Park, located in Southern Utah, is one of the most beautiful places on earth! The park is a short 45 minute drive from St. George, Utah. Zion National Park attracts over two million visitors each year who come to see the stunning scenery and diverse plants this park has to offer. At the park visitors can choose from a variety of activities from hiking the scenic trails or backpacking along steep cliffs. Others may choose rock climbing on the vividly colored rock formations or horseback riding down a trail with breathtaking views of magnificent sandstone mountains.

A prominent feature of Zion National Park is Zion Canyon, which was formed by the Virgin River. Along Zion Canyon you can see geological features which attract the most visitors including the Virgin River Narrows, Emerald Pools, Angels Landing, The Three Patriarchs, and Kolob Arch.

Come explore Zion National Park and experience the stunning scenery for yourself and enjoy one of nature’s most scenic areas in the world.


Filed under: National Parks admin @ 6:33 pm

April 14, 2010

FREE Entrance Days to the National Parks

There are several dates this year you may want to mark on your calendar or schedule into your vacation.  Every year  there are certain dates when over 100 national parks entrance fees are waived.  That being said it’s nice to know there are 392 national parks that NEVER charge an entrance fee.  The dates to be aware of are:
April 17-25, 2010 (National Park Week)

September 25, 2010 (Public Lands Day)

November 11, 2010 (Veterans Day)

Area National Parks Include:


Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Cedar Breaks, Dinosaur, Glen Canyon, Golden Spike, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges & Zion


Death Valley, Lake Mead


Casa Grande, Glen Canyon, Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, Pipe Spring

Go to: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm for a complete listing of free parks by state.

Enjoy YOUR National Parks!!!

Filed under: FREE Things To DO,National Parks,Travel Tips admin @ 5:00 pm

March 22, 2010

St. George & Zion National Park

Fiesta Fun Go Karts

St George is one of the west’s best kept secrets. A clean, safe, small city – temperate climate with mild winter, set amongst beautiful red rock and mountain scenery – within two hours of Las Vegas.  There are a lot of family friendly activities.  Visit the Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum, the Dinosaur Discovery Tracks, Fiesta Fun Family Fun Center, The St. George Historic District which touts many excellent restaurants and shops.  There are also a great many excellent walking and bike trails, paved and natural for all skill levels.  Packing your bags?  Good, its a great place to visit, get a jump on spring and relax with a few rounds of golf .  St. George is the largest city in Southern Utah and offers visitors year round recreation opportunities.

St George is close to Zion National Park, north off Interstate 15. With spectacular almost other worldly scenery, spring is one of the best times to visit. Lovely warm spring weather without the summer crowds, gives visitors a chance to ponder and soak in the unbelievable sights in peace and solitude. Take a walk through a small narrow canyon or hike through the majestic cliffs and get intimate with Utah’s first national park

Filed under: National Parks,St. George Area admin @ 5:29 pm
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