Category Archives: National Parks

The Bighorn Sheep of Zion National Park

Zion National Park is home to many different unique and beautiful animals. Animals like the California Condor, Mule Deer, and the Western Rattle Snake call Zion National Park home all year long. Those who will be visiting Zion National Park may get the chance to see another animal that can’t be seen in many places.
The Bighorn Sheep of Zion National Park leave guests staring in awe as they precariously maneuver their hooved feet along steep and narrow cliffs. Guests who see these impressive sheep often recall the sighting as one of the most memorable things during their trip. Though not often talked about, Bighorn Sheep are just one more incredible thing to see while in the amazing Zion National Park.

 

About Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep are some of the most unique creatures in Zion National Park. They are closely related to Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, but the Bighorn Sheep in Zion National Park are built for the hot, dry weather of Zion. They have long legs, small bodies, short coats, and can survive on only the water from the vegetation they consume for days at a time.
Unlike most horned mammals, where only the males possess horns, both male and female Bighorn Sheep have horns. The female’s horns are shorter and less robust while the male’s horns are long, thick, and curve around their heads. These horns are used for ramming into other males to prove dominance.
For many years, the population of Bighorn Sheep in the southern Utah area was dwindling. In the late seventies, they were reintroduced to the area to return the native species where it belonged and, ever since, the Bighorn Sheep population has been booming.

Where Bighorn Sheep can be Found in Zion
While Bighorn Sheep may be seen on many mountains and cliffs, there are a few specific areas where guests are more likely to see them. In the areas of the Zion- Mt. Carmel Tunnel and the East Entrance of the park, it is common to see the Bighorn Sheep perched high on a rocky cliff, grazing on vegetation or, resting in the shade at the base of a cliff. Drivers should take care in these areas since Bighorn Sheep may cross the road unexpectedly.

When to Observe Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep are in the area year-round, but the best time to view them is once the cool weather moves in. With the peak of the mating season beginning in October, guests can hear them slamming their horns into each other to establish dominance, secure mating rights, and claim their territory. It is an incredible sight to see these creatures fighting precariously on a cliff’s edge.
For a dose of cuteness, travelers can plan their trip around the arrival of baby Bighorn lambs. New born lambs can be seen from mid-January to late April since there is a six-month gestation period after the peak mating season in October. No matter what time of year visitors come to Zion, they will be delighted by the sight of these majestic, beautiful, and interesting animals.

Visit the Bighorn Sheep of Zion
By observing the Bighorn Sheep of Zion from a safe distance, guests will be able to have a better appreciation of the unique wildlife of Zion National Park. Whether guests are visiting the area solely to observe the wildlife or they have come for outdoor activities but stumble across the wildlife in the process, Bighorn Sheep sightings will be a highlight of the trip.

Family Activities In St. George

When it comes down to it, we really cannot think of a reason why people would not enjoy coming to St. George. It is the perfect family vacation spot year round! All it’s missing is the beach, but hey, we have Sand Hollow, close enough right? Here are some fun family activities to try when visiting St. George.

DIXIE
Photo Credit: Holly B. on flickr

Pioneer Park

Also known as “Dixie Rock”, this is a fun family friendly hiking area that sits atop a hill overlooking St. George. Enjoy short hikes, historic “buildings”, picnic areas, slot canyons and so much more! Also located right next to Pioneer Park is The Desert Garden, which can be a fun and educational stroll.

Tuacahn

Depending on the time of year you are visiting, there will be different shows and events going on at Tuacahn no doubt! Some spectacular shows that have hit this amphitheater stage are The Little Mermaid, Tarzan and more! They also hold holiday shows like Halloweens Thriller!

Sand Hollow

This Reservoir is the go to spot for families during the blazing hot summers. There are all kinds of fun things to do there, cliff jumping, tubing, Razors and so much more!

Zion National Park

We really truly believe that St. George is one of the best places to visit simply because Zion Natoional Park is right in our backyard! A mere 40 minute drive away. How lucky can you get?!

Things to do in Zion National Park

Planning a hiking trip at Zion National Park can be little bit challenging unless you prepared well and planned properly to explore the park to you are content. Proper planning and guidance can help you explore the beautiful Zion, as it has several things to offer to all visitors and of all age groups.

Observation Point, Zion National Park.
Photo Credit: PROscott wedell on flickr

1. Top Experiences

Make a hiking trip to less crowded area at Kolob Canyons for a peaceful hiking. It is located in the northwest direction of the park and it takes about 42 miles drive from southern entrance of Zion. The altitudes of the Kolob trails reach up to eight thousand feet and gives cool summer weather in the middle of ponderosa and juniper pine forests.
Take a horseback ride or mule-trail ride into the canyon for an memorable experience. These rides are available from March to October. Get the broachers for more information or contact Canyon Trail Rides for further details (www.canyonrides.com, +1435-679-8664)
One of the popular activities in Zion is Rock climbing, which offers thrilling experience to the expert hikers. Short walls, the climb includes prodigal son, Touchstone and moonlight buttress.

2. Scenic Drive

The scenic drive at Zion Canyon offers the best view of the entire park and the drive can be completed in a day visit. Utah 9, the Zion Mt. Carmel Highway goes down almost 2,000 feet from the elevated mesa country at the east-entrance to the lower south-entrance. Start the drive in the east, you can observe the Zion Mt. Carmel tunnel, and take a look at sandstone beds at Checkerboard Mesa. Take one mile walk at Canyon Overlook; you will complete the round-trip trail, now you can view the famous Virgin towers and West Temple.

3. Best Hikes

Zion offers around 120miles of best hiking trails which ranges from simple to expert and it will keep visitors of all age groups excited for days.
The 4.2 miles round-trip to Weeping rock hike gives the most exciting moments as it is mostly a smooth trail. The hike completes at rock alcove where you can find hanging wildflowers and springs. It takes 2 mile round-trip to Riverside Walk with minor drop-offs. The smooth trail continues to the Virgin River beside the base of a narrow canyon.
Take a Two mile round-trip to Middle Emerald Pools; the hike gives exciting experience with steep drop-offs. The trail-loops to the middle and lower pools are overflowing with apparent emerald-green water. But here wading and swimming is not permitted, totally prohibited.

Next comes a one mile round-trip to Canyon Overlook hike which offers the best view of Pine Creek Canyon and lower Zion Canyon. Angles Landing hike takes 5 mile round-trip, from here also you can get the best overall views of Zion. The trial ascends 2.5 miles with steep bends which joins the western wall. Absolute 1,500 foot drops enfolded the promontory on 3 sides and presents outstanding cross canyon view of the low-hanging of the Zion Canyon and Great-White Throne
A 14 mile round-trip Kolob Arch hike with no drop-offs, but still the hike is very tiring. It leads to La Verkin Creek and Timber Creek and completes at isolated Kolob Arch.

4. Flora and Fauna

The park offers the gorgeous and unique verity of wildflowers and richest plant in Utah, around 900 species and 100 exotics. And the park is home for more than 78 different kinds of species and mammals including coyotes, mule deer, elk, porcupines, and big horn sheep, 17 varieties of bats, and rare mountain lion and black bear. And 291 bird species are living in the Zion wild Park happily including the endangered Peregrine falcons, California condors, bald eagles and Mexican spotted owls.

5. Photo Ops

Take a West Temple picture at dawn, the rust-stained temple gives the best photographic view from the back side of the HHM (Human History Museum), and don’t forget to click the Great White Throne and catch the gorgeous backdrop of the beautiful red-rock canyons.

6. Smart Traveler Planning

The Park Service banned driving cars inside the canyon during the rush season from April to October. In summer you can use bicycles to tour the canyon or take Zion shuttle to go around the canyon, the ride is available from Springdale and inside the Zion Park.

The ZCFI (Zion Canyon Field Institute) encourages educational hiking trips to their students to observe the park’s biology, archaeology and geology. The institute also takes their students for photography hiking tip.

7. Tour outside the Park

The famous Cedar Breaks National Monument located around 75 miles north of the park on the Colorado flat terrain that gives pleasure to visitors to view spires, sculpted hoodoos, and colorful and beautiful wildflowers.

Zion National Park offers outstanding trails and much more excitement for hikers. It has everything for everyone and of every age group. The entire family can have fun at the park. Get the broacher and a map to explore the park for a terrific experience.

Reasons To Visit St. George

St. George is like the Vegas of Utah, except a lot less wild and a lot more beauty! It’s the place everyone wants to visit or move to. With moderate winters, Zion right down the road (basically) and over 300 days of sunshine, it’s hard to imagine why someone wouldn’t want to come to St. George for at least a weekend!

Things To Do

St. George is full of fun things to do, some of those things are events that the community holds, some are just out there for you to enjoy. For example, once a month on the first Friday, St. George holds “George Street Fest”. This is an event that helps local businesses by allowing them to have booths for visitors to come and check out. There is live music, food trucks and so much more! Every George Street Fest is unique in its own way.
There are a lot of things for kids to do here as well, with water parks, Fiesta Fun, Laser Mania, The Children’s Museum and more! You’ll never run out of things for the kiddos to do!

Places To Eat

This is something that St. George prides itself on. There are a plethora of different restaurants that are locally owned or franchised. Either way, there are so many options for dining that it makes it nearly impossible to choose where you want to eat! What keeps a lot of visitors coming back are our locally owned and operated restaurants, such as Cappelettis or Durangos! Dining in St. George is a wonderful experience.

Sights To See

One of the main reasons people keep coming to St. George is for it’s captivating and breathtaking landscapes. Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Snow Canyon State Park are all within a very short distance of St. George. Making this one of the top places to stay when you are looking for some good family fun adventure and stunning sights.

St. George, Utah
Photo Credit: Lindsey on flickr

Relaxation

St. George is home to some of the best spas in Utah, with amazing staff that are extremely kind, caring and professional. Not only does that help with the relaxation side of things, but did someone say golf? That’s right, here in sunny St. George golfing is a year round sport due to our mild climate in the winters. So for top notch relaxation, it’s no wonder people choose to visit St. George.

There are many more reasons people choose to visit St. George, it’s a small town with a big city feel, all while maintaining the beautiful natural surroundings.

National Park Closures

2013-09-12 18.47.21

Highway 9 through Zion National Park is still open

National Park Closures

DON’T PANIC and don’t cancel your plans!  There is still a lot to do and see in southern Utah.  INCLUDING seeing a portion of Zion and Bryce National Parks

Yes, it is true National Parks across the country are officially closed.  However, talk to the locals and you will find there are well traveled locations to overlook into the parks that are still viewable for the general public.

There is still A LOT to do and see in southern Utah!

 

ZION NATIONAL PARK:  Highway 9 through ZION NATIONAL PARK is still open which provides views to many of the popular park features including the mile long tunnel and Checkerboard Mesa.  Also open is the giant screen movie Treasure of the Gods which presents grand views of Zion’s not readily accessible from the general areas.

CEDAR BREAKS, is the road through Cedar Breaks, also open and the views are accessible, but all buildings will be closed and unmanned.

SNOW CANYON STATE PARK, 20 minutes outside of St George, is a great spot to visit as well.

BYRCE CANYON NATIONL PARK: Best Western Ruby’s Inn offers a private shuttle and viewing location into Bryce Canyon.  Southern Utah also has several historic sites, and ghost towns worth checking out.

We recommend calling a Best Western close to each National Park to find out what additional attractions there are to visit in each area.  There are known outlooks that give access into the parks.  Those still make a trip worthwhile.

SNOW CANYON STATE PARK, St. George, BW Coral Hills 800-542-7733

ZION NP: BW Zion Park Inn 800-934-7275

BRYCE NP: BW RUBY’S INN: 435-834-5341, BW PLUS Grand Hotel: 435-834-5700

CEDAR BREAKS: BW El Rey Inn & Suites: 435-586-6518, BW Town & Country 435-586-9900

FREE Admision to the Grand Canyon and all National Parks

FREE Admission to the Grand Canyon this Sunday, August 25th 2013.  In celebration of the National Park Service’s 97th birthday, all 401 national parks across the country, including will waive entrance fees on Sunday.

 

Grand Canyon Aerial View

Grand Canyon Aerial View, Photograph by David Edwards
National Geographic

FREE Admission to all National Parks,  Read more about Founders Day of the National Parks Service courtesy of St. George News.

 

Administrative History

Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later as a National Monument, Grand Canyon did not achieve National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service. Today Grand Canyon National Park receives close to five million visitors each year – a far cry from the annual visitation of 44,173 which the park received in 1919.

This link takes you to the Administrative History of Grand Canyon National Park, a political and economic history of the park from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present.

Cedar Breaks Star Parties!

Cedar Breaks Star Party

Cedar Breaks Star Party

As darkness falls on Cedar Breaks National Monument, a different kind of light illuminates the night sky. That light, which comes from objects out in space transforms the night from a place of darkness into a place of wonder.

To celebrate and share the beauty of our dark night skies, Cedar Breaks hosts a series of star parties throughout the summer season. Each star party is conducted by park staff and astronomy volunteers at Point Supreme. Once the light fades, the party kicks off with a laser light tour of the constellations, followed by star viewing through several telescopes. Observe swirling nebulae, twinkling star clusters, neighborly planets, and distant galaxies. Learn about everything from constellation mythology to the structure of the universe, all in one night!

Star parties are free of charge and are two hours in duration. Telescopes will be provided for viewing, although visitors who own their own telescopes are invited to bring them along. Please dress warmly for the cool night air at this high elevation!

Star parties will be held every Saturday evening beginning in July and extending through Labor Day weekend. Additional star parties are scheduled for full moons and meteor showers. Please note that start times will change as the season progresses.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is located two hours from Best Western Coral Hills.

Southern Utah Night Life

 

Cedar Breaks, America in Lights

Cedar Breaks, America in Lights

Cedar Breaks National Park, just under two hours away from the Best Western Coral Hills, has spectacular views, both in the day and nighttime.

Due to its high elevation and remote location, Cedar Breaks has one of the darkest night skies in the country. However, this often overlooked natural resource is in danger of being completely lost as increased light pollution from nearby cities obscures the stars. Instead of a deep black expanse punctuated by the brilliant pinpoints of stars and the iridescent glow of the Milky Way, light pollution reduces the night sky to a faintly orange haze.

Light pollution has become so prevalent in urban areas that it’s becoming difficult to remember what the night sky is supposed to look like. For example, after a 1994 earthquake knocked the power out in Los Angeles, emergency centers received numerous calls from anxious residents regarding a strange, silvery cloud in the sky. They didn’t realize they were looking at their own galaxy. National Parks and Monuments are one of the few remaining places where the wonders of the night sky can still be seen. In fact, two-thirds of the people in the United States will never see the Milky Way unless they travel to remote places like National Parks.

S.R. 14, Cedar Breaks, Opens Memorial Day Weekend!

Today May 24th, S.R. 14 is finally opening to allow traffic through to Cedar Breaks abd Duck Creek Village.  The Southern Utah community has been looking forward to this since last October when a massive landslide wiped out 800 feet of the popular scenic roadway.

The road will not yet be paved so motorists will be traveling on road base (dirt/gravel) during this time. The road will open at 3:00pm on Thursday, May 24, and will remain open until 7:00am on Tuesday, May 29. After that time, the road will be closed during the day and opened each night from 7:00pm to 7:00am, except on Friday when the road will open at 5:00pm and remain open through the weekend until Monday at 7:00am. This will continue to be the schedule now through the month of July.

 Distant view of SR 14 in October 2011. 

Thank you UDOT for moving all of that!

St. George Events in May 2012

From the pleasant and quaint experiences of a small town to the serious and sophisticated happening of a big city…here’s a small sample of some of the events and activities during May 2012 in St. George, Utah and Surrounding Areas.

 Dino Days in Dixie 2012, April 30-May 5

Here comes Dino Days in Dixie, celebrating the 12th year since the discovery of these remarkable tracks! They will have a new Special Display “Where Do Dinosaurs Get Their Crazy Names?” A Grand Opening will be held on May 1st, there will be fun and games every day that week, new children’s play area, and maybe a surprise newcomer to the museum! Build a “new” dinosaur on the magnet board, create new dino names, or decipher the coded names in the exhibit. 10am-6pm, $6 Adults, $3 children, 2180 East Riverside Drive, 435-574-3466

 Ancestor Square Concert Series, every Thursday

7pm-8:30pm FREE, Sit near the rippling brook on the green facing the old Jail House patio, with the aromas of Italian, Mexican and Tai food wafting through a soft evening breeze as you sit back and enjoy the original tunes of new SUSWA songwriters and performers. Bring your blanket/lawn chair and come and enjoy the evening.  (Just one block from Best Western Coral Hills) 2 West, St. George Blvd.  435-674-1674

 “CLASS” performed at Kayenta Outdoor Theater, May 3-5

Enjoy this talented troupe of players performing “CLASS”. Tickets $15, From Best Western Coral Hills turn right on St. George Blvd, proceed to and turn right onto Bluff Street and go west on Sunset Blvd through Santa Clara until it becomes Hwy 91. Follow the signs to Kayenta. Turn right and drive one mile. 435-652-8318

 International Star Wars Day, May 4th

May the forth be with you!  Check out our block for a great summary of one of the Star Wars episodes thanks to LEGO Club TV.

 St. George Ironman 2012, May 5th

Saturday May 5th The last year of a full St. George Ironman.  Touted as possibly the most challenging Ironman course in the world beginning in 2013 the new course will become an Ironman 70.3.  The finish line is only three blocks away from the Best Western Coral Hills.

 Cotton Days 2012, Washington City, May 5-12th

Come celebrate 155 years of Washington City with weeklong activities and events.  The Cotton Days parade will be Saturday, May 12th at 9am followed by the Cotton Fest at the city park.

See our Cotton Days Blog for more information.   

 Ivins Fitness Festival 2012, May 5th

Located at Unity Park and designated viewing area for the bicycle portion of the Ironman St. George.  The Fitness Festival will include an area to view the riders with music, food, youth activities and vendors from 9am to 3pm at 400 South 200 West, Ivins, Utah

 Cinco de Mayo, St. George 2012 (May 5th of course)

Located only three blocks away from the Best Western Coral Hills celebrate with all the music, food and dancing.  This family event takes place at the Catholic Church parking lot from 10am – 8pm at 157 North 200 West. St. George.

 Waste Water Treatment Plant Tours,  May 8

Ever wonder about how our waste water is processed and treated? What is done with it? Where does it go? This extensive tour will educate and show you those poecesses. 1pm – 4pm, FREE, 3780 S 1550 W, Bloomington.  Take Exit 4 off I-15 to Pioneer Rd South-take a Right onto Man-of-War and cont. to S Bloomington Rd-turn left and follow to 1550 W and turn left-cont to 3780 S and turn Right. Treatment Plant will be at the end of the road. Julie 673-3617

 Brian Regan at Tuacahn, May 10-12

LOL (Laugh out loud) with Brian Regan at 8pm. Brian has become so popular he now has three performance dates to choose from.  If you are in the area do not miss this opportunity to enjoy this most talented comic.  Performing at Tuacahn:  1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins, Utah. Tickets are $34.50-$44.50. www.tuacahn.org or 435-652-3300

 Culinary Water Plan Treatment Tours May 11

Ever wonder about how our drinking water is processed and treated before it reaches our homes? This extensive tour will educate and show you those processes. 9am-1pm every half hour, FREE. Just off Highway 9, Take exit 16 off I-15 to Hwy 9. Watch for Quail Creek Reservoir Sign and turn left.  Julie 435-673-3617

 Southwest Symphony Orchestra, May 11-12

Presenting “From Bach to Broadway” at 7:30pm at the Cox Performing Arts Center, located on the Dixie State College campus at 325 S 700 E, St. George. Tickets are $15. To purchase tickets online or learn more about the Southwest Symphony Orchestra go to www.southwestsymphony.org or call 435-652-7800

 5th Annual New Visions Art Show and Sale, May 11-12

 This year’s New Visions Annual Art Show will feature more than 30 acclaimed artists participating in the art show, sale, and “Quick-Draw” painting event.  The show and sale will take place noon-8pm on May 11th and 8am-4pm, May 12th with a silent auction at 2pm at the Santa Clara Town Hall, 2603 Santa Clara Drive, Santa Clara. Call 435-313-5008

 Crown Fighting Championships, May 12

St. George Utah’s Premier MMA event, showcasing St. George’s local professional & amateur fighters pitted against Utah and Las Vegas’s finest. 7pm-10pm, Dixie Center 1835 Convention Center Drive.  Tickets $20-$40, www.crownfights.com

 Foundation of DRMC Evening “Classic” 2012, May 16

Open to the public, this annual fundraiser to help fight against cancer welcomes golfers and non-golfers alike to participate in the “classic” evening from 6-10pm at the Dixie Center, 1835 Convention Center Drive, St. George.  The cost is $50 per person, complimentary to those who pay the golf sponsorship fee. Call435-251-2484.  Room are 20% off for those attending the event who stay at the Best Western Coral Hills from out of town.

 Downtown, Ancestor Square Farmers Market  

Sample, view and buy some of the locally grown food and products produced in the southern Utah area. Every Saturday 8am –noon. Only one block away from the Best Western Coral Hills at 2 West, St. George Blvd (Ancestor Square) 435-632-3721

 Zion Flute Festival 2012, at Springdale, May 17-19

A celebration of life, music and beauty at the 8th annual Zion Flute Festival at 118 Lion Blvd, Springdale, with evening concerts at the O. C. Tanner Amphitheater in Springdale.  Entrance is $5 for the festival, $25 for the evening concerts. Children are free. www.zionflutefest.com has more information.

 What Women Want Expo 2012, St. Goerge, May 18-19

On May 18th, 10am-8pm and May 19th 10am-pm find out all the latest and greatest stuff at the annual What Women Want Expo 2012.  Located at the Dixie Center, 1835 Convention Center Drive, St. George, just 3 miles and 7 minutes from Best Western Coral Hills.  Tickets are $5 at the door or $3 if purchased in advance at The Spectrum newspaper office at 275 East, St. George Blvd (Just one block from the Hotel).

Or you can always purchase online at www.whatwomenwantexpo.com.  435-674-6244

 The Thomas Brothers, May 18-19

From Branson, MO to Las Vegas, NV, the Thomas Brothers are a class act; voices with style, beauty and richness True Entertainers. Enjoy music of the 40s, 50s, the best of Broadway, Gospel and Country! Ross and Rhett are currently performing their own show in Europe on the Windstar cruise line, and you still see them with the Osmond Brothers on tour. Before joining the Osmond’s, the Thomas Brothers enjoyed Headlining at the Music City Centre in Branson, MO.
The Thomas Brothers career has taken them to over 30 states and 13 countries on land and sea. From the Everly Brothers to Broadways Phantom of the Opera, this duo speaks variety, professionalism and true showmanship! Bringing the best of their careers together, this brother team connects with their audience through music, dancing and laughter. Enjoy the best of theatre, just outside of the Beautiful Zion National Park.

7pm-9pm,  $15 Adults, $10 Child, 897 Zion Park Blvd, Springdale, Utah,  www.thethomasbrothers.com

 SG Triathlon, May 19

Sprint, Olympic & Kids Triathlons, Overall, Age Group, Clydesdale, Athena & Relay Divisions, USAT Sanctioned / Certified Race Director, Accurate Chip Timing, The first of 2 events in our Twin Tri Series, FREE post-race meal & massage! No Park Entrance Fees on Race Day! No Registration Transaction Fees! FREE Race!  7am until 1pm, Hurricane, Utah$70-$90, http://bbsctri.com/sg-tri

 WCBRA Barrel Race, May 22

Washington County Barrel Racing Association, 6:30pm-10pm, 5500 W 700 S, Hurricane, From I-15 take exit 16, travel east on SR 9 and turn right at 5300 West. Dana Hulet 435-632-0745

 NBHA Barrel Race, May 26

Barrel racing in conjunction with the National Barrel Horse Association. 7pm-10pm. 5500 W 700 S, Hurricane, From I-15 take exit 16, travel east on SR 9 and turn right at 5300 West. Janie Johnson 435-674-5524