Zion National Park. Credit: Wolfgang Staudt.
By Jennifer Nielsen
Living in Park City, Utah for the past 9 years, I’ve really experienced some of what southern Utah has to offer. I’ve explored some of the most incredible national parks, biked and hiked unbelievable trails. Every fall my family and I pack up the car and head south to Moab or St. George for a long weekend, looking forward to the last bit of summer before the cold weather hits the mountains. Here in southern Utah, you’ll find some of the most amazing sites and activities around.
- Biking in Moab: For some of the greatest mountain biking around, check out Moab. Beginners will love scenic rides through the canyons while advanced riders can take up more extreme challenges. For the extreme mountain biker, Slick Rock is where it’s at. With 10.6 miles of pure entertainment, you’ll be technically challenged and exhausted. For families with toddlers, I’d recommend Mill Creek Parkway; it has paved paths with for bikes with trailers and it’s usually shaded by the trees.
- Hiking at Zion National Park: At Zion you’ll find a variety of trails to choose from – beginner to advanced, and anywhere from a half to eight hour hikes. What’s great is that a bus can take you throughout the park and stop at each trail head. But don’t forget, there’s a fee to enter this park. One of my favorite hikes at Zion is Angels Landing. It’s an advanced narrow trail with extremely steep drop-offs. Some of the best views can been seen at the top of the summit. During the four-hour hike there are areas where you cross a narrow bridge holding on to a chain-linked railing. Other favorites are Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch in Arches National Park. These hikes are considered intermediate and are around two to three miles. Be sure to wear appropriate walking shoes and clothing and always bring lots of water and power bars – you’ll definitely work up an appetite.
- Adventure in National Parks: Stay in St. George and experience the spectacular scenery in Zion National Park, or the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Both parks are stunning and have multiple trails for hiking for all levels. Bryce Canyon is only 142 miles from St. George where you can check out the park’s unique natural sculptures. Thousands of years of wind, water and other natural causes have shaped and etched the pink mountaintops, creating stunning vistas. The national parks are only 5 hours south of Salt Lake City, a drive away from hiking, biking, or jeep rides on rugged terrain.
A market manager for the West’s ski and mountain region, Jennifer Nielsen lives in Lake Tahoe and Park City with her husband and young daughter. A fan of every season, she loves water skiing and boating in the summer, and of course, skiing in the winter.