Published: October 2009Best Adventure Towns
St George Ms

St. George, Utah

Plan a long weekend getaway with our St. George adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat. Then chime in with your picks.

Photograph by Kevin Figueira, My Shot

Pop. 72,718

St. George, a mellow desert oasis with Zion National Park right out the back door, is a mix of red rocks devotees and East Coast transplants who come for the Southwest-meets-alpine setting, perpetual sun, and progressive mindset. A wholesome spirit pervades—there's just one liquor store in town—but the litany of white-knuckle activities nearby livens things up.

Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite St. George adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.

Zion National Park, 30 miles east, is the glamour destination, but an even closer asset is Snow Canyon State Park's vermilion bluffs and blackened lava flows, packed with some 170 technical climbing routes and hiking trails. Trek the classic four-mile White Rocks Trail to Lava Flow Overlook, a white-sandstone amphitheater, and hike the Petrified Dunes Trail along massive sandstone outcrops. Don’t forget to scout endangered desert tortoises at the 62,000-acre Red Cliffs Desert Preserve just in town, or go to Gooseberry Mesa’s singletrack just 50 miles outside of St. George, which rivals the variety and beauty of Moab’s—without all those hill climbs. And if you're staying for a spell, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is just 100 miles away. To wind down, take in a show under the stars at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts.

Chow down on fiery tacos at local hot spot Irmita’s, or try the cumin-seared scallops with tenderloin at the Painted Pony (

The Green Valley Spa & Resort offers everything from guided hikes to yoga to wild mustang rides (doubles from $224;, but travelers on a budget will find many of the standard hotel chains represented here, too.

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  • Don't forget Pine Valley Mountain, the world's largest laccolith, looming over the north part of tow…
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