Of the millions of visitors that make their way to Southern Utah each year, many are headed to the region’s popular national parks.
While Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the rest of the Mighty 5 are bucket list-worthy, they are far from the only attractions that Southern Utah has to offer. Keep reading to learn a few of the top things to do near La Verkin, Utah.
If you need a break from the steep climbs and difficult trails of Zion National Park, head to Pioneer Park instead. This gem of a park is located in St. George, just a short drive from La Verkin.
Perfect for families of all ages, Pioneer Park offers easy hiking trails in the red rock desert landscape. There are even slot canyons that hikers of all ages will enjoy exploring together. Pack a picnic and utilize the picnic tables and barbecue grills found in several sheltered areas. Don’t forget to check out the historic pioneer cabin on-site, as well as the Boy Scout Cave.
Off-Roading in Sand Hollow State Park
Sand Hollow State Park is one of Utah’s most popular state parks, as well as one of the largest. When you first enter the park, you’ll spot its massive reservoir right away. Here you can rent boats, jet skis, and smaller craft like paddleboards. Sailboating is popular on the lake, as is lounging on its orange-sand beaches.
But you’ll need to continue past the reservoir to see Sand Hollow’s most popular feature. Covering over 6,000 acres, including a mix of land within Sand Hollow and land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, this off-roading paradise draws visitors from across the country and around the world. Filled with sand dunes, fields of boulders, expanses of desert covered in cacti, and a variety of other landscapes, you’ll spot every type of ATV and UTV racing across the red sand.
If you own your own off-road vehicle, you are welcome to bring it along. While you can also rent them on-site and from outfitters in St. George and nearby, if it’s your first time leaving the pavement, it’s best to book a guided tour. Experienced guides will help you learn how to drive your ATV or UTV, and help you safely navigate this challenging landscape.
Red Hills Desert Garden
Whether you hike in Zion, Pioneer Park, Sand Hollow, or all of the above, you’re certain to spot some desert plant life. If you want to learn more about the plants you spot, or you’re just looking for a pretty spot to spend a lazy afternoon, a visit to Red Hills Desert Garden is a must.
Located right next door to Pioneer Park, Red Hills Desert Garden features more than 5,000 plants native to the region. As you stroll through the outdoor garden, you’ll pass through several replica landscapes, including a slot canyon. Spot the replica dinosaur tracks along your way, and even a few native fish species.
The location prides itself as Utah’s first interactive desert garden, so you’ll find signs letting you know what plants you’re seeing, and learn a bit about the region’s endangered species during your visit as well. During the holidays, the cacti are covered in brightly colored lights, making for a magical evening stroll. Visits are always free, though donations go towards maintaining and operating this special garden.
St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm
For dinosaur-enthusiasts young and old, or even those in your group who aren’t, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnsons Farm is a must-see.
Standing under the towering red rock cliffs of Southern Utah, it isn’t tough to imagine dinosaurs roaming the region. But at the Dinosaur Discovery Site, they come alive.
Why here, you ask? Thousands of fossilized dinosaur tracks have been found on the site. Scientists believe that it was the location of an Early Jurassic Lake, a literal watering hole for earth’s prior inhabitants. Besides the perfectly preserved tracks, you’ll also get to see fossilized remains of fish and insects. The exhibition center is home to life-size dinosaur replicas, detailed murals, educational displays, and more. There’s even a fossil prep lab where you can watch real scientists in action.
Want to explore the region without even hopping in your car? When you stay at The Dwellings, you’ll enjoy direct access to Confluence Park Trail.
Confluence Park is a 344-acre park located in both La Verkin and Hurricane. Named for the spot where Ash Creek and La Verkin Creek merge with the Virgin River, the park offers a variety of hiking trails. You can even connect to the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve multi-trail system, which covers more than 130 miles. Take a stroll along the waters and watch for deer, beaver, and other wildlife in this vibrant desert oasis.
Planning Your Visit to Southern Utah
Whether you’re looking for hiking and off-roading, a quiet afternoon, or some educational opportunities, you’ll find it all in La Verkin and the surrounding area. Book your stay at The Dwellings today to enjoy these and all of the other attractions that Southern Utah has to offer.