Hiking is without a doubt the most popular way to explore the beautiful landscapes of Southern Utah. But it’s far from the only way.
For visitors looking for something a little more fast-paced or the perfect activity for giving your feet a break from hiking, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy.
If you’re ready to start planning your next visit to Southern Utah, keep reading to learn 5 ways to explore the area that aren’t hiking.
1. A Scenic Drive
Whether you need a break from hiking or something to do on a hot, cold, or the occasional rainy day, nothing beats a scenic drive. And Southern Utah has no shortage of great drives to offer.
On your first day or two in the area, head to Zion Park Scenic Byway. This central route will take you through Zion National Park, and the famous Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, onwards towards Kanab. It’s perfect for getting a lay of the land and seeing some of the area’s highlights you’ll want to explore on foot later on in your visit.
For a longer scenic drive, Arizona Route 89A, which runs from Kanab, Utah to Page, Arizona, is a great choice. This road trip will take you through a variety of landscapes, from wooded pine forests to the dry desert. Besides plenty of stops for photos, plan to make a stop in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. This often-overlooked spot offers some incredible views and beautiful rock formations that rival that the state’s national parks.
2. ATV/UTV Tours
Most of the visitors to Southern Utah have their hearts set on visiting Zion National Park. But while the park is certainly a bucket-list-worthy destination, it’s not the only park in the region that deserves a visit.
In fact, Southern Utah is home to a unique feature that many visitors never see; sand dunes. While Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park has dunes if you want a truly unique way to experience the dunes, head to Sand Hollow State Park. Here you’ll find an incredible reserve dedicated to off-road vehicles. Don’t worry about bringing your own equipment, or even having any experience; tour companies will provide everything you need, and show you the ropes so you can explore the dunes like a pro.
If you’re not up to driving yourself on an off-road adventure, a Jeep tour is a great way to see the area with a professional guide at the wheel. Also during your visit to Sand Hollow State Park, you can rent jet skis to zip around the large reservoir.
With the amenities and attractions of St. George and other nearby cities, it’s easy to think of Southern Utah as being in the middle of the action. But get away from the cities, and you’ll quickly feel as though you’ve left civilization behind. One big perk of this is that Southern Utah is home to a number of Certified Dark Sky Parks.
Zion National Park is one of them. This certification means that there is minimal light pollution in the area, making it a prime spot for stargazing. Other destinations in the region that are also certified include:
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument
- Goosenecks State Park
- Kodachrome Basin State Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Cedar Break National Monument
While a telescope can help you get a closer look, you won’t need one to appreciate the beauty of the region’s night skies. Instead, simply plan to take a drive to one of these parks on a clear night. Sit back and take in the sky as you’ve likely never seen it before.
Most of the trails in Zion are reserved for hiking. But if you want something a little more fast-paced, there are still some places that you can bike within the park.
Biking is allowed on all park roadways. However, you will need to plan to catch a ride through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, which is closed to bicycles. While nearly all trails in the park are closed to bikes, the Pa’rus Trail does allow bikes. This paved trail is great for bikers of all ages and experience levels.
Don’t worry about bringing your own bike along; bike rentals are available in Springdale, as well as in St. George.
5. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is another great way to explore the region’s national and state parks up-close and personal. With excursion options for experienced riders and first-timers alike, there’s a trail ride for every visitor.
Taking to the trails of Zion National Park on horseback is also a fun way to see the park as its first visitors once did.
Exploring Southern Utah Off the Trails
Whether you need a break from hiking or want to experience the region in a new and unique way, there’s no shortage of activities to choose from. Located just a short drive away from your tiny home vacation rental, these activities are perfect for enjoying with your entire family. Visitors of all ages will love zipping over sand dunes, seeing Zion by horseback, or even just taking a relaxing drive.
If you’re ready to start planning your next visit to Southern Utah, book your tiny home vacation rental today!