Perfect Getaway: Southern Utah’s Stunning Views and Utter Relaxation

The aptly named Red Mountain Resort. Photo credit: Courtesy of Red Mountain Resort

You’d love to immerse yourself in red-rock-mountain magnetism, but you aren’t keen on the crowds at Zion or Bryce national parks. You want to exercise but in ways that are more creative than the treadmill. You’re determined to stay trim, but you crave gourmet meals. Head to St. George and Ivins, Utah, to satisfy all your desires. Bonus: You’ll be treated to utter relaxation and the solace of touch that a superior spa offers.

SUMMER CAMPS FOR GROWN-UPS
Low-key yet luxurious, Red Mountain Resort offers daily hikes suitable for all fitness levels and areas of interest, from geology to petroglyphs to desert flora. Choose from some classes you might not have heard of, such as the aromatically pleasing chi-ball. Meditate or practice yoga or tai chi at dusk on the rocks. The all-inclusive Essential Retreat starts at $335 per night per person.

SNOW CANYON SEDUCES
Hugging the resort is Snow Canyon, a 7,400-acre state park studded with lava flows and cinder cones. Scout out the places where scenes for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” were filmed. Hike Hidden Pinyon, Butterfly, or Whiptail trails (no crowds!). Catch glimpses of jackrabbits, desert foxes, and Gila monsters. Climb the pudding-like petrified dunes. Tune in to the silence, breathe in the sage, and steep your senses in serenity. Your soul just got a workout, too.

Try a pedicure at Sagestone Spa & Salon. Photo credit: Courtesy of Red Mountain Resort

 

SPA WITH A VIEW
Seek out the resort’s stunning Sagestone Spa & Salon, open to visitors and guests. Luxuriate in a warm Himalayan salt stone massage ($165) or other decadent experiences, including the Posh Peel Pedicure ($60). In the early evening, sip wine around a blazing fire. Watch the sun color the cliffs vermilion and scarlet before it leaves the night to brilliant stars.

GO WHERE THE GOURMANDS GO
Locals know that intimate Aragosta, humbly located next to a Chevron gas station in Ivins, is where the gourmands go. Executive chef Imi Kun delights in conversations with his diners. Dig into starters such as escargot ($10) or lobster mac ’n’ cheese ($9), then enjoy entrees such as The Real Foie Gras ($59), duck legs confit ($28), or maybe Filetto Gorgonzola ($36)—every dish a delight for the discerning palate.

KAYENTA FOR ART
Visit the Center for the Arts at Kayenta, 4 miles from Red Mountain. You’ll find outstanding public art and fabulous artist-owned stores. Buy beautiful locally made crafts and jewelry. Treat yourself to a fabulous lunch at Xetava Gardens Café and try the peach ginger chicken with cilantro rice and cajun Brussels sprouts ($18).

STUNNING SUNSET KAYAKING
Launch a rented kayak or a stand-up paddleboard onto the warm waters of the reservoir within Sand Hollow State Park, 12 miles from St. George’s city center. Revel in a sunset that sets the rocks ablaze. If you prefer land-based activities, rent an ATV and ride the hills.

MAKE MINE A MUSICAL
See a performance under the stars surrounded by red rocks: The open-air Tuacahn Amphitheatre is home to vibrant shows all year long. Take note: There is occasionally a camel in the production because a camel lives next to the theater so … why not?

Cliffside Restaurant at The Inn on the Cliff provides an unbeatable view of the city. Photo credit: Courtesy of The Inn on the Cliff and Cliffside Restaurant

 

JUST PASSING THROUGH?
If you’re on the way to Zion or Bryce national parks, consider a stay at The Inn on the Cliff ($129 and up). Fully renovated on the cliff where the airport used to be, the inn offers incredible views of the city, particularly at night. At its Cliffside Restaurant, try the slow-braised beef taco trio ($12) as a starter or head straight for the almond-crusted Idaho trout with creamy pesto farro ($24).

MARK YOUR CALENDAR
June 1 through 29: Enjoy a show about the ocean while in the desert. The Tuacahn Amphitheatre presents Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” tuacahn.org

TIP FROM A LOCAL
“On the way to Zion National Park, stop at River Rock Roasting Company in La Verkin for breakfast, fantastic coffee, and baked goods—like Aunt Becky’s Bodacious Buns.”
—Sara Verrone
Red Mountain massage therapist

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