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Zion National Park is one of the most scenic destinations in Southern Utah. It is 43 miles northeast of St. George. (About a 60- minute drive) Take I-15 north to the Exit 16 (Hurricane exit), go east, through Hurricane, on State Route 9 and continue through LaVerkin, Virgin, Rockville, and Springdale to the entrance of the park.
Zion is towering sandstone walls and monoliths. It is also rivers, riparian areas, pine forests, sandstone deserts, natural arches, and habitat for an amazing variety of plants and animals.
Excellent accommodations, restaurants and shopping facilities are available in the nearby town of Springdale. The park is open all year. There is a park entry fee. Visit their website for entry fee options. (www.nps.gov/zion)
Shuttle service operates from early April through October both in the park and in Springdale. Private vehicles are not allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive when the shuttle is in operation. Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, through the park, is open to private vehicles all year, connecting Springdale to Bryce Canyon, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Kanab.
Kolob Canyon is located along the western edge of Zion National Park. From St. George, travel north about 35 miles on I-15 to Exit 40 (about a 30-minute drive) and drive to the visitor center. From the visitor center, drive the 5 miles on a paved road to view the massive red rock formations of the Kolob Fingers from pullouts along the road. Lava Point, in Kolob’s high country, has exceptional views of the Cedar Breaks area, the Pink Cliffs, the Zion Canyon Narrows and the towering monoliths of Zion Canyon. There is a $25 park entry fee for single vehicle entry, and $80 for a federal pass.
The great natural rock amphitheater of Cedar Breaks National Monument is a spectacle of gigantic proportions. The park can be reached from St. George via I-15. Go north 50 miles to Cedar City. From Cedar City, travel east 20 miles on State Route 14, then 4 miles north on State Highway 148. Drive time is about one and one-half hours. Enjoy the trails leading around the rim late May/early June until mid-October. There is a $4 per person entry fee. National Park passes also permit entry.
From St. George, drive north on I-15 to Cedar City and head east on State Route 14 to U.S. Highway 89, drive north to the junction of State Route 12 and head east 17 miles to State Route 63. Travel south four miles to the park entrance.
Unlike Zion, where you look up at the cliffs, at Bryce Canyon National Park you look down on miles of exquisitely carved pinnacles and spires. The red, pink and orange colors of the intricately eroded limestone known as “hoodoos” constantly change with the sun making the magical landscape come alive. There is a $25 private vehicle entry fee, or use the National Park pass.
To reach the park from St. George, travel northeast on I-15 to the Hurricane exit (Exit 16) and head east on State Route 9 to Hurricane. Then take State Route 59 (which turns into State Route 389 once you reach the Arizona State line) east to Fredonia, AZ. In Fredonia, turn right onto U.S. Highway 89A and head south to Jacob Lake, AZ. At Jacob Lake, travel south 45 miles on State Route 67 to the North Rim. Drive time from St. George is about 3 hours or 147 miles.
Open mid-May to mid-October, the North Rim features the pine and aspen forest of the 540,000-acre Kaibab Plateau. Viewpoints of the North Rim are higher than on the South Rim. Highway 67 is closed in winter south of Jacob Lake. Call 877-444-6777 to make advance campground reservations for the Canyon North Rim. There is a $25 per vehicle entry fee.