The Inn at St. George 

St. George, Utah Information

Saint George, Utah

Today St. George is the entryway to southern Utah. With so much to do and see here, St. George has blossomed into a large community of locals, outdoor enthusiasts, snowbirds, and tourists.  St. George is dry and sunny with very mild winters. This makes it a very popular place in the spring and fall months when much of northern Utah is cold and snowy.

Many senior couples retire here because of the beautiful climate while others ‘snowbird.’ Snowbirds are people who have residences in the northern and southern parts of the United States. They spend the winters in the south to avoid cold temperatures and snow of the north and live in the north during the summer to avoid the extreme heat of the south.

The first people known to settle what is now St. George, were the Anasazi Indians. They reached the area at about 200 B.C. and left suddenly around 1200 A.D. The reasons they left are unknown. Between 1100 and 1200 A.D. another group arrived called the Paiute Indians. St. George was settled by Americans in 1861 when Brigham Young sent a group of 300 or so Mormon pioneer families to southern Utah to grow cotton, grapes, and other plants better suited to the area’s arid climate. The area was named after George Albert Smith, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The pioneers built a Mormon temple that was dedicated in 1877 and is still in operation today. It is the third temple built by the Church and the first in the western United States. St. George grew slowly as a farming community until the 1980’s when the area became a popular place for the retirement crowd and tourists.

St. George is located in the southwestern part of Utah and is 303 miles from Salt Lake City, the state’s capitol. Las Vegas, Nevada is located 119 miles to the south west and the Arizona border is about 10 miles to the south. It is located at the edge of the Mojave Desert and produces extreme high temperatures in the summer months so visitors should be prepared with water and sun protection when traveling then. Winters are mild with little snow.

Other cities near St. George include Washington City, Ivins, Santa Clara, Hurricane, La Verkin, Leeds, Toquerville, and Virgin. Las Vegas, Nevada is the largest city near St. George.

Attractions

Zion National Park - Zion National Park is located about an hour northwest of St. George. The park is Utah’s oldest national park and most frequented. It offers amazing red canyon scenery, hiking, horseback riding, world renowned rock climbing, camping, bird watching, mountain biking, ranger activities, photography, wildlife and many other activities. The park is open daily, except Christmas, and fees are $25 per vehicle for a seven day pass or $12 for pedestrians or cyclers. Large vehicles such as buses and RV’s are also charge a $15 tunnel fee. Overnight hiking and camping in the back country and some day hikes require limited special permits that are given out on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Permits are also required for filming, weddings, and special events.

Snow Canyon State ParkSnow Canyon State Park is located 11 miles northwest of St. George. The park is open year round and has camping available for $16 to $20. Day use is $5. The rocky scenery at the park is unique. There are red and white sandstone cliffs as wells as block lava tubes, flows, and cinder cones. The park has many hiking trails that range from very easy and short to quite rigorous and long. Activities in the park include nature studies, photography, wildlife sightings, hiking, mountain and road biking, camping, horseback riding, camping, and rock climbing. 

Virgin River Gorge- The Virgin River Gorge is located in northwestern Arizona between St. George, Utah and Littlefield, Arizona. Interstate 15 runs through the gorge which was cut out by the Virgin River. It is a very curvy section of the Interstate but the views of the canyon walls are beautiful. Recreational activities in the gorge include hiking, rock climbing, picnicking, and camping. You can camp at the Virgin River Recreation Area, located about halfway through the gorge for less than $10 each night. Camping is also available at Cedar Pockets Campground for around $10. If you are looking for a free place to camp you can try Black Rock Road at exit 27. The gorge is home to some of the most difficult rock climbs in the United States. The limestone walls are steep and long and routes can be found on both sides of the gorge.

Dixie National ForestDixie National Forest is the largest national forest in the state of Utah covering almost two million square acres and extending about 170 miles. It contains heavily wooded areas, ponds, lakes, and mountains. The Forest is near Capitol Reef National Park, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park. The lowest elevation in the park is around 2,800 feet above sea level and the highest is 11,322 feet. Temperatures range from -30 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to over 100 in the summer. Thunderstorms are common in the late summer months. Annual precipitation can be as little as 10 inches to as much as 40 inches. The higher elevations receive most of their precipitation as snowfall. The Forest provides breathtaking views into Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. Recreational activities include fishing, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, water skiing, sailing, hunting, camping, photography, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Pine Valley- Pine Valley is a small community located about 45 minutes north of St. George at the base of the Pine Valley Mountains and head of the Santa Clara River. The town is home to Pine Valley Chapel, the oldest Mormon chapel in continuous use. It was designed by a shipbuilder, Ebeneezer Bryce in 1868 and its interior resembles the form of an upside-down ship. The Pine Valley Mountains are heavily forested and contain several hiking and horseback riding trails, campgrounds, and fishing. Access to the mountains can be found in the Pine Valley Recreation Area. The recreation area offers trout fishing in a small reservoir, picnicking, and camping among other things. There is a small fee to enter the park.

Virgin River and Santa Clara River- The Virgin River is a tributary of the Colorado River that begins in the Dixie National Forest in southern Utah. It flows through the northwest corner of Arizona, enters Nevada, and ends in Lake Mead. It is nearly 160 miles long. The water level each year depends on winter snow and rain falls. The snow melts in the spring which causes the water levels to rise during that time. Mid- April through May is generally the only time the river is raftable. The difficulty of rafting the river ranges from Class I to Class V+. Extreme droughts may cause the river to be too low to raft for several years at a time. The Santa Clara River begins in the Pine Valley Mountains and joins the Virgin River near St. George. Both the Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers are good places to fish for trout.

Reservoirs

Sand Hollow Reservoir- The reservoir is located 12 miles northeast of St. George and is surrounded by red sandstone rock formations and red sand dunes. The water’s surface temperatures during the summer months are usually over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an enjoyable place for swimming, boating, fishing, and water sports. The southwestern edge is lined with rock formations that are fun for climbing and cliff jumping. There is also a nearby area for riding all terrain vehicles. It is the largest reservoir in the St. George area. Fees are $7 for day use and $21 for overnight camping.

Quail Creek ReservoirQuail Creek Reservoir offers boating, fishing, swimming, and camping. Day use fees are $8 and overnight camping is $13. The reservoir offer amenities including bathrooms, a fish cleaning station, two covered group pavilions (first come, first served), drinking water, and picnic areas. It is located just a few minutes, by car, from St. George.


Gunlock Reservoir- This reservoir is located about 20 miles northwest of St. George, near the town of Gunlock. It is a surrounded by low hills and is a popular place to boat, swim, and fish. Day use is $5 and primitive camping is available for $10 each night. Vault restrooms are available.