25 reasons to get out and about in Southern Utah: Spring Fun Guide 2017

Photo courtesy ZionCanyon.com | St. George News

FEATURE – Spring has essentially sprung in Southern Utah (or has it felt more like instant summer to you?) with the first official day of the season coming Monday. This means nicer weather, greener vegetation and a cleaner mindset.

You, your family and friends need a break from working, schooling, cleaning, gardening and all those routines that pin us down and keep us in. The St. George area offers myriad ways to take that break and hardly ever more so than in springtime. Following is a list to spark your fancy and remind you of things that may have been on your fun to-do list for ages. It’s the season of births and rebirths and it’s time to act: Get out and have fun.

Spend time outdoors

1. Hike a new trail – Southern Utah has a plethora of trails that you may not have discovered yet. Find one, explore it, take pictures and tell your family and friends. The following are a few suggestions:

Eagle’s Crag Trail – Located just outside Zion near Rockville, this trail takes one through Zion-esque scenery, without fighting the crowds.

This 2014 file photo shows an informational sign along the Temple Quarry Trail, St George Utah, June 24, 2014 | Photo by T.S. Romney, St George News

Mollies Nipple Trail – A as the name suggests, this trail takes hikers to the top of Mollies Nipple and provides an expansive view of the Hurricane Valley and beyond.

Silver Rim TrailLocated just inside the Dixie National Forest up the Oak Grove Road, this trail explores some different-looking red rock.

Temple Quarry Trail  A trail that includes a history lesson, showing the location where the rock for the foundation and basement of the St. George temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was quarried.

Anasazi Ridge Petroglyphs Trail – A short hike to a very distinct set of petroglyphs accessed from Old Highway 91.

2. Go on an epic hike – Spring is the best time to get away from the crowds and hike one of Zion’s three stunning backcountry trails, LaVerkin Creek/Kolob Arch, West Rim and East Rim. They can be long day hikes or overnight hikes that require a permit. For more information, check with Zion’s backcountry office.

The West Rim Trail, which starts near Lava Point and ends at the Grotto, provides spectacular views of the backcountry of Zion National Park, Utah, unspecified date | Photo courtesy of Hilary Ferguson, St. George News

3. Explore less-crowded parts of Zion – Kolob Canyonsaccessed from Interstate 15’s Exit 40, offers different-looking monoliths and fewer crowds than Zion Canyon. It’s a 5-mile scenic drive with two day hikes, Taylor Creek (5 miles round trip) and Timber Creek (1 mile round trip), as well as one of the access points to reach Kolob Arch, the LaVerkin Creek Trail.

Another option is the Kolob Terrace, accessed by the Kolob Terrace Road. It isn’t developed like Zion Canyon but offers sweeping vistas one won’t see in the most-visited section of the park, including a patch of hoodoos and the other access point to reach Kolob Arch, Hop Valley.

4. Explore the area’s red rock destinations – Spring is the ideal time to enjoy bouldering on the rocks at places such as Snow Canyon, Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and Pioneer Park since the scorching summer temperatures otherwise can make these less than pleasant. All three places have trails galore, including some perfect for the little tikes, such as Jenny’s Canyon and Turtle Wall.

5. Pay a dazzling visit to Glitter Mountain – Just over the Arizona Border and accessed via the Southern Parkway, the glitter and sparkle comes from the gypsum in plentiful supply. Visitors can “mine” their own treasures and pose for some photos.

"Glitter" or "Sparkle" Mountain is a popular place to try to extract gypsum.
Visitors “mine” gypsum at “Glitter Mountain” just over the Arizona border from Washington City, Utah, March 26, 2016 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth

6. Go fishing – Spring is an excellent time to bait one’s hook and try to land a whopper and Mike Hadley, a Fish Biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said Sand Hollow Reservoir, Enterprise Reservoir, Yankee Meadows Reservoir, Navajo Lake and Jackson Flat Reservoir (next to Kanab) are some of the best bodies of water for spring fishing.

For something a little closer and more ideal for children, try the community fisheries in the area.

7. Participate in Zion Canyon Field Institute courses or lectures, which offer chances for more insights on Zion National Park, including presentations on geology, birds, wildflowers, cultural history, archaeology and photography.

8. Take a day trip to a farther-away scenic or historic destination – Early Spring is an ideal time to visit red rock destinations in Nevada, including Valley of Fire and Cathedral Gorge.

One can also venture an hour or two from St. George to other sites of interest in Utah, including KanabCove Fort, Fremont Indian State Park, and Pipe Spring National Monument.

Participate in events

Participants in the Hurricane Mountain Bike Festival, Hurricane, Utah, prior to 2017 | Photo courtesy of John, St. George News

9. Red Rock Rampage – March 25

This world-class mountain bike race is one of the longest-running of its kind in the area, returning for its 22nd year Saturday. The Green Valley Raceway Trail is the course and has categories for all ages and capabilities, from novice to professional.

10. Hurricane Mountain Bike Festival – March 24-26

The showcase of this event is shuttles to the nearby JEM and Quail Creek trail systems, but the epicenter of the festival is the Hurricane Community Center, which features skills clinics, demo bikes, live bands, and a beer garden each evening of the festival.

11. St. George Fishing Derby – April 1

Hosted at the Tawa Ponds near the Canyons Softball Complex, the Fishing Derby provides children ages 12 and under the chance to catch a fish with poles and bait available for children who do not own their own poles. The event runs from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

12. St. George Art Festival – April 14-15

During Easter Weekend, St. George’s Town Square comes alive with a showcase of original works of art from 110 artists. In addition to the art, there is live entertainment on two stages, a variety of food vendors and an area especially for children.

This 2016 file photo shows artists creating colorful murals during the Kayenta Street Painting Festival, Ivins, Utah, April 23, 2016 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

13. Hurricane Rotary Easter Car Show –  April 15

Every Easter Weekend the lawn of the Hurricane Community Center becomes a large classic car exhibit – both stock and custom cars from 100 years ago to today. It is the main fundraiser for Hurricane’s Rotary Club, which benefits the local community, but also international causes, such as the eradication of polio.

14. Dixie Power Kite Festival – April 22

Held at Dixie State University’s Encampment Mall, the Kite Festival is a family-friendly event that encourages reading and includes kite flying (as the name suggests) as well as entertainment and food and other vendors.

15. Kayenta Street Painting Festival – April 29-30

The festival boasts unconventional masterpieces on pavement and includes the work of over 25 artists as well as Washington County students.

16. Spring Home and Garden Show – May 5-6

A perfect place to receive inspiration for the next home improvement or landscaping project, the Home and Garden Show will be held at the Dixie Center. Saturday is a good time to bring the kids to participate in the event’s kids club.

Appreciate the arts

17. Tuacahn concerts – Before “Broadway in the Desert” starts in late May, one can enjoy several concerts and performances in southern Utah’s renowned outdoor amphitheatre, including Colbie Callait (March 24), Professional Bull Riders (April 7-8), Bee Gees tribute (April 14), Kenny Loggins (April 15), Clint Black (April 27), Peter Cetera (April 29) and comedian Brian Regan (May 4-6). For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the Tuacahn website.

18. Brigham’s Playhouse – an intimate setting and scrumptious snacks await patrons of Washington City’s live theater. Now playing (until April 8) is “Murder for Two.” Its other spring show is “Annie Get Your Gun” (April 20 – May 27). For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the playhouse’s website

19. Check out the DiFiore Art Center –  Its current exhibit – “Art as Jazz as Art II” –  is a collection of Jazz-themed art based on iconic black and white photos from the 50s and 60s

This and that

The exterior (top) and interior (bottom) of the Veyo Skating Rink above Spanish Trails Supply, Veyo, Utah, March 18, 2017 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

20. Enjoy a fun center – Fiesta Fun, Lasermania and House of Jump are givens, but sometimes it’s also fun to kick it old school at the Veyo Roller Skating Rink, a skating mecca above a gas station and cafe 20 minutes north of St. George on state Route 18. Rent the place out for three hours and invite your friends and family to glide around on skates, Rollerblades or other in-line skates, or zip about on scooters. This is wholesome family fun with some nostalgia.

21. Attend sporting events – In the spring, Southern Utah offers ample opportunities to enjoy outdoor sporting events, including Southern Utah University softball, Dixie State University softball and baseball or your favorite High School baseball, softball and boys’ soccer teams.

22. Have a barbecue with friends and neighbors – You’re always doing things with your family members, right? Maybe it’s time to branch out, stop making excuses and invite some friends or neighbors over for an old-fashioned backyard barbecue. The kids can play and you can catch up and build camaraderie with the adults. 

23. Find a scenic spot, sit, reflect and write – If you feel too busy and caught up in the hustle and bustle, make a goal to find some time, go to your favorite outdoor spot and sit, meditate, reflect and write – fill your journal, pen a poem, dream up a story – whatever you prefer. You’ll return from the experience rejuvenated and with a more positive outlook on life.

Visit historic places

24. Let your curiosity get the better of you – You’ve been places and you go places and maybe you ask who, what, when or how did this or they get there? There’s much to be learned in a day trip and many places near to St. George have been written about in the St. George News “Days” series – check out those stories linked here for inspiration.

See our previous fun guides

25. More – There’s always more. This listing is hardly exhaustive. Find more ideas in our previous fun guides: Summer 2016, Fall 2016, and Winter 2016-2017.

Share your ideas

Do you have any more ideas for spring fun that should be included in this list or a future feature? Please let us know in the comments – either on the actual page or the Facebook post for this story.

Photo gallery follows below.

Email: rwadsworth@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • Shane March 19, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Glitter Mountain is on private land and a active mine claim so be aware of trespassing

  • utahdiablo March 20, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Very good write up, as Zion is lost as to having a nice peaceful visit from March through mid December as to hour long waits just to get onto a shuttle…..the Mighty 5 runied it forever

  • Badshitzoo March 23, 2017 at 2:51 am

    Please, allow me to rebut your “25 reasons to get out”, with five reasons of my own to “stay in.” 1. It’s way too hot (85+temperature wise) out 5-7 months of the year. 2. It’s way to cold (55-temperature wise) out 3-5 months of the year. 3. It’s way too windy out 8-10 months of the year, making it too miserable to be outside. 4. Even when it is a perfect 72 degrees outside, and no more than a calm breeze. The sun is too bright to be in directly for longer than a minute or two, because there is no humidity here in the atmosphere to reflect any of the sunlight, which quickly leads to it becoming too hot, and in the long term leads to higher skin cancer rates than Hawaii, or California. And finally, you have a massive population of elderly drivers, mixed with a large population of young drivers, leading to constant wrecks everywhere daily. I could go on, but that’s the real story everyone that lives here year round knows, whether they realize it or not!

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