Paved Biking Trails in St. George


St. George is famous for being a bike-friendly community. While there are countless off-road trails in the surrounding areas for skilled mountain biking, there’s also paved, mild-grade trails all throughout St. George for all skill levels. Keep in mind that these are all multi-use trails, meaning that you’ll likely run into non-bikers on the trail.

Virgin River Parkway

This 7 mile long trail begins at East Riverside Drive and ends at the Man o’ War Trailhead in Bloomington. An easy trail for all skill levels and ages, you can make the trip as short or long as you prefer. The trail provides little shade through the length of it, so come prepared with sunblock, hats, and plenty of water. For the best times to ride it, try it in the spring or fall, or ride it in the mornings during the summer. The trail becomes the City of Washington Mill Creek Trail after the 0.7 bike lane section on East Riverside Drive. This well-maintained paved path provides an excellent view of the Virgin River, trailing alongside the river with views of St. George and the Bloomington Country Club golf course.

Snow Canyon Loop

The Snow Canyon Loop is 18 miles round trip, stretching from the urban edges of Bluff Street to the deep red valleys of Snow Canyon. This easy-to-traverse trail is ideal for any length you want to make it, although there are steep grades throughout the trail that inexperienced bikers may have to walk. If you’re looking for a secluded, quiet trail with Southern Utah’s red trademark beauty, the Snow Canyon Loop is as close as it gets. Restrooms and drinks are available at the Snow Canyon campground. You’ll also be sharing this trail with other bikers, hikers, rollerbladers, and joggers, although this trail never feels crowded.

Sand Hollow Wash

This trail begins at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center off of Sunset Drive and ends at Lava Flow Drive. This is a short trail just shy of a mile, stretching 0.9 miles in length (one way). This trail runs north to south, past Snow Canyon High School and the Dixie Downs area. Gentle slopes make up the length of it, so this is a great trail to take beginners and young children on. If you’re looking for an easy trail to exercise on frequently without the hassle of driving too far outside of town, this is a great day-to-day trail if you live in the area.

Halfway Wash Trail

The Halfway Wash Trail is a connecting trail to the Snow Canyon Loop, right at Snow Canyon Parkway. 1.9 miles long, this trail sits at the northern end of St. George and has stunning views of the red cliffs and the desert landscape. This is a shady trail that winds through parks and across bridges, providing an easy to moderate trail for all skill levels. Other trails that connect to Halfway Wash include Chuckwalla Trail, Paradise Rim Trail, and Turtle Wall trail, all easily accessed within the area. However, these adjacent trails are not all paved. Expect good surface conditions for this trail. There is an alternate trailhead for Halfway Wash east of the shopping center at Sunset and Dixie.

Fort Pierce Wash Trail

Crossing with the Virgin River Parkway trail, this short, easy trail is 0.7 miles in length with great views at the top. This trail meets with the east end of the Webb Hill Trail, and at the Larkspur trailhead, meets with the Bloomington Hills North Trail. This is the steepest part of the trail with an 8% grade. This trail is good for families with young children and is wheelchair accessible.

St. George Trails

Map of All St. George Trails via sgcity.com

Zion National Park – When Visitation Numbers Become a Concern

With Zion National Park’s tourism industry fueling a huge portion of Southern Utah’s economy, in past years, it’s not uncommon see promotions encouraging people to visit Zion and other national parks in Southern Utah. However, visitation is a growing concern, and it looks like marketing campaigns were successful. The popularity of Zion National Park has been growing at a steady rate, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down – even with the centennial celebration of the parks in 2016, which was designed to draw more people to the parks, visitation numbers keep climbing.

But why is this an issue? If Zion National Park is doing so well to bring in travelers from all over the world to see its colorful sandstone slopes, and in turn bringing more business through St. George, Springdale, and surrounding areas, it’s helping the tourism industry in Southern Utah thrive. As good as it is for monetary reasons to local businesses, it’s hurting the landscape of Zion National Park. As great of an opportunity as it is for so many people to be able to experience the beauty and history of Zion at an affordable price, there are concerns for the preservation of the landscape. Extra visitation means extra wear and tear on the trails and the fragile ecosystem in the park. Trails and even off-trail areas where hikers are discouraged to go are being worn down at a faster rate. This could have a negative impact on the wildlife in the area, as well as the plants, rocks, streams, and other natural features that make up the park.

High visitation also makes it a more unpleasant experience to visitors. Going to the park and dealing with long lines for entry or packed trails eliminates the authenticity of the experience. And while Zion is the park experiencing huge visitation numbers, it’s not the only one. Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef are also welcoming visitors by the millions every year. While Zion had 4.4 million visitors in 2017 (excluding December), and in 2016, Bryce had 2.5 million visitors, and Capitol Reef 1.1 million.

A few ideas are being considered to help throttle the visitation numbers in Zion National Park that would affect other national parks in Utah as well. One would be to increase the cost to get into the park to $70 per car during the peak season, where it’s now $25-30 per car to enter the park. Higher costs would certainly decrease visitation and discourage some from going, but Congresswoman Mia Love voiced an important concern – average to low-income families in Utah wouldn’t get to experience Zion because of the increase in prices.

Another idea the park has been considering would be to set up a reservation system to go to Zion National Park, which would help decrease visitation without hiking up the costs of entering the park. This would be the first national park to do so. The number of reservations would vary by season. However, this is also inconvenient to people traveling a long way to see Zion and stretching other plans to accommodate for specific reservation dates in Zion. While it’s unsure what will happen, it will take a couple years to implement the change they see fit to control park visitation.

Christmas Events in St. George – 2017 Guide

The holidays are here, and St. George is celebrating the Christmas spirit with events occurring all throughout December. With the Jubilee of Trees and Santa’s Workshop Christmas Gift Show at the Dixie Convention Center already done, mark your calendars for events to bring the entire family to before Christmas.

Christmas in the Canyon

This year, Tuacahn is celebrating the holidays in multiple ways. Christmas in the Canyon, running from November 24-December 23, where Tuacahn’s campus is decorated in Christmas lights and music on the plaza. Hot chocolate and other concessions are available as you walk around and look at the Christmas lights, along with an open fire. Gifts for the holidays are also available. A live nativity runs from 7-8 p.m. for $2 a person, where acting, music, and narration combine thanks to volunteer groups that put on the story of the birth of Christ. The nativity also includes live animals, such as camels, in this performance. An ice-skating rink surrounded by the beautiful red cliffs of Tuacahn is open to the public for $7 a person ($5 per person for a group) from 5-9 p.m. Santa Claus is available from 6-8 p.m. on these nights, as well as a holiday train ride on the Old Salty Train, thanks to Ruby’s Inn. For more info, visit tuacahn.org.

Fairy Tale Christmas 

Also at Tuacahn this year is Fairy Tale Christmas, a musical by Scott & Michael McLean based on their award-winning book. This musical was performed at the 2016 New York Fringe Festival, and is now coming to Tuacahn’s stage, telling the creative tale of classic villains from fairy tales attempting to kidnap Santa Claus. This musical runs from December 1-23. For seating and other information, visit tuacahn.org.

‘A Christmas Story’ The Musical 

The St. George Musical Theater at the St. George Opera House will be putting a creative twist on the classic holiday film, A Christmas Story. Tickets are $17-21 and can be purchased at sgmusicaltheater.com. Hosted at the historic opera house on main street, this musical runs Thursdays-Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. through December 16.

The Forgotten Carols

This classic play put on by Dixie State University, also organized by Michael McLean, tells the story of a nurse whose life is changed by a patient who retells the story of Christ. It is suggested for children 5+, and children over the age of 2 require a ticket. This play will be available  Dec. 6 – 7 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance at 4 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the Cox Auditorium, 350 S. 700 E. in St. George. Tickets are available at tickets.dsutix.com and range from $19.50 – $36.50.

The Nutcracker Ballet 

For the 24th year, Westside Studio of Performing arts here in St. George will be putting on their annual production of the classic Nutcracker Ballet, complete with mice, soldiers, and the Sugar Plum Fairy with the talented cast and dancers of this local studio. Directed by Sheila Bailey, the performances for this run from December 15-19 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee showing December 16 at 2 p.m. The ballet will be held at Desert Hills High School and is $15-20 to attend and can be purchased here.

2017 St. George Christmas Light Spectacular 

HedgeHog Electric is hosting a new tradition in St. George and Washington County this year – an event recognizing the most festive of lights in the county, with a provided map for viewers to drive around and look at the lights of local homeowners who are dedicated to creating beautiful light scenes in their yards. You could win a $300 Visa gift card if you go on the tour and post a picture to Facebook or a social media site by using the hashtag #StGeorgeChristmasMap. The Kuhn home – a home that won $50,000 from ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight – will be available this year, with activities that go on throughout the month as well. For more info on the Christmasn Light Spectacular, including the map, click here. For HedgeHog Electric’s Facebook page, which also has details of the event, click here.

The Spirit of Christmas at DiFiore Center 

An interactive holiday puppet show will be hosted this year at the DiFiore Center, at 307 N Main St, St George. This show is great for the kids and a good way to kick off the holiday season on December 16 from 7-9 p.m. For more info, visit the website here.

GENTRI’s Finding Christmas 

A cinematic pop performance put on by the trio of tenors whose Christmas album made the iTunes top 10 holiday list next to other artists like Michael Buble and Pentatonix. GENTRI will be at Dixie State University on December 18 at 7:30 pm, with $30 reserved seating to enjoy this performance with holiday classics and more. Tickets can be purchased at tickets.dsutix.com.

Wreaths Across America Ceremony

To honor deceased veterans this holiday season, Wreaths Across America Ceremony is an event at the Tonaquint and Shivwits Paiute Cemeteries to honor Amerca’s veterans by placing wreaths on their gravesites on December 16 at 10 am. This event is freeto attend. To donate to this event, you can go to donate.wreathsacrossamerica.org to help this tradition continue to grow.

 

An Intimate Evening – A Kurt Bestor Christmas

The 30th annual A Kurt Bestor Christmas will be held at the Lorraine Boccardo Theatre at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta offer an intimate holiday gathering with a performance from Kurt Bestor – singer, songwriter, and composer. Tickets are available at kayentaarts.com for the two performances on Friday and Saturday (December 8th and 9th) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 until Nov. 27th $40 after $60 ticket includes premier seating and after party with Kurt Bestor. For more info, visit his Facebook page here.

Temple Lights and Downtown St. George Lights

One of St. George’s most welcoming sights during the holiday season is its abundance of lights in its historic district – namely the Temple, with its grounds decorated in an abundance of multicolored lights, as well as Main Street and Town Square. Once these lights turn on in the evening, take a walk through Downtown St. George to enjoy the holiday spirit the city has to offer.

Dickens Festival 

The Dickens Festival is an annual craft and shopping show with food and live entertainment. Nov. 29 thru Dec. 2, 2017 (Wednesday through Saturday) at the Dixie Convention Center from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Olde English themed shops, costumes, and fortune tellers make this event fun for the kids and unique experience this holiday season. If you’re looking for unique gifts and quality merchandise from local vendors, this festival is great for you. This event is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors (65+), $5 for children (4-12), and children 3 and under get in for free.

Temple Lights and Downtown St. George Lights

One of St. George’s most welcoming sights during the holiday season is its abundance of lights in its historic district – namely the Temple, with its grounds decorated in an abundance of multicolored lights, as well as Main Street and Town Square. Once these lights turn on in the evening, take a walk through Downtown St. George to enjoy the holiday spirit the city has to offer.

 

Georgefest – St. George’s Hub for Culture, Food, and Music

Georgefest, St. George’s once-a-month festival, is in full swing this fall. For the first Friday of every month, main street is closed off and transformed into a festival with live music, street vendors, food, booths, and more. Local businesses open their doors to the flood of locals and travelers that fill the streets during Georgefest. Not only does this event promote St. George’s historic district, it brings the community together and celebrates the culture that thrives in St. George and Southern Utah.

Georgefest is a hub for local crafters and artists to showcase and sell their work to the public. Different local music artists are hosted for each Georgefest, playing throughout the evening. While the weather is cooling down significantly, what better way to spend a crisp fall evening than with friends, good food, and live music? The Desert Pulse Jazz Garden (21+), has a $5 entry and is great for trying local beers and brews, but Georgefest itself is free to attend.

For visitors in town after a long day of hiking in Zion National Park or Snow Canyon, Georgefest is a perfect way to wind down and enjoy the culture and food that St. George has to offer. While you can enjoy the local antique shops, art galleries, retail shops, cafes, and restaurants located in Downtown St. George, there are activities and fun for the kids as well. This non-profit event occurs from 6-10 pm every first Friday of the month and has multiple artists throughout the night playing at both stages – the Main Street stage, and at the Jazz Garden.

The purpose of this event is to promote St. George’s downtown historic district, and to celebrate the best of southern Utah with all of you!  The goal of the event is to establish a rich sense of community in the heart of the City, to celebrate local artists, and to provide a clean and safe nightlife entertainment option for local residents and tourists. The event features a signature street concert, buskers, and goods sold by local artists, farmers and merchants.Engagement components include the Passport to the City program, George Jr. Treasure Hunt for Kids, and the George Jazz Garden at Ancestor Square.

    – Organizers of Georgefest

The executive director of the event, Melynda Thorpe, has many years of experience in branding across Southern Utah. Thorpe is a brand strategist at SUU’s Marketing Communications Office, and worked as director of publications and creative services at UVU. She is also on the board of directors of Arts to Zion, showing deep roots to Southern Utah and a dedication to the culture here.

“It is my hope that this beloved monthly event will remain a permanent part of the southern Utah entertainment landscape for many years to come,” Thorpe said about Georgefest.

For more information on Georgefest, visit georgestreetfest.com. For vendors, music artists, and volunteers interested in participating in this event, click here for more information. 

Hidden Gem Hikes Around St. George

Red Mountain Trail 

Just 12 miles north of Bluff Street on SR-18, Red Mountain Trailhead is a quiet but stunning trail that overlooks Snow Canyon. This overlook has a similar feel and grandeur overlook of Angel’s Landing, without the danger of the infamous last stretch of narrow rock and chains required to traverse the last portion of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

The trailhead starts just past Diamond Valley, with a grand view of the Pine Valley Mountains. A small marked sign points westward as you approach the turnoff, and the trailhead starts close to SR-18. Bathrooms and a parking lot are available at the turnoff. Once you start on the hike, a slight incline on a rocky trail continues as you travel in a southwestern direction. The further you go on the trail, the forest of juniper and pinion becomes denser. While the trail is easily distinguishable most of the time, if it’s difficult to tell what direction to go at any time, continue to take the wide, left-ward paths.

Occasional cairns (stacks of rocks, and in this case, red sandstone) will mark the direction of where to go in situations where it’s a little harder to discern. Overall, the trail is fairly even and steady, without any sections that are overly steep or require you to climb on your hands and knees. Towards the end of the trail, the trail becomes sandy, which can be difficult to walk through for the elderly, small children, or those who have a hard time walking. Once you have reached the end of the trail, you are greeted with a stunning view overlooking the dead center of Snow Canyon from the back (north) side of the state park. White and red sandstone cliffs tower over the gentle terrain at the bottom of the canyon, and in the distance, you can view parts of Ivins, Santa Clara, and St. George. To head back, take the same route back to the trailhead.

This trail is 4.8 miles roundtrip, and generally takes 1 hour and 15 minutes each way (2.5 hours round trip) at a steady pace. At a slower pace, this hike will take closer to 3 hours. Bring plenty of water, as there are no water sources along the trail. This is an easy to moderate trail that’s free, beautiful, and great for all hiking skill levels  

Red Mountain Trail, Overlooking Snow Canyon

Anasazi Trail in Ivins

Another beautiful trail with little traffic is the Anasazi Valley Trail, or Tempi’po’op trail. This hike is an easy trail as well, and 3.5 miles roundtrip. For those interested in Native American history, this trail showcases plenty of petroglyphs – right in the open. This can also be an educational hike for the kids.

To get there, head west on Sunset boulevard for 7 miles. On the left, a sign will say, “Santa Clara River Reserve – Anasazi Valley Trailhead”. After a short dirt road that is less than a few hundred feet long, the trailhead will be on your left. Again, bring plenty of water on this hike, especially if it’s during the hotter months of the year.

There are two trails available to get to the top. The trail to the right is the shorter, steeper trail, although it is encouraged to take the left trail, as this one is the official trail and is easier for kids and stroller access. At the top of the trail, not only are there a striking array of petroglyphs to view, but old Anasazi Farmstead ruins are at the top of the trail as well. Not only does this hike have historical and cultural value, but it’s a beautiful hike showcasing Southern Utah’s red rock as well.

St. George Marathon 2017

The 2017 St. George marathon is coming up on October 7th, and is one of the city’s busiest weekends of the year. Bringing in local and national runners alike, this marathon is the 13th largest marathon in the U.S. The St. George marathon is nationally-recognized and included in the Top 20 Marathons in the USA, […]

How to build your dream home: Part 2

Now that you have the dream, it’s time to make that dream something tangible. This can be quite a nerve racking situation because you’ve never built your own home before, but there are a few things left to do before the house is standing.

1. Talk with an Ence Home Designer

    1. buildProfessionals know what is important because you do not know what is and what is not legal when it comes to building a home. They can let you know what is possible and what is not when it comes to the design.

2. Choose a Location

    1. The location is important because you need to make sure that the plan you are developing is going to fit in the land area. This is also important because you can decide which kind of view you want and what amenities can go with the house.

3. Design the floor plan

    1. Now that you know what you want sit down with an Ence Home designer and figure out how everything is going to work. Remember they are the professional and will let you know what is possible and what is not.

4. Get to work

  1. workStart building and make sure you supervise it on occasion to make sure that what is being done is what you had imagined in the beginning. Watching the creation of your house can be a fulfilling experience because it is your own special project.