Author Topic: southern utah hidden gems  (Read 5314 times)

southern granny

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southern utah hidden gems
« on: August 15, 2015, 08:11:03 AM »
Hello, Ya'll.  We will be vacationing in Utah next month.  We have never been to the area before.  I can google all the usual tourist stops, but I wondered if anyone has experience in the area and can recommend any "hidden gems" or off the beaten path places that we should see.  Thanks!  We will be staying a week in Moab and a week near Bryce Canyon.

Lnspilot

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2015, 08:59:46 AM »
I found this on page two. It might be helpful.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/tips-for-visiting-utah/

Good luck,

Nick

yakimaniac

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2015, 01:19:10 PM »
I'm from Utah, and I love it there.  most roads through southern Utah will take you to view some pretty great scenery.
While Arches and Bryce are both crowded ( as well as Zion NP) of course you need to see them. Canyonlands is so big, you could spend weeks there and it is not very crowded. Moab is a pretty fun town and the area has lots to do outside the national parks. other hikes, rock climbing, canyoneering, mountain biking trails, rafting, breweries. Dead horse Point state park is around there with a fantastic overlook of the river and canyonlands.
I don't know which way you are driving to get between them, but Capitol Reef NP is really nice and rarely visited,  Red Canyon in Dixie national Forest ( near Bryce) is beautiful, has some great hikes, and Butch Cassidy had hideouts there. 
Cedar City has a wonderful Shakespeare festival close to this time of year IF there is anything going on when you'll be there I'd highly recommend a stop- It's really, really high quality ( they do other plays as well as Shakespeare).  Brian Head Ski resort is a great place for lift access mountain biking in the summer or hiking, the elevation is up there- so if it's too hot down below it's a great place to spend  a cooler day- often need a long sleeve shirt even in July. ( eagle point ski resort is down in south central utah as well, it used to be elk meadows when i lived there, probably has some similar activities- this is in the Tushar mountain range which is very beautiful, and not that traveled)
Big Rock Candy mountain resort is right on the 89 after you turn off I 70 on your way down to bryce,  they have a lot of activites there, and if if you don't stay, it's worth a stop to see their unique brightly colored mountain ( and the lemonade springs :) )
Kanab is a quirky town that is fun to visit, great vegetarian/vegan eateries too, about half the people that live there work up the canyon at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary- where you can take a tour- they do great work there for animals of all kinds. near Kanab is the pink coral sand dunes state park.
And if you decide to make a visit to St George area- snow canyon state park is one of my favorites with some fun hiking on sandstone  (much less crowed than the NP and little more leeway for off trail goofing around). And if in St George, you must go to Swig's and get a sugar cookie- the best ever! ( and I'm not usually a fan of sugar cookies, but this one is perfection)

what every you end up doing, enjoy your trip!, I haven't been in southern UT for over a year, currently exploring the pacific NW, but Utah will always be home!
« Last Edit: August 15, 2015, 01:21:25 PM by yakimaniac »

southern granny

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2015, 02:37:51 PM »
yakimaniac... thanks so much.  That is exactly the type of information I was looking for. The pink coral sand dunes sounds very interesting and I will definitely check out those sugar cookies.   

bognish

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2015, 09:25:07 AM »
Any details on what you like doing? Or the age range of your group and physical activity levels? What airport are you coming in to?

southern granny

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2015, 08:35:50 PM »
We are late 50s, flying into Vegas.  Hikes will be limited to 5 miles or less.  Our interests are anything nature related.

NV Teacher

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2015, 08:44:40 PM »
If you are driving up from Vegas get off the freeway and drive through Valley of Fire state park.  It's between Vegas and Mesquite and very interesting.  Just outside of St. George is a small town called Santa Clara.  It's a nice little town with a fruit and veggie stand that's fun to visit.  The peaches and tomatoes are just coming on and are quite delicious.   If you are interested you can also visit the Mormon temple and Brigham Young's home.  Lots of people also enjoy Snow Canyon.

Tick-Tock

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2015, 09:22:33 PM »
If you're fans of the movie "Galaxyquest" you may want to check out Goblin Valley State Park, which is off of Utah State Route 24.

One year for my husband's birthday we went to Capitol Reef NP, which was spectacular.  We ate at Cafe Diablo in Torrey, Utah and loved it.

bognish

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2015, 01:04:45 PM »
On the way between Bryce & Moab you can route through Capital Reef park. It is much less visited than the other UT national parks with many hikes that hit your interest level. They also maintain the orchards that were planted by the original pioneers and you can pick fruit depending on whats in season. Torrey UT just west of Capital Reef has some decent restaurants. I don't remember if there is a grocery store or not.

Just to the east of Capital Reef is Goblin Valley. It is a unique park that is good for half a day for you. Also close to Goblin Valley is Little Wildhorse canyon. This is a very accessible slot canyon that has narrows 2-3 feet wide for 2 miles. It is a perfect first slot canyon with a sandy bottom where you start at the bottom and head up until you have had enough. Check out Goblin valley in the morning, then head to Wildhorse when it gets hot and you will be in the shade for most of this hike.

If you don't mind a little exposure or have a fear of heights, heading further out the trail at Arches NP past landscape arch to navahoe or partition arches is worth the time and gets away from the crowds. Visiting Landscape or Delicate Arch either early in the AM or late in the day will help avoid tour bus crowds and get better pictures.

The John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River is pretty good and worth a stop on the way to Moab. You can also get groceries in Green River and they grow lots of melons & cantalopes so grab some from a farm stand if they are in season. Ray's Tavern is about the only place to eat in town and has a good burger.

There are dinosaur tracks on both sides of highway 191 inbetween I70 and Moab. Google can give you better directions than I can. There are cliff paintings everywhere. Ask a ranger at any of the parks if you want to get pointed in the right direction.

southern granny

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2015, 06:48:06 PM »
Thanks everyone.  And we are planning to stop at Capital Reef when we leave Moab.  I am excited about the roadside fruit stands... I hope it is still in season.

bognish

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2015, 01:16:14 PM »
There is usually a farm truck at the gas station lot at the west exit of i70 for Green River.  Not much of anything on the side of the road in southern UT.

pwe

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2015, 04:44:54 PM »
One of those little gems that we found on a similar trip was the Petrified Forest Trail outside of Escalante. It might be worth a stop if you are taking Rt 12 from Capital Reef to Bryce and you need to stretch your legs.

NV Teacher

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2015, 06:27:24 PM »
One of those little gems that we found on a similar trip was the Petrified Forest Trail outside of Escalante. It might be worth a stop if you are taking Rt 12 from Capital Reef to Bryce and you need to stretch your legs.

Highway 12 is a beautiful drive if you have the time.  It will take you through the Escalante Grand Staircase area and it is spectacular in the fall.

bognish

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2015, 02:45:59 PM »
Calf Creek falls and Kiva Koffeehouse is also worth a stop on Hwy 12.

Punxsyboy

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Re: southern utah hidden gems
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2015, 06:09:55 PM »
Kodachrome Basin State Park,  Willis Creek slot canyon (near Kodachrome), Calf Creek Falls. Spooky & Peek-a-boo slot canyons.  Island in the sky & needles section of Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Zion NP....the list goes on & on.  Here's a web sight to look at a bunch of different hikes by area.  Have fun.....we camp in S. Utah at least 2 weeks each year. (for the past 20 years).