The last days of summer are upon us here in Southern Utah. Nights on Boulder Mountain have a noticeable chill to them. School is starting in a few weeks (depending, of course, on your school district.) So what do you do to capture the last few moments of summer vacation? We’re glad you asked, because we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch have got some ideas:

A Night Out – You can always keep it simple. How about gathering the kids, driving up the mountain, throwing some burgers on the coals, and watching the stars come out? A picnic cook-out is a great way both to celebrate summer and enjoy good company. S’mores are an absolute necessity – so make sure you’ve got all the essential ingredients. Our favorite location for a cookout? Single Tree Campground on Boulder Mountain. If you make it there, don’t forget to hike down to the waterfall.

A Day Trip – Drive a few hours, find a place to play, make some last-minute summer memories, and be home in time for dinner. Our top pick for that perfect place to play? Goblin Valley State Park. Goblin Valley is one of Utah’s best desert playgrounds. It is a sheltered basin filled with towering hoodoos – similar to those found in Bryce Canyon. However, there is one big difference. In Goblin Valley, you can actually climb on the rocks. (We absolutely suggest a game of hide-and-seek, capture the flag, or tag.) All in all, it should be a solid day of fun.

One Last Weekend – We’ve got one word for you: Zion. Even if you’ve been before, there is no better way to say goodbye to summer than a hike or two in Utah’s most iconic national park. Spend some time riding up Zion Canyon on the bus, just for the views. Then get out at the Zion Lodge and have some lunch – or maybe just some ice-cream. The Emerald Pools trail is located right across from the Lodge, so take an hour or two and hike it. (It’s really pretty easy.) If you want more of a workout, hike Angel’s Landing one morning and catch the sunrise. Or simply check out all the neat galleries, shops, and restaurants near the entrance – there is some pretty cool stuff there.

Adventurer’s Delight – Need to get out there one last time before school starts again? Then now is your chance to do some serious backpacking in the wilderness. If you want our opinion – and we know you do – then head to the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park. There are lots of places to explore, like Upper and Lower Mulley Twist, and the entire Burr Trail. So spend a week in the canyons and give this summer a proper sendoff. (Just be sure to bring bring plenty of water, and get the backcountry permit.)

And that’s our list. We hope these quick suggestions on how to savor the last days of summer in Southern Utah will be helpful.