So you’re coming to Southern Utah? It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time here, or your tenth – it never fails to impress. And since seeing everything isn’t even close to possible, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch want you to see the best. So we’ve come up with the following: The Ultimate, Cannot Skip List. Just like the name implies, this is what we think you shouldn’t miss when you come to Southern Utah.
Zion National Park – Zion is the state’s most popular national park, drawing in millions of visitors every year. So, if you’re coming to Southern Utah, you need to stop by. From the dizzying heights of Angel’s Landing to the narrow water-course of The Subway, there is a stunning amount to see and do in Zion. The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway offers a quick overview of some of Zion’s best features. The epic one-mile tunnel opens to reveal the grandeur of Checkerboard Mesa. And don’t go home without seeing Kolob Canyon – the unconnected annex of Zion National Park.
Capitol Reef National Park – the undiscovered gem of Southern Utah. It’s also our backyard. Less crowded, but no less jaw-dropping, Capitol Reef serves up an impressive collection of hikes. Ranging from narrow canyons to natural bridges, from rivers to high mesas, it’s got it all. Plus orchards. If you’re in season, you can pick all the fruit you want. We love heading south in the Waterpocket Fold, or north into Cathedral Valley. These sections of the park are largely ignored by the general visiting population, but it’s where the real adventure awaits.
Arches National Park – as you might have guessed from the name, this national park has a lot of arches. And we mean a lot. The park contains almost 2,000 natural arches and bridges. You’ve probably already seen Delicate Arch, since it’s on the Utah license plate. When in Arches National Park, be sure to visit the Devil’s Garden and the Fiery Furnace. And when you’ve had your fill of arches and bridges, go play in nearby Moab – the outdoor capitol of the state. Try going on an extreme, slick-rock bike trail. It’s a blast. (Your thighs won’t thank you, though…)
Goblin Valley State Park – here’s where the list of Utah’s national parks ends. As much as we love Canyonlands and Bryce Canyon (and we really do) they just don’t make the cut. Goblin Valley is actually quite similar to Bryce Canyon – both are just lousy with hoodoos. But the difference is that in Goblin Valley, you can play among the hoodoos. So go ahead and start a game of hide-and-seek. Or scrabble up a rock formation. As long as you don’t damage anything, you’ve got free reign of the park. Plus, when you’re done, you can hike Little Crazy Horse Canyon, which is right next door.
Natural Bridges National Monument – this is probably the most remote, but still inhabited, place in Southern Utah. The drive to the monument is unforgettable – especially if you’re coming from the south. Once you get there, you’ll get to see incredible overlooks, three of the largest bridges in the natural world, and tons of archeological treasures. (There’s even an American Indian cliff dwelling, a la Mesa Verde National Park.) And since you’ve driving all that way to get there, stay for the light-show. Natural Bridges National Monument is the world’s first Dark Sky Place. You’ve never see the stars so bright.
So there you have it, the best list we at the Lodge can come up with. We hope you have the time of your life while here in Southern Utah. But, we’re pretty sure you’ll be back for seconds.