Explore Go Lists > The Go List

Explore Magnificent Southwest Utah

By Janelle Smith, Recreation.gov

Horseback riding is just one of many ways to enjoy Southwest Utah's canyon country. (Christine Rowan, Share the Experience)
Horseback riding is just one of many ways to enjoy Southwest Utah's canyon country. (Christine Rowan, Share the Experience)

As you travel southwest from Salt Lake City along the Interstate Highway 15 corridor, the Utah landscape unfolds to reveal lush forests, sweeping vistas, brilliant red rock formations all with recreation opportunities that beckon adventure and scenery seekers.

Explore Things to Do and See in Southwest Utah

From Blue Waters to Red Rocks

Peaceful camping and stellar sunsets on the Fishlake National Forest (Zac-Kelby Flinders, Share the Experience)
Peaceful camping and stellar sunsets on the Fishlake National Forest (Zac-Kelby Flinders, Share the Experience)

A scenic vista overlooking Cedar Breaks National Monument (Roxie Crouch, Share the Experience)
A scenic vista overlooking Cedar Breaks National Monument (Roxie Crouch, Share the Experience)

 

South of Nephi, and just off of Interstate 15, is Yuba Lake Special Recreation Area. The reservoir is popular for all sorts of water sports and there are primitive and developed campgrounds available for overnight stays. As you travel south, the Fishlake National Forest offers plenty of camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and so much more with easy access from Interstate 15. Stay the course to Cedar City where the Dixie National Forest is nearby and surrounds Cedar Breaks National Monument – both of which offer scenic vistas and many options for exploration.

National Parks and Monuments

Sunset Arch in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (David Swindler, Share the Experience)
Sunset Arch in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (David Swindler, Share the Experience)

Extending across nearly two million acres (809,371 hectares) in southwest Utah is the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This vast area is a treasure trove of recreation and exploration possibilities. Also in the area are two iconic national parks that millions of visitors enjoy every year, Zion and Bryce Canyon. While these parks are certainly bucket list-worthy destinations, be aware that peak seasons can be extremely crowded and there may be wait times to enter the parks. Utah Department of Transportation offers traffic cameras to assist with your travel planning.

Mountain Biking Mecca

Trails for all abilities at Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Area (Iris Picat, BLM)
Trails for all abilities at Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Area (Iris Picat, BLM)

The Gooseberry Mesa National Recreation Trail is located southwest of Zion National Park. With a series of bike trails rated from easy to extreme, this area has something for all riding abilities and is a prime location for your next mountain biking adventure.

Miles of Scenic Vistas to Explore

Petrified dunes of the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (Karen Wagner, Share the Experience)
Petrified dunes of the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (Karen Wagner, Share the Experience)

With more than 130 miles (209.2 km) of trails, the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area is a popular destination for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Just a few miles north of St. George, this unique ecosystem combines desert, plateaus and wilderness areas, and is also home to the endangered Mojave Desert tortoise.

Share This Article

Share This Article

Trip Highlights

  • Reservoir water play
  • National forests and monuments
  • Iconic national parks
  • Stellar mountain bike trails
  • Unique ecosystems

Cities Along the Way

  • Provo
  • Cedar City
  • St. George

Campgrounds Along the Way

Explore More Campgrounds

More Trip Ideas

View More Trip Ideas