5 Things We Love about St. George, Utah

St. George boasts dramatic red rocks, a desert garden, and soaring architecture.

Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, Utah.

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With its relatively warm winters, St. George has long attracted snowbirds. Today, visitors come for the dramatic red rocks, an expansive public garden, and a sensationally placed eatery.

1. At the five-acre Red Hills Desert Garden, opened in 2015, rock-lined paths meander past barrel cacti, prickly pears, and more than 160 other plant varieties. An artificial slot canyon leads to a constructed stream with a special fish-viewing chamber. Dinosaur tracks recall the days when the 1,000-pound dilophosaurus roamed these parts.

2. Set against a backdrop of sandstone cliffs, Kayenta Art Village in the town of Ivins, some 10 miles northwest of St. George, is a strollable cluster of galleries selling Navajo pottery, recycled silver jewelry, and fused-glass art. The nearby Desert Rose Labyrinth invites quiet contemplation.

3. The sparkly white St. George Utah Temple tops out at 175 feet, carving a striking profile against the sky. The meeting hall, dedicated in 1877, isn't open to guests who aren't Mormons, but you can walk the flower-filled grounds and marvel at the architecture.

4. It hardly seems like a fair fight when your cooking competes with a view of the moon over distant Zion Canyon, the crown jewel of southwest Utah. But chef Eric Gburski of Cliffside Restaurant rises to the challenge with delicious contemporary American dishes such as chile-glazed salmon with fresh mango salsa.

5. Ancient lava flows, solidified sand dunes, cinder cone volcanoes, and striped monoliths that soar as high as 600 feet make Snow Canyon State Park, next to Ivins, a worthy day trip and a popular movie backdrop. Despite its name, snow is rare.

This article was first published in Winter 2018. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.