Many people are familiar with Zion National Park, but not with its next door neighbor, Dixie National Forest, only a 4-hour drive from Las Vegas. It is truly a stunning location and perfect for a day trip with the family.
Dixie National Forest occupies almost 2 million acres, stretches for about 170 miles across Southern Utah, and is the largest national forest in Utah. The red sandstone formations in Red Canyon rival those of Bryce Canyon National Park. Hell’s Backbone Bridge and the view into Death Hollow are breathtaking. From the top of Powell Point, it is possible to see for miles into three different states. Boulder Mountain and its many small lakes provide opportunities for hiking, fishing, and viewing outstanding scenery. Elevations in the forest vary from 2,800 feet near St. George, Utah, to 11,322 feet at Blue Bell Knoll on Boulder Mountain. High altitude forests in gently rolling hills characterize the Markagunt, Pansaugunt, and Aquarius plateaus. It is open to OHV usage, hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiles, cross-country skiing, camping, and more.
Your day trip should start with Cascade Falls, truly my favorite location in the world. The views are breathtaking. On the drive there, you will see views of the beautiful trees, lakes, and wildlife. There are many stops up the mountains to take beautiful photos and enjoy the scenery.
Cascade Falls Trail is a short, 1.1-mile roundtrip-hiking trail named for the waterfall that pours of the cliff at the end of the trail. The water that flows over the falls originates in the Navajo lake. There are benches along the route, allowing hikers to rest and enjoy the scenery. The trail is kid-friendly with restrooms and parking. This is a perfect place to sit down, take in the fresh mountain air, enjoy the moment, and reflect on your life.
Next drive to Duck Creek Village, where you will find local shops and restaurants. You will finish this incredible day by driving back to Las Vegas through the Zion National Park Scenic loop, which is truly a memorable experience. This scenic byway runs for 54 miles, and travel time is about 1½ hours. There is a cost associated with the park entry, but it definitely worth the price. The most cost-effective is the annual pass of $80, which can be used nationwide.
For additional information, visit utah.com/dixie-national-forest
By Calanit Atia
Calanit Atia is an award-winning event planner and entrepreneur. She is the founder and President of A to Z Events, Las Vegas DMC and Entertainment Agency. She serves on the 2020 MPI Women’s Advisory Board Member, is an Air Force Veteran and is known as “The Negotiator” Speaker.