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Alphabet loop: The ‘A to Zion’ St. George guide

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Ancestor Square combines 19th century pioneer life and modern living  with 12 renovated buildings, which house restaurants, retail shops and art galleries. (Photo by Dave Becker)

Ancestor Square combines 19th century pioneer life and modern living with 12 renovated buildings, which house restaurants, retail shops and art galleries. (Photo by Dave Becker)

We’ve seen commercials during BYU basketball games encouraging trips to Southern Utah with its slogan of “A to Zion.” Now we’re putting the motto to the test in our 2014 St. George Guide.

Consider this the Utah Valley Magazine version of travel Scrabble.

 

A= Ancestor Square

Located in the heart of St. George, Ancestor Square combines 19th century pioneer life and modern living  with 12 renovated buildings, which house restaurants, retail shops and art galleries.

 

 B= Biking

The red cliffs of Southern Utah and warm climate practically beg for motorcycle cruising. If you like your biking to be of the pedaling kind, consider the Santa Clara River Preserve.

 

C=  Canyoneering

Canyoneering can be done (Photo courtesy St. George Convention & Tourism Office)

Canyoneering can be done by wading through water while others call for climbing and rappelling. (Photo courtesy St. George Convention & Tourism Office)

The canyons of Southern Utah are the state’s most photogenic feature. Distinct geology from rivers running through allows for a variety of canyon-based activities. Some require wading through water while others call for climbing and rappelling. Guides are available throughout the area.

 

 D= Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm

Utah is not extinct when it comes to dinosaur discoveries, but the site at Johnson Farm was only discovered in 2000 when a local physician was working on his property near the Virgin River and discovered dinosaur fossils. Now, the site has a museum that includes replicas and a children’s area that teaches about the dinosaur remains discovered on the spot.

 

E= Enterprise Cornfest

There’s nothing corny about celebrating the harvest. Enterprise Cornfest marks the end of the corn season. This year, head down on Aug. 23 for corn, vintage cars and family fun.

 

F= Film

Since September 2010, film documentarians have showcased their work at the Southern Utah International Film Festival, sponsored by Dixie State University. The event brings tourists who “come for the films and stay for the scenery.”

 

 G= Golf

No secret here. St. George is well-known as a golf destination — especially for Utah Valley athletes looking to escape a late-season inversion. Eleven courses in the St. George area keep the most intense golfer challenged and entertained and suntanned.

The Red Rock Golf Trail —  atozion.com — will help you plan your next golf weekend (or week).

 

 H= Huntsman World Senior Games

Founded in 1987, this international senior sports competition proves that the Golden Years aren’t meant for sitting around the card table.

This year’s games are Oct. 6-18 and include 27 events, such as basketball, horseshoes, golf, pickleball and swimming. Let the games begin and couch potato-ism end.

 

St. George will host the U.S. Pro Championship of Ironman 70.3 on May 3. (Photo by Alex Santiago)

St. George will host the U.S. Pro Championship of Ironman 70.3 on May 3. (Photo by Alex Santiago)

I= Ironman

St. George will host the U.S. Pro Championship of Ironman 70.3 on May 3. This swim/bike/run challenge features the gorgeous scenery of the area while highlighting top athletes from around the country.

 

J= Jeep

The red rocks beg to be tickled by Jeeps and other OHVs.

 

K= Kolob Canyon

Kolob Canyon is part of Zion National Park and features Kolob Arch (the second-longest natural free standing arch in the world). It is accessed from Exit 40 on I-15 and is a scenic preface to your St. George trip.

 

L= Lounging by the pool

Who are we kidding? The kids want to head south with towels and swimsuits in their suitcases to enjoy the 20-degree warmer weather.

 

M= Marathon

Another popular reason for heading south on I-15, the St. George Marathon attracts thousands each October (this year, it’s Oct. 4). Runners around the world put their foot down when saying this is one of the most scenic routes. St. George takes it in stride and comes out to cheer on the athletes.

 

The Narrows is one of the popular hikes at Zion National Park. (Photo by David Pettit)

The Narrows is one of the popular hikes at Zion National Park. (Photo by David Pettit)

N= Narrows

One of the more popular hikes in Zion National Park, the Narrows is 16 miles long with a gorge sometimes 2,000 feet deep. The space between rock walls can be as slim as 20 feet.

 

O= Outlets

One of the first sites welcoming visitors to St. George is the Outlets at Zion. The walkable shopping experience is a convenient way to see plenty of deals in an afternoon. Plus, the area has tasty options for eating when you get tired of walking … and saving.

 

P= Parade of Homes

The St. George Area Parade of Homes, which runs from Feb. 14-23, features 28 homes and welcomes nearly 30,000 visitors each year. Utah Valley homeowners flock to the event to see distinct outdoor living spaces and cutting edge architecture that marries the environment with interior design.

 

Q= Quail Creek State Park

With some of the warmest water in the state, this year-round boating destination is swimming in possibilities for family reunions, water sports and time away from the stress of “life on the land.”

 

R= Rosenbrunch Wildlife Museum

The heart of St. George beats with 300 species of wildlife in the Rosenbrunch Wildlife Museum. More than 35,000 square feet growls with animals off Africa’s plains, North America’s forests and Asia’s mountains.

 

S= Snow Canyon State Park

One of the gems of Southern Utah, Snow Canyon State Park is open year-round and has quick access from St. George. The ancient lava flows and distinctive red rock put hiking shoes to the test.

 

The Tuacahn is an outdoor theater with Broadway quality performances. (Photo by Dave Becker)

The Tuacahn is an outdoor theater with Broadway quality performances. (Photo by Dave Becker)

T= Tuacahn

Watching a show at Tuacahn gives you the perfect status update. The outdoor theater in Ivins has an amazing red cliff backdrop that uniquely combines Broadway-quality shows with southwestern Utah beauty.

The 2014 season features The Little Mermaid, The Wizard of Oz and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat — as well as numerous shows and concerts.

 

U= University

Dixie State is now a four-year university offering 30 bachelor degrees with around 8,000 students. Utah County grads flock south for higher education in a warmer climate and smaller environment.

 

V= Visitor Center at the St. George LDS Temple

With panoramic views of the historic temple, the visitor center allows visitors to learn about the temple’s pioneer construction and get a closer look at the stark-white dominant landmark.

Other LDS Church historical sites in the area include the Brigham Young Winter Home, the Jacob Hamblin Home and the St. George Tabernacle.

 

W= Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum

Near the St. George Airport, this aviation museum preserves and displays historic aircraft.

 

X= X-treme sports

Ziplining? Check. Skydiving? Check, again. Whether it is aerial tours of the area or canyoneering, St. George has professionals ready to help you get your extreme on.

 

Y= Yogurt

Few things taste better on a warm summer night visit to St. George than a fresh cup of frozen yogurt. Local favorites include Krave, Menchies and Yogurtland.

 

Z= Zion National Park

The granddaddy of Southern Utah destinations, Zion National Park is a natural wonderland. In addition to the Narrows and Kolob Canyon, visitors enjoy a variety of geological and biological wonders — accessible by foot and by car window.

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