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St. George - Utah

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Zion National Park lies between the two towns, and either could serve as a stopping place before driving to the spectacular park. Located 75 miles apart, they are linked by Utah Highway 9. St. George is the home of Dixie College, a 2-year institution established in 1911.

The town was the winter residence of the Mormon founder, and his home is now a museum. The Brigham Young Winter Home is located at 200 N. 100 West (using the unique Mormon street designation system) and is open year-round from 9 am until dusk. Erected in 1877, the white Mormon Temple in St. George was the first temple to be completed in Utah. The temple grounds and visitor center are open every day.

Kanab is another historic town and, like St. George, has an imposing early courthouse. Kanab has been a movie-making town for many years, nicknamed Little Hollywood because so many westerns have been shot around here over the past 40 years. Frontier Movie Town is a popular attraction, as are several of the movie sets that still sit near the community. The Heritage House (100 S. Main Street) is an important restored historic house that is open daily and contains memorabilia from the town's pioneer days.

What to See & Do

While Cedar City has its Shakespearean Festival, St. George has classical comedies and melodramas, which are staged each summer by the Pioneer Players in the Arena Theater at Dixie College. For information, phone (435) 628-3121. There are four golf courses in the area, plus two ghost towns are nearby to explore. Both Old Frisco and Silver Reef are located just north of town.

A Day-Trip

One of the best preserved of Utah's ghost towns is located on the Smithsonian Butte Backcountry Byway. Back in 1880, Captain Clarence Dutton and his expedition got their first view of the towers of Zion from atop what he called Smithsonian Butte (after the museum in Washington, D.C.). The byway can be reached from either Utah Highway 59 or Utah Hwy. 9. Both roads lead west from the St. George area.

To retrace Captain Dutton's original path, take Highway 59 8 miles west of Hildale and turn onto the byway at Big Plain Junction. Caanan Mountain lies to the east, with the Vermillion Cliffs in front of the mountain. Smithsonian Butte towers to the northeast. The gravel road veers east around the Butte with splendid views of the Virgin River Valley. This river has sculpted the canyons of Zion National Park and created the other deep canyons in this area.

At the river crossing is the old site of Grafton (2 miles west of Rockville). Settled here in 1862 after a flood destroyed the first town, Grafton was abandoned in the early 1900s. There are five buildings still standing, and the Grafton cemetery (just south of the townsite) is worth a visit. The famous bicycle scene in the movie Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid was shot here.

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St. George Camping

Settlers RV Park has 160 RV sites and 50 tent sites and is open all year (435-628-1624). Temple View RV Resort is also open year-round with 252 RV sites and 40 for tents. Both have full hookups, water, showers, laundry, and swimming.

Kanab Area Camping

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is open all year with 22 pull-through sites and a dump station (435-874-2408). The Ponderosa is smaller with 10 trailer sites, pit toilets, and no showers or fee (435-586-2401).

Nearby Places

Cedar City

Zion National Park

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Bryce Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon
North Rim, AZ

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