Zion National Park

5 National Parks Near St. George, Utah Not To Miss (2023)

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Are you looking to explore the incredible national parks near St. George, Utah? Then you’ve come to the right place!

We are experienced travelers who have visited several of these stunning parks and can provide helpful tips on making your trip memorable.

The national parks close to St. George, Utah, offer some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. From Zion National Park to the Grand Canyon, there is no shortage of natural beauty to explore in this part of the world.

So whether you’re looking for a place to hike, camp, or simply take in the sights, these national parks should be added to your bucket list ASAP!

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5 Amazing National Parks Near St. George, Utah

We believe five national parks close enough to St. George, Utah, deserve to be mentioned here. We have chosen to keep our suggestions within 300 miles of the St. George city limits to ensure you can reach these parks within about 1/2 day of driving.

1. Zion National Park

Distance from St. George: 41 miles
Park Entrance Price: $35 per vehicle, valid for seven days

Zion National Park, located in Southern Utah, is one of the most popular national parks in the country. In fact, it was the third most visited national park in the USA last year.

And it is the closest park when it comes to national parks near St. George, Utah.

the moon rises above the cliffs of zion national park

It is home to some of the most stunning scenery we have ever seen. The red cliffs and canyons are a sight to behold.

We recommend starting with a scenic drive along the canyon floor if you have never been to Zion National Park. The tour takes you almost 8 miles through the most popular section of the park, and the views are insane.

During the winter, you can drive this section in your personal vehicle. But from March to November, you will be required to take the free shuttle that the park provides.

It is first come, first serve at all the stops along the scenic route.

Hiking is one of the best ways to see the park. Hikes range from easy to difficult, with the most popular hike in the park being Angel’s Landing trail. This hike is strenuous and not recommended for those afraid of heights.

If you are interested in the Angel’s Landing trail hike, you must plan well in advance. The hike can only be completed with a permit, and a lottery system has been implemented to provide those permits.

Without the permit, you can still head up to Scout Lookout for an incredible view; you just won’t be able to complete the final chained section of the hike.

sunset leaves a glow on a white mountain in zion national park, one of the national parks near st. george, utah

If you miss out on the permit or don’t want to do such a strenuous hike, there are still tons of other hiking options within the park. Other popular trails include Emerald Pools and the Narrows.

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: If you visit Zion, a great side day trip is to see the ghost town of Grafton.


2. Bryce Canyon National Park

Distance from St. George: 141 miles
Park Entrance Price: $35 per vehicle, valid for seven days

Bryce Canyon National Park is next on our list and is also in Southern Utah. It is known for its unique hoodoos, which are column-like rock formations that can be seen throughout the park.

tall trees line the floor of bryce canyon national park

The hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park are some of the most interesting rock formations in the world. Due to rock erosion, these structures have formed over time, and each hoodoo has its own unique shape and size.

Thor’s Hammer is one of the most prominent and well-known columns to look for during a visit.

We suggest hitting up all the viewpoints during an initial drive to get a feel for the park. The scenic drive overlooks the amphitheater valley filled with hoodoos and trees, giving a great bird’s eye perspective.

Then move on and do some hiking now that you have a lay of the land.

Like most national parks, hiking is extremely popular here at Bryce Canyon. Some popular hiking trails include the Navajo Loop and the Rim Trail.

The Navajo Loop is a moderate hike that takes you on a 1.3-mile loop down through some of the most iconic hoodoos in the park (including the aforementioned Thor’s Hammer).

Or, if you want to stick with an easy hike, walk the paved Rim Trail along the top edge of the canyon. You can walk between Sunrise and Sunset Points as little or as far as you want.

We have the perfect tour if you feel more comfortable hiking with a guide. This half-day hike will provide at least a three-mile hike within the park and include snacks and water.

One of the best reasons to do a park tour is all the knowledge you gain from the guide, history and facts you may not otherwise learn.

โžก๏ธ Book the Hiking Experience in Bryce Canyon

hoodoos including thor's hammer can be seen at bryce canyon national park, one of the 5 national parks near st. george, utah

Watching the sun rise over the hoodoo and amphitheater is a breathtaking experience and is one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: We recommend hitting up one of the canyon viewpoints for the best show. Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, and Inspiration Point are all great options.

3. Great Basin National Park

Distance from St. George: 194 miles
Park Entrance Price: Free

Great Basin National Park is a national park located in Eastern Nevada.

This park is amazing because of its rugged mountains, ancient bristlecone pines, and crystal-clear night skies.

It is more remote than the first two national parks near St. George, Utah, on our list. But it is the perfect place if you want to feel alone in nature.

green trees and mountains on a sunny day in great basin national park

While this park is open year-round, there are parts of the park that are inaccessible during the winter months. So this is one park we recommend you plan to visit during the summer.

There is only one main road traveling through Great Basin National Park, the 12-mile Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive and it is a must-do when visiting.

The views from the road are stunning. And there are multiple pull-outs and overlooks, allowing you to see various landscapes.

An activity you shouldn’t miss during your visit is Lehman Caves. There is a fee for the tour, but seeing as there was no entrance fee into the park, we feel it is well worth the price of $5 to $15 (the cost varies depending on the selected tour).

The tours last anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes and take you through parts of the cave system.

You’ll learn about the geology and history of the cave and see some of the fantastic formations up close. The tour is likely to sell out, so be sure to book in advance.

pieces of wood create interesting shapes at one of the national parks near st. geoge, utah

Great Basin National Park is the only national park certified as an International Dark Sky Park on our list.

So make stargazing a priority while visiting. Clear views of the night sky without light pollution allow you to find objects you might not otherwise see, like the Milky Way.

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: We recommend Mather Overlook as a great starting point for your stargazing journey.

4. Capitol Reef National Park

Distance from St. George: 204 miles
Park Entrance Price: $20 per vehicle, valid for seven days

Capitol Reef National Park is the last one of the national parks in Utah itself. Compared to Zion and Bryce, this park will give you much more solitude as it is not nearly as popular to visit.

The park is known for its red rock formations, canyons, and petrified wood.

the red cliffs and mountains of capitol reef national park

Start with the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive, which takes you about 8 miles into the park and shows you incredible views of the Waterpocket Fold.

What is the Waterpocket Fold? It is a 100-mile-long geologic fold responsible for the park’s creation and a truly impressive sight.

After you finish the scenic drive, you can take several different trails to explore the fold, but be sure to pick one that best suits your ability level.

Cassidy Arch is one of the most popular attractions in the park. This natural sandstone arch is named after the outlaw Butch Cassidy. The arch is near the end of a strenuous 3.5-mile hike, so be prepared for a bit of a workout if you wish to see it.

If this hike isn’t for you, there are many others to choose from.

Opt for the easy Goosenecks Trail for canyon views or the moderate Hickmans Bridge which takes you to a large natural bridge.

While in the park, taking time to see the petroglyphs is essential. These ancient rock art carvings are thought to date back thousands of years and provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.

The park has several petroglyph sites, so be sure to explore a few during your visit. One of the easiest can be seen east of the visitor center off Highway 24.

an upclose photograph to show detail within the rocks at capitol reef national park

Make time to hit up the Gifford House. One of the last remaining historic buildings in the area, built in 1908, it is now a small store serving homemade pies.

You might think it best to wait until after burning some calories hiking before digging into a pie. But they sell out quickly, so you must get there early.

If you miss the pie, they have canned fruit preserves, candles, and other items for sale. And during certain times of the year, you can pick fresh fruit directly from the trees.

5. Grand Canyon National Park

Distance from St. George: 271 miles
Park Entrance Price: $35 per vehicle, valid for seven days

Our last national park to discuss on our list of national parks near St. George, Utah, is located in Arizona. Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.

the grand canyon is one of the national parks near st. george, utah - a tree stands along a cliff edge along the grand canyon rim

The canyon is truly immense, and there are various ways to explore it.

Whether you are driving between overlooks, hiking, photographing, or taking a helicopter ride, you’re sure to be impressed by this natural wonder.

The Grand Canyon has several different vantage points, including the North and South Rim.

You have a shorter drive from St. George if you want to hit up the North Rim. But if you have never visited before, we recommend the South Rim.

The South Rim is the more crowded side of the canyon but is much more accessible and visitor-friendly. And there are tons of great overlooks to see sweeping views of the canyon.

Some of the popular activities to do in the Grand Canyon include hiking, camping, and rafting. There are many different trails to explore, and the scenery is breathtaking.

Rafting trips down the Colorado River are popular and provide a great way to see the canyon from a different perspective.

The Bright Angel Trail is one of the best and most popular hikes in the Grand Canyon.

This trail takes you down to the bottom of the canyon, and it provides some incredible views along the way. Be sure to prepare for a strenuous hike, as the trail is long and changes 3000 ft in elevation.

If you don’t feel comfortable taking on such a strenuous hike without some guidance, you can take a private hiking tour along the Bright Angel Trail.

โžก๏ธ Book the Bright Angel Trail Day Hike Tour

sunset in the grand canyon where low hanging clouds disrupt some of the view

We can’t recommend spending sunset at the Grand Canyon enough.

One of the most famous sunset spots in the Grand Canyon is Hopi Point. Be sure to get here early to snag a good spot as this overlook can get crowded.

Map Of The National Parks Close To St. George, Utah

For those who like the ease of a map or are visual learners, here is a map of the five closest national parks near St. George, Utah.

If you are on your phone and want directions while on vacation in St George, simply hit the square at the top right of the map and it will open in google maps.


State Parks Near St. George, Utah

While we mainly wanted to focus on the national parks near St. George, Utah, it is worth pointing out that there are a few state parks in the area.

State parks can be just as beautiful and have similar characteristics to nearby national parks. But they often don’t come with the massive crowds that national parks have.

The following four state parks are all located in Utah.

Snow Canyon State Park

Distance from St. George: 11 miles
Park Entrance Price: $15 per vehicle for non-residents of the state ($10 per resident), valid for one day

Snow Canyon State Park is a beautiful state park known for its red sandstone cliffs and white petrified sand dunes.

snow canyon state park is a good alternative to the national parks if you are in st. geoge, utah

This park feels very similar to Zion because of how it looks and would be a good alternative if you want to avoid the crowds at the national park.

More than 16 miles of trails take you around the park to see the breathtaking scenery and exciting landscapes.

Rock climbing and biking are also very popular here in the park.

Sand Hollow State Park

Distance from St. George: 13 miles
Park Entrance Price: $15 per vehicle for non-residents of the state ($10 per resident), valid for one day

Sand Hollow State Park is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor fun in Southern Utah.

The park offers a variety of activities, from swimming and boating to hiking and camping.

the sand hollow state park consists of a huge lake offering plenty of water activities, photo shows the lake with red rocks along the shoreline

It has a huge reservoir perfect for all your water sports needs, including fishing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, diving, and more. Or if you are adventurous, try cliff jumping from Desert Pearl Island in the middle of the lake.

But if land is more your style, there are plenty of scenic hiking trails to enjoy.

Just outside the park, you can ride your ATV at Sand Mountain.

No matter which activity you enjoy, be sure to bring your camera and capture the amazing views of the red sandstone cliffs.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Distance from St. George: 62 miles
Park Entrance Price: $15 per vehicle for non-residents of the state ($10 per resident), valid for one day

If you want to stop looking at petrified sand dunes and dig your feet into a real one, then Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is for you.

the top of a sand dune at coral pink sand dunes state park

The dunes are constantly shifting and being replenished by the erosion of the nearby sandstone cliffs. Debris from the red-colored cliffs is picked up by the wind and deposited at the dunes, leaving pink-hued sand.

Like many other parks, hiking, camping, and photography are popular here. But one thing you can’t do at other parks that you can do here at the dunes is rent a sand board and sled the slopes.

The park also allows ATV vehicles in about 90% of the park.

Dead Horse Point State Park

Distance from St. George: 110 miles
Park Entrance Price: $15 per vehicle for non-residents of the state ($10 per resident), valid for one day

Like the Grand Canyon, Dead Horse Point State Park is part of canyon country.

Many who have been here have said it is even better than the Grand Canyon. But we will let you decide that for yourself.

dead horse point state park looks very similar to grand canyon, here we see dramatic rock formations with river running through, this is a great alternative to national parks near st george utah

A somewhat strange name for a park; there is a reason for it. According to the legend, horses were corraled on the plateau, and many died from exposure to the elements.

Hence, dead horse point. A bit morbid, but that is history for you.

You will be treated to several overlooks with amazing canyon views in the park.

On a clear day, you should see Moab, the La Sal Mountains, and the Colorado River as it runs through the canyon.

Hiking and biking are the most popular activities to do here. With 8 miles of hiking and 16 miles of biking trails, there are plenty to choose from based on your skill level.

Tips For Visiting The National Parks Around St. George, Utah

America The Beautiful Pass

Our first tip for visitors is to get the America the Beautiful Annual Pass.

It costs $80 per year, but if you plan to visit just three national parks within 365 days, you have saved some money. Personally, if we were going to hit up two national parks within a year, we would still get the pass and consider that extra $10 a donation to help keep the parks clean and open.

Chat With The Rangers

Take some time to chat with the rangers at the visitor centers. They are there to help you and can provide tips on the hikes that best suit your skills, where to see wildlife, what closures may be happening within the park, and more.

They are highly knowledgeable and can improve your experience in the park significantly.

Scenic Drives

We mentioned it a couple of times above, but we always recommend starting with the scenic drive if this is your first visit to a specific national park.

It gives you an overview of what you can see within the park. It also allows you to look at trailheads along the way and get a better feel for which ones you might like to do during your visit.

Dress Appropriately

Wear appropriate clothing within the park based on your activities.

Wear hiking boots if you plan to hike and not flip-flops. If traveling up to a higher elevation, consider bringing another layer to stay comfortable in the cooler conditions. Consider cleats for better traction if it is winter and there is ice or snow.

Be Responsible

Use common sense and be responsible.

Don’t start a long hike if the weather looks unpredictable or bad. Keep your distance from wildlife for their protection and yours. Don’t litter as you damage the fragile environment and ruin the enjoyment of others within the park.

a small tree sits alone between hoodoos at bryce canyon national park, one of the national parks near st. george, utah

FAQs About St. George, Utah

What Is The Closest National Park To St. George, Utah?

The closest national park to St. George, Utah is Zion National Park. Located just 41 miles away, Zion offers stunning scenery and incredible wildlife. Visitors can explore a variety of trails, including the iconic Narrows. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or an extended stay, Zion is the perfect destination.

Is There A Shuttle From St. George to Zion National Park?

Yes, there is a shuttle from St. George to Zion National Park. The shuttle runs year-round and departs several times per day from the city. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach Zion, so it’s a great option for travelers who don’t want to drive or haven’t rented a car for their vacation. Tickets can be purchased in advance.

What Are The Big 5 Utah Parks?

The โ€˜Big 5โ€™ Utah parks are Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. These five parks offer visitors a variety of breathtaking views, stunning landscapes, and incredible wildlife.

How Far Is St. George, Utah, From Yellowstone?

St. George, Utah is approximately 620 miles from Yellowstone National Park. If you’re driving to the park, it will take about 9 hours to reach your destination. Flights are available but may not be faster if they are not direct. Once you arrive at Yellowstone, prepare for a unique experience filled with magnificent views and incredible geothermal features.

Is St. George Worth A Visit?

Yes, St. George is worth a visit! Located close to some of Utah’s most iconic national parks like Zion and Bryce Canyon, it’s perfect for those who want to explore the outdoors. There are also plenty of activities in town, from golfing to horseback riding to visiting the historic downtown district.

the river goes around a bend in a gorgeous sunset shot in dead horse point state park

To Finish – National Parks Near St. George, Utah Not To Miss

The national parks near St. George, Utah, are a must-see for anyone looking to experience the beauty and adventure around the Southwest.

Bryce Canyon National Park offers breathtaking views and a unique landscape unlike anywhere else on Earth.

Capitol Reef National Park offers a unique blend of desert and mountain landscapes and is home to some of the oldest rocks in the world.

Zion, the Grand Canyon, and Great Basin all have distinct and unusual features that make them worthy of a visit.

So no matter which parks you choose, with plenty of activities and beautiful scenery, they are a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and replenish the soul in nature.