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Golf By The Numbers

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People often say that golfing in Greater Zion is like playing in a postcard, and we have a healthy library of photos to confirm. Pictures do say a thousand words, but numbers also talk. And Greater Zion’s golf stats are pretty impressive. Here’s the breakdown:

There are 14 courses in a 20-mile radius

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Yes, you read that correctly. Community members and visitors have a wide selection of golf offerings from which to choose in Greater Zion, including everything from all-inclusive resorts to stay-and-play experiences to classic municipal layouts. (Don’t let the word ‘municipal’ fool you – many golfers report that the city-owned golf courses in Greater Zion keep pace with their favorite non-municipal courses around the country.) 

Whether you golf in St. George, Hurricane, or Washington, you’ll never be more than a 20-minute drive away from the next courses. And no matter which course you choose, you’ll golf near Zion National Park, whose beauty extends far beyond the official park borders. Such convenience lets you pack even more variety into your golf itinerary, and such captivating scenery will inspire you to swing for the red-rock-lined skies.

There are 262 holes and 100,683 yards in total

If you played one hole of golf per day in Greater Zion, it would take nearly nine months to play all of them. Hole-y moley! Thank goodness they let you play numerous holes a day! 

In addition to the sheer number of holes, each course has carefully designed signature holes. They create unique and challenging rounds that are perfectly balanced by the scenic surrounding landscapes. There’s no accounting for the number of balls you could lose in your round with these challenges, but you’ll be comforted by your surroundings.

The total number of golf yards in Greater Zion – 100,683 – is also staggering. That is equivalent to over 57 miles. With that distance, you could hike Angels Landing almost 11 times, ride around the entire Sand Hollow Reservoir 28.5 times, and run a little more than two marathons. 

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There are several prestigious golf events 

These kinds of golf stats don’t go unnoticed. In fact, they have drawn the attention of The PGA Tour and LPGA Tour. The LPGA tour has hosted tournaments – the Epson Tour and the Senior Championship – multiple times in Greater Zion, with even more slated to take place in 2025. In late 2024, The PGA tour will host a tour event in Ivins. 

All that to say: Greater Zion golf courses are definitely professional-grade. 

2,400 square miles of adventure await beyond the fairways

Golf is just the beginning of your adventure in Greater Zion. There are already 14 course options; now, just imagine pairing them with the hundreds of activities and adventures waiting outside the course. The combinations are endless. 

Jeremy Diguer is an accomplished French triathlete. He has taken advantage of several opportunities to compete in IRONMAN races around the globe, immersing himself in many of the great wonders of the world. But by his account, nowhere else on Earth compares to the majesty that is Greater Zion.

“St. George is a dream for me,” Diguer said. 

Background

Before his IRONMAN days began, Diguer grew up in France, catching glimpses of the United States through the media. Displays of the landscapes, nature, and unique geology in Utah always drew his eye. 

When he was presented the opportunity to race in Greater Zion, Diguer was eager to participate and share his experiences competing and exploring with his dear friend, Thomas Maillard.

Maillard and Diguer share a fascination with Greater Zion and a passion for IRONMAN competition, but Maillard’s abilities are limited since he is wheelchair-bound. That is where Diguer steps in. 

“I want people to know they can pursue their dreams no matter their circumstances,” Diguer said.

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You might recognize the duo from previous IRONMAN competitions. For the entirety of his race, Diguer competes in tandem with Thomas. This is no small feat since the race includes swimming, biking, and running portions. That doesn’t stop Diguer from sharing the competitive experience with his friend, though.

During the swim portion of the race, Diguer pulls Maillard along on a raft. During the bike, Diguer pulls a trailer in which Maillard sits. And for the final run portion of the race, Diguer pushes Maillard in his wheelchair. At the finish line, Diguer switches places with Maillard, who completes the final steps of the race, demonstrating that those with disabilities are capable of achieving great feats. 

Witnessing these two work together is even more inspiring than the reverent landscapes surrounding them, and it is a true testament to the endurance of the human spirit in the face of adversity. The uplifting feelings are only amplified by the crowd, volunteers, and community members. 

“Greater Zion is one of the only places I have raced where there are people along the entire course,” Diguer recalls. “There is cheering and celebration no matter where you are in the race.”

Looking ahead

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This year, Maillard will remain in France as Diguer competes in the Intermountain Health IRONMAN 70.3 North American Championship St. George, but he will still be actively engaging with the race. Maillard will be monitoring Diguer’s social media on race day, May 4, and viewers can also tune in to watch the race via live stream. If you’re trying to spot Diguer, he won’t be hard to miss thanks to his towering height and French uniform prominently displaying his last name. 

While Diguer will miss Maillard’s companionship and encouragement as he competes, he looks forward to racing in Greater Zion again, one of his favorite locations. In addition to its beauty, this IRONMAN 70.3 race is renowned for being one of the most difficult courses. 

“The elevation can be challenging,” Diguer said. “The dryness too – but the bike portion is very fast,” he said. “And of course, I love the sunshine.”

Diguer is hoping the typically dry weather will create ideal racing conditions and increase his odds of checking an iconic hike off of his bucket list: The Narrows in Zion National Park, which often closes seasonally due to high river levels. Beyond the park, he plans to explore the bike trails in Snow Canyon, the water sports at Sand Hollow, the restaurant scene in Springdale, and various other activities throughout Greater Zion. Even after an intense competition, Diguer prioritizes taking the time to experience the magical active offerings in our area as he recovers

As Diguer races through the twists and turns of the course, the inspiration he and his fellow competitors create will echo off the canyon walls. That inspiration will be felt across the world as spectators witness such amazing achievements and athletes carry the experience of Greater Zion in their hearts for years to come.

Washington County has supported film ventures since their earliest appearances in Greater Zion, and local leadership continues to advocate for the future of the industry. 

The opening credits

In 1927, the silent western movie “Ramona” (1928) was shot in Zion National Park. Soon after, other western filmmakers flocked to Zion, eager to showcase our stunning landscapes that many regard as iconic symbols of the western United States. The films that followed – including “The Vanishing Pioneer” (1928), “The Arizona Kid” (1939), “The Dude Ranger” (1934), and many others – paved the way for even more productions, and the film industry began to flourish. 

More than 40 years after the first film was shot in Greater Zion, Twentieth Century Fox landed in St. George to film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969), starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Katharine Ross. It was a hit at the box office, becoming the top-grossing film of 1969. The box office was not the only thing this film impacted, though; it showcased the wonder of Zion National Park to audiences and crew members alike. Here in Greater Zion, leading actor and future filmmaker Robert Redford discovered a deep love for Utah

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Redford’s profound appreciation for Utah inspired him to film several other motion pictures in Greater Zion, including “Jeremiah Johnson” (1972) and “The Electric Horsemen” (1979). These movies created more filmmaking synergy, inspiring crews to make the journey to Washington County and use it as the backdrop for their stories, including “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing” (1973) and “The Eiger Sanction” (1975). 

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In 1977, “The Car” (1977) was one of the last movies to be filmed in Zion National Park; regardless, the film industry continued on in Greater Zion. “High School Musical 2” (2007), “The Flyboys” (2008), and countless other short films, documentaries, music videos, and Hallmark movies selected Greater Zion as their film location.

The rising action

Over 96 years after the first silent western movie was filmed in Greater Zion, Washington County is the location for yet another western movie, creating a true full-circle moment. Kevin Costner’s full-length feature series “Horizon: An American Saga” is filmed in Greater Zion. Chapter 1 features shots of Greater Zion, and Chapter 2 began more extensive filming in various locations throughout Washington County in April 2023. Chapters 3 and 4 will be filmed in 2024. Many locals were hired as crew members, and students from Utah Tech University were hired as interns, creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add “Horizon” to their resumes. Local community members were giddy with excitement when the call for hiring extras was announced, eagerly volunteering to participate in a project that tells a compelling story and proudly showcases their home. 

In 1979, Robert Redford expressed to a group of college students that he would love to see the construction of a sound stage in St. George. Like Redford, Costner also recognized the beauty of Greater Zion and the benefit of having a sound stage in Washington County. As both western storytellers once dreamed, their visions of a studio are coming to fruition. Preparations are currently underway for the groundbreaking of Territory Film Studios, a joint venture into film production with Kevin Costner and developer Brett Burgess. This studio is another step forward for the local film industry and the local economy. 

The encore

Currently, Utah has over 4,000 higher education students pursuing film-related classes and degree paths. All of Utah’s universities, applied technology schools, and even high schools offer film classes. However, due to extreme difficulty finding in-state, film-related careers, students with film aspirations leave Utah after graduation. The evolving film industry creates an opportunity for Utah to retain those who are raised and educated locally, and Washington County is encouraging that growth through the interest our youth is pursuing: film.  

As Greater Zion continues to grow rapidly, our county leaders have recognized the need for additional industry. The film industry provides jobs, utilizes local services, and provides a family-sustaining wage.  Combined with the amount of interest Utah’s youth demonstrates in the film industry, our beautiful landscape, and substantial economic impact, film offers obvious, sustainable solutions to ever more pressing economic development challenges. 

Washington County has a rich history with film, and an even brighter future in the industry lies right at our fingertips. If we can capitalize on this beckoning opportunity, Washington County could become a hub for filmmaking in the southwest.

The IRONMAN sculpture, an artistic piece paying homage to the incredible IRONMAN events that have taken place in Greater Zion over the past decade, has moved to a new home. 

Originally displayed in the center of the traffic circle on Main Street and Tabernacle, the sculpture has relocated to the plaza in front of Zions Bank – same street, just a bit further north on Main and just south of St. George Boulevard. 

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A little back story 

In 2019, St. George officially won the bid to host the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, prompting local race organizers to seek a way to memorialize the World Championship, the IRONMAN mantra (“Anything is Possible”), and the enduring positive legacy that IRONMAN events have created in Greater Zion. 

It was agreed that the only way to truly capture the spirit and essence of all things IRONMAN was through art. Thus, the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office and the City of St. George cooperatively commissioned a sculpture. 

Artists Richard and Josh Prazen presented the concept of a metal sculpture depicting the swim, bike, and run disciplines over the rugged landscapes of Greater Zion. 

Richard and Josh are third and fourth generation blacksmiths who have widely

influenced the metal artistic community for the last several decades. After securing the commission, the father-son duo worked together to bring their vision of the majestic IRONMAN art piece to life. It is one of the original works of art showcased by the local Art Around the Corner Foundation, and one of the few pieces that calls Greater Zion its permanent home.

The cubic sculpture has four sides, featuring a part of the triathlon – swim, bike, and run – on three sides, and the IRONMAN event logo on the fourth. The three sides featuring race imagery represent more than the literal events, though; they also signify the sacrifice, hard work, and accomplishments of the athletes who participate. The fourth side celebrates the land we live in, the accomplishments of the community, and the dedication of the people who make events like IRONMAN possible.

“We are very honored to have this sculpture showcased to the world,” said sculpture artist Josh Prazen. “It has been an incredible experience, especially working with the city and the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office to bring this vision to life.”

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The story lives on

Since the original installation, the IRONMAN sculpture has been an onlooker of several historic moments in Greater Zion, including the first showing of the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in the area. 

The global pandemic allowed Greater Zion to once again host the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, and created an unprecedented opportunity to host the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship. Such events had us pretty flattered as this iconic brand and the World were recognizing our both resilient and a world-class destination. 

As the name implies, World Championships attract the best athletes from all corners of the world, as well as their family and friends. The IRONMAN sculpture welcomed those historic events and the thousands of visitors who took part. It saluted the athletes along their competition route. It stood proudly in the background as finish line celebrations unfolded. It signaled the unity between the competitive spirit of Greater Zion and the competitors themselves. This year, it will greet yet another group of IRONMAN visitors as they compete in Greater Zion. 

Whether you are in Greater Zion for leisure purposes or to recover from your most recent IRONMAN escapades, check out the inspirational IRONMAN sculpture (which is much easier to access for photo opportunities in its new location), the Land of Endurance mural across the street, along with the other extensive art offerings in the area. 

According to Utah native and professional cyclist T.J. Eisenhart, “when it comes to art, you can say so much.” And his mural, “Land of Endurance”, speaks volumes about Greater Zion and the signature events that take place here.

Eisenhart’s mural commemorates the competitive spirit of Greater Zion, its athletes, and the beauty of the Land of Endurance®. Located in downtown St. George, you can admire the installation on the south side of the building at 61 North Main Street. As an added bonus, the mural can be seen from the official IRONMAN race route, allowing athletes to absorb the inspiration during the race … and/or recovery

“I’ve raced as a world champion; I know the pressure and the energy that athletes put into their sport,” said Eisenhart, who is both a world-class artist and professional cyclist. “I wanted to capture that spirit along with the beauty of the area, which inspires me during every ride.” 

The mural features geometric shapes, bright colors, and scenes that represent the swimming, biking, and running events found in triathlons. The mural also captures the stunning views found throughout Greater Zion, paired with sunset visuals similar to what participants encounter during the run portion of the competition. 

“Events like IRONMAN bring passion and energy into our communities, and T.J.’s mural does an excellent job of capturing both of those elements,” said Brittany McMichael, director of the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office. 

The mural was originally finished just ahead of the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship, which was contested in May 2022. The event marked the first time the championship was contested outside of Hawaii. And the mural welcomed the world, serving as the backdrop for the Parade of Athletes and visible from the race course.

“When our office originally commissioned this artwork, we did so with the intention of preserving that uplifting feeling that accompanies IRONMAN races. The fusion of art and athletics T.J. created is powerful, and we are so glad to see ‘Land of Endurance’ continuing to serve as inspiration to create and compete fearlessly.”

City of St. George deputy director of arts and events Michelle Graves first discovered T.J.’s work when she saw his painting of Justin Williams, a successful Belizean-American cyclist. The painting depicts the victorious 32-year-old Williams as he crosses the finish line, filled with excitement and enthusiasm after his championship performance.

“One day, I saw a bright and dynamic painting he created of a cyclist and thought ‘wouldn’t it be amazing to have a triathlon mural on the wall on Main Street that the world-class IRONMAN athletes could enjoy as they came into the finish line,’” said Graves. 

With the details worked out and the masterpiece complete, Graves is proud to see her vision realized. 

“Having this IRONMAN mural painted by a professional, local athlete ties this piece to the event and encapsulates all that we love in St. George – arts, events, and outdoors,” added Graves. 

T.J. draws from the outdoors to create many of his pieces, and he finds much of the inspiration for his work while on his bike. 

“When I’m riding my bike, my mind is constantly thinking about art,” added T.J. “It’s like preparing for a race or a game. You have to have your mind ready and have your mind in the zone.” 

T.J. referenced one memorable ride up Kolob Terrace Road where he found his saving grace. The sun was setting and he was physically and mentally drained. However, he found his purpose while coasting down the road after his grueling workout. 

“Riding my bike had a purpose that day. I reconnected with the freedom that riding gives you – it’s not about winning; it’s about riding my bike for the freedom and love of my surroundings.”

Athletics have always been a part of T.J.’s life. He specifically recalls an encounter during a family trip to Europe that inspired a life-long love for cycling. 

“I was 8 years old when we saw a stage of the Tour de France go through the Pyrenees. I got hooked! And, realized that I wanted to do something with bikes.” 

While T.J. started winning races and excelling in his sport, his family bought a house in St. George. At age 16, he would attend high school in Lehi, Utah, and then drive to St. George and stay in his family’s home to train over the weekends. He graduated from high school early and moved to St. George full-time to train. Between winters in Greater Zion and summers in Europe, T.J. was on a year-round training plan, determined to succeed. 

However, there was still one thing that was missing in T.J.’s life: his love for art. 

“Art was there before athletics,” added T.J. “When I was getting burned out and realized my life wasn’t balanced (when I was training so much), my mom suggested I take some art classes. I took some basic classes and got back in touch with my passion.” 

As a result of  T.J.’s athletic and creative prowess, he has been dubbed “Utah’s most colorful pro cyclist.” When asked what this means to him, he laughs, “you are probably right! It’s taken me a while to get to that place. Through art, I’ve found my confidence to be my original self.”

When asked what he wants people to take from the mural, T.J. smiles and said, “a flutter of emotion once you first look at it. I want it to take you by surprise with the excitement of the colors and the massive subject matters (athletes swimming, biking and running). I want it to inspire you, ignite some creativity and passion. It’s like a pebble in water that ripples and makes you smile later.” 

T.J.’s other artwork is occasionally displayed in local art galleries, so stop by and check them out if you get the chance. Expect the same bold color on a smaller scale.

Learn more about the 2024 Intermountain Health IRONMAN® North American Championship and read other inspirational stories on our Greater Zion IRONMAN blog.

The newest extension of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

Delicate species like the dwarf bear-poppy and the desert tortoise aren’t the only things the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve protects – access to recreation hotspots are maintained and protected by this organization as well. Beloved by locals and visitors alike, you can find several popular recreation spaces within the reserve – in Zone 6, specifically – as well. Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Bear Claw Poppy Biking/Hiking Trail System

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Bear Claw Poppy is a versatile, multi-entry network of trails with varying options for all skill sets. You can enjoy the trail on bike, on foot, as a loop, or as an out-and-back. Entering at the Gap Trailhead is the best way to have an enjoyable, downhill cruise. If you’re up for something more challenging, opt for more technical routes featuring steep hills such as Acid Drops, Clavicle Hill, or the 3 Fingers of Death.

2. Green Valley Gap

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Green Valley Gap has several hiking and biking options, but most notably, it has an excellent climbing area. You can take on several moderately challenging routes that traverse sandstone formations reaching up to 2,870 feet in elevation. This area is ideal for leisurely climbing. But, if you prefer machinery over manual navigation, you can close the gap via 800 feet of zipline

3. Moe’s Valley Bouldering

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This world-class bouldering spot is well-known and well-loved, as its placement in Climbing Magazine’s top 25 bouldering locations list reflects. With its easy accessibility and routes graded from V0 to V14, climbers of all skill sets are welcome. Here, you can clutch killer crimps on classic Utah red rock. Trust us – it’s even cooler than the license plate. 

4. Stucki Springs Biking/Hiking Trail

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This trail is a lesser-known part of the Bear Claw Poppy trail network. Great for biking and hiking, Stucki Springs is 14 miles long with cliffside views and frequent encounters with the threatened desert tortoise – keep stewardship best practices in mind if you see one. The tortoises might be the only other creatures you encounter on this trail though, as traffic is so minimal that it’s almost spooky. (If ‘spooky’ didn’t rhyme with ‘Stucki’, you’re saying it wrong!)

5. Zen Biking/Hiking Trail

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Though this is a hikable trail, Zen is best known and most frequently used for biking. About six miles of moderately strenuous trail take riders around and through towering rock formations, like the Hippopotamus Caves, while offering a bird’s eye view of the city of St. George. Find your inner zen and go with the stellar flow this trail offers. 

Getting to know Zone 6

Zone 6 is the newest addition to the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, spanning over 6,000 acres. This acreage was granted in 2021 as part of the Northern Corridor roadway agreement in order to protect delicate species and preserve recreation opportunities. 

The Zone 6 expansion isn’t physically connected to the original, northern section of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. It’s closer to the Arizona border and lies just south of Santa Clara, as illustrated here

The Red Cliffs Desert Reserve is about so much more than borders, though; recreation, stewardship, and environmental preservation are key aspects of Greater Zion’s culture. The Zone 6 expansion is just one example of locals’ and visitors’ dedication to putting the Land of Forever first and preserving it for future generations. 

We encourage you to visit every fascinating edge of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve from Zone 6 and beyond. Learn more about other recreation opportunities this area offers here.

The Mojave Desert tortoise is one of many fascinating creatures roaming the Greater Zion landscape. Slow but steady, threatened but resilient, desert tortoises are essential to the desert ecosystem.

This little guy is a big deal

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The desert tortoise, or Gopherus agassizii, is a keystone species. This title is given to species who go above and beyond to help the entire ecosystem by contributing something critical. 

The desert tortoise’s contribution is digging burrows, earning it the nickname “engineer of the desert.” Their claws, shell, and stature (8-15 inches long) are all perfectly adapted to plow through the sand. 

Desert tortoises dig burrows to hibernate through cold winter temperatures and to take a break from intense summer heat. Several other species like the Gila monster, sidewinder rattlesnake, chuckwalla, and peregrine falcon use them too. In fact, they depend on the tortoise burrows to survive – talk about a master architect! Without desert tortoises and their burrows, life in the desert would look much different.

Wait – what the shell?

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Unfortunately, the possibility of life without the desert tortoise is very real due to a variety of factors including:

Development – As the popularity of desert communities grows, so does the demand for development. Many desert tortoise habitats have been eliminated due to residential and commercial development. 

Human intervention – Darn those meddling humans, especially the ones who violate stewardship best practices by driving recklessly or taking tortoises out of their habitat to keep as pets. Not cool … and it’s illegal

Upper Respiratory Tract Disease – This illness likely first developed among desert tortoises that were illegally kept as pets. When released back among their peers in the wild, the illness spread among the entire population. If not detected and treated correctly, upper respiratory tract disease can be fatal.

There’s still hope for our favorite slowpokes

Luckily, there are expert biologists in Greater Zion who have mastered the science of desert tortoise preservation. Enter the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

The folks at conservation organizations like the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve are the only ones who can give tortoises the resources and assistance they need to survive because, in addition to their keystone species classification, desert tortoises are also considered a conservation-reliant species. 

In the wild, the desert tortoise can be found roaming the Mojave Desert anywhere from California to Arizona. In Greater Zion specifically, the tortoises like to hang out in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, where they are carefully monitored by biologists. If the biologists notice any issues with the tortoises, they give the tortoises a little extra TLC before safely returning them to their habitat. 

The biologists aren’t the only ones who make a positive impact on desert tortoises’ lives; your dedication to practicing good stewardship does too. When it comes to desert tortoises, you need to let them be. Leave No Trace and Land of Forever principles recommend 25 feet or more between you and any desert tortoise or wildlife in the wild.  

There is one very important exception, though: if a tortoise is in immediate danger, help! For example, move a tortoise out of the road if there is a car coming – that’s not a very fair race. Make sure you aren’t endangering yourself, then carefully pick up the tortoise and take him to the other side of the road in the direction that he is traveling. We promise, you won’t be in trouble. If possible, set the tortoise down on the other side of nearby fencing or other barriers to keep him from wandering back into the road.
If you notice other, less time-sensitive concerns, you can contact Red Cliffs Desert Reserve for assistance at 435-301-7430. Or, if you’re interested in learning more about desert tortoises, you can stop by the Greater Zion Visitor Center to soak in the exhibits or chat with experts.

Greater Zion is the only place in the world – yes, the entire world – where you can find the rare dwarf bear-poppy. In addition to being one of the most beautiful plants complementing our desert landscape, it is also one of the most precious ones. 

The dwarf bear-poppy, known scientifically as Arctomecon humilis, is endangered – and not because it lacks resilience. Rather, it is picky. The dwarf bear-poppy only survives in very specific, gypsum-rich soil. Long ago, volcanic eruptions deposited volcanic rock throughout the area, filling Greater Zion’s soil with not too much, not too little, but just the right amount of gypsum for the dwarf bear-poppy. 

We are so happy things worked out for our Goldilocks-esque perennial herb, and you should be too. When conditions are right, dwarf bear-poppies are some of the few plants that are tough enough to survive in harsh desert conditions and rival the natural beauty of the scenic desert while doing it.

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The dwarf bear-poppy can be recognized by its short, shrubby stature (hence the “dwarf”), its soft leaves with hair-like tendrils, and bright yellow stamens cradled by four elegant white petals. The “bear” portion of the name comes from the textured edges of the petals that resemble a bear claw.

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The highest concentrations of dwarf bear-poppies are found within the boundaries of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and the White Dome Nature Preserve, among other endangered species such as the desert tortoise. You can observe the poppy in bloom from late April to early May, with Leave No Trace and Land of Forever principles in mind. But no matter when or where you encounter them, keep an eye out for dwarf bear-poppies and treat them as the precious gems they are.

Greater Zion is well known for stunning landscapes and endless adventure throughout the area’s parks, golf courses, and recreational lands; however, a lesser known, historically-rooted pursuit has made its way back onto the scene over the last decade: winemaking. The region has tapped back into its agricultural roots to foster a growing wine industry that embraces tradition and innovation.

21st century wine pioneers in Greater Zion  

Just over a decade ago, modern winemakers began to recognize the potential their predecessors observed in Greater Zion. The area sits on the 37th parallel, similar to many world-renowned wine-producing regions including southern Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal. The volcanic soils, high altitude, warm days and cool nights make it a special place for wine. 

Currently, the state has five wineries on the Utah Wine Trail with four located in Greater Zion and additional vineyards on the horizon. Locations on the Utah Wine Trail include: 

Bold & Delaney Winery – Located in Dammeron Valley, just north of St. George, Bold & Delaney is a 12-acre vineyard that sits between the dormant Veyo and Santa Clara volcanos that were active as recently as 10,000-20,000 years ago. Currently, Bold & Delaney produces 11 varietals including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Grenache. Tastings are available by appointment. 

Chanela Vineyards – Located 15 miles north of St. George, on the slopes of Pine Valley Mountain, Chanela has the highest elevation vineyard in Utah. Sitting around 5,000 feet above sea level, the vineyard enjoys warm days and cool nights that produce grapes and wines with intense color and robust tannins. A tasting room is in the planning stages. Guests can purchase wines at the vineyard’s retail location inside Silver Reef Brewery in St. George and Utah liquor stores.

IG Winery – Located roughly 50 minutes north of St. George in Cedar City, IG produces wine with grapes grown in Greater Zion as well as Washington, Oregon and California. The winery’s tasting room is open for walk-in visitors, offering wines by the bottle, glass, or flight as well as cocktails and local beer and spirits. 

Water Canyon Winery – Greater Zion’s newest winery specializes in organic wine produced without added sulfates, preservatives or foreign yeasts. Tastings are available by appointment. Water Canyon is located in the emerging and growing town of Hildale. 

Zion Vineyards – The first vineyard in Greater Zion was established in 2013 and is already award-winning with multiple silver and gold medals from the Utah Wine Festival. Located in Leeds, Zion Vineyards opened a tasting room in May 2023, welcoming guests daily to sample more than 10 varietals including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. 

Greater Zion’s four wineries are all located within 30 minutes of each other and provide great access to the region’s outdoor and cultural attractions. Greater Zion also includes Zion National Park, four state parks, 14 top-rated golf courses and so much more. Beyond vineyards, guests can also enjoy the area’s multiple craft breweries, local distilleries and bars, each contributing a distinct flavor and atmosphere.

History of wine in Greater Zion

In 1861, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dispatched 309 families to southwest Utah, including the area that is now Greater Zion, on a mission to cultivate agriculture and discover which crops would thrive. 

The area’s warm dry climate and long growing season proved to be a great match for grapes. Many of the Swiss settlers had previous experience with wine making and by 1875, the region was producing more than 100 varieties of grapes, resulting in 3 million pounds of the crop per year. St. George, Greater Zion’s largest city, was producing 2,500 gallons of wine per year and the area’s best-known vineyard, Nail’s Best, located in Toquerville, was responsible for more than 3,000 gallons per year.  

Throughout the late 19th century, wine produced in Greater Zion was celebrated for its superior taste and used throughout the state for religious sacrament, personal consumption, sold to area miners and travelers and even used for tithing at church. By the early 1890s, however, wine production in the area stopped due to a number of factors, including shifting local and religious attitudes toward consumption, and the local silver mines closing, which greatly reduced the amount of consumers. At the same time, the railroads were making it easier to obtain less-expensive wine produced outside the state. As the financial opportunities dried up, farmers began to uproot grapes, replacing them with more profitable crops. 

Just as green mountains, red rocks, and desert dunes intertwine in Greater Zion, so does modern winemaking and a rich viticultural history. Book your trip today to delve into the process, the setting, the history, the wine, and beyond.

Move the body, still the mind – that’s how the saying goes. But does it work vice versa? In our humble opinion, it should. After an intense competition, your mind needs to recover just as much as your body, and there is no better way to recharge than completing your active recovery in the footsteps of past competitors among some of nature’s most majestic wonders.

Greater Zion is a hub for those with persistent spirits and enduring athleticism. IRONMAN World Championships and annual North American Championships, the world-renowned and long-standing St. George Marathon, Huntsman World Senior Games and more attract champions from near and far to conquer our rolling red rock courses. 

You know that feeling you get when you cross the finish line? You’re exhausted, but at the same time, you’ve never felt more awake. There are a few aches and pains that always accompany a race well-run, but you don’t mind. The adrenaline has you feeling like you’re on top of the world. 

As you stand at the peak of the mountain, you let gratitude sweep over you. You reflect on all the work you put in that brought you to this moment – your moment. You did it. You’ve done something you should be proud of. 

We encourage you to stay in that champion mindset a bit longer. Bask in the glory of your accomplishment. Honor the mental and physical fortitude you have built with the perfect combination of active recovery celebration. You’ve earned it. 

Round out your race with a square meal

We bet you worked up an appetite. Luckily, you can have your cake and eat it too with a large selection of eateries ranging from casual dives to fine dining. Refueling has never tasted this good. Check out a place that is uniquely Greater Zion.

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Raise a glass to “Finished at Last!”

Greater Zion offers several locations to enjoy everything from a locally crafted microbrew to a full bar with cocktail selections. Raise a glass to celebrate an amazing feat at one of several great spots within walking distance of the finish line or beyond. Cheers to your accomplishments!

Satisfy and gratify with a sweet treat

If you don’t want to toast with a cocktail or glass of champagne, Greater Zion also provides several other options for catching a buzz or even a simple sugar rush with dirty sodas, great coffee and a wide variety of delectable desserts

Go with the flow

Let water soothe your weary muscles and calm your entire body. Float in one of the area’s reservoirs such as Gunlock or Quail Creek State Park. Just off the St. George Marathon course and the IRONMAN bike route is Veyo Pool – another great water option, offering an ideal spot for the whole family to chill by the pool and catch crawdads in the creek. 

If you want to do more than just recharge in the water, Sand Hollow State Park has plenty of more active offerings, including scuba diving – yes, scuba in the desert! – and wakeboarding or boating. Or, opt for a gas-powered 4×4 vehicle and take on Sand Mountain, one of the most popular UTV locations in the desert southwest, offering more than 16,000 acres of perfectly sculpted dunes. 

Work out some tension

If a little pampering is necessary, Greater Zion is home to several day spas that specialize in massages, facials, wraps and general rejuvenation. After a peak performance like that, you deserve it, and your body will thank you too. 

Recap your race route

Revisit iconic elements of our world-famous races that you might have missed just passing through. It’ll be much less intense this way, so you can really soak in the scenery and bring along your friends and family. 

Have a full-cycle moment

Pedal on red rock instead of pavement to experience one of the most popular adventures in Greater Zion – mountain biking. Greater Zion offers more than 40 mountain biking trails across desert, urban, mesa and alpine landscapes, as well as the only year-round bike park in Utah. Epic vistas keep riders inspired while slickrock, canyons and sandstone formations offer technical challenges that provide an unforgettable biking experience. 

If you want to give your legs a break, take to an ebike (or remount your road bike, if you’re ready) and bike your way to Snow Canyon State Park, the iconic portion of the IRONMAN 70.3 and IRONMAN bike routes or any of the other trails provide you other-worldly scenery. Or, you can shift gears to more low-key pursuits, like exploring on foot or horseback.


After finally conquering the Land of Endurance, you can revel in your achievement and rest easy. No matter where you go in Greater Zion or how active your rest is, you’ll be sure to find something revitalizing, relaxing or a combination of both in the Land of Renewal.