Outdoor Spring Break- Utah

Spring break is coming up fast and many students are beginning to make plans. Disneyland trips, getaways to New York City and sunny Florida beaches aren’t always affordable.

Luckily, there are a ton of outdoor wonders nearby that are great for spring break. Here are some cheaper alternatives in Utah that can make even just a few days of Spring Break a little more relaxing.

St. GeorgeIMG_3819

Located only an hour south of Cedar City off of I-15, St. George is the closest location to Campus with dozens of outdoor options for visitors

Where to go:

Snow Canyon State Park has several different hikes, including lava caves for those looking for a little more adventure. The Petrified Sand Dunes also provide an easy hike that is close by the road. Outside the park and driving toward the small town of Veyo, the Red Mountain trail provides a long hike, but also branches off to the Snow Canyon Overlook.

IMG_6940The Chuckwalla trail gives several other trails as well, with a higher possibility of seeing any desert tortoise that have come out of hibernation early. This hike is near the southern end of Snow Canyon State Park, but is not inside the park. Scout Cave is also accessible from these trails.

Zion National Park is also close by, and provides several other hikes, although some may require the purchase of a permit.


Plan on gas for your car, which can vary depending on the make and model. Zion National Park is $35 for each car, up to 15 people. Snow Canyon State Park is a $6 fee per vehicle. Hotels around town vary in price, but cheap ones can be found for less than $50 per room. Airbnb is also an option.


  • Be prepared for the possibility of government shutdowns. Zion National Park may be free if a shutdown occurs.
  • Travel with friends. Gas prices and hotel rooms are way cheaper when several people are paying together.
  • Plan your time. Try not to be out all day and tire yourself out. The break is all about relaxing. Do one or two things and then enjoy some relaxation for once in the semester.



Tropic is a small town located just outside Bryce Canyon National Park and is less than two hours away from SUU.


What to do:

IMG_8185Bryce Canyon National Park offers several hikes that are easily accessible and provide gorgeous scenery of the red rock amphitheater. Before coming into and when leaving the town of Panguitch, Red Canyon also provides several other hikes that allow visitors to enjoy the red rock scenery.

Continuing south on Highway 12 past Cannonville lies Kodachrome Basin State Park. This park offers several views of monolithic spires and chimneys that are just begging for you to take photos. The park has several hikes that can be done in a few hours.

When passing through Henrieville and continuing to Escalante, there are several more hikes that offer views of high canyon walls and waterfalls. For a less crowded hike, the Escalante Natural Bridge is perfect to hike through a river and find wonders along the way. The more popular hike, Lower Calf Creek Falls, will take you to a waterfall with a swimming hole. The Upper Falls trail is possible to hike as well, but is more strenuous.


Plan on gas for your car. There are more hotels in Tropic and near Bryce Canyon, and Airbnb is another option. Plan on buying or bringing lots of water too, as clean water can be scarce when hiking in the desert climate.


  • Know where you are going. Sometimes the hikes look like they can go further, but the real beauty is right by you. Try not to overshoot your target location.
  • Make and bring your own food. Travelling to Topic and Bryce Canyon have many food options, but making your own food over a fire is just as good and makes the trip even better. Plus, it cuts down on the cost.


Located in Southeastern Utah, Moab lies a little ways off the I-70 freeway. It is between Green River and Monticello. The drive can be a killer however, as it is over four hours away from Cedar City.

Where to go:

Moab has several outdoor options, including two national parks. Arches, which is only a few miles north, offers one of the most iconic hikes in all of Utah, Delicate Arch. Other hikes around the park offer views of several more arches that were formed early on in history.

Towards Canyonlands National Park, which has several hikes of its own, is Dead Horse Point State Park. This is another iconic location in Utah, showing the bend of the Colorado River that helped create the landscape in the surrounding area and down into the Grand Canyon.

IMG_7229Just outside of Moab, and along the Colorado River, is the Corona and Bowtie Arch trail. This hike follows the desert terrain and follows a railroad before veering off into an area to see these arches. Corona is further along than Bowtie, but both offer stunning views of the surrounding area.

Just to the east of Moab, but still within city limits, is the Mill Creek trail. This trail follows a stream in a canyon and allows for a good view of desert and wetland climates mixing together. Further up the trail there is a waterfall where it is possible to swim around in areas where the water is deep enough.

Price: Plan on several gallons of gas for your car. Hotels and Airbnb are a little pricier than other places, but are still worth it. Food is also very expensive in downtown Moab, so plan on bringing your own food if you don’t want to pay the prices at restaurants.


  • Travel with friends. This trip may only work if you can cut the cost down as much as possible.
  • If you’re into biking or off-roading you should go for it. Moab has many more places to bring a 4X4 or mountain bike.
  • Walk the town. Moab is known for its hikes, but downtown has a nice throwback scene. Don’t be afraid to get out of your hotel at night and check out the big city feel this small town has.

Story By: Kurt Meacham
Photos By: Kurt Meacham