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Guide to Dixie National Forest

Dixie National Forest is Utah's largest national forest, covering almost two million acres in the southwestern part of the state. The forest includes four distinct geographic regions, four wilderness areas, and four ranger district offices.

Dixie National Forest is characterized by extremes. Elevations in the forest range from 2,800 feet in the St. George area to over 11,000 feet at Boulder Mountain. Temperatures vary quite a bit, too. They can run from below zero in the winter to over 100 F in the summer. As you might expect, these extremes go hand-in-hand with a variety of plant life and wildlife.

Dixie National Forest is easy to access from the Orchards at Kolob RV Resort, and many of the forest's most interesting attractions are relatively close to us. We've listed a few of those attractions below.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Located a few miles east of Cedar City, at an elevation of 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks National Monument is a natural amphitheater that spans close to three miles across and 2,000 miles down. Cedar Breaks is sometimes described as a smaller version of Bryce Canyon.

It's filled with brightly colored cliffs, bristlecone pines, and lush meadows. You can enjoy the beauty of Cedar Breaks directly from your car by simply following SR 148, which has four scenic overlooks. Two of the overlooks are connected by the popular Sunset Trail, an easily-accessible, two-mile round trip hike. 

Navajo Lake

Navajo Lake is a small, but beautiful, reservoir just a few miles east of Cedar City. The lake features clear blue waters and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. It's a great place to enjoy a variety of water activities, such as trout fishing, swimming, and boating. (If you bring a boat, you'll find a couple of dirt boat ramps at the south end of the lake.)

Navajo Lake also has a number of excellent hiking trails, including the Navajo Lake Loop, which follows the lake's shore for 8.6 miles. 

Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness

Just a few miles south of us, you'll find the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness, one of the largest wilderness areas in Utah. It's filled with large meadows and forests of spruce, fir, pines, and aspens. You'll also find over 150 miles of excellent hiking trails in Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness, including the most popular trail in the area, Whipple Trail.

Most of the hiking trails in Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness connect to Summit Trail, which runs along the Pine Valley Mountains' crests. Interested in fishing in the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness? You can try your luck at Pine Valley Reservoir or in the area's rivers and streams. Other locations are off limits. 

Utah's Patchwork Parkway

Utah's Patchwork Parkway is considered one of the country's most scenic drives. The route follows Utah State Route 143 for 51 miles from Parowan to Panguitch. It's also known as Brian Head-Panguitch Lake Scenic Byway, Scenic Byway 143, and Brian Head Scenic Drive.

Along the way, you pass by Panguitch Lake, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Brian Head. Note that this drive has numerous twists and turns and exposed sections and reaches elevations over 10,000 feet.

Brian Head

Brian Head Resort is one of Utah's premier snow skiing locations. The resort sits at an elevation of 9,600 feet and receives over 360 inches of powdery snow a year. It covers 650 acres and has 71 ski runs. Prices for lift tickets are very reasonable, especially if you go during night-skiing hours. Brian Head Resort is not only a winter location.

During the summer months, you can enjoy mountain biking, chairlift rides, ziplining, climbing, and a variety of other activities.