Dixie National Forest

The Dixie National Forest occupies almost two million acres and stretches about 170 miles across southern Utah making it Utah’s largest national forest which straddles the divide between the Great Basin and the Colorado River. Elevations in the forest vary from 2,800 feet near St. George to 11,322 feet at Blue Bell Knoll on Boulder Mountain. Nowhere else can you be skiing in the morning at 10,000 feet and mountain biking in high desert that afternoon.

Recreational opportunities on the forest are highly diversified. You can also enjoy camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting and swimming; and with 83,000 acres of wilderness you can find solitude away from the sights and sounds of motorized vehicles. If engine powered is more your scene, the forest has hundreds of miles of snowmobiling, OHV riding, plus boating and water skiing.

The Dixie National Forest supports a wide variety of wildlife species. Terrain varies from gentle plateaus to rocky cliffs and furnishes habitat for many different wildlife species such as the cougar, bobcat, blue grouse, golden eagle, cottontail rabbit, wild turkey, antelope and Utah prairie dog. Big game hunting has traditionally been the major wildlife attraction on the forest. Mule deer are harvested on every ranger district, and elk are expanding their range on the forest. Fishing: Good fishing is found in the many lakes, reservoirs and streams on the forest. Game fish include brook, rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout. Bring your camera and your binoculars to observe forest creatures in their native environment, just remember not to bother or feed them, they’re called “wildlife” for a reason.

Must See & Do

Hiking:

The Dixie National Forest has hundreds of miles of trail for hiking and backpacking. The landscape of the forest is extremely varied in elevation, plant life, and geology. Hike in the rocky pinyon and juniper forests, through lush meadows full of wildflowers, through rugged lava fields, to high mountain lakes, or to the rim of mesa tops with scenic views of the lower red rock canyons below.

Aspen Mirror Trail
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A short but scenic trail brings you to a small mountain lake surrounded by Aspen trees, making this a spectacular destination in the fall. Distance is 0.5 miles.

Bristlecone Pine Trail
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An easy half mile trail that’s great for families. You can see Zion National Park in the distance from an observation deck as you mingle among a grove of Bristlecone Pines. Trailhead is located on Hwy. U-14, approximately mile marker 17.

Cascade Falls Trail
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Trail provides spectacular views of Zion National Park and overlooks the Markagunt Plateau where it ends at the cascading falls from an underground lava tube out of Navajo Lake. This is where the Virgin River begins! Trailhead: Take the Navajo Lake FS Road #30053 then take first left onto FS Road #30370. Follow to the junction with FS Road #30054. Turn right onto FS road #30054 and follow to dead end at Cascade Fall trailhead.

NOTE: The lava tube is closed to travel due to the low levels of oxygen and high water flows.

Vermillion Castle Trail
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The trail works to a rim and overlooks the road and Vermillion Castle Campground. Rock formations are on the rim and are composed of conglomerates and sandstone. The trail climbs steeply through grotesque rock formations before working to a ridge spine continuing up the spine below a massive red rock cliff, crosses a side hill of pinyon/juniper until it comes out to a large flat rock platform looking directly into Vermillion Castle and across the canyon to Noah’s Ark. Distance is 0.7 miles.

Virgin River Rim Trail
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32 mile moderate trail that’s good for hiking, mountain biking and horses. The trail has several access points so you can make the journey as long or as a short as you like. There are access points from Navajo Lake ( U- 14) from the Te-Ah Campground, as well as Cascade Falls and Strawberry Point trailheads.

For more information and additional trails visit www.fs.fed.us/r4/dixie.

Mountain Biking

There are thousands of miles of trails and roads in the Dixie National Forest. Many of these trails are accessible by mountain bike. Also the roads that wind through the forest are ideal for cycling. For a list of trails visit www.fs.fed.us/r4/dixie.

Fishing

There are 500 miles of fishing streams and 90 fishable lakes in the Dixie National Forest. Game fish include brook, rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout. For a list of Lakes, Ponds, Rivers, and Streams in the Forest visit www.fs.fed.us/r4/dixie.

Winter Sports

Opportunities for winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are available in many areas. The Forest Service works with Utah State Parks and Recreation to maintain trails for skiing and snowmobiling near Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon. There are also over a thousand miles of timber roads that can be used for these sports. There’s also Brian Head Resort which offers down hill skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing.