Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Sand Hollow: The Red-Tinged Wilderness of Southern Utah

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It had been 14 years since my last trip to Zion National Park. At the time, I was 19 and a camp counselor in Arizona; at the end of the summer, we loaded up 60 kids in 15-passenger vans and carted them around Southern Utah. It was the best time of my life.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

So when Travel Mindset called with just a week’s notice and asked if I could drop into St. George for a quick 48-hour Instameet, I canceled all plans and hopped a flight to Vegas. Raise your hand if you’re surprised.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Given that I’d only driven through Utah in the past, and never traveled there by plane, I was baffled (and thrilled) to find that it’s much easier to reach Zion than I anticipated: a four-hour flight direct flight from Nashville to Vegas on Southwest, followed by two hours by car through some of the prettiest land in the country.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Immediately after I landed, I hopped in my rental car and rushed to St. George (going the speed limit, of course), not wanting to miss a moment with my squad. It was tough forcing myself to stay on the road and not pull over at every turnout, but luckily I had the chance to snap some photos of the drive on the return.

Bonus: You cross through three states—Nevada, Arizona and, of course, Utah—on that quick drive, too!

When I arrived, I met my travel family, Jade, Bob and Augustine, at a Mexican restaurant for a quick bite, then we headed into Sand Hollow State Park for some much-needed sun, paired with outdoor fun.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah
Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

There’s plenty to do at Sand Hollow, from boating to ATVs, and we were debating between standup paddleboarding and kayaking, but given that our youngest constituent can not yet stand, let alone balance on moving water, we opted for the latter.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

We had just planned to do a quick little lap around the reservoir to take some photos when Bob coaxed us down the coast in hopes of photographing us from shore as the wind swept us further and further away from the dock.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah
Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

An hour and some extremely sore biceps later, we found Bob once more and pulled our kayak out of the water, our arms burning from the effort. As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones exhausted from our follies.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

We had planned to go for a little swim, but a) the water was pretty freezing it still being May and all and b) the moment we entered the park, we were given a brochure that warned us of Swimmer’s Itch, caused by a free-swimming microscopic parasite in the water, and that immediately turned us off from even wanting to pop a big toe in.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah
Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Instead, we scampered around the rocks a bit and took plenty of photos, trying to capture the turquoise hue of the water but failing spectacularly.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

We were traveling with the delightful Michael and Megan of Fresh Off the Grid, who were determined to brave the sea creatures despite the warnings and jump off some rocks for the sake of great video—but also very careful about where they chose to plummet into the icy water below.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

We were thinking this wasn’t going to happen as all the outcroppings in our sight line seemed a wee bit too shallow when we set off on foot to go beyond the horizon and make sure we covered all our bases. As we rounded the corner in the northern quadrant of the park, we found just the spot.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Apparently we weren’t the only ones who knew about this place either.

I took one for the team and stayed back as the group photographer while Bob, Megan and Michael each took their turns flinging themselves carelessly into the reservoir. Bob, in particular, impressed me with his Spider-Man-like moves.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah
Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah
Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah
Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Augustine just laughed at her silly dad as he belly-flopped into the cold water below.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

We left Sand Hollow and went into St. George for dinner, paying our bill just as the sun started to creep below the rocks. It’s hard to find a good vantage point for an epic sunset with such variable terrain, but we’d heard Dixie Rock would do the trick.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah
Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

After parking in the lot, it wasn’t even a five-minute walk to get to the top of the rock and set up our gear for a pretty colorful sunset.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Our trip was already off to an excellent start—and we hadn’t even entered Zion yet.

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah
Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Find Your Park: Exploring Sand Hollow in St. George, Utah

Looking for more St. George travel tips? Try these:

COMMENTS
  • June 18, 2016

    You met the picture-perfect family again! Augustine looks incredibly cute sleeping in the boat! What a gorgeous landscape as well, looks like a great little trip!
    Dominique recently posted..Warsaw – Wine and DineMy Profile

    • June 21, 2016

      Right? I sort of hate them for being so perfect, but they’re way to lovable to hate, ha. We have some adventures planned for later in the summer and next year, as well, so maybe I can just be their official family photographer!

  • June 18, 2016

    Lovely post, great shots.
    I wish I can make it there one day. It looks like a place, where you can really connect with the nature.
    Sussy recently posted..BLOGGING | {Not plan, just write.}My Profile

    • June 21, 2016

      It definitely is! Wide open spaces and so many parks, both national and state, within the vicinity. A lovely place for nature lovers indeed.

  • June 19, 2016
    Ray

    The next time you are that way, you might want to travel to St. George and Zion via The Valley of Fires State Park. We described it in our post “Not All The Fire Is In Las Vegas.”

    • June 21, 2016

      Duly noted! This trip was SO quick (48 hours) and there was a ton I wanted to do that I didn’t have time for, so I’ll definitely be back soon.

  • June 19, 2016

    I drove cross-country last year, and I insist that Utah is the most beautiful state in the US! Your pictures certainly just help me make my case. I would love to go back and just do a Utah trip because there are so many fabulous stops. Can’t wait to read your Zion post too!
    Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine recently posted..A Lesson in Impostor SyndromeMy Profile

    • June 21, 2016

      I agree, Amanda! I’ve always been partial to the red rock of Utah and Arizona, in addition to the panorama of Montana. More photos from Utah to come for sure =)

  • June 20, 2016

    Whoa.. Southern Utah sure have awesome landscapes.. I’d like to go there too..
    Jason Bowers recently posted..Abonnement 1turf Sans RisqueMy Profile

    • June 21, 2016

      I hope you get to make it there someday, Jason!

  • June 20, 2016

    So beautiful from the rich colors to your family 🙂 left me feeling warm inside 🙂 lovely read

  • June 20, 2016

    Utah may just be my favorite of all 50 states…and this coming from someone obsessed with Colorado for 30-some years! Utah is on the short list for relo choices next year 😉
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..Solo in SouthEast AsiaMy Profile

  • June 20, 2016

    Damnit, quit making Utah look amazing! Kyle’s dying to go there, but given his weird fascination with Mormons I’m worried he’d try to come back with a second wife.
    MonsteRawr recently posted..Reluctantly CraftyMy Profile

    • June 21, 2016

      But look at it this way: If you had a sister wife or two, that means someone to help out with the housework and all the crap at home you don’t want to do! Write that into the contract.

  • June 21, 2016
    Yok

    Fantastic photos…particularly the GIF and the shot of Bob dive-flopping. 🙂

    I also had never heard of Simmer’s Itch…bizarre.
    Yok recently posted..ข้อมูลเที่ยว ปีนังฮิลล์ (Penang Hill)My Profile

    • June 21, 2016

      I so wanted to jump off but the Swimmer’s Itch scared me away from any thought of going into the water! Yikes.

  • June 26, 2016

    Seriously, Utah is blessed! You can live your life outdoors and there is SO much to do there. I was totally impressed.
    Andi recently posted..Weekly Wanderings #23 – Central Oregon, RedmondMy Profile

    • July 6, 2016

      Right? If it weren’t so politically, erm, conservative, I could definitely live there!

  • June 28, 2016

    Lovely post, great shots.
    I wish I can make it there one day. It looks like a place, where you can really connect with the nature.

  • June 28, 2016

    I love this post so much! Yay Sand Hollow! Yay St. George! Yay Utah! (Boo Swimmers Itch, WTF?)

    xox
    Feisty Harriet recently posted..Love, ActuallyMy Profile

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