Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

The past few days in Las Vegas were exhausting. Whether you were there for a work conference, a bachelor party, or the biggest show of the season, you ran around nonstop. The bright lights, free-flowing alcohol, and lack of sleep are finally catching up with you. You desperately need a break.

Photo: Red Mountain Resort
Photo: Red Mountain Resort

Only two hours from the Strip, you’ll find Red Mountain Resort on the border of Snow Canyon State Park. Don’t worry, it’s named after early settlers of the area, not the powdery white stuff. Located in the quiet, southwest corner of Utah, the park receives few visitors compared to nearby Zion National Park. It’s an ideal place to relax, recharge, and, at this point, detox. Surrounded by black lava gardens and the sweet smell of mesquite, the rooms have oversized soaking tubs and views of the Red Mountains.

After getting some sleep, rise early to do yoga as the sun rises over the canyon. You’re supposed to be concentrating on your posture and breathing, but your focus is elsewhere, as the cliffs and the sky change colors. Go on a guided morning hike. Bring lots of water and wear layers. It may be cool when you head out, but temperatures will quickly soar. You’ll pass by red and white Navajo sandstone, black lava rocks, and even lava caves. Search for Native American rock art. Low scrub, like creosote bush, yucca, and cacti, grow around the rocks. Avoid the giant desert hairy scorpion on the path.

Photo: Red Mountain Resort
Photo: Red Mountain Resort

Return to the resort when the sun reaches its peak. The air may be dry, but it’s still very hot. Eat a day tripper wrap at the Canyon Counter. Dive into the pool. And book a hiker’s massage, which focuses on relieving leg tension, at the spa. Once the hottest part of the day is over, bike down cottonwood-lined roads to the Gunlock Reservoir, rapel from the Cougar Cliffs, or ride horses high in Snow Canyon for views over the valley. A coyote keeps an eye on you in the distance.

As you eat molasses-seared venison at the Canyon Breeze Restaurant later in the evening, your attention is once again captivated by bright lights. It’s the huge moon and the starry sky this time though. Las Vegas is finally out of your system.

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