Several hundred million years ago, tectonic plates smashed and cracked into each other and what emerged from that collision formed the stunning landscape of what’s known as Greater Zion. The Southwest region of Utah’s Washington County offers a unique blend of exceptional meeting spaces and thrilling activities—all immersed in natural surroundings that are nothing short of mind-blowing. One can’t help but feel the sensation of being swept away by such a force of nature. And there are a lot of fun activities to do there as well.
More recently, Greater Zion was host to the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, which ran in late October, welcoming high-caliber athletic competitions. The area has also attracted other events such as Huntsman World Senior Games, Red Bull Rampage, True Grit Epic and 25 Hours in Frog Hollow—proving to be a choice playground for those who appreciate the desert gateway in the Southwest corner of Utah.
Arriving at St. George Regional Airport
The scene is set for groups large or small and is a dream come true for planners seeking to create a memorable and productive experience for attendees. Direct flights to St. George Regional Airport (SGU) are available from the major travel hubs of Salt Lake City International (SLC), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Denver International Airport (DEN) and Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW).
Meeting in Greater Zion
Meeting producers can rely on the expansive and flexible meeting space quartered at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George with a 46,550-square-foot, column-free exhibit hall, which can accommodate up to 6,000 guests for special events, a 13,200-square-foot ballroom and 13,000 sq. ft. of additional meeting space spanning 19 flexible meeting rooms.
Additionally, Dixie Convention Center is surrounded by over 5,000 hotel rooms and nearly 200 restaurants, many of which are only a 10-minute walk from the convention center. The Heritage catering team provides planners with customized menus to fit group needs and themes.
Rooms With Incredible Views
It’s nearly impossible to find lodging in the Greater Zion region that lacks amazing views. Cable Mountain Lodge in the town of Springdale is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Situated next door to the entrance of Greater Zion National Park atop 12 acres of pristine land, groups can traverse the park and get glimpses of the park’s majestic wildlife surrounded by mountainous terrain. The park features excursions for every skill level from hiking The Narrows to climbing to the top of Observation Point.
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For VIPs at Cable Mountain, a 2,000-square-foot Grand Residence features a 1,100-square-foot private balcony with a hot tub and views of Zion canyons. Grand Residences also include full kitchens and laundry facilities, ensuring guests have everything they need following an adventurous day out. The property also offers studios and suites to accommodate any budget with 78 rooms total. Planners can also curate small meetings in the property’s conference room with space for up to 52 people.
A Unique Blend of Spirituality and Luxury
Located in Utah’s red rock bluffs in St. George, Red Mountain Resort offers all-inclusive packages that help streamline the process for planners while providing attendees with an inspiring retreat through the services of a dedicated staff. “We all have our unique passions and we get to blend them all together here,” says Red Mountain Resort General Manager Tracy Welsh.
Attendees can connect with nature during hikes through Utah’s Cottonwood Canyon Wilderness on the Candy Cliffs Hiking Adventure offered through the property, allowing guests to explore the fascinating rock formations of red sandstone that were created 190 million years ago. Other opportunities are available to explore including, biking, rock climbing and kayaking.
The property’s 2,182-square-foot Snow Canyon Room, 850-square-foot Bryce Canyon Room, 456-square-foot Arches Room and 1,900-square-foot Glen Canyon Gazebo—boast stunning views of the red canyons.
What Red Mountain Resort is most well-known for is placing an emphasis on the physical, mental and spiritual health of its guests. Welsh explains that one of the resort’s goals is to help guests answer the question of “What’s next?” adding, that many guests come during a time of major life changes and can “find relaxation, restore and re-center,” she says.
The resort takes pride in its wellness programs from yoga in nearby Snow Canyon State Park, 90-minute mediation sessions in Ancient Puebloan Pottery—using the ancient techniques of the Puebloan people and various body and massage treatments. And the resort is constantly. “The best is yet to come,” Welsh says. “We’re constantly changing and listening to our guests to provide the best experience.”
The resort is also home to the Canyon Breeze Restaurant, serving dishes that are aligned with the resort’s emphasis on clean and sustainable practices, providing guests with whole foods that are locally sourced, along with a wide selection of beer, wine and custom cocktails. The Mountain Breeze features indoor and outdoor seating with multiple fireplaces, as well as a separate dining room for private events.
Adventure Takes Flight in Greater Zion
The incredible scenery in Greater Zion is so abundant and far-reaching that it can be difficult to take in from the ground level. Luckily a panoramic perspective is available aboard a tour with Zion Helicopters, which takes off out of Virgin with 15, 35, 55 and 100-mile flights available. Passengers can gain a unique perspective through panoramic views of the surrounding areas, including Virgin River valley, Smith Mesa, Zion National Park, Kolob Canyons and other natural spaces on an amazing aerial adventure.
And what’s Flying Monkey Trail you ask? Well, in the 1960s, the U.S. Government was hard at work developing ejection seats for fighter planes using crash test dummies until they decided they needed live subjects, so they introduced primates into the equation and a team of aerospace scientists began developing the technology atop Hurricane Mesa above Virgin, Utah. Luckily, no animals were harmed during the tests, but the odd-looking testing site still remains to this day. An abandoned 12,000-foot -long track used as a rocket sled is still visible, along with an abandoned runway—lending a unique perspective into a strange chapter of U.S. military history—all visible from a Zion Helicopter tour.
For adventure seekers looking to stay a bit more grounded, Mad Moose Rentals and Tours offers exhilarating excursions with utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) through Sand Mountain, Warner Valley, Quail Creek and more. While this adventure isn’t airborne, the views will provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience across an available 50,000 acres of trails, rock and sand in Southwest Utah.