I’ve never heard anybody say “Dude, you should totally check out St.George.” Surrounded by places like Red Rocks (where we just came from), Zion and Moab, it’s hard for this small town to get attention. Or perhaps the Utah locals just like to keep it to themselves. But I’m here to tell you that St. George is not just a mormon stronghold, but a hidden treasure well worth exploring.

First off, the free camping on BLM land north of town outside of Dammeron Valley is superb. Note: According to the Sheriff, camping at most of the crags near town isn’t allowed – bummer. Here’s a shot of our campsite next to the Upper Sand Cove Reservoir on BLM land:

BLM Campsite near St. George Utah

As for the climbing, the Prophesy wall itself is worth the trip. Endless bolted multi-pitch climbing in every grade. Even the locals in their 50’s come here to hike 5.11’s (true story). But not to worry gear nerds, there are plenty of trad routes at other crags, too. These next shots are all taken from our climbs on the Prophesey wall. We fell in love with that place.

Alison about to rappel on the Prophesy Wall in St. George Utah Andreas about to rappel on the Prophesy Wall at St. George, Utah

Panorama from the top of Prophesy Wall in St. George, Utah

The Snow Canyon State Park is also really cool, despite a daily entrance fee. We were lucky enough to have an excuse to do some “deserteering” on the Island in the Sky route (a mile+ skyline traverse) when we met up with some Seattle friends on a roadtrip of their own. Reading the route description that mentioned multiple “parks” we had no idea what they were talking about. Who would have thought you could find cactus groves, ponds of water, and lush green meadows hidden among the sandstone?! A wonderful long afternoon permeated with faulty route-finding brought us to many hidden oases. The traverse of this huge 3 dimensional rock maze left us smiling with delight, and in anticipation of a well-deserved taco dinner (we had an 80 pack of corn tortillas waiting for us in the trailer).

St George Utah Island in the Sky

St. George had an outdoorsy atmosphere that took us by surprise. Maybe it was unusually nice weather but we were impressed and energized by the vast number of locals riding road bikes; we thought this was a mountain biking town. Our bike envy grew with each passing cyclist we saw every morning as we drove to one of the many city parks that had free wifi. This perk certainly aided our work-life balance: Quitting time meant driving 5-minutes to one of the nearby crags for an afternoon pump session. We might suggest avoiding the closest in-town crags on the weekends. We re-named the Chuckawalla crag “the Gym” as we found people on the wall from 7:30am until dark. I can’t blame them — who can resist getting on a pocketed sandstone wall 10 minutes from downtown, including the approach and gearing up?

Chuckawalla Crag St George Utah

If you’re not into climbing or mountain biking, you’ll surely find something great to do outdoors, or indoors. Such as munching on donuts cooked fresh at The Fractured Prune. We were a little skeptical of the name but felt compelled to explore. Turns out the name comes from the nickname “Fractured Prunella” of an inspiring hardcore female athlete and landowner in the 1800’s who competed well into old age, even when the competitions would leave her in a wheelchair or on crutches. This was the first donut shop I’ve seen that you can pick out whatever flavor toppings you want. The choices, however, were a bit overwhelming.

St.George Utah Fractured Prune Donuts

We can’t talk highly enough about our regrettably short stay in St. George. Perhaps it helped that we had no expectations going in, so it was easy for them to be exceeded. Or perhaps it was the beautiful scenery — there was no shortage of drastically different geological landscapes. St. George seems to have an ideal crag for every season, discipline, and socializing level desired. And they’re incredibly accessible with a great cross section of grades to keep anyone busy. Although it may not have the super classics of the neighboring mega-crags, this low-key spot is definitely worth stopping by, and even destining to, whether you’re a climber, biker, outdoorsman, or donut lover.

Have you been to St. George? Or have any more tips to share? Let us know in the comments!