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The warm climate characteristic of southwestern Utah reminded early Mormon settlers of the Deep South, thus the name given to this wilderness area of ponderosa pine and spruce. Dixie National Forest covers approximately 1,700,000 acres. Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Zion national parks, as well as Cedar Breaks and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, are all adjacent to or within the forest.
Markagunt Plateau, about 9 miles southeast of Cedar City via SR 14, offers many recreational facilities. A fish hatchery west of Hatch raises the fish, primarily rainbow trout, stocked in streams and lakes. A pond within Duck Creek Recreation Area is stocked several times yearly. Spring-fed Navajo Lake has outlets in Cascade Falls and Duck Creek, and Panguitch Lake also offers excellent fishing. Boat rentals, cabins and camping facilities are available from late May to early October.
Brian Head Peak, Strawberry Point and Zion Overlook offer scenic views. The bristlecone pine, one of the oldest forms of plant life on Earth, can be seen on a self-guiding nature trail at Midway Summit.
The Pine Valley Mountains are about 24 miles north of St. George via SR 18 to the town of Central, then east about 8 miles on CR 035. The mountains rise some 3,000 feet above the valley floor, and the cool air at this elevation contrasts sharply with the valley's hotter temperatures. Valley recreational activities include camping and fishing, and there are more than 100 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails.
The Paunsaugunt and Sevier plateaus parallel SR 89 for 60 miles from Circleville south. This area is known for panoramic views and distinctive rock formations. There are also scenic views—by car window or from the vantage point of nature trails—of the pink and red-hued rocks and cliffs that comprise Red Canyon, along SR 12.
Tropic Reservoir, just off SR 12 to the south, is a popular recreation spot that has lake and stream fishing. The reservoir provides a source of water for agricultural land at lower elevations. Additional campsites are at Kings Creek Campground, near Kings Creek Lake.
The Boulder Mountain-Aquarius Plateau is a high mountain plateau that lies about 10 miles north of Escalante. SR 12 winds through spectacular slickrock formations, mountain passes and stands of aspen trees, the leaves of which turn vibrantly yellow in the fall. Small campgrounds are scattered along the way.
Duck Creek Visitor Center is open daily 10-5, Memorial Day-Labor Day; schedule varies, day after Labor Day-Sept. 30. Phone (435) 682-2432. Red Canyon Visitor Center is open daily 9-6, Memorial Day-Labor Day; schedule varies, day after Labor Day-Sept. 30. Phone (435) 676-2676.
For further information contact the Forest Supervisor, Dixie National Forest, 1789 N. Wedgewood Ln., Cedar City, UT 84721; phone (435) 865-3700, or TTY (435) 865-3719.
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Current Location: Dixie National Forest, Utah