Natural beauty, outdoor activities, and national parks only begin to describe the fun that can be had in southern Utah. The town of Hurricane is quickly getting discovered by visitors to this great region, and for good reasons.
Hurricane, a small city of around 20,000, is located in the southwestern corner of Utah near its borders with Arizona and Nevada.
It’s just two hours from Las Vegas and around four from the Grand Canyon, but there is so much more tucked away in this little corner of the desert than these nearby big-name destinations.
Hurricane is best known as a gateway town to Zion National Park, which is a reason to visit on its own. But if you have the time, you’ll find plenty more sites to see in the great outdoors surrounding Hurricane.
We’ve put together below a list of what to do in Hurricane and the surrounding corner of Utah, including the best places to stay nearby. Read on for some outdoor adventure inspiration!
TLDR; Top Things to do in Hurricane, UT
- Most significant landmark – Zion National Park
- Best park – Quail Creek State Park
- Best free activity – Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
- Best activity for kids – Dinosaur Footprints Hiking Area
- Best activity for adults – Snow Canyon State Park
- Best food – Lonny Boy’s BBQ
- Best all-round accommodation – Hurricane Wingate at Zion
Best & Fun Things to do in Hurricane, Utah
Whether you’re looking for things to do in Hurricane this weekend or you are planning your big trip for next year, you can’t go wrong with any of the below activities. Take a look at our tips on what to see in Hurricane.
1. Zion National Park
Let’s start with the reason most people come to Hurricane: Zion National Park. In one of the most famous national parks in the country, you will find endless towering cliffs, trails, forests, lakes, and unbelievably breathtaking sights here.
Coming in from Hurricane, you will drive less than 30 minutes east before entering the famous Zion Canyon in the small town of Springdale. Be sure to stop at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to get park activities, information, maps, and tips from the park rangers before continuing.
We could go on all day about things to do in Zion.
A good place to start after entering is the Pine Creek Gorge Slot Canyon, where you’ll find several scenic hikes as well as points on the road for those who don’t want to get out of the car.
The Angel’s Landing Trail is another famous spot, as are the Emerald Pools. The park is massive, and this doesn’t even scrape the surface of all you can do here.
If you are looking for a guided experience, there is no shortage of tours:
- See the wild west on horseback as the pioneers did, no matter your riding experience, with the Pine Knoll Horseback Tour – click here for more information.
- Ascend over 2,000 feet in a jeep tour on the East Zion Brushy Cove Jeep Adventure – click here for more information.
- See Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks combined from the air in a helicopter tour departing just east of Hurricane – click here for more information.
- Go at your own pace with a self-driving bundle tour – click here for more information.
See Related: Things to Know Before Going to Zion National Park
2. Quail Creek State Park
For some outdoor fun closer to Hurricane proper, or if you are looking for a campsite in town, Quail Creek State Park is a great choice.
One of two state parks in striking distance of Hurricane, this park surrounds a large reservoir that is popular for water sports like swimming, paddle boarding, and boating.
With plenty of picnic spots as well as kayak, canoe, paddleboard, and boat rentals available, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the views of the rocks and cliffs that surround the park. This is a popular green space for locals and visitors alike to really enjoy the great outdoors of the region.
Campers will be pleased to be able to pitch their tent or park their RV at one of the many sites on the lakeside. There’s nothing like sitting around a fire in the western US, watching the sun go down below the mountains.
If you are ready to hit the water, you can reserve a jet-ski rental in advance to be sure there’s one ready for you. That might be a good idea considering the growing popularity of Hurricane!
See Related: Best Boundary Waters Waterfalls You Need to Visit
3. Sand Hollow State Park
The second state park in Hurricane is Sand Hollow in the southern part of town. Sand Hollow State Park is also situated on a reservoir but offers even more adventure than you can find at the water level.
While the more relaxation-seeking travelers may enjoy a boat rental, paddle, or swim in the reservoir, thrill-seekers will do some UTV or ATV riding on the slopes of Sand Mountain.
This steep plateau runs up the mountainside bordering the reservoir and can also be enjoyed by hiking or mountain biking.
If that sounds like your kind of adventure, you can rent an ATV to hit the trails yourself or take a guided sand dune tour. A local Hurricane company that rents out boats, paddle boards, and UTVs is the Southern Utah Adventure Center, where you can pick up all kinds of toys for your Utah adventure.
If you are planning to do extreme activities like this, don’t leave home without a good travel insurance policy – we love World Nomads, or you can search for hundreds of plans on TravelInsurance.com as well. It’s better safe than sorry.
See Related: Best Parks in Utah to Visit
4. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
For the best sand dunes, you’ll definitely want to make the journey to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. While it’s not in Hurricane, you can reach this wild place in less than an hour by car.
In certain parts of Coral Pink Sand Dunes, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Sahara Desert! The rolling hills of sand shift with the wind and can reach dozens of feet high. It is heaven on Earth for off-roaders with jeeps or ATVs.
If you don’t have a 4×4 to hit the dunes, there is a nice observation deck at the park entrance, as well as plenty of normal roads to drive in the area. In fact, a drive through this part of the desert is a very unique experience itself.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Kanab, Utah
Just down the road from Quail Creek State Park in a small section of the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, you can find something very special – footprints left by dinosaurs over 190 million years ago!
Starting in the area of the Red Cliffs Campground, you can follow the Anasazi Trail, Red Reef Rail, and Silver Reef Trail for some easy hiking through the red rock landscapes of the preserve.
Posted signs denote where you can look at the giant footprints left in the rock by the prehistoric beasts that roamed the area.
These hikes are short, easy, and very scenic, even besides the ancient footprints, making it a great activity for families. The trails are easily accessible from the Quail Creek Reservoir, making this a great addition to a day on the water.
See Related: Best Things to do in Moab, Utah
6. Hurricane Valley Pioneer Heritage Museum & Park
The Hurricane Valley Heritage Park is more than a popular green space in town – it also serves as a museum of the town’s history. You’ll find open-air displays and signage scattered around, as well as exhibits in the old library and city hall building at 35 State St.
The park is a lovely space with grassy picnic spots, a splash pad area for kids, and even pickleball courts. It is dotted with statues of early Hurricane pioneers and centuries-old plows, horse-drawn carriages, and other farming equipment the original settlers would have used to work the land.
The park and museum are right in the middle of downtown Hurricane, which is also where you’ll find several of the best hotels in town.
There aren’t any large resorts here, but most visitors are more than happy with the Super 8 by Wyndham and the Hurricane Wingate at Zion. Both are within walking distance from great barbecue restaurants like Lonny Boy’s BBQ – a must-have when in the west!
7. Virgin River Hiking Trails
One of the natural attractions that characterize Hurricane is the Virgin River running straight through it. This massive river carves through the red rocks of Zion National Park, flows through Hurricane, passes into Arizona, and empties all the way down into Lake Mead, Nevada!
While there is no shortage of beautiful places to view the river, its banks in Hurricane make for some of the best hiking trails in town. You can find plenty of trailheads starting in and around Hurricane on maps of the area.
One easy-access hike begins at the end of North Main Street. Another called the La Verkin Overlook also begins nearby, follows the river, and even passes by the formerly famous Pah Tempe Hot Springs.
The hot springs are unfortunately closed to the public now after being operated by a spa resort for many years; their future is uncertain.
See Related: Best Hikes in the World
8. Snow Canyon State Park
At just around 30 minutes from Hurricane, Snow Canyon State Park is an easily accessible expanse of beautiful western wilderness that offers all kinds of natural wonders.
Besides the amazing hikes to countless viewpoints, you can even find lava tubes here. And you thought you’d have to go all the way to Hawaii for that!
Another thing that draws visitors to Snow Canyon is the petrified sand dunes.
The park’s geology is quite unique. The landscapes were formed from sand and sandstone that covered the area millions of years ago, were shaped by river flows through it, and reshaped again by lava flows. Today, it’s just pure magnificence. Don’t forget your camera!
You can hit a part of the 38 miles of trails on your own or take a guided tour of the cliffs and lava tubes to really get to appreciate this natural wonder.
See Related: Best Things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
9. Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
The nationally-protected counterpart to Snow Canyon is the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, running from Hurricane all the way to St. George.
This massive protected zone is famous for its stunning red rock cliffs and natural arch formations that so many travelers flock to the west to see.
There are endless trails and viewpoints to be enjoyed in the Red Cliffs expanse. A few convenient ones from downtown Hurricane are the Cottonwood Canyon trail and Church Rocks Trail. Heading a bit further into the uplands, you can hike to Elephant Arch for a fantastic western picture opportunity.
See Related: Goblin Valley State Park Utah – Travel Guide
10. Toquerville Falls
If you don’t mind a quick, ten-minute drive north to the town of Toquerville and then spending another 30 minutes driving a windy, dirt road into the mountains, you’ll find a real hidden gem at Toquerville Falls.
These falls flow into numerous natural pools in the sandstone rock. Most of the pools are gentle enough to allow for swimming. The sight of this natural phenomenon is quite surreal, and being a bit off the beaten path, you’ll rarely be fighting for a spot here.
If you are renting a car on your trip, be sure that you have insurance coverage and breakdown assistance available when traveling on roads like this. You won’t find any jeep tours headed this way, so bringing your own 4×4 is your best bet.
See Related: Best Weekend Getaways in Utah | Top Vacation Ideas
11. Grafton Ghost Town
Visiting a ghost town should be on everyone’s itinerary when visiting the wild west. Grafton makes for a great and easy stop along the way to or from Zion National Park from Hurricane, as it’s just outside the park entrance.
The town was first settled in 1859 by western pioneers who built wooden houses, basic irrigation systems, and simple necessities for its tiny population. But conflicts with the Native Americans over land and resources led to the desertion of the village just seven years later.
However, Grafton holds the special quality of having become a ghost town not once but twice. The town was resettled slowly beginning in 1868 after conditions improved for the pioneers, and its residents began farming again and building up the infrastructure.
The town was abandoned again in the early 1900s as residents moved to more populated places like Hurricane.
Today, Grafton is incredibly well-preserved and constantly being restored. Visitors can stop by to walk through a place frozen in history, enter most buildings, and learn what life was like back then.
See Related: Best Road Trips in the USA
12. Day Trips to Saint George and Cedar City
While Hurricane is a wonderful town, it is quite a small one. If you’ve run out of things to do around town, good news! There are some other very nice ones just a short drive away that are well worth a visit if you’ve come all the way to this part of Utah.
Just 25 minutes away by car, St. George is one of the better-known towns in Utah. Its residents are largely believers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as Mormons, and one of its biggest attractions is the famous St. George Utah Temple.
Utah Tech, the university in St. George formerly known as Dixie State University, even hosts an institute of religious studies for the faith.
Besides the religious significance of St. George, it can also be a great place to access the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area’s trails as well as those of Snow Canyon.
You’ll also find a lot of brand-name hotels in St. George, such as a Hampton Inn & Suites and a Hyatt Place, in case you prefer to accumulate loyalty points rather than stay in Hurricane.
A bit further away in the other direction is Cedar City, another major town in the south of Utah.
Sticking with the theme, this is another great town for outdoors-lovers with plenty of hiking and natural beauty. It also makes for a great food stop before or after visiting Bryce Canyon or the Dixie National Forest!
13. Bryce Canyon National Park
While it’s a bit of a drive from Hurricane, it would be a shame to miss out on Bryce Canyon while in this part of Utah. It’s just over two hours northeast of Hurricane.
Making a day trip out of Bryce Canyon is well worth it. You can take in the views from the famous Sunrise Point and Sunset Point, hike up to Bryce Point, or just simply drive through the main route and enjoy the incredible sights.
There are all kinds of tours and experiences available in Bryce Canyon. If you’re making the trip all the way from Hurricane, you might appreciate this 3-hour guided hiking experience to give you time to see other things before turning around.
See Related: Best Things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park
How do you get to Hurricane, Utah?
There is a small regional airport nearby in Saint George. The nearest major airport is Las Vegas International Airport, about two hours away. To get to Hurricane and all its attractions, you’ll need to rent a car (or take a road trip). Use sites like Kayak to find the best deals on rentals.
What are the top Hurricane tourist attractions?
Hurricane is probably best known for its proximity to Zion National Park; however, there is plenty more to see and do here. The Red Cliffs National Conservation Area is packed full of hiking and biking trails, natural arches, mountain views, and more.
You can also rent toys like paddle boards, ATVs, UTVs, boats, jet skis, and more to have some fun in the rivers, lakes, and off-road desert trails.
What are some things to do in Hurricane with kids?
The whole family can enjoy Hurricane, even most of the outdoors activities! The Red Cliffs Anasazi Site is an area with some easy hiking trails leading to the ruins of an old Native settlement and even passes by some dinosaur tracks.
Kids also love fishing, paddling, and playing around at the Quail Creek State Park Reservoir.
Are there any Hurricane tours?
While not much in the way of tours of Hurricane itself, the town is a perfect hub for tours to several impressive landmarks.
You can go on guided hiking tours around Bryce Canyon National Park, or go on an awesome UTV Slot Canyon tour in East Zion.
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