- The Dixie is located adjacent to three National Parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef. The scenic beauty for which these areas were set aside prevails over much of the Forest. Red sandstone formations of Red Canyon rival those of Bryce Canyon National Park. Hells Backbone Bridge and the view into Death Hollow are breathtaking. From the top of Powell Point, it is possible to see for miles into three different states. Boulder Mountain and the many different lakes provide opportunities for hiking, fishing, and viewing outstanding scenery.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Fish Creek Reservoir, Dixie National Forest
The Forest is divided into four geographic areas. High altitude forests in gently rolling hills characterize the Markagunt, Pansaugunt, and Aquarius Plateaus. Boulder Mountain, one of the largest high-elevation plateaus in the United States, is dotted with hundreds of small lakes 10,000 to 11,000 feet above sea level.
Elevations vary from 2,800 feet near St. George, Utah to 11,322 feet at Blue Bell Knoll on Boulder Mountain. The southern rim of the Great Basin, near the Colorado River, provides spectacular scenery. Colorado River canyons are made up of many-colored cliffs and steep-walled gorges.
The Forest has 83,000 acres of wilderness in three areas: Pine Valley, Box-Death Hollow, and Ashdown Gorge. Pine Valley and Ashdown Gorge offer opportunities for solitude, horseback riding, and hiking. Box-Death Hollow offers opportunities for solitude and hiking, but the terrain is much too rough for horses.
Recreation - Recreational opportunities on the Forest are highly diversified. Visitors may enjoy camping, hunting, viewing scenery, hiking, horseback riding, and fishing in very primitive settings away from the sight and sounds of motorized vehicles. Others, who prefer more developed areas and less primitive conditions, may enjoy vehicle-based activities such as camping, picnicking, resort lodging, recreation residence, sledding, skiing, hunting, viewing interpretive exhibits, hiking, viewing scenery, driving for pleasure, snowmobiling, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, sailing, swimming, water skiing, and fishing.
Hunting: Big game hunting has traditionally been the major wildlife attraction on the Forest, although recently there has been an increased interest in viewing and photographing all types of wildlife. Mule deer are harvested on every District, and elk are expanding their range on the Forest.
Fishing: Good fishing is found in the many lakes, reservoirs, and streams located on the Forest. Gamefish include brook, rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout.
Camping: Developed facilities are available for those who prefer to have drinking water and restrooms. There are 26 campgrounds and 5 picnic sites on the Forest. In addition, the Forest has several group camping areas and group picnic areas available for those who are traveling together, and would like to camp or picnic as a group. The group sites can be reserved by calling ahead. Some of the campgrounds are located near lakes and reservoirs (Panguitch Lake, Navajo Lake, Enterprise Reservoir). These areas have boating and fishing opportunities available.
Winter Sports: Downhill skiing is available at Brian Head, northeast of Cedar City. Opportunities for winter sports, such as cross skiing and snowmobiling are available in many areas. The Forest works with the State Parks to maintain some trails for skiing and snowmobiling. There are also over a thousand miles of timber roads that can be used for these sports.
Climate - The Forest has many climatic extremes. Precipitation ranges from 10 inches in the lower elevations to more than 40 inches per year near Brian Head Peak. At the higher elevations, most of the annual precipitation falls as snow. Thunderstorms are common during July and August and produce heavy rains. In some areas, August is the wettest month of the year.
Temperature extremes can be impressive, with summer temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit near St. George and winter lows exceeding -30 degrees Fahrenheit on the plateau tops.
The vegetation of the Forest grades from sparse, desert-type plants at the lower elevations to stand of low-growing pinyon pine and juniper dominating the mid-elevations. At the higher elevations, aspen and conifers such as pine, spruce, and fir predominate.
The Dixie National Forest, with headquarters in Cedar City, Utah occupies almost two million acres and stretches for about 170 miles across southern Utah. The largest National Forest in Utah, it straddles the divide between the Great Basin and the Colorado River.