Dixie National Forest
Just outside of the historic town of Panguitch, Utah lays the Dixie National Forest which encompasses over 170 miles and roughly 2 million acres of Southern Utah’s beautiful landscape. As the very largest national forest in all of Utah, the scenery ranges between four different geographic areas providing every desirable view from colored cliffs to lush green forests, as well as vast climate changes including snowy fields, lush rainfall, and wildflower filled fields. Temperatures range drastically depending on the time of year and may reach highs of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and lows dropping to below zero.
While staying in Panguitch, a town rich in pioneer and Native American history, one day-trip into a section of the Dixie National Forest is a beautiful drive along Scenic Byway 143. The drive itself is spectacular and provides countless photo opportunities regardless of the time of year. The forest is covered in high desert plants at lower elevations and great pine, spruce, fir and aspen trees in the upper reaches.
The Dixie National Forest is broken up into four large sections, each of which include a major plateau and significant elevations which range anywhere from 6,000 to over 11,000 feet. The highest of these plateaus is the Aquarius Plateau which is actually a part of the even larger Colorado Plateau.
The Dixie National Forest has many recreational activities available with options for diverse tastes and skill levels. Families, couples, and individuals can enjoy hunting, breathtaking scenery, fishing, horseback riding and photography. For those who want to enjoy more athletic endeavors there are winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding adventures to be had, and snowmobiles to rent. For summer months you’ll find, ATV rentals, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, swimming, and fishing.
Nature enthusiasts and photographers will find plenty to see with over 83,000 acres of wilderness available and hiking trails for beginners to more advanced. Wildlife is abundant for those who wish to catch a glimpse or snap a picture of elk, deer, eagles, hawks, and more.
In fall season, hunters will find elk and mule deer available, while year-round photographers enjoy the quest of spotting these wild animals in their natural habitat.
Various fishing opportunities exist in the way of streams, lakes, and reservoirs, with brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout in large numbers.
Many people enjoy lunch at a forest picnic site before heading back to Panguitch for comfortable accommodations, and a variety of restaurants and shops.