Ultimate Southwestern Utah Fall Fun Guide 2016

FEATURE – Welcome to fall. Temperatures are cooling, leaves are turning colors and there are many things for families to do in their free time, events to attend and places to explore during this ghoulish season in southwestern Utah.

Here is our listing full of ideas to help you take advantage of the overall atmosphere and favorable weather of the season. Enjoy!

Participate in Halloween events

Spookytown Fair – Oct. 21-22

A ghoulish family posing at the Spookytown Fair, St. George Town Square, date unspecified|photo courtesy of WCSD Foundation, St. George News
A ghoulish family posing at the Spookytown Fair, St. George Town Square, date unspecified | photo courtesy of Pam Graf, St. George News

This weekend fundraiser for the Washington County School District Foundation features games for children, vendor booths, concessions and continuous entertainment. New this year will be the “Witches Palooza” on Oct. 21  as well as a Harry Potter-themed tent. It runs from 12-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit the Spookytown Fair website.

Tonaquint Fall Festival and Pumpkin Alley – Oct. 24

This festival includes fun for the whole family with carnival games, kids crafts, a fortune teller, a scavenger hunt, face painting and a pumpkin decorating contest. The event runs from 5-7 p.m. For more information, visit the festival’s website.

Hurricane Halloween Neon Night Run and Trunk-Or-Treat – Saturday, Oct. 28

This fun family-oriented run includes a 5K and a 1-mile run through a haunted version of Sky Mountain Golf Course. After the run will be the trunk-or-treat and other activities sponsored by Hurricane City and local businesses. Registration for the run, which includes a T-shirt and glow-in-the-dark accessories, is $20 per adult, $15 per child and $65 for a family of six. The trunk-or-treat and the other activities are free. For more information, visit the event’s website

Get spooked at some ongoing Halloween activities

Fiesta Fright Haunted House at Fiesta Fun – Sept. 28-Oct. 31

Enjoy a good scare at Fiesta Fright, Fiesta Fun’s haunted house, which runs Mon.-Thurs. from 7-11 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. from 8 p.m.-midnight. For more information, visit its website.

Haunted Half Acre (32 Toquerville Road) – Sept. 30-Oct. 29

Featuring ghouls and goblins scaring any who dare enter every Friday and Saturday night, this free event includes a bake sale. For more information, visit its Facebook page.

Judd Pumpkin Patch – Opens Sept. 30

Located in Paragonah’s foothills, this pumpkin patch includes  hayrides, a petting zoo and a farmers market. It opens Sept. 30. For more information, visit the pumpkin patch’s Facebook page  or blog.

Entrance to the Corn Maze at Sleepy Hollow, Western Legacy Farm and Ranch, date unspecified | photo courtesy Western Legacy Farm and Ranch, St. George News
Entrance to the Corn Maze at Sleepy Hollow, Western Legacy Farm and Ranch, date unspecified | photo courtesy Western Legacy Farm and Ranch, St. George News

“Sleepy Hollow” at the Western Legacy Farm and Ranch – Oct. 7-29

The Headless Horseman hosts this Halloween extravaganza which features a 3-acre corn maze, horse rides, “Ichabod’s Train,” a hay tower, a zip line, a pumpkin patch and a bakery. The event runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. For more information, visit the event’s website.

Staheli Farm – Sept. 23-Nov. 2

This long-running Halloween destination includes a corn maze, petting zoo, pumpkin patch and one of its most popular attractions, the “Field of Screams,” which opens Sept. 29. In addition to the farm’s attractions, it also hosts other special events such as a Pumpkin Festival, a Witches Night Out and Breakfast with a Witch. For more information, visit the farm’s website.

“Thriller” at Tuacahn Amphitheatre – Oct. 21-29

This two-hour program presented by Odyssey Dance Theatre is a showcase of Halloween’s “heroes,” including skeletons, werewolves and mummies and even Frankenstein and his bride. The dance techniques, props and ghoulish music will make for a memorable evening. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit the Tuacahn website.

Attend a fall municipal event

A flock of sheep travels down Cedar City's Main Street during a past Livestock Festival, date unspecified| photo courtesy of Sam El Halta, St. George News
A flock of sheep travels down Cedar City’s Main Street during a past Livestock Festival, date unspecified | photo courtesy of Sam El Halta, St. George News

These types of events held by communities in the southwestern corner of Utah are the bread and butter of outdoor fun with vendor and food booths, children’s activities, live music and the like. Some are a little more unique, such as the Livestock Festival complete with a sheep parade down Main Street. Click on the event name to see its website.

Peruse farmers and outdoor markets

Visit the hotspots for local growers, artists and vendors to sell their wares this Fall.

Enjoy time in city parks

Parks aren’t always just about playgrounds and splash pads. This fall, take advantage of their vast expanses of green grass to play some lawn games, including croquet, bocce ball, or disc golf. Play in a park you’re familiar with or explore a park you’ve never been to. The following links lead to a list of parks in each major city:

Cedar CityEnochHurricaneIvinsSt. GeorgeSanta Clara, and Washington City.

A real “park treat” opening this fall is the Thunder Junction All Abilities Park adjacent to Tonaquint Park in St. George, complete with a train, dinosaurs and much more. The Grand Opening of this park is slated for Oct. 8.

Approaching the Turtle Wall on the Turtle Wall Trail in Red Cliffs Desert Preserve, March 8, 2016|photo courtesy of Janacy Horsley, St. George News
Approaching Turtle Wall on the Turtle Wall Trail in Red Cliffs Desert Preserve, March 8, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Janacy Horsley, St. George News

Hike through nearby red-rock scenery

In the heat of the summer, Southern Utah’s red rock is not fun to explore, but the fall’s cooler temperatures make it an ideal time to get outdoors to enjoy one of the region’s signature attractions.

Children love exploring red rock and St. George’s surroundings offer plenty.

Some fun children-friendly hikes in Snow Canyon State Park include the Petrified Dunes Trail, the Pioneer Names Trail, and Jenny’s Canyon, a miniature slot canyon.

The Red Cliffs Desert Reserve has several hikes perfect for youngsters, including the Anasazi Trail, Turtle Wall, and Dino Cliffs.

Another superb place to explore red rock is just on St. George’s horizon, Pioneer Park, aka the Dixie Rock or Sugarloaf.

The scenic red rock vista seen along the Aztec Trail, Red Cliffs Desert Reserve near Harrisburg, Utah| photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News
The scenic red rock vista seen along the Aztec Trail, Red Cliffs Desert Reserve near Harrisburg, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

Bike ride or walk city trails

Fall is an ideal time to enjoy the scenery of local communities  by biking or walking local trails – and doing so, there is no need to worry about cars on the road.

Cedar CitySt. George, Ivins,  Santa Clara, Washington City and Coral Canyon boast miles of trails and paths perfect for a leisurely ride or stroll.

Attend a college football game

With two universities in the area, there is no excuse not to experience a favorite fall tradition – college football. Put on some red and cheer on your favorite local college team, whether it’s the Thunderbirds (Southern Utah University) or Trailblazers (Dixie State University).

Attend a fine art or theatrical event

If art, ceramics and photography tickle your fancy, check out the new Southern Utah Museum of Art on the campus of Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

Check out the St. George Art Museum in St. George visit the Sears Art Gallery’s “Go Out and Play” Exhibit, capturing childhood memories of play, on the Dixie State campus.

You can also attend “Art in Kayenta,” Oct. 7-9 in Ivins’ Kayenta Art Village. The event is about more than just art, it’s about music and food.

If live theater is more your style, Tuacahn’s 2016 season of “Peter Pan,” “Tarzan’ and the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” runs until Oct. 15. Brigham’s Playhouse presents the musical “(mis)Fitting In” Sept. 24 – Oct. 15 and the classic musical “Oklahoma” Oct. 22 – Nov. 19. The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s fall season of “The Odd Couple,” “Murder for Two” and “Julius Caesar” runs until Oct. 22.

Vibrant hues up Cedar Canyon, Utah, date unspecified| photo courtesy of Sam El Halta, St. George News
Vibrant hues up Cedar Canyon, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Sam El Halta, St. George News

Enjoy scenic and historic destinations

Fall foliage tour

Fall wouldn’t be fall without taking a gander at the colorful foliage in the surrounding mountains, including Kolob, Pine Valley and Cedar Mountain. The colors of the quaking aspen, scrub oak and other deciduous trees are at their most vibrant usually in late September and early October. The Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism bureau even has a fall color report website for the mountains in its neck of the woods. 

Joshua Tree Scenic Backway

Accessed by taking a left on Old Highway 91 8.4 miles after the turnoff to Gunlock, the 18.9-mile long Joshua Tree Scenic Backway offers views of a forest of these rare trees. For more information, visit, the Bureau of Land Management’s webpage on the scenic drive

LDS historic sites

The Brigham Young Winter Home and the Jacob Hamblin Home are excellent windows into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ past with missionaries ready to tell visitors the stories of these early pioneer leaders and provide a glimpse into what life was like in the late 19th century through period artifacts.

Exterior of the Jacob Hamblin Home, Santa Clara, Utah, July 2010| photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News
Exterior of the Jacob Hamblin Home, Santa Clara, Utah, July 2010 | photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

Old Fort Pearce and Dinosaur Tracks

One of the three remaining stone forts built as outposts during the Black Hawk War between 1865-1870, Fort Pearce stands in ruins now, but it is fun to explore and imagine what took place in its heyday. The old fort is accessed on the unpaved Warner Valley Road and farther east along the road are over 400 well-preserved, petrified dinosaur tracks on sandstone as well as remnants of the Honeymoon Trail.

For more information visit the BLM’s Fort Pearce website and Dinosaur Tracks website.

See more: No Filter: Fort Pearce, petroglyphs; remnants of Black Hawk War

Pipe Spring National Monument/Kaibab Paiute Visitor Center and Museum

Winsor Castle in Pipe Spring National Monument, Ariz., May 5, 2012| photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News
Winsor Castle in Pipe Spring National Monument, Ariz., May 5, 2012| photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

Pipe Spring, Arizona, only 45 minutes west of Hurricane, features an old Mormon fort built in the 1870s, known as Winsor Castle, as well as several outbuildings. Visitors will also see a garden, an orchard and ranch animals.

The fort includes period furniture and implements and the museum, shared with the Kaibab Band of Paiutes, interprets native American history as well as the story of the pioneers who operated the ranch. Kids will enjoy earning their junior ranger badge and participating in living history presentations during their visit.

For more information, visit the monument’s website.

See more: Explore: Pipe Spring National Monument, a crossroads of the west

St. George Children’s Museum

This hands-on museum for kids features exhibits on science, different careers, and southern Utah’s natural environment, among others. It just added a Prehistoric Room where children can discover fossils and even climb on top of a full-size triceratops model. For more information, visit the museum’s website.

Be creative, write a poem

Children who like to write can compose a poem with the theme of “Free to . . .” for the Dixie Poets/Washington County School District Fall Youth Poetry Contest. The contest chairpersons recommend that students allow their English teachers to review poems before submitting them. Contest winners receive cash prizes and read their poems at a program at the Spookytown Fair. For more information and to enter the contest, visit, the WCSD poetry contest webpage.

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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