It’s hard to believe, when temperatures in St. George in July or August are uncomfortably in the triple digits, Pine Valley, just 32 miles up Utah Highway 18, is 25+ degrees cooler. The drive itself is spectacular, passing along the upper rim of Snow Canyon State Park, then through the volcano field about ten miles out of downtown St. George. Note the two (now extinct) black cinder cones, responsible for the black lava rock strewn chaotically around this part of Washington County.
You can feel the drop in temperature as you climb the 4000 feet in elevation to the little community where pioneer women and children spent the summer months. When you turn right off Utah Hwy. 18, after passing through the small town of Central (follow the strategically placed signs), the change of landscape means you have left the Mohave desert behind and crossed over into the Great Basin, the largest desert in the United States.
Besides the refreshing change in temperature, Pine Valley’s claim-to-fame is its history. There are amazingly beautiful new homes – some second homes, others year-round residences – interspersed among dozens of pioneer homes, dating back to the mid-1800’s and lovingly maintained by generations of descendants of early settlers. Certainly one of the most easily recognizable structures in the valley is the tiny, two-story, white frame “Mormon” chapel, built in 1868, still in use today and reputed to be the most photographed church building in the state. Built by Australian shipbuilder Ebenezer Bryce (for which Bryce Canyon National Park was named), the wood frame walls were assembled on the ground, then raised into position and joined with wooden pegs and rawhide, still clearly visible in some places throughout the building. Free tours are given during the summer months from 9 a.m. until dusk.
When you return to St. George, we’ll have your beautiful, comfortable and air-conditioned vacation rental waiting for you. Reserve your rental online today at www.stgeorgeresortrentals.com.