by Robert Painter

Red Mountain Spa and Resort, located in the little community of Ivins, Utah, is a fabulous spa where you can enjoy specially prepared, healthy gourmet meals, wander through a labyrinth, hike the red rock trails and commune with nature—all the while enjoying the region’s unusually temperate climate and relatively mild winters.

Ivins, which snuggles up to its better-known neighbor St. George, is at the center of a hub of tremendous recreational possibilities. Not only is it surrounded by Snow Canyon State Park’s towering cliffs and red rock formations, it is also at the gateway to Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon national parks, as well as nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument. And, if that’s not enough, it’s an easy drive to Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches national parks. And it’s only ninety minutes north of Las Vegas, Nevada!

But the truth is you don’t have to go beyond the boundaries of Red Mountain Spa itself to have a grand adventure. The core services here are extensive. Included in your program fee are guided hikes, healthy gourmet meals, healthy living classes, moonlight hikes, cooking demonstrations, nutrition classes, swimming pools, and fitness equipment.

Aerobic and cardio classes, yoga, Pilates, stretch and flexibility, and aqua classes are all part of the package. With beautiful accommodations amid the gorgeous red rocks, you don’t need to budge an inch from the Spa.

I stayed in one of the Villas at Red Mountain and it was perfect: king-sized bed, a beautiful spa bathroom, a gas fireplace (with an on/off switch by the bed), and a private patio with views of the red rocks. It was a luxury to return to my room after an exhilarating day of red rock trail hiking and soothing, rejuvenating spa treatments. I only had a couple of days to spend, so I opted for the Red Mountain Massage on my first day.

Red Mountain is one of the top destination spas in the United States and has been awarded a coveted Mind, Body, Spirit Award by Spa Finder Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards. Red Mountain won in seven categories, including hiking, fitness, spirituality programs, and culinary. They certainly won my vote! I took a group hike one morning and then hiked on my own in the red rocks the next day. I followed up both hikes with gourmet lunches and spa treatments. The eighty-minute Red Mountain Massage was perfect. My masseuse was careful to make sure I was comfortable and that I got the results I desired from the treatment. (Pressure is adjusted to the individual guest’s request.)

My second full day I was able to have lunch with Deborah Evans, general manager of Red Mountain. She explained to me that Red Mountain has the most extensive hiking program in the Southwest and is the only spa in the U.S. that specializes in outdoor adventure fitness programs, including rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding, and back country wilderness trips as well.

If your desire for adventure is a little more subdued, there is even a cooking school at Red Mountain. Executive Chef Jeff Crosland offers these monthly classes in a time frame that complements the rest of the program, so that you can still participate in the Spa’s other activities. The Adventure Cooking School consists of four two-hour sessions from two to four in the afternoon. At these healthy-choice sessions, participants receive complimentary culinary tools and a copy of the Red Mountain Adventure Cuisine Cookbook— spiral bound and easy to use.

What’s in the cookbook? How about Blue Corn Griddle Cakes, Court Bouillon Poached Halibut on Wild Rice, and Quinoa Confetti? Or desserts like Pumpkin Cheesecake or Port Wine Pears with Sauce Anglaise? The book includes cooking techniques, a grain cooking chart, and much more.

During my short visit I also managed to work in a manicure and a Gentleman’s Facial. I would guess that more guys have had a manicure somewhere in their lives than have had facials. So let me just say that the facial was a wonderful aromatic experience. Very relaxing and it felt great for hours—highly recommended by this visitor!

The Spa and Salon at Red Mountain will meet and surpass all your expectations. The spa offers a full range of treatments—everything from Native Canyon Stone therapy to Utah Honey Glow treatments to Adobe Lavender Wraps. Nail treatments, massages, facials, the full range of hair care, and even acupuncture are available.

If you’re the outdoor type, you can learn orienteering with Global Positioning System (GPS), explore the local geology and archeology, visit the surrounding National Parks, or play at a nearby Johnny Miller–designed golf course.

The Spa provides an excellent set of printed self-guided hiking and biking route maps. Both maps provide trail descriptions, mileage, trail closure dates and times, clothing and gear recommendations, as well as emergency phone numbers if you’re hiking with your cell phone.

And I don’t want to forget to tell you about the Guest Education and Entertainment programs. Native American Drumming Circles, Moonlight Walks, Pottery School, Guest Speakers, Wellness Workshops, Shiatsu, Life Weight Management, Stress Reduction and Emotional Intelligence, Special Themed Weeks…and much, much more.

And yes, they do have meeting facilities for your group. (Call to inquire.)

So visit Red Mountain for any of dozens of reasons. You can fill every minute of every day. Have your body composition assessed, check your cardiovascular system, measure your bone density, get adjusted with chiropractic care, get a cholesterol profile, take Pilates instruction, hike, bike, ride or just do nothing.

Lie by the pool, soak in the hot tub, enjoy the gourmet meals, relax by the fire with a glass of fine wine, walk in the moonlight, marvel at the stars in the endless sky, and enjoy the luxury of a fabulous Spa Vacation.

USA Today identified Red Mountain Spa as one of the Best 10 spots in the U.S. for R & R. Looks like they got that one right!

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Red Mountain Reservations

t 800.407.3002 or go to

Request the excellent brochures that explain exactly what is available and what everything costs.

If you’re driving request the “All Roads Lead to Red Mountain” pamphlet. It includes great tips about staying awake with aroma therapy, exercise, a quick loofah refresher and other ideas. There are even a couple of recipes for homemade snacks to help you eat healthy along the way!

You can fly into Las Vegas on most major airlines (including Skywest, Delta Connection, and United Airlines/United Express)—take the St. George Shuttle for the ninety-minute trip to Red Mountain. (To contact the shuttle, call t 800.933.8320.) Major car rental offices can be found at the Las Vegas airport.

St. George Chamber of Commerce

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Robert is a travel writer and photographer residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He most recently spent almost five weeks in Canada, visiting the Calgary Stampede, Klondike Days, the Edmonton Grand Prix, and the Quebec National Parks. Upcoming travel will include the Galapagos Islands, Cancun, India, and three weeks of language school in Antiqua, Guatemala. Robert is well versed in Native American Indian Art and will be happy to assist anyone interested in meeting and interviewing Native artists in the Southwest. He published a directory of Native artists and runs a nonprofit organization that assists Native artists. He is a single guy with hopes of meeting a compatible traveling partner somewhere along the way!