Known as the hub of Central Utah, Richfield is the largest city for more than a hundred miles and is an amenity-rich home base for exploring Central Utah’s sights and rugged outdoor recreation.
It is home to campuses for both Snow College and Utah State University, as well as plenty of hotels, restaurants and a historic Main Street packed with local shops. Its central location provides easy access to nearby natural hot springs, Fremont Indian petroglyphs, red rock national park wonders, ancient lava tubes and aspen stands, and one of the country’s best ATV trails.
Mystic Hot Springs
Unwind in an outdoor bathtub filled with mineral water at Mystic Hot Springs, a natural hot spring resort in neighboring Monroe. The hot water flows from the ground and through a channel into eight antique bathtubs for personalized soaking. Two pools — one shallow, one deep — are open for soaking too. Restored pioneer cabins and retro vans are rentable if you want to stay for a night or two.
Old Lime Kiln
Just north of Richfield, take a short hike up to a well-preserved lime kiln from the 1800s, passing an old water wheel and Sevier County’s first jail on the way. The limestone was quarried from nearby mountains, melted in the kiln, and cooled to leave a white powder behind. The lime powder was used in brick-making, mortar, and plaster for homes, churches and schools.
Fremont Indian State Park and Museum
Construction of Interstate 70 in the 1980s unearthed the ruins of the largest known prehistoric Fremont Village. More than 100 structures were found, along with petroglyphs and countless artifacts, and today much of it is preserved in Fremont Indian State Park. Tour the museum to learn about this people’s way of life then grab a trail guide and go for a hike. Cave of a Hundred Hands and Parade of Rock Art Trails showcase pictographs and handprints left by the Fremont people in Clear Creek Canyon.
Paiute ATV Trail
Named one of the nation’s best ATV trails, Central Utah’s 275-mile Paiute Trail is one continuous loop that travels through towns, Fishlake National Forest, Fremont Indian State Park and the towering Tushar Mountains. Completing the trail requires 25 hours of non-stop riding — so it’s to best spread it over 3-4 days. Expect a relaxed, family-friendly ride with scenic panoramas and wildlife spotting opportunities. Read the stories: The Unparalleled Paiute ATV Trail and Riding the Arapeen Trails
Big Rock Candy Mountain
As a joke, local residents placed a sign at the base of a colorful local mountain in 1928 declaring it Big Rock Candy Mountain, after the folk song of the same name. Unexpectedly, the name stuck, and today visitors come to see this volcanic rock and its unique shades of white, yellow, orange and red. Caused by the presence of minerals, this colorful mountain also boasts plenty of outdoor activities. Go whitewater rafting on the Sevier River, test your mettle in the adventure park, zoom down a zipline, or climb across a via ferrata.
When early settlers traveled by wagon or stagecoach, they needed places to hang their hat along the way. One such stop was Cove Fort, constructed in 1867 as a safe haven for travelers to sleep, feed livestock, and find fresh water. The place had a blacksmith on site, wagon repair person, a telegraph office and a Pony Express stop. A veritable Greyhound bus station of yesteryear! An older wooden fort (Willden Fort) also shared the site, but now only a plaque marks where it stood.
The Earth’s single most massive living organism is hiding in plain sight, just outside Richfield in the Fishlake National Forest. Pando, a clonal quaking aspen stand, is considered one organism because its 47,000 or so trees spread over 106 acres are genetically identical and share a single root system. The best time to visit is in the fall when the aspen leaves change from green to bright golden yellow.
Meadow Lava Tubes
Scramble through lava tubes left behind by an erupting volcano on Tabernacle Hill just west of the town of Meadow. The tubes are thousands of years old and run for miles underground. Some have collapsed, but others remain dark, open tunnels. Bring a flashlight and good shoes to explore. You can even spend the night camping inside — if you aren’t afraid of the dark.
Written by Jenny Willden for RootsRated Media in partnership with Utah Office of Tourism.
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