Capitol Reef National Park is no doubt the most popular spot to visit during a stay in Cougar Ridge. From the beautiful landscapes created by the Waterpocket Fold to the diverse wildlife that calls the park home, there’s a lot to see in the park. But it’s far from your only option during your visit.
Southern Utah State Parks are a sometimes-overlooked gem. Many of these parks offer views that rival those found in the state’s national parks, but with far fewer crowds. Many offer unique activities you won’t find in a national park. For instance, in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, you can go sand sledding in the coral pink dunes.
Another unique Utah state park located just a short drive from the best mountain home lodge Utah has to offer is Anasazi State Park. This unique park is a must-see for history buffs of all ages. Keep reading to learn what makes it so special, and how to plan a day trip during your stay at ridge resorts.
Anasazi State Park
Anasazi State Park was created to protect and preserve the site of an Ancestral Puebloan village. This village was likely occupied from sometime around A.D. 1050 to around A.D. 1200, and, at its height, was home to some 200 people. At that time, it was one of the largest communities to exist west of the Colorado River.
Also known as the Coombs Site, this Ancestral Puebloan site is unique among other sites in the Southwest. It’s located close to what was once the border between the territories occupied by the Ancestral Puebloan and the Fremont people. This close border resulted in a sort of blending of the two distinct cultures, which means that the site features a unique blend of the two cultures. There is even evidence of trade between the two cultures.
Today, visitors of this Southern Utah State Park can see the ruins of this ancient Native American village. The village was first excavated in the late 1950s. Additional digs have revealed multiple on-story apartments, as well as adobe put homes. In total, there are more than 100 known structures and rooms at the site.
Located at the base of the towering Boulder Mountain, this state park offers some incredible views.
Who Were the Anasazi?
The word “Anasazi” is actually a Navajo word meaning “enemy ancestors” or “ancient outsiders.” In recent times, the word is now considered to be controversial.
Anasazi has often been used to refer to a tribe of Pueblo Native Americans that lived in modern-day Southern Utah. The Ancestral Puebloans lived on the Colorado Plateau between A.D. 1 and A.D. 1300. They lived in villages and farmed the fertile soil of the plateau.
Getting to Anasazi State Park
Anasazi State Park is open seven days a week year-round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. It’s located in Boulder, Utah, less than an hour away from the best mountain home lodge Utah has to offer.
After leaving Cougar Ridge, you’ll head almost due South on UT-12. Part of your drive will take you through beautiful Fishlake National Forest. This is the same forest that is home to Pando, the world’s largest living organism. You won’t pass it on this road trip, but it’s definitely worth a visit during your stay in our ridge resorts.
Like many Southern Utah state parks, Anasazi State Park does charge a small entrance fee. A day-use pass is just $5 for most adults. Senior residents of Utah pay just $3, while families can enter for just $10.
While some Southern Utah State Parks have longer hours to allow for longer hikes and more exploring, the visiting hours of this park are more limited. The state park is open from 9 AM to 5 PM daily. After Daylight Savings Time ends, the park begins closing at 4 PM daily.
Visiting Anasazi State Park
The park has a museum that tells the history of this ancient village and its ongoing preservation. Watch a short video that tells the history of the people that once lived here. The museum has a large collection of artifacts found at the site, including many pieces of pottery. After the museum, you can enjoy a self-guided tour of the village site with interpretive signs lining a short trail. There is even a replica pueblo with six rooms that show what life would have been like here 1,000 years ago.
There’s also a park store where you can purchase a map, educational books about the area, and souvenirs. While there are no permanent restaurants or snack bars in the park, there is a seasonal food truck available. Magnolias is open in the park seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, starting April 1 each year.
Choosing the Best Southern Utah State Parks for Day Trips During Your Stay
If you’re planning a visit to Cougar Ridge, there are several Southern Utah state parks that make for perfect day trips during your stay.
Looking for another unique day trip to enjoy during your stay? Check out Goblin Valley State Park next.