Diamonds Near the Rough

If you love the idea of purple mountains majesty, but the thought of “glamping” makes your forehead sweat and foundation crease, forget “roughing it” and find yourself a luxury retreat near one of America’s sublime National Parks.

This year, the US National Park Service celebrates 100 years of preserving and conserving America’s most prized natural possessions. How to choose from the 400 national parks, heritage areas, historic trails and waterways dotting the legendary landscape? Consider exploring these gems of the Wild West all within driving distance of divine comfort.

The Spa: Red Mountain Resort, St George, Utah

Release your outdoor adventurist at this red rock’n resort located in southwest Utah. Here your daytime best friends are a pair of high-spec hiking boots and a hydration backpack. After an exhilarating trek or canyoneering in nearby cliffs and canyons, reward your body at The Sagestone Spa, where ancient beauty rituals are blended with indigenous botanicals, Utah honey and mineral-rich muds, clays and salts to restore and replenish your wilderness warrior. You could just stay here the entire time, but you won’t…

The Park: Zion National Park

This stunning nature preserve, distinguished by Zion Canyon’s mammoth sandstone cliffs, is home to than 100 species of animals, reptiles and fish, 271 species of birds including the endangered peregrine falcon and California condor, plus more than 900 species of plants. Spectacular trails, waterfalls, and scenery abound – Emerald Pools, The Narrows, and Angel’s Landing top the list of unmissables. Nearby Snow Canyon State Park also offers excellent hiking and wilderness sightseeing. Bryce Canyon, another national park knockout, is just over 2 hours away and home to the iconic hoodoos, spirals of sedimentary rock with shapes as unique as snowflakes.

For Body: Try the Adobe Lavender Hydrating Cocoon, a wrap made from locally sourced red clay and packed with healing minerals. Your tired joints and muscles will thank you for its restorative, rehydrating effects.

For Soul: Find your inner horse whisperer when you M.E.E.T the Mustangs and learn how to connect with a wild horse, a powerful experience with often life-changing effects. Proceeds support care and adoption efforts for the local herds.

When to go: National Parks can get pretty crowded during the summer. Avoid long entry lines and go when the kiddies are in school. April/May and September/October offer glorious weather and room to breathe.

*****

The Spa: Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah

Low-key elegance is the hallmark of Amangiri’s five-star resort, where sleek sandstone architecture blends seamlessly with the wind-carved landscape. Home for centuries to the native Navajo and Hopi tribes, the resort offers you an endless array of activities, including private aerial tours of the Grand Canyon and guided hikes with expert archaeologists, geologists and naturalists on foot or by horseback. Amangiri’s stunning desert-view spa focuses on restoring hózhó, a native Navajo word meaning balance, beauty, harmony, and health. The heavenly heated step-pool, private Jacuzzi, sculpted steam room, spacious sauna, and Flotation Pavilion provide peerless spa relaxation. Just what you need…well anytime really.

The Park: Grand Canyon National Park

History and nature are on spectacular display in the majestic landscapes of the Grand Canyon. The mighty Colorado River, having carved its way through eleven layers of prehistoric rock, offers the modern visitor a view that spans 1.5 billion years. It’s sheer scale (277-mile length, an average of 10 miles across and a mile deep) offers sweeping vistas and the chance to do everything from hiking and bicycling to mule rides, helicopter tours and white water rafting.The resort sits in the heart of America’s Grand Circle, a spectacular region encompassing portions of five states and containing the largest concentration of national parks, monuments, and scenic byways in the country. There is easy access to the Grand Canyon’s popular Southern Rim, home of Grand Canyon Village, El Tovar, Hopi House and Lookout Studio.  The Northern Rim is further but worth it if you want to avoid the summer throngs.

For Body: Catch an early morning hot air balloon ride launching right from the resort with views over stunning Lake Powell, Navajo Mountain, the Vermillion Cliffs and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

For Soul: End the day with candlelit restorative yoga or visit during a full moon when you can take an outdoor class and breathe in the stars.

When to go: The heat’s more forgiving and the crowds thinner in March through May and September through November, but pack for swings in temperature.

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