“It’s like adult camp only with much better food, wine and an epic list of activities you can do every day,” proclaimed my new acquaintance at Utah’s Red Mountain Resort. We’d both signed up for Drums Alive, a high-energy drumming/dancing/aerobics class and she, it turned out, was a Red Mountain Resort regular, flying cross-country with a group annually for a girlfriends’ getaway.

I hadn’t been there for a couple decades. Both of those times were solo and I was seeking out some R&R. Forty-five exuberant minutes later, under the tutelage of our energetic instructor, the entire class had worked up a thorough sweat pounding drumsticks on exercise balls while doing the grapevine and mambo. My acquaintance headed off to a relaxing massage. Her friend rushed to a kayaking class. Me, I wanted to lay in one of the hammocks strategically located on the resort grounds.  But instead, I opted for a lecture on body alignment where I discovered I have a head forward posture issue. Sounded like something to work on during my time at Red Mountain Resort.

Red Mountain Resort

Hammocks at Red Mountain Resort. Photo courtesy Red Mountain Resort

Activities at Red Mountain Resort

Drums Alive was one of a menu of 26 different activities available during my one-day mini-retreat at Red Mountain Resort. Each day offered a different combination of choices. Located next to the scenic red rocks of Snow Canyon State Park in Ivins, Utah and an hour from Zion National Park, the resort takes full advantage of its accessibility to outdoor recreational locations.

I could have spent the day hiking the epic Narrows trail in Zion National Park. Or I could have attempted canyoneering, trekked on a desert nature hike, gone horseback riding or taken a yoga class in Snow Canyon. I could have learned how to kayak or paddleboard, taken a cooking class, had lunch with a hypnotist or learned how to play the ukulele and go star gazing. I also could have lounged in a hammock with a good book for the day, taking an occasional dip in the pool.

You can do all that at this destination resort and spa—take it easy or push your physical limits.

Red Mountain Resort Hiking

Hiking At Zion National Park.  Photo courtesy Red Mountain Resort

Red Mountain Resort—Journey to Healthy Living

Given the choices, I selected a relatively gentle schedule of activities—the aerobic drumming class, a MELT yoga class, a healthy lunch in the resort’s Canyon Breeze Restaurant, that workshop on posture alignment and a massage in Red Mountain Resort’s Sagestone Spa and Salon.

It’s a place where you can put on your yoga pants and t-shirt in the day, go for a bike ride and then work up a sweat in Zumba class. After that, you can head directly to lunch and be surrounded by fellow guests in robes over swimsuits, padded bike shorts and some with hair in disarray from an Intensive Age Defying Hydrating Facial.

That, says resort general manager Tracy Welch, is what sets Red Mountain Resort apart from other destination spa resorts and has earned it one of the World’s Best Destination Spa awards from Travel + Leisure magazine. “We work with our customers wherever they are on their journey to healthy living.”

Red Mountain Resort

Yoga Class. Photo courtesy Red Mountain Resort

Evolution of Red Mountain Resort

It’s not always been that way. The 55-acre Red Mountain Resort was formerly the National Institute of Fitness, a destination weight loss facility with a boot camp philosophy of low-calorie vegetarian diets and a regimented exercise schedule. Research and new ownership have changed the resort’s philosophy. “We now know a permanent, healthy lifestyle isn’t encouraged by deprivation,” said Welch. “Our goal is to empower our customers by giving them a range of healthy choices…wellness, recreational and diet, and then letting them choose.”

The resort staff regularly assess their offerings by researching what’s trending in the health and wellness industry and what their top-notch staff of professionals can offer. They change up their menu of options with the season and throw in an occasional surprise activity. The morning hikes in Snow Canyon and yoga classes are the most popular options for guests whose average demographics are ages 35-65. About 65 percent of the guests are female while 35 percent are male.

The Friday night during my stay, the resort was offering a lecture called, “Red Carpet Style,” a take-off on Joan Rivers commentary on stylish celebrity wear. In June and December, the resort celebrates the solstice.

Red Mountain Resort Hike

Snow Canyon hike Photo courtesy Red Mountain Resort

The Spa at Red Mountain Resort

Red Mountain Resort’s Sagestone Spa and Salon offers a full menu of spa services: massages, facials, reflexology, pedicures, manicures and hair services. It was difficult to choose between the exfoliation treatment of an Adobe Lavender Hydrating Cocoon and a sound therapy treatment involving Himalayan singing bowls.

Looking out the windows of the spa’s Relaxation Room at Snow Canyon’s red rocks while waiting for my Sagestone Personalized Massage, I could have easily called that waiting experience alone a spa service. But I recalled what Welch told me when asked what sets Red Mountain Resort apart: “We are more about getting dirt in your shoes and group bonding experiences than we are about pampering,” she said.

Red Mountain Resort Spa

Spa Relaxation Room. Photo courtesy Red Mountain Resort

Getting the Most out of your Red Mountain Resort Experience

Having experienced Red Mountain Resort as both a single and multi-day day guest, the real changes come the longer you immerse yourself in its mind-body connections of fitness, wellness, and outdoor activities. The resort’s accommodations include king and double rooms and one- and two-bedroom villas. Its website offers a full complement of one-day and multi-day retreats and packages ranging from the upcoming Sacred Sisterhood Retreat to a Sports Performance Retreat for the serious athlete.

Red Mountain Resort Villas and Pool

Red Mountain Resort Villas and Pool. Photo Courtesy Red Mountain Resort

Its accessibility to Las Vegas—you can arrange for a shuttle from the Las Vegas airport to the resort or fly directly into the nearby St. George airport—makes Red Mountain Resort a destination possibility for anyone.

The morning after my mini-retreat at Red Mountain Resort, I hiked Snow Canyon where I ran into the Red Mountain Sunrise Challenge hikers on a trail.  My Drums Alive acquaintance was among the group of women and men who had just climbed the canyon’s slick rock to watch the sun rise over the desert. “It was stunning,” she said, pointing up the trail to show me the group’s perch for the view, now awash in red-lit rock and shadows. When I asked her what was next, she said, “A hot tub soak and a nap because I earned it this morning.”

It’s that way at Red Mountain Resort… a bonding group adventure followed by wherever you are on your journey to good health.  Or, as the resort’s hashtag describes the experience, it’s #adventureinspired.


Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a meal, services and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

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