A Pit Stop a Day (Day 17): Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens

Suites facing river views at Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens

After driving from Park City to Zion National Park, day 17 found us at Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens in Springdale, Utah, gateway to the park.

Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens is located in the heart of Springdale, mere yards from the national park entrance. While all of Springdale enjoys an unexpected lushness of greenery and flowering plants (due to water from the Virgin River which flows through town), the Cliffrose in particular boasts beautiful gardens and even fruit trees which contrast dramatically with its backdrop of sandstone cliffs and barren land.

I didn’t expect to love this resort as much as I did. On paper, it looked certainly comfortable (and clearly more than your average resort-area motel), but in ‘person’, it was so much more. It is beautifully laid out to mesh with its surroundings, the units steps away from the river and shaded by the well-kept gardens and grassy areas. The desert air felt ten degrees cooler on the property, and even at near full-capacity, it felt very peaceful and welcoming.

Nate and Cal walk through the gardens to the pool.

Swimming pool with beautiful cliffside backdrop!

The amenities for kids are extensive. The Cliffrose has a full-sized pool and hot tub, grass to play on (with chairs and umbrellas set out under shade trees for parents), a small playground for the toddler set, and best of all, river access with a sandy beach, fire pits, and picnic tables and chairs. The river is perfect for wading and floating, and inner tubes are available to use. My kids spent more time in the river than the pool, walking up the path to the lodge boundary, putting their tubes in, floating down to the other end of the grounds, and getting out to to it all over and over again. (Meanwhile, I was more than happy to sit in a deck chair with my feet in the river and read.)

Second bedroom in the Riverside two-bedroom suite.

There are several available room configurations at the Cliffrose, from regular one-room units to family, one-room, or two-room suites. We stayed in a Riverside two-bedroom suite, which was perfect. With a full kitchen and living area, we could store leftovers and picnic lunch supplies, spread out, and start a long game of Monopoly. Each bedroom had two double beds (or one King…rollaways are available) and a large bathroom (with tub).

Note: We bought our own inner tubes for river use at the Sol Market in Springdale (before realizing there were tubes for use on-site). They were larger and sturdier, and cost $20 each. Be sure to buy a pump as well ($6)!

Extra Tip: You’re in walking distance of the park entrance and most dining and shopping at the Cliffrose, but free town and park shuttles are available as well. We used these extensively, and found them to be very convenient.

Date last visited: July 6-8, 2010.

Distance off the interstate: Right off Hwy 9, about half an hour from I-15.

Room Rates: Rates range from $149 for a standard unit to $279 for a two-bedroom suite.

Food Services: There are no restaurants on-site, but Springdale is filled with great places to eat (and the Sol Market for snack and picnic supplies). We bought groceries for breakfasts and lunches, and ate dinners in town. Our favorite picks were the Bit and Spur (great outdoor seating and lawn for kids to play on) and The Spotted Dog (extensive children’s menu with large portions).

Website: Cliffrose Lodge and Gardens

Directions: From I-15, take Hwy 17 south to La Verkin, then take Hwy 9 west to Springdale.

Up Next: We hike (and swim!) in Zion National Park’s ‘Narrows’!