Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, Utah

Red Mountain Resort
••• Hiking at Red Mountain Resort takes you past ancient petroglyphs. Ryan Houston/Getty Images

Just a two-hour drive from Las Vegas, Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah, is famous for its hiking program. In fact, morning hikes through the rugged Southwest terrain are the heart of Red Mountain, and no matter how fit (or unfit) you are, there's a group for you.  Explorer hikes are leisurely stroll, with photos ops and time to to look at petroglyphs. Challenge hikes push you a little further and faster, with more gain in elevation.

Endurance hikes are a fast-paced push up steep canyons and over rocks. However fast and hard you want to go, a guide will stay with you. (Fortunately, someone minds the back of the pack, as well. 

Red Mountain is also one of the most affordable destination spas: overnight rates for accommodations, meals, hiking and fitness activities start around $300 per person per night.  It's hard to beat that rate for this quality, especially in such a spectacular landscape.  A gorgeous red mountain (the resort's namesake) rises up behind a cluster of adobe buildings.   You might see quail darting in the garden in the early morning, or hear owls hooting on the way back to your room at night.

Originally a fat farm when it opened in the 1980s, Red Mountain has infrastructure that dates from that era.  Through neat and tidy, standard rooms are small (think motel-size) compared to the apartment-style suites that can be found at modern resorts.

 Still, they're comfortable, the price is right, and anyone who wants more space and a fireplace that can be switched on with the press of a button can upgrade to a villa.  

In large sunlit studios cardio classes, NIA, dance, TRX, Zumba, yoga, meditation, stretch, Pilates mat and strength training are all included as part of retreat packages, as are water workouts and the daily morning hikes.

  Some of the best activities are extra, like a trip to adventures in spectacular Bryce Canyon or Zion National Park, or taking a bike ride to the charming desert community of Kayenta (shopping alert!)  

You can horseback ride in Snow Canyon, rock-climb, get to know a herd of wild mustangs, kayak, or rappel down a red rock face at sunset.  Try your hand at canyoneering  -- a combination of hiking, climbing, scrambling, rappelling and squeezing through narrow sections of the slot canyon.  The outdoors guides are fun, interesting people who love what they’re doing, and they'll even create a custom adventure. Just bring a little extra padding in your budget.  The outdoor experiences range from $130 per person (four hours of kayaking) to $250 (six hours of canyoneering).

After working up an appetite, everyone gathers at the elegantly rustic Canyon Breeze Dining Room, where food is unusually good.   With dishes like molasses-seared cervena venison with shallot, blackberry and sage demi-glace, pepita cinnamon-dusted yam and Danish blue cheese -- plus a dessert menu AND a wine list -- it can be hard to lose weight here.  But the food is healthy and lower calorie than it sounds. 

There is a Red Mountain Weight Loss & Living Well Retreat ($2,200 for seven nights), with a limited group size and extra mental, emotional, physical, and nutritional guidance from Red Mountain's experienced team of wellness and fitness specialists.

 This package includes a  Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) analysis, which tells you exactly how many calories your body burns a day, and a cardiovascular metabolic analysis gives you valuable information on how to exercise most efficiently to lose fat.  Along with a cooking demonstration and mindful eating luncheon, you'll get serviceslike a personal nutrition consultation and a personal training session that would usually cost extra.

There's so much to do that you might forget about spa services. Don't! The Sagestone Spa is located in a 60-foot high dome that was one of the original buildings from the 1980s.  One of the spa's most popular treatment, The Red Mountain Revitalizer ($170 for 75 minutes) is a luxurious body treatment that begins with a sugar scrub followed by a massage under a Vichy shower.

 A delicious scalp massage washes and conditions your hair to leave you serene, nurtured and renewed for another day.

Shaman Spirit guide Betina Lindsey offers spirit healing through the sacred powers of water, fire, earth and breath, along with intuitive seeing, energetic clearing and balancing through the sounds of crystal bowls.   Life Path Reading & Sound Healing helps you get rid of limiting beliefs and tune in to your inner wisdom.  

Using hypnotic guided imagery for positive change, Consulting Hypnotist Barbara Harrison facilitates a calm and peaceful state of mind in order to reduce stress, release negativity and assist in changing limiting behaviors. 

Given the quality of the setting, rooms, food and programming, Red Mountain provides fantastic value. This spa is for you if you are inspired by Southwestern scenery and love outdoor adventure.

Contact Info: Red Mountain Resort, P.O. Box 2149 St. George , UT 84771-2149. Toll-free reservations at 1-877-246-4453.