About Washington County
Washington County covers 2,427 square miles of varied and rugged terrain in the southwest corner of Utah. It is home to Zion National Park. It includes portions of the Mojave Desert as well as 10,000 foot-high forested and snow-capped mountain peaks. It is also home to St. George, one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in America. Between the joshua trees of the desert lowlands and the peaks of the mountains the ground rises in cliffs, mesas and eerie red-rock formations. The lowest elevation is at 2,178 feet in Beaver Dam Wash, in the extreme southwest corner of the county, and the highest point is 10,194 feet at an unnamed peak next to Signal Peak.
Washington County was settled in the 1850s by Mormon pioneers, with St. George being the main settlement. The dry climate, combined with droughts and the difficulty of irrigating through the rugged terrain brought considerable hardships to the settlers.
Washington County is know as "Utah's Dixie", a name deriving partly from its being Utah's lowest and hottest region, and also from the attempts to grow cotton there in the early days of its settlement. Today the population has grown to an estimated 109,924, as of 2004.
The Virgin river flows out of the mountains in the northeast corner of Washington County, through the Zion National Park, St. George, and then southward into Arizona. It then flows through the Virgin River Gorge, a dramatic canyon seen by travelers on Interstate 15. I-15 is the only freeway through the county, leading toward Salt Lake City to the north, and Las Vegas to the southwest. Utah Highway 9 travels eastward through Zion National Park, connecting eventually with U.S. Highway 89. Utah Highway 18 heads north from St. George into some of the mountainous regions of the county.
a dirt road|
Joshua Tree Road
Old Highway 91