This spring, my family visited Zion Ponderosa for a day of fun and adventure. Short on time, we made the most of the opportunity to spend the day at this lovely 4,000-acre ranch resort on the eastern edge of beautiful Zion National Park.
We arrived at Zion Ponderosa around lunchtime, so we popped into Ray’s Restaurant for an early, leisurely lunch to fuel up for the exciting afternoon ahead. My chicken sandwich, topped with avocado and lettuce, was fresh and flavorful, and the fries were crispy and perfectly seasoned. The rest of the family relished their burgers and chicken, and we enjoyed looking at the hand-painted wall murals.
First up after lunch: a Razor ATV tour through Zion Ponderosa’s forested acres. This was our first ATV ride, and I’ll never forget the thrill or my 10-year-old daughter’s excitement. While flying over the rough terrain in the Razor ATV, wind whipping her hair, she exclaimed, “This is the funnest thing I’ve ever done!”
We reached Jolley Gulch, which is literally at the edge of Zion National Park; the ATV trail ends at the property line. After drinking in the Jolley Gulch scenic overlook and sniffing the butterscotch sap of the Ponderosa Pine, we headed back past the “haunted” cabin, which was once the home of the canyon’s namesake. Property manager Michael Kane shared the ghost story with us, leaving out some of the more legendary details for our daughter’s sake!
After the Razor ATV ride, we were tempted by the zip line but we opted for a second ATV ride, this time trying out the Ranger side-by-side. While we waited, we checked out the tennis, basketball and volleyball courts.
The Ranger ATV is more of a Jeep-like experience than the Razor. We headed up the hills to Pine Knoll, for a spectacular panoramic view of Zion Ponderosa and the eastern edge of Zion National Park. This really is a must-see view for anyone visiting Zion Ponderosa, whether ATVing or mountain biking.
We finished our day with a kid’s 1-mile guided horseback ride. Zion Ponderosa’s horseback guide was a decorated barrel racer, so she was interesting to chat up as she saddled up the horse. My daughter was so excited, because horseback riding was never on her radar. She opted for this once-in-a-lifetime experience over the bungee trampoline, which she said she wants to do next time.
One of the things that amazed us most, as a family, about Zion Ponderosa, was just how much there is to do at the ranch resort. We did all of this in an afternoon and still had time to visit Zion National Park because it’s so close by. We saw dozens of wild turkey, birds and baby deer on the short drive to Zion National Park
With summer just around the corner, my family is looking forward to making Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort a part of our summer vacation plans. We can’t wait to swim in that gorgeous pool, surrounded by the tranquil beauty of Zion!