Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Saddle

Melanie and I went on a hike together this morning over the Tuacahn Saddle.  I don't know if I can count the amount of times I've heard our Desert Cliffs guests say they love this hike and that it's their favorite.  In fact, many times our return guests will request it and if the weather and conditions are suitable, we are happy to oblige.

I don't know if I can pinpoint exactly why it is everyone loves this hike so much.  It could be the fabulous views from the saddle, looking down onto Tuacahn and Snow Canyon.  It could be the heart-pumping scramble to the top.  It could be the arch, Fern Gully and pools of water on the decent.  It could also be the sea of sand that sculpts and tones our calves (well the guides love it!).  It could be the possibility of seeing a Desert Tortoise or the Jack Rabbits. It very well could be the combination of all of these things.  I know it is for me.  This hike leaves you feeling accomplished with an "I can do anything" feeling.

We call this hike The Saddle, but it is known in Snow Canyon State Park as Padre Canyon.  If you are a guest with Desert Cliffs, you'll enjoy being guided on this hike with us but if you visit the St. George area on your own, this is should be on your must-do-list.  Check out the Snow Canyon tab above for more info.

We have just posted a poll on our Desert Cliffs Facebook page because we're interested in hearing which hike is the most favorite of our beloved guests!  Go vote!  If you don't see your favorite hike listed, be sure to vote "other" and list the hike in the comments section.

Take a hike!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Must Do Hikes in Dixie

A lot of people ask me about the hiking in the St. George area.  Kelly Vincent from Utah Dixie Deals asked me some questions about some hikes here in Dixie and has featured my article on her website.

Go here, to read more.

Of course, if you want to be guided on one of these hikes or any others, feel free to come visit us at Desert Cliffs and we'd be happy to take you!

Happy Hiking!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Desert Cliffs Top Ten Reasons to own a Backpack

1.  A backpack doesn't get jealous of other backpacks.

2.  A backpack will cary a ton of stuff - without complaint.

3.  You can pick a new backpack out of a catalog.

4.  A backpack always stays the same size (within reason).

5.  Backpacks never raise an arm and say, "Talk to the hand".

6.  Having more than one backpack is socially acceptable.

7.  A backpack is ready to leave whenever you are.

8.  A backpack doesn't mind if your friends come over - A LOT!

9.  "Backpack Swapping", is not publicly frowned upon.

10.  A backpack never gets tired of shopping.

So grab a backpack and let's...

Take a Hike!

If you are planning to hike with Desert Cliffs, plan on bringing a backpack that can hold a water bladder of a minimum of 2 liters, a packed lunch, plus any other necessities you might need.  A backpack is a good investment and with good treatment, will last many years and serve you well.

Tip:  You can store your water bladder in a freezer between hiking trips.  That will keep bacteria from growing inside!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spring is here at Desert Cliffs

There is nothing more lovely than hiking in the desert during the Spring!  It's here!  While many parts of the U.S. still have snow, we sure don't.  You really should come now.

Come enjoy the spring hikes with us at Desert Cliffs!

"Indeed, it has affirmed my belief that our purpose as spiritual beings is to follow our bliss, seek our passions, and live our lives as inspirations to each other." ~ Aron Ralston

You all inspire me when you come and share our passion of hiking with us.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Vegetarian Mexican Quinoa Salad - Eat the rainbow!

One of our guests here at Desert Cliffs LOVES our quinoa chili and asked if there might be a way we could recreate it for lunch... You betcha! 

This Mexican Quinoa salad is light, refreshing and so vibrant! The exciting flavors will make you say WOW and best of all, it's perfect to keep you feeling full throughout those long hikes. 
No meat required!

  Our guests have been raving about this Mexican Quinoa Salad! We've experimented with many variations and it's always a huge hit!

Made with only the freshest ingredients and packed full of protein and nutrition
you are sure to feel recharged and ready to tackle any mountain after indulging in this mouthwatering flavor explosion!

Mexican Quinoa Salad

What you'll need: 

For the Cooked Quinoa

  • 1 cup well rinsed quinoa  (always remember to rinse quinoa)
  • 2 cups vegetable both, chicken broth or water
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove grated
  • 1/2 small onion chopped 

    • Preparation: Mix these 5 ingredients together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender to bite. Allow quinoa 5 minutes to cool and add in the following ingredients.
  • 1 orange bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 red onion minced
  • 1 avocado cut into cubes
  • 1 can rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut into 4ths
  • 1 bunch cilantro minced or chopped 
  • 1 cup frozen corn 
  • juice of 1-2 limes (depending on how juicy they are)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (optional)  
Mix ingredients together and taste the rainbow! This salad even tastes better as it sits. So make ahead, prep for the week, eat as a side with some fresh grilled chicken or by itself any day of the week... However you devour it, we know you'll LOVE it!

Love & Light,
Head Chef - McKenna 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Be a Follower

What kind of a slogan is that?  Be a follower?

Follow us to the mountains and red sandstone formations of Southern Utah.  That's what we're talking about!

Many of you wish you could be here with us right now.  So we offer you several ways to get your hiking 'fix' every day.  Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.  We post pictures and motivational quotes almost daily.  You can follow your dreams of hiking with us in the desert sun from anywhere!

Need some hiking or weight loss inspiration?  Pinterest has your motivational pins!  You'll find us under Desert Cliffs Hiking Spa.


Want some portable recipe updates and photographs on your smart phone to get you through your work day?  Follow Desert Cliffs on Instagram.  Look for us @desertcliffsfitnessspa
Share your photos of hiking with us there by adding the #desertcliffs or #desertcliffsfitnessspa to your shots!
And we welcome you our community page on Facebook at Desert Cliffs Fitness Resort, where we check in almost daily and give you current updates on our clients with photos.

Of course, we wish you could be with us every day.  But don't give up on your fitness goals and dreams!  Stay motivated!  Stay strong!  Follow us to help you get there! And don't forget to get out there and Take a Hike!

Hope to see you soon!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sweet and Savory Stuffed Butternut Squash

This has been a new favorite at Desert Cliffs since I started as the new head chef back in October. I've had multiple guests ask for this recipe and we're so excited to be sharing it here with you. This is a comforting, quick, delicious and nutritious meal that can be made any day of the week or even for a special occasion when you need to impress your guests! 
This is the sort of meal you can swap out ingredients or add as you so desire. You could swap the Butternut for an Acorn squash or I even like to sub ground turkey for turkey breast leftovers, or the quinoa for wild rice (which I prefer), or even chopped pecans, walnuts, or almond instead of the pine nuts. This dish is so versatile and a cinch to make you'll be stuffing your family and/or self with a healthy meal in no time!


  •  1 large butternut squash
  • 1 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • bunch of thyme sprigs tied together
  • 1 rosemary sprig minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup reduced sugar craisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees place squash cut side up on baking sheet and spray with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 1 hour or until tender when poked with a fork. Squash should look like this when removed from the oven. 

  • While the squash is baking, heat a large sauté pan to medium-medium high heat
  • Add 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and ground turkey. Cook turkey until nearly cooked through.
  • Add onions, celery, rosemary and thyme and lightly salt and pepper. Sauté until onions are translucent.
  • Add minced garlic, cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add quinoa and stir for another minute.
  • Add chicken stock and craisins.
  • Cover pan and simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is cooked through.
  • When squash is tender remove from oven, cut into 4ths and plate. Top each squash segment with stuffing and garnish with toasted pine nuts, parsley and freshly grated parmesan (optional)

Bon Appétit!


 Stuffed Butternut Squash: Serves 4. With 407 Calories per serving.
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