A Little History
Would you believe that our dry, dry desert St. George, Utah presented the early Mormon pioneer settlers with a “swamp” problem? I know. It sounds almost unbelievable, but it is true.
If you are familiar at all with St. George then you must be familiar or at least aware of the big white building that stands above most other things in the center of St. George. That building, the St. George Mormon Temple, was constructed in the 1870’s by a group of pioneers who were struggling to simply survive in this desolate wilderness. The site was selected, but the settlers soon discovered that the area was swampy because of underground streams. There was no way they could build a solid foundation. However, their leader, Brigham Young, insisted that the temple was to be built in that spot, so the pioneers went to work to solve their problem.
They turned to their immediate West for their solution. They decided to use lava rock from the hill just to the west of St. George (the one that now has the distinguishing “D” printed on its side.) They quarried the lava rock, using water/ice to break it apart. Then they hauled the huge slabs of lava down on wagons. Last they hoisted an old cannon up above the lava slabs, let it drop and crushed the lava into a gravel which they used to create a solid foundation.
Hike to the Quarry
Today, the hike to the lava quarry is a fun , easy walk that you can do with the kids. You start on the east side of the hill (up where the old airport was) and follow the trail around to the east side of the hill. (Go up the road that leads up the hill at Bluff Street/Boulevard intersection. Turn right at the first right at the top of the road, then the first left. There is a parking lot on the right with a sandstone arch at the trailhead.) As you walk, pay attention to the large lava slabs. You can still see some with striations where the rocks were drilled with holes, filled with water and split as the water froze.
We have hiked with kids as young as four years old as well as with groups of teenagers. We especially like to hike it early in the morning just as the sun comes up over the city.
We love St. George and it’s rich history. We would love to help you find a home in St. George as well.
Call Chris at 435-313-3966