Animal Inspired Voluntourism at Red Mountain Resort

Press release

October 11, 2017

Nestled in Southwestern Utah’s magnificent red rock bluffs, Red Mountain Resort is an ideal active destination retreat for those animal lovers seeking a vacation with a purpose.  Commonly referred to as “voluntourism vacations,” these experiences offer opportunities for exploration and personal growth, while also allowing participants to give back to causes that resonates with them.

Estimates of the growth of this unique travel trend vary. However, Nancy Gard McGehee, an expert on sustainable tourism at Virginia Tech, says as many as 10 million volunteers a year are spending up to $2 billion on the opportunity to travel with a purpose.

These conscientious travelers have frequented Red Mountain Resort for years to experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind animal focused charitable retreats, such as Where Heart Meets Horse and Pound Puppy Hike. Responding to their popularity, the resort has expanded its offerings with the newly unveiled Discover Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

“With the recent launch of Discover Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, voluntourism is even more accessible to our guests," says Tracey Welsh, General Manager of Red Mountain Resort. "Red Mountain Resort is seeing increasing interest in volunteerism with the popularity of the Where Heart Meets Horse and Pound Puppy Hike experiences, so it is wonderful to build on these charity-based offerings.”  

Discover Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Guests will explore a place of healing for homeless pets at Best Friends, the nation's largest "no kill" animal welfare organization, located outside of Kanab, Utah. The sanctuary is on 3,700 acres and home to 1,600 animals who have been taken in and guaranteed a home for life. 

On this day-long excursion, guests will enjoy a driving tour of the sanctuary and two gentle guided hikes amid the picturesque backdrop of Angel Canyon. Knowledgeable guides will highlight the local flora and fauna, ancient ruins and local history. During the vegetarian lunchtime presentation, guests will be inspired by rescue stories from volunteers and staff who work tirelessly to save lives every day in this sacred place. Offered on Thursdays, the day-long trip is $245 per person. A portion of all guest activity fees will be donated to Best Friends to help them in their mission to “save them all.”

Pound Puppy Hike   

Guests are paired with a friendly puppy or dog from the local St. George Animal Shelter to take on a hike through the scenic Red Cliffs Desert Reserve overlooking the city. Participants are supplied with doggie treats and adoption is available. As one of the most popular offerings at the resort, the Pound Puppy Hike is complimentary to all retreat package guests and available year-round.

Where Heart Meets Horse Experience  

This experience invites guest to make a peaceful connection with a herd of wild mustangs. Guests can learn how to lead a horse and experience a powerful heart-to-heart hug. Proceeds support care and adoption efforts of horses. Available seasonally, the experience is two hours and is $150 per person.

Each of these excursions pair perfectly with many of the resort’s retreat offerings, such as the Red Mountain Essential Retreat. As the resort’s most popular package, it provides guests access to all resort amenities, such as the daily fitness calendar, guided morning hikes and three daily healthy gourmet meals at an affordable rate, allowing for additional custom activities.

The Red Mountain Essential Retreat is offered year-round. Rates start at $300 per person, per night. The retreat includes the following:

  • Choice of accommodations deluxe or villa
  • Three healthy meals daily
  • Daily guided morning hikes
  • Fitness classes
  • Healthy life classes & events
  • Personal discovery activities
  • Eat Well, Feel Well cooking demonstrations
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi in rooms and throughout resort
  • 42” flat-screen, high definition televisions
  • Welcome gift of water bottle and backpack
  • Use of indoor & seasonal outdoor pools, bicycles, walking trails, strength & cardio studios and other amenities

Essential Yoga Weekend Retreats Itinerary

Time Activity
7:30 - 8:45pm Private Orientation and Yoga Class: Meet the group and set intentions for the weekend
8:00am Explorer or Challenge Level Hike
11:00am Gentle Yoga
12:00pm Private Chakra Balancing Class: Restore a harmonious energy flow to enhance vitality, well-being and balance
2:30pm Yoga in Snow Canyon
8:00pm Sound Bath: a meditative journey with Himalayan Singing Bowls that promote healing, relaxation and peace
6:30am Hike (optional) or 9:45am: Yoga for Hips and Spine
11:00am Yoga Flow
4:30pm Gentle Yoga
5:30pm Successful Meditation: Guests learn effective tools to make meditation a daily routine complimentary to their yoga practice
8:00am Hike (optional) or 9:30am: Yoga for Better Posture
11:00am Gentle Yoga

About Red Mountain Resort

Nestled in Southwestern Utah’s red rock bluffs, Red Mountain Resort is a one-of-a-kind active destination retreat, inspiring guests to pursue health, wellness, balance and joy. With one of the country’s most breathtaking natural settings as its backdrop, the resort features a comprehensive selection of fitness classes and programs, outdoor and hiking adventures, nutritious cuisine and personal discovery seminars. The award-winning Sagestone Spa & Salon provides an array of unique spa services. Red Mountain Resort is conveniently located 30 minutes from St. George Municipal Airport and two hours from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, allowing visitors an easy commute. For reservations and information, call toll-free at 877.246.HIKE, or visit