6 Reasons Cedar City Should Be On Your Travel Radar

Hiking ont the trails of Brianhead near Cedar City, Utah

Growing up on the northwest coast, I have always had a love for hiking and exploring nature. Being outdoors, appreciating nature, and discovering new sights with your own eyes are all things everyone should take time to experience. Now, when I’m looking for destinations to vacation I look search for these elements as well, places where I can experience raw beauty and nature through outdoor activities. Another important aspect of travel is exploring culturally enriching opportunities. History, culture, and art all tell different stories of the past lives that shape current ones. Taking time to soak in the culture and history is is both a wonderful and enlightening, and best experience through travel.

Cedar City is a hidden gem located in southern Utah. It’s filled with some of the most beautiful and spectacular sights and places to visit. Set in America’s scenic backyard of alpine forests and mountain ranges, Cedar City is a great travel destination for families to visit. Home to many festivals, American historical sites, a petroglyph site, numerous hiking trails and activities, visitors of all ages will be delighted by the variety of outdoor activities and cultural aspects available in Cedar City year round.

6 Reasons to Put Cedar City on Your Travel Radar

1. The Small Town Charm of Cedar City

Cedar City is a charming town located in souther Utah known for its Shakespearean Festival, western desert landscape and close location to three national parks

Cedar City is charming mountain town located a few hours south of Salt Lake City, in the very Southwestern corner of Utah. As much as I love city life, sometimes it’s great to get away of from it all and Cedar City is the perfect place. Cedar City’s Historic Downtown District offers visitors the charms of small town life and is filled with quaint shops, a variety of restaurants, antique stores, galleries, a coffee house, and an even old time soda fountain. It’s the perfect place to relax, have a coffee, and unwind by take a afternoon stroll by the historical buildings in the district which include the Old Post Office, the Rock Church and the Union Pacific Railroad Depot.

Founded in 1851 by followers of the Mormon leader Brigham Young, Cedar City was originally coveted for its rich iron deposits. The mining industry continues to flourish here today and you can find several statues and art pieces dedicated to early founders of Cedar City in the Historical Downtown District.  The charming city center has many places to connect with locals and fellow travelers alike and makes a great home base for exploring the scenic sights and adventure destinations nearby.

2. Letting Out Your Inner Adventurer at the National Parks

Utah’s famous Mighty Five National Parks are just a drive a way from Cedar City with plenty of hiking trails in the area enabling families to go off the grid and connect with nature.

Close to a number of scenic national parks, this Cedar City offers visitors a the perfect starting point for exploring the surrounding areas. Utah’s famous Mighty Five National Parks are just a drive a way from Cedar City with plenty of hiking trails in the area enabling families to go off the grid and connect with nature. Each are beautiful state parks with brilliant red rock and dramatic landscapes. It’s a hiker’s paradise, with spectacular scenery and stunning views of rock formations, hills, ridges and cliffs. Here are a few of the nearby parks sites you should definitely visit while you’re at Cedar City.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos in Bryce Canon National Park, Utah
Credit: Utah.com

Bryce Canyon is a very unique park in that it includes the largest collection of hoodoos – odd-shaped pillars of rock – in the world.  It is marked by a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheatres eroded from the Paunsaugunt Plateau and famous for its colorful limestone and sandstone formations.

It’s a year-round national park: comfortable all summer and snowy hoodoos make for gorgeous cross-country skiing winter to spring. You can bike it, hike it, snowshoe or ride a horse, the choice is yours to explore it in your own way.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument has hiking and biking trails, spectacular rock formations, and even a Wildflower Festival.
Credit: Mike Saemisch

Cedar Breaks National Monument has hiking and biking trails, spectacular rock formations, and even a Wildflower Festival. Visitors will find plateaus and pinnacles and a scenic drive with four distinct overlooks. Trails wind through meadows and ancient forests, and at night the visitor’s center hosts “star gazing” parties. It’s a magical experience seeing up to 7500 stars on a moonless night!  That’s triple the amount you can see in most rural areas.

Zion National Park

ANGELS LANDING There's no view more dramatic than what you see hanging onto a chain bolted into a cliff.
Credit: Utah.com

The canyon that forms Zion was first settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1860s and officially designated as a National Park in 1919. The stunning scenery found here includes waterfalls, emerald pools and sandstone cliffs that are among the highest in the world. The shot above is from Angels Landing in Zion National Park, one of the most famous hikes in the park. There’s no view more dramatic than what you see hanging onto a chain bolted into a cliff.  It’s a steep hike but worth the unforgettable views.

Dixie National Forest

Dixie National Forest stretches for about 170 miles across southern Utah. It includes almost two million acres and is the largest national forest in Utah.

Dixie National Forest is Utah’s largest national forest that straddles the divide between the Great Basin and the Colorado River. Located within Dixie National Forest is Navajo Lake, Brian Head, Mammoth Cave and many other well-loved landmarks. In addition to hiking and exploring, Dixie National Forest is also a great place? for fishing, camping, hunting, horseback riding, winter sports and more. Nowhere else can you be skiing in the morning at 10,000 feet and mountain biking in high desert that afternoon. Now wouldn’t that be a family vacation story to tell?

Other National Parks located in Utah include Canyonlands (5 hours), Capitol Reef (3 hours), and Arches (5 hours).

3. Live like the Pioneers

Fontier Homestead State Park Museum is a great family experience. At this unique historical park, you immerse yourself in historical experiences from panning for gold to roping cows.
Credit: Alex Santiago

At Cedar City, visitors don’t just get to witness history, they also can learn about it hands-on at the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum. This is great experience for the whole family. At this unique historical park, you’re able to immerse yourself in historical experiences from panning for gold to roping cows and even load a wagon, just like the pioneers. This living museum has a stage coach, log cabin, and sheep shearing shed. The best part is it is very interactive, there are things to see, hear, explore and experience. There’s also an impressive collection of pioneer artifacts and horse-drawn vehicles. Talk about living history!

4. Ski & Snowboard in Winter

Brian Head Ski Resort, Utah's highest-elevation resort, is also one of the best kept skiing and snowboarding secrets around.

Utah is famous for having the the greatest snow on Earth! With an annual snowfall of over 360 inches, powder seekers will not be disappointed. The nearby Brain Head Resort is a laid-back village with genuine western hospitality and a down to earth personality. It’s one of the best kept skiing and snowboarding secrets around with 400 acres of uncrowded slopes for skiing or snowboarding, so for those who love to ski, Cedar City is the place for you.

Brian Head Resort is the highest base elevation in Utah at 9600 feet. The resort has 71 runs and 8 chair lifts, tubing and a zip line, and the lowest lift ticket prices of any full service ski resort in Utah.  But Brian Head isn’t just a ski resort, Mother Nature blessed this town with incredible mountain terrain for nearly every type of outdoor activity. Brian Head’s summer season will definitely be a hit with the whole family with a zip line, climbing wall, bungee trampoline, local brews, great food, music, and so much more.

5. Soak up Sun and Music at Summer Festivals

Utah's Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City is recognized as one of the best professional theater events in the nation. Visit us for more...
Credit: Alex Santiago

Cedar City, Utah has been referred to as “Festival City, USA” and is host to numerous theater, film, and art festivals throughout the year. They range from free music festivals, downtown parades to touring bike races. One of the more well known festivals is the Utah Shakespeare Festival (photo above), which runs from June through October. It is one of the oldest and largest Shakespeare festivals in North America and offers many opportunities for families to enjoy the show, including the free nightly Greenshow. Other festivals include the Utah Summer Games, and Utah Midsummer Renaissance Faire. Truly a place of rich culture and to creat memories for the whole family..

6. Learn About Ancient Cultures

The different cultures are evident by the hundreds of petroglyphs carved into the Parowan Gap. T
Credit: Alex Santiago

North of Cedar City lies Parowan Gap, a petroglyph site with ancient manmade rock art that features 90 panels and 1,500 figures, some possibly dating back 5,000 years. A peek into the past, it is believed these historical stone carvings were made by many different generations and cultures over thousands of years. The gap is a three mile long pass between the Parowan and Cedar Valleys and the petroglyphs are believed to be one of the largest concentrated collections in the West. Families can explore the rock face carvings, which include images of human figures, bear claws, and geometric shapes.

Cedar City is a scenic destination that offers an abundance of outdoor activities, and a large variety of choices for families, from scenic exploration to historical and cultural aspects. Whether your family is looking for opportunities to enjoy the scenic beauty of America’s national parks, learn about American history and culture, or try new adventures will find all of this in Cedar City, Utah.

What’s your favorite reason to visit Cedar City?
Let me know in the comments below!

A big thanks to Visit Cedar City for sponsoring this post

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Share your thoughts...

  • Heidi Dee
    May 6, 2017

    How fun!! And I love that there is such a variety of things to do there! I will definitely have to check it out!

  • Candy Kage
    May 6, 2017

    I have many friends who live in Utah and I have heard of Cedar City but never visited. After reading your post and looking at the photos guess I need to put this on the list.

  • Alison Rost
    May 7, 2017

    The Bryce Canyon National Park is just majestic. I know there are a lot of beautiful places to visit in Utah.

  • Katie Kinsley
    May 7, 2017

    My mom has made this trip twice before to visit the animal sanctuary out there. I’d love to go next time!

  • Jacqui S
    May 7, 2017

    Looks like a beautiful location! I love a city with small town charm and all of these great outdoor activities for their visitors! Is the area RV friendly?

  • nirra
    May 7, 2017

    I’ve never been to Utah, but I would like to go. Cedar City looks like a beautiful, charming town!

  • David Elliott
    May 8, 2017

    I really do need to go out there sometime soon. I went there when I was so young that I don’t remember the trip. And I love taking my daughter to beautiful places. I hope to do a trip to see some amazing places like this really soon.

  • Lisa Marie Heath
    May 8, 2017

    My boyfriend and I have Utah on our list of vacation areas, but didn’t know where within Utah to go! I’ll have to point this out to him!

  • rika agustini
    May 8, 2017

    I have never been there.. So many fun activities, beautiful outdoors.. I’d love to visit Cedar City soon!

  • Sarita Florencio
    May 8, 2017

    Never been and heard this place. But by looking through your wonderful photos As If you are taking me there. I like that Utah can offer snow and dessert locations in one place. Utah looks like a perfect place for people who enjoys the outdoors.

  • Stephanay Jnote
    May 8, 2017

    Seems like there is always something cool to do here regardless of the season. I think this is a great family adventure to take. Definitely want to try the skiing there.

  • Jeanine @ sixtimemommy.com
    May 8, 2017

    Wow looks like Cedar City would be a great place to visit and explore. I have never heard about Cedar City, but now would love to visit!

  • Rebecca Swenor
    May 8, 2017

    Cedar City Utah is indeed a place we would love to visit this summer. There is so much to see in and around the area. The Parowan Gap would be something we would never miss. Thanks for sharing this awesome information.

  • Ave T
    May 8, 2017

    Wow! So many amazing national parks to visit! I love hiking and nature too! Have to add the Cedar Breaks National Monument to my travel bucket list!

  • Louise Smith
    May 8, 2017

    I’ve read so many posts like this today, but wow, this place looks like the one I would choose to go to if I got the chance. It looks right up my alley and your pictures are fantastic 🙂

  • Amanda Love
    May 9, 2017

    Who wouldn’t love to go here for vacation especially when there are national parks to explore. I love the peace and quiet that Cedar City has, it’s perfect for getting away from the city.

  • MeetaK
    May 11, 2017

    SUch a stunning place and so many different things to do. I hope the next time we are in the US we can plan a trip here!

  • G&D Blog
    May 22, 2017

    Who says no to this place?! This spot is ridiculously beautiful. And that photo of Cedar Breaks National Monument, that’s so gorgeous. It’s a great one for night shots like this, I would definitely stargaze their with my hubby.

Cherry Blossoms in the Springtime
6 Reasons Cedar City Should Be On Your Travel Radar