Utah Stops on the Way

Elevate Your Experience at Cedar City and Brian Head

While southwest Utah is known for its amazing red-rock landscapes, there’s a pocket of mountains topped by aspen trees, wildflowers and pine trees. Here are four reasons to stop and stay here.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument Photo: Averette via Wikimedia Commons

Not only is this national park site considerably less crowded than its nearby sister national parks, it’s also filled with an incredible array of vibrant wildflowers. Get an intimate view of this special place by attending complimentary ranger talks that run from late May through Labor Day. Watch a stunning sunset from Point Supreme Overlook and then stay at the overlook for an evening ranger talk. Or better yet, join a ranger-led Star Party in this International Dark Sky Park during full moons over the summer and fall season.

Brian Head Resort

Brian Head Resort Festival of Flavors
Brian Head Resort Festival of FlavorsPhoto by Alex Santiago courtesy of Visit Cedar City • Brian Head
Mini Zipline at Brian Head Resort
Mini Zipline at Brian Head ResortPhoto by Alex Santiago courtesy of Visit Cedar City • Brian Head

Take a chairlift to 11,000 feet at Brian Head Resort to get a bird’s eye view of Utah’s stunning scenery. Just five minutes from Cedar Breaks National Monument, Brian Head Resort offers zip lining, disc golf and mountain biking, plus a chance to explore Utah’s mountainous terrain.

“It’s that higher elevation experience,” says Maria Twitchell, executive director of Visit Cedar City Brian Head. “A lot of people travel to the national parks and see a lot of desert and it gets hot. Having a place to cool down is really great both in Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brian Head.”

The higher you go up a mountain, the cooler it gets, so bring layers for the top of the chairlift. Check the website for weekend hours of operation.

Kanarra Falls and More

Kanarra Falls in southwest Utah
Kanarra Falls in southwest UtahDepositphotos

This is one of those gorgeous slot canyons that has Instagrammers racing to get to southern Utah. In fact, it’s become so popular that as of 2018, you need a permit to enter Kanarra Falls. Only 150 permits are issued to individuals per day via an online registration system, which opens Jan. 1. Only 13 miles south of Cedar City, you’ll discover gorgeous waterfalls formed by Kanarra Creek as you hike through water in the canyon.

Afterwards, head to Cedar City and order a cocktail or glass of wine at IG Winery [the “IG” stands for “Instant Gratification”]. Looking for modern, unique lodging? Stay at The Cottages at Shakespeare Lane, equipped with kitchens, built in 2019. Located in the heart of downtown Cedar City and across from the festival grounds, you are a short walk away from restaurants and great theater.

Utah Shakespeare Festival

A scene from the Utah Shakespeare Festival's 2016 production of Much Ado About Nothing
A scene from the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2016 production of Much Ado About NothingPhoto by Karl Hugh, Copyright Utah Shakespeare Festival 2019

Cedar City, Utah is home to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, which features professional actors from across the country who perform a variety of Shakespeare’s plays all summer long. Founded in 1962 to provide entertainment for the thousands of tourists visiting nearby national parks, the festival offers a number of plays in three theaters in Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts at Southern Utah University.

Not sure you want to commit to an entire play? Stop by the Greenshow, an hour-long, free outdoor performance in the Ashton Family Greenshow Commons. It’s a light-hearted show full of dance and song.

“You don’t even need to understand English to enjoy it,” Twitchell says.

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For more information:
Cedar City • Brian Head Tourism Bureau