Your Outdoor Inspiration: Cedar City, Utah
Sicily, Abu Dhabi, Cuba, San Sebastian and…Utah? No, this isn’t a game of “Which of these is not like the other.” At the end of 2015, the trusted Fodor’s travel guide listed all of these locations as some of the best places to visit in 2016 with Utah taking the prestigious number one spot!
Now this is not without reason either. When it comes to sheer natural beauty and expanse, few states can compete with the breathtakingly gorgeous scenery of Utah. Named the number one destination by Fodor’s Travel, it’s an adventure traveler’s dream. However, there are dozens of cities vying for your attention to explore. As a continuation of our series of the best alternatives to your favorite travel destinations, we present a city that deserves deeper consideration: Cedar City, Utah.
Cedar City is ideally located in the heart of southern Utah’s popular national parks and is one to watch for this year’s travel plans.
2016 is the Year to Experience Something New
Since there are always events or festivals happening in Cedar City, I’d check ahead with the local convention and visitor’s bureau to see if there are any big festivals happening so you can plan your out-of-town activities around those to make the most of your time.
Let’s face it, while the town center has plenty of charm on its own, the major draw of Cedar City to us is the beyond-epic scenery just a short drive away in nearly any direction.
Put on your hiking gear and don’t forget to bring a camera. Just 20 miles south of Cedar City you’ll find the Kolob Canyons, home to one of the world’s oldest freestanding arches. For the more outdoorsy of us, you can even set up at one of the campsites near the arch and spend the evening under the stars in tranquility.
Tip: If you’re going this route and planning on spending the night, do yourself a favor and reserve one in advance. There are only 13 spots at any given time, pretty much guaranteeing you won’t be overrun with other campers. *Back country permits are required for those camping.
Tip: Kolob Canyons are best explored in the summer months.
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument is an amphitheater set atop the Markagunt Plateau, which puts you about 10,000 feet up. The aesthetic rewards for those trekking the area are well worth it. The great thing about Cedar Breaks is that you can actually get really good vantage points without exhausting yourself. There are vantage points along the driving route so no matter how tired you are from wandering around earlier, you’ll be able to enjoy it.
Tip: Visit at night! The sky is one of the darkest in the United States and the stars will be brilliant. If you don’t mind some structure in your life, you can join a star party which is put on by the park and astronomers to learn how to eloquently explain the phenomena before you.
Fun Fact: This is one of the best places to stargaze according to USA Today due to its high elevation and remote location.
If you’re planning on going in the summer, you’ll have more options open to you with respect to hiking and camping. During the winter, however, cross country skiing is available at Cedar Breaks. And just five minutes away, at Brian Head Resort, there is a very unique snowboarding and downhill skiing experience that is on offer during the winter months. Be sure to consider this if your trip isn’t until the latter end of the year.
On the topic of seasons, depending on whether you consider yourself a summer or winter person, you should customize your plan based around season-specific activities. I’d say if you’re a skier and don’t mind cold, then arrange for the winter. If you’re more of a hiker and don’t mind not skiing, then aim for the summer. You’ll have plenty of options for hiking, camping and exploration.
Explore the Unknown
Utah has always been an adventure traveler’s paradise. It’s 2016 though. Forgo the typical and give serious consideration to Cedar City as your next adventure break. Whether you’re a solo traveler looking for safe solitude or an adventurous couple ready to conquer the outdoors, we think you’ll agree that Cedar City has a lot to offer.
This post contains our honest evaluations and opinions and is sponsored by the fine folks of Visit Cedar City.