By Kiara Bean, Editor-in-Chief
Welcome back! In the previous issue, we finished our trip to St. George, Utah by describing some wonderful places to eat, and then we traveled north to beautiful Cedar City. In this issue, we will explore the breathtaking nature in Cedar City and the surrounding area.
The vicinity of Cedar City has a lot of great hikes. The one I enjoyed the most is about twenty miles southeast of the city in Cedar Breaks National Monument park. This park was created in 1933. It’s over 6,000 acres and full of picturesque nature with a wide variety of opportunities to experience the beauty, including multiple trails and a scenic drive. The monument itself is a natural formation shaped like a giant ampetheater (some call it a miniature Bryce Canyon) standing over 10,000 feet high and falling about 2,000 feet deep. The different shades of red, orange, yellow, and purple are the result of iron and manganese mineral deposits. Readers that have respiratory issues may find the hikes a bit strenuous because of the high elevation. Please, plan accordingly if you do have respiratory problems that could make these hikes difficult.
For those readers who would like to enjoy the scenery while driving, there is still an option to experience the incredible views. Rim Road scenic drive is about five to six miles long and offers some incredible photo-worthy landscapes. Be warned: the road is closed from October through May due to heavy snowfall, so plan to take this car drive in the summertime. If you want to go during the winter, you’ll have to take a ski lift or snowplow.
My family and I also went on the Twisted Forest Trail, located near Brian Head, a small village east of Cedar City. The hike is only about one mile long, but the incline and loose gravel can cause some troubles, so watch your step. But it’s totally worth it! While hiking, you can see the ancient Bristlecone Pine trees, some of the oldest trees on Earth. Most of them are around 3,000 – 4,000 years old! These trees die out in sections, while the rest of the tree continues to grow, resulting in a weird, twisted appearance. The trees look like they’re from a fantasy forest!
If you don’t feel like driving (or you don’t have a car), but you still want to go on a nice walk, you don’t even have to leave the city. The entire city is crisscrossed with many walking trails that are accessible at various points. My favorite walk was Coal Creek Trail. This paved road runs from Bicentennial Park and ends at Cedar Canyon. It’s about 3.4 miles long and offers a wide variety of things to see, including Rotary Centennial Veterans Park, grassy picnic areas, baseball fields, Coal Creek, and at the end, the mouth of Cedar Canyon. The nice thing about this trail was that there are no street crossings; the trail was designed so that it runs under bridges instead of crossing streets. This allows you to enjoy nature without worrying about cars (and crazy drivers!).
Cedar Canyon Nature Park is also a great place to get in touch with nature. The 23-acre park sits right between the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin, and is connected to Cedar City’s existing trail system (mentioned above). This makes it ideal for someone who wants to go from city walking to nature hiking. There are many trails, rehabilitation chambers, and campfire sites in Cedar Canyon Nature Park. Every year, the park hosts a free Campfire Concert. Concertgoers can listen to local musical talent while experiencing the natural beauty of the park. Unfortunately, we missed the concert as we visited later in the summer. Maybe we will plan our next stay earlier in the year to also get this kind of experience.
The last stop in this leg of the journey is the lovely Rotary Centennial Veterans Park. This park was founded in 2006 by the Cedar City Rotary Club, who is also responsible for its upkeep. Besides access to the Coal Creek Trail, this beautiful park has several monuments dedicated to Cedar City’s veterans: Korean, Operation Iraqi Freedom/Afghanistan, Vietnam, and World War I and II. The monuments offer various facts about the wars and create a place where people can go to honor the fallen heroes. Various events are held at the park for 9/11, Veteran’s Day, and Memorial Day to honor those who served and still serve in the US military.
That wraps up our visit to Cedar City. In our next issue, we will continue north in our exploration of Utah, where I will introduce you to other treasures hidden in the mountains. Until next time!
1. Cedar City Surroundings
2. Bristlecone Pine Trees on the Twisted Forest Trail, Cedar City
3. Greenery Around Cedar City
4. Majestic Mountains Around Cedar City
5. Mountain with Iron and Manganese Mineral Deposits, Cedar City
6. Coal Creek, Cedar City
7. Colored Rocks, Cedar City
8. Twisted Forest Trail, Cedar City
9. Monsoon Storm Coming, Cedar City
10. Mountains in the Backyard of Cedar City
11. Giant Colosseum at Cedar Breaks National Monument, Cedar City
12. Cedar Breaks National Monument, Cedar City