20 Jan 2021
5 Historic Spots to Visit in Cedar City
Between towering walls of Navajo sandstone, etched with petroglyphs. Staring out the window of a red Wells Fargo Stagecoach. Exploring the nature paths and ruins of the old Iron Works. Step into the past with a visit to these 5 historical spots in Cedar City! From stagecoaches and ruins to petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks, you won’t want to miss these spots. Surrounding each of these historical spots are incredible dining options and shops to check out as well.
Explore the list below then start planning your trip.
1. Old Iron Town Ruins
Old Iron Town tells the incredible story of Southern Utah’s historic mining industry. During the 1850s, several families were sent to the area to establish an Iron Works. Iron City (Old Iron Town) was established as Iron County’s second attempt at mining iron; the establishment had a schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, a foundry, and charcoal kiln. While Iron City seemed prosperous at the time, it only operated for seven years. It was closed due to the lack of sufficient transportation for the iron ore and the money panic of 1874.
While visiting the park, tour the ruins of the ironworks and a preserved beehive-shaped charcoal over, and stroll along the nature trail. Before heading out for Old Iron Town, stop by the Frontier Homestead State Park (spot #3 on this list) to learn more about the history of the area.
2. Historic Downtown Cedar City
More than just the incredible local shops and restaurants, Historic Downtown holds the stories of how Cedar City came to be! As you walk down Main Street you’ll notice buildings that vary in design (and age), bronze statues of prominent figures in our community’s past, and an interesting rock church that makes a statement behind the city office building. With a closer inspection and a little help from the links included here you can turn an afternoon walk down Main Street into a pretty unique history lesson.
Using the link included here to explore Historic Downtown with your own personal guide as local historian Ryan Paul recounts the stories behind the buildings in our Main Street Minutes series. Find each of the bronze statues and learn more about the people who shaped the area.
And while you’re there, can you spot the hidden gems in our Downtown Scavenger Hunt?
3. Frontier Homestead State Park Museum
Imagine for a moment you’re a stagecoach driver steering his team across the Old Spanish Trail, a pioneer woman crossing the plains in a covered wagon, or a steam shovel operator digging ore in an iron mine. Rather than imagine, why not experience all of this at Cedar City’s own Frontier Homestead State Park Museum, where interactive displays and exhibits bring the early history of Cedar City and southern Utah to life. The back of the museum is the “Homestead” with several preserved historic structures representing the life of an early pioneer settlement. Here you can explore the Hunter House, Deseret School House, Sawmill, Blas Furnace, Sheep Shearing Shed, and the Palisade.
Learn more about their special events and park history here.
Nearby Spot to Check Out: Stop by the Cedar City Visitor Center (south of the Frontier Homestead State Park) to pick up a free copy of the Book of Wonder. If you’re visiting these historical sites with children the Book of Wonder is a fun guide full of activities to do in the area as well as coloring pages and fun facts.
4. The Cedar City Old Rock Church
Considered to be the crown jewel of Cedar City’s Historic Downtown, this ornate building was built in the early 1930s from donated labor and local materials. Local wool was used in the carpets, granite from nearby quarries was used in the foundations, and iron from local mines was fashioned into door handles and chandeliers. On the exterior of the building, you’ll notice a wide variety of stones that gives this building its unique look. Rocks ranging from golden sandy stones and our familiar red tones stand out among the blue and green pieces that adorn this building. Better yet, the rock was selected during a local special event and sourced from nearby areas.
Learn more about the history of the Old Rock Church here.
Nearby Spot to Check Out: Take a detour to the Canyon Park and enjoy a walk on the Coal Creek Walking Trail. Here you can find a few historical monuments along the path and a great view of Cedar City’s Red Hill. This view of the hill really shows off the striation of colors and abundance of vibrant stone. You may even see some familiar-looking rocks from your visit to the Old Rock Church.
5. The Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
Wind, water, and sand carved out this natural passageway that was once used as a major thoroughfare by ancient Native Americans. The different cultures are evident by hundreds of petroglyphs carved into the Parowan Gap. With over 90 panels and 1,500 figures, the Gap is believed to e one of the most concentrated collections of petroglyphs in the west and one of the most accessible. Parowan Gap’s gallery of ancient American Indian rock carvings (petroglyphs) includes geometric designs, lizards, snakes, mountain sheep, bear claws, and human figures. These figures also include what researchers believe to be solar and lunar calendars as well as hunting and cultural glyphs.
Learn more about the Parowan Gap here.
Nearby Spot to Check Out: Take the scenic route back to Cedar City and continue along Gap Road, through the Parowan Gap, and into Parowan. Once you reach Parowan you’ll find a quaint main street, preserved pioneer homes, a beautiful rock church, and more. Before coming back to Cedar City don’t forget to grab a cinnamon roll!