22 Oct 2020
Ghost Town Day Trips Near Cedar City
Ready for a Spooky Season day trip? Cedar City is close to national parks, incredible OHV opportunities, and a couple of great ghost towns! This day trip itinerary will start in Cedar City, and visit two ghost towns. The route will take visitors through stunning red rock views and to the entrance of Zion National Park before wrapping up the evening in Cedar City.
Buckle up, because we’re grabbing breakfast and taking off to the ghost towns of Silver Reef and Grafton!
*Due to COVID-19 procedures this day trip would be best on a SATURDAY or MONDAY so that the buildings at Silver Reef are open.
Ghost Town Day Trip from Cedar City, UT
We’ve always heard that it’s the most important meal of the day, ghost hunting or not. One of our favorite Cedar City haunts has some incredible Halloween decor that is only topped by their incredible menu items and drinks! The Grind Coffeehouse Cafe is easy to find on Main Street and an ideal breakfast option. Grab a coffee and a bagel breakfast sandwich to go, or dine-in for waffles and refills.
*While in Historic Downtown, take a short one-minute walk to Pastry Pub to order sandwiches/wraps to go for lunch. This will make it easy to find a picnic spot along the way.
Silver Reef Museum & Ghost Town, Leeds UT
Next stop, Silver Reef! Silver Reef was a mining boomtown in the late 1800s with the discovery of silver in sandstone – a geological rarity! This area is now a Wild West Ghost Town with a stunning backdrop of red rocks and sweeping views. The walking trails throughout the museum grounds take visitors around the Old Main street and to other points of interest around the museum. The Wells Fargo Express Stop Building and the historic Museum are definite must-sees. The Museum is registered on the National and Utah State Registers of Historic Buildings. Check out the trail guide ahead of time here.
- Directions: From Cedar City take I-15 south to Exit 23 for Leeds/Silver Reef, which exists at a “T” on Silver Reef Road. Turn right and travel west up Silver Reef Road toward the red cliffs area, about 1 1/2 miles.
- Admission: Admission is $3 per person or $10 for a family (up to 2 adults & 3 children under 18).
With a 40-minute drive from Silver Reef to Grafton, take advantage of the restrooms, garbage cans, and picnic tables available in Red Cliffs before taking off.
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve is a red rock haven right next to Silver Reef! This would be a great spot to stop for lunch at one of the available picnic areas. Take a minute to explore a trail or two, and keep an eye out for a Desert Tortoise! As this wildlife preserve is one of their natural/protected habitats.
Grafton Ghost Town, Springdale UT
On to Grafton! Grafton is a ghost town just south of Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah. It is said to be the most photographed ghost town in the west and was even featured as a location in the classic film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! The town was settled in 1859 as a cotton production project in southern Utah. Due to flooding from the nearby Virgin River and a large amount of silt in the soil, the town was not viable for long term settlement.
In Grafton visitors can find several historic structures that have been restored, and the Grafton Cemetery is a must-see spot of its own! With crimson cliffs as a backdrop and the ultimate old west vibe, it’s easy to see why this spot has been photographed so often.
- Directions: From Red Cliffs merge onto northbound I-15. Traveling north take Exit 27 for U-17 to Toquerville. From here, continue on U-17 until you reach La Verkin. Here take a left onto U-9. For a minute here, follow the signs to Zion National Park! When you reach Rockville turn right onto Bridge Road. Make another right onto 250 S Grafton Road and continue to Grafton. Click here for a Google Map route.
- Admission: There is no admission cost for the Grafton ghost town. However, if you enjoy your visit you can contribute a donation to their restoration fund here.
From here we’ll wrap up our day trip and travel back to Cedar City.
So close to Zion National Park, there’s no way we wouldn’t at least stop by! Navigate back to Highway 9 and continue on to Springdale, UT, and Zion National Park. Here you can stop to pick up souvenirs, grab a bite, or even check out the Pa’rus trail. *Note that entering the park will require the purchase of a day-use pass.
From here you’ll backtrack along Highway 9, U-17, and onto northbound I-15 back to Cedar City.