28 Apr 2021
Scenic Drive & Day Trip | Cedar Mountain
Visit Cedar City · Brian Head Daytrip Itinerary (Summer/Fall)
*Cover Image by Mike Saemisch @lifeofbrianhead
This scenic byway cuts through Cedar City’s red hill, then crosses through a thick maple and scrub oak forest. The road then climbs through a narrow canyon looking into the Ashdown Gorge Wilderness Area with sheer cliffs towering on both sides. Coming out of the canyon you’ll pass the Southern Utah University Mountain Center and the Wood’s Ranch Recreation Area. Upon entering the Dixie National Forest you’ll glimpse into a sand-cut amphitheater similar to Cedar Breaks National Monument. The road will twist and turn through an aspen and pine forest, hugging the edge of the Markagunt Plateau.
With incredible things to see along the way, why not spend the entire day exploring the wonders waiting along State Route 14!
Start the day by grabbing breakfast from a local favorite in Historic Downtown! Whether you go with a coffee and an authentic New York Bagel from Bristlecone, or a tea and fruit-covered waffle from The Grind, it’s sure to be a great start to the day.
Local Tip: Pick up a lunch to take with you on your adventure for the day!
Once you’re done with breakfast, start on State Route 14. In Cedar City, this route starts on Center Street before starting its ascent up Cedar Canyon.
Stop to Play & Explore
Twelve miles east of Cedar City you’ll find the Wood’s Ranch Recreation Area in Cedar Canyon. Wood’s Ranch is a great spot to stop and explore along your scenic drive. This day-use-only area is a popular place to picnic, hike, bike, and fish. For picnicking, Wood’s Ranch has two pavilions with fire grills that are available for reservations.
You can also spend some time in the morning fishing at Kid’s Pond. The Kids Pond is available for kids 12 years and under to fish for free! (Must be accompanied by an adult.)
After exploring, continue on State Route 14 to the Bristlecone Pine Trail. This trail leads to cool high country temperatures, incredible views, and some very unique trees on this trail. Short but beautiful, this hike is a great way to start your afternoon of adventure! This is a 1 mile out and back trail over some easy terrain, and as a bonus, it’s even pet-friendly! The trail winds through stands of pines, ending in an observation deck with a close-up view of some ancient Bristlecone Pines and an incredible view of the surrounding valley and Zion National Park in the distance.
After exploring in Dixie National Forest take Highway 148 to Cedar Breaks National Monument! A short but sweet drive, Highway 148 is full of breathtaking overlooks and hiking trails within Cedar Breaks National Monument. See if you can spot wildlife in the beautiful meadows on your way to the monument. In July these meadows are full of stunning vibrant wildflowers. Enjoy your picnic lunch at one of the tables near the Cedar Breaks visitor center, grab your map, and get ready to explore!
Check out the Ramparts Overlook/Spectra Point Trail for a moderate 4-mile trail that leads out and back along a high-country trail winding along the plateau rim. You’ll pass a stand of ancient bristlecone pines at Spectra Point and ends at the Ramparts Overlook. And don’t miss the Sunset Trail! Here you can view meadows, trees, and peaks along the way to the Sunset View Overlook. Built to offer all abilities the chance to enjoy a walk in the woods, this is a great trail.
To grab a bite for dinner, we recommend a quick detour to the town of Brian Head. The five-minute drive is beautiful, and the town of Brian Head is home to some great dining options for dinner!
Now it sounds crazy to backtrack, but trust us, the view is worth it! Travel back along Highway 148 to Cedar Breaks National Monument for some night sky views that are truly out of this world. An International Dark Sky Park, visitors to Cedar Breaks National Monument get to see more stars than they’ve ever seen in their lives… even when the moon is out.
While out and about remember to Love Local by masking up, practicing social distancing, and staying home if you aren’t feeling well. #LoveLocalCC