Southern Utah is a spectacular vacation choice for outdoor enthusiasts. You will find yourself awestruck by the red rock formations and countless hiking and biking trails in Utah.
When I planned a month long stay in Utah my main motivation included visiting the five national parks. Then I learned about several state parks worthy of a visit too.
You could easily stay for two months in Southern Utah and wouldn’t run out of things to do.
I chose Cedar City as my home base because it’s close to a lot of the best attractions in Utah.
In this post I’m including over 25 things to do in Cedar City Utah that will help you plan your own ultimate Utah vacation.
Getting to Cedar City Utah
Cedar City and nearby St George have regional airports, but the closest international airport is Las Vegas (airport code LAS), about 200 miles from Cedar City Utah.
What makes Las Vegas a good choice is the number of flights into the city and many airlines fly to Vegas.
Since you’ll want a car in Cedar City anyways, it makes sense to fly to Vegas and rent a car there. You could see some of the attractions in Las Vegas, like Valley of Fire State Park, before driving to Cedar City.
Salt Lake City also has an international airport (SLC) and it’s one of the hub cities for Delta Airlines. SLC is 250 miles from Cedar City so it’s also a good option.
Cedar City hiking trails
Cedar City has a lot of great hiking trails. You can pick up a map of Cedar City trails from the visitor center.
Here are a few hiking suggestions in Cedar City.
- Cedar Canyon Trail is an easy paved trail with some pretty waterfalls.
- Red Hollow Trail is along Hwy 14 across from Coal Creek, beautiful red rock landscape.
- Thunderbird Garden is popular for biking and hiking. Thor’s Hideout is a cool trail to hike.
- Iron Hills Trail System (Southview) Great for hiking and mountain biking
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Ask people about magnificent views of red rock hoodoos in Utah and they usually mention Bryce Canyon. But there’s another place to see the amazing hoodoos in Utah.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is less well known compared to Bryce Canyon, but the views are spectacular. Read my full post about visiting Cedar Breaks.
Along with scenic drives you can hike the Ramparts Overlook and Spectra Point trail on the rim overlooking the amphitheater of amazing hoodoos.
Admission fee is $10 per person, good for 7 days. Age 15 and under FREE admission.
The more famous Narrows hike in Zion National Park may get all the attention but Kanarraville Utah has a cool slot canyon hike to waterfalls.
Kanarra Falls slot canyon hiking trail is a short drive from Cedar City. This is a beautiful hike, but plan on getting your feet wet.
There is a fee to hike the trail, but they also limit the number of people each day, so it’s never overly crowded like The Narrows in Zion.
Get all the info on hiking Kanarraville Falls.
Day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park
If you are wondering whether Bryce Canyon is worth the drive from Cedar City – don’t hesitate, it is totally worth it. Bryce is about 75 miles from Cedar City and it takes about 90 minutes to drive there.
Viewing the hoodoos at Bryce for the first time is captivating. The colors and shapes create a delightful sculpture garden, all created by nature.
Take hikes around the hoodoos to view Thor’s Hammer, Queen Victoria, and more. Read more about visiting Bryce Canyon in one day.
Admission fee is $35 per vehicle, valid for 7 days.
Day trip to Zion National Park
Zion National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. Take a scenic drive from Cedar City to Zion park for a spectacular day in the mountains.
Enjoy hiking trails at Zion and amazing panoramic views.
Be prepared for crowds though, get there early to get parking or take the shuttle bus from the town of Springdale. If you have a few days, you can book a hotel in Springdale. Or stay right in the park at Zion Lodge!
Did you know there is also a less visited and less crowded side to Zion National Park?
Kolob Canyons is about a 30 minute drive from Cedar City. No shuttle buses, just one scenic drive and several hiking trails with outstanding red rock views.
If you’re not into hiking it’s still worth the trip to Kolob Canyons to drive the 5 mile scenic roadway to the scenic overlook. There is a short easy hike from the parking lot, it’s called Timber Creek Overlook.
Admission fee is $35 per vehicle and is valid for 7 days to both Kolob Canyon and Zion Canyon.
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
About 20 miles north of Cedar City the Parowan Gap is a cool day trip with interesting petroglyphs and a hiking trail with dinosaur tracks. Parowan Gap is one of the best free things to do near Cedar City.
The Gap is a geological feature created millions of years ago.
Information panels at the Gap provide insight and interesting points to consider and discuss. Where some of the markings used as a type of calendar?
Parowan Gap features hundreds of rock carvings by American Indians, some created at least 12,000 years ago.
Fremont Indian State Park and Museum
Located in the small community of Sevier Utah, about 90 miles northeast of Cedar City, the Fremont Indian State Park is a fascinating and beautiful place to explore.
Do this as a day trip or stop on your way back from Arches National Park. You can spend a couple of hours here exploring the petroglyphs and hiking trails.
There is also a museum and gift shop at the park. If you want to make it more of an adventure you should book a campsite and explore the ATV trails too.
Admission fee is $8 per vehicle.
Brian Head Resort
Only 30 miles from Cedar City you can catch some elevation in the mountains. In the winter months Brian Head is an excellent skiing and snowboarding destination in Southern Utah.
During the summer months (June through September) on the weekends you can take the ski lift to the top of Brian Head Peak where you can enjoy hiking, biking, disc golf and beautiful views.
Combine a trip to Brian Head with a stop at the Parowan Gap Petroglyphs or Cedar Breaks National Monument.
In the southwestern corner of Utah, the city of St George is popular destination due to mild weather and gorgeous surroundings. St George is only 50 miles from Cedar City.
For fun outdoors check out these parks in and around St George.
- Pioneer Park
- Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
- Red Hills Desert Garden
- Sand Hollow State Park
- Snow Canyon State Park
Historic Downtown Cedar City
Cedar City population is about 30,000 people and it’s a college town. You won’t encounter big traffic jams and historic downtown Cedar City is a good place to spend an afternoon.
Enjoy the local cafes, restaurants, and shops along with historical sites. One mile from the university you can visit Frontier Homestead State Park Museum.
Explore the Southern Utah University campus and public art sculptures – map available from visitor center.
Interested in climbing? Southern Utah University has a Climbing Wall so you can try out your rock climbing skills.
For stargazers, the Southwest Astronomy Festival takes place in late September in multiple locations around Southern Utah, Eastern Nevada, and Northern Arizona.
Cedar City Aquatic Center
I loved swimming at the Cedar City Aquatic Center. They have lane swimming, heated walking pool, hot tub, indoor play area for kids, water slides, and outdoor pool in summer.
The rates are affordable. I paid $30 for a month pass to the swimming pool, bargain! Day passes are available and affordable at $4.50 for adults and $4 for kids.
Utah is mountain biking paradise; with loads of trails, you can explore and ride to your heart’s content.
Cedar City Things to Do Indoors
While I much prefer to be outdoors there are occasionally days when the weather does not cooperate with my plans.
Here are some ideas for fun things to do in Cedar City indoors.
Enjoy an indoor swim at the aquatic center or simply soak in the hot tub and relax.
Visit Southern Utah Museum of Art on the campus of Southern Utah University.
Tour the Old Rock Church of Cedar City.
A couple restaurants in Cedar City that I loved:
Milt’s Stage Stop – Restaurant on scenic Hwy 14 for steak, seafood, and dessert. I devoured the lamb chops but also saved room for Creme Brulee. Excellent food and service at Milt’s.
The French Spot – In downtown Cedar City serving, you guessed it, French Cuisine. And pastries. And it is all delicious. Chef Michael Attali trained in Lyon France as a chef and pastry chef. The French Spot is a gem.
Weekend Trips from Cedar City
Summing up the best weekend getaways from Cedar City you’ve got a lot to choose from because there are many National Parks and State Parks near Cedar City Utah.
In fact, Cedar City is the perfect gateway to Utah’s national parks.
Although you can visit several of these amazing parks as day trips from Cedar City, they are all worthy of a mini-vacation from a few days to a week.
- Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands National Park (combine with Arches trip)
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Zion National Park
- Dead Horse Point State Park (combine with Arches and Canyonlands trip)
- Grand Canyon North Rim
That’s 7 outstanding weekend trips from Cedar City. You could easily turn it into a Utah road trip and see all 5 national parks plus a couple of state parks as well.
For the Grand Canyon South Rim, I recommend staying in Flagstaff Arizona because there’s so much to do in the area.
If you have any questions about Cedar City Utah, or recommendations, please leave them in the comments section below.
Enjoy visiting Cedar City and exploring Utah.
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