The cycling mecca of Cedar City is tucked in the southwest corner of Utah, nestled between Zion and Bryce National Parks. This isn’t just a mountain bikers paradise though, there’s still plenty of dirt for gravel grinders and smooth riding for the road cyclists. What’s more to love? Well, Cedar City is also an accommodating place to rest off the bike too. Above all, Cedar City is fully encompassing when it comes to destination cycling: from the fun to the relaxation.
“Lichen It” mountain bike trail. Photo: Marc Piscotty
This article was created in partnership with the Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau, Utah.
Day 1: Warm up on a dirt road
Let the country air and red rock scenery warm you up to the epic week of riding ahead. There are endless gravel and dirt routes that can be connected in the Cedar City area. Fortunately, the tourism bureau has a short stack of recommended routes, a few leaving right from downtown Cedar City. There are plenty of loops that can be accomplished, or simple out-and-backs depending on your day’s agenda. Of course, if you need more than just a “warm up”, you can find plenty of challenging routes to suit you.
Left images: Kolob Reservoir Road. Right: Red Hollow Trail. Photo: Visit Cedar City · Brian Head
Day 2: Ride the mountain
Brian Head Resort accesses over 200 miles of the area’s singletrack. The trails are accessed via chairlift and shuttles on the mountain, creating plenty of combinations of trails to keep you busy. The mountain supports all levels of riders, from fresh beginners to adrenaline junkie experts. Riding the mountain is a great way to enjoy the purpose-built singletrack and hit tabletops, berms, and jumps. Oh, and the views from the top of the mountain over the red rock wonders below are pretty incredible! If you need a bike, protective gear, lessons, or a guide, you can get hooked up at the resort. Keep in mind, tickets and rentals should be reserved in advance, so plan ahead!
Note: downhill riding is wicked fun, and pretty addicting. Don’t forget to ride within your limits!
Brian Head Resort. Photos: Tobey Schmidt
Day 3: Cool off on a road ride
You might “cool off” on the rapid descents, but there is still plenty of quality climbing to be had on the pavement around Cedar City. The mellower Parowan Gap Loop is a relatively flat 50-miler that takes riders by the Parowan Gap Petroglyphs historic site. Challenge yourself on bigger climbs into the high country and through some of the state parks in the area. Truly, there are unlimited options for road cyclists in Cedar City! Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with local road laws and make sure that you are riding safely.
Kolob Reservoir Road. Photo: Visit Cedar City · Brian Head
Day 4: Finish off with some cross-country singletrack
Just outside Cedar City, there are more than enough cross-country trails to go around. Find high alpine riding with excellent views into Zion along the Virgin River Rim Trail. The trail itself is a burly 32 miles, but it can be broken into sections for shorter rides. Some of the most popular (and for good reason!) trails close to Cedar City are within the Iron Hills Trail System. Climb the Lichen It trail and enjoy a downhill-only trail on Lava Flow. Just try not to grin the whole time, you might get dirt on your teeth.
Cedar City “Lichen It” mountain bike trail. Photo: Visit Cedar City · Brian Head
Destination cycling logistics in Cedar City
Cedar City is a convenient and comfortable basecamp for a bike-friendly vacation in southern Utah. Accommodations range from immaculate hotel chains to vacation homes to quaint inns. Additionally, there are multiple bike shops in Cedar City, whether you need a tune-up, a fresh tube, or you want to rent the whole rig. Furthermore, this sort of convenience makes Cedar City an ideal location for destination cycling. Oh, and if you happen to need a day off, be sure to check out the local art galleries, shops, restaurants, and both the brewery and winery!
The trails and riding areas mentioned in this article are really just a fraction of what’s available around Cedar City, they are only a jumping off point. The sheer amount of available riding in the area is wonderfully dizzying!
For more reasons to add this to your national park road trip, check out Cedar City: A Mighty Five Road Trip Must.