If you are looking for the perfect blend of outdoor adventure, culture, friendly locals, and delicious food, look no further than Cedar City and Brian Head in southwestern Utah. Surrounded by stunning southwestern landscapes and vistas full of quiet backroads, it’s a great place to chase fall colors on scenic mountain drives. Along with incredible access to fall colors and beautiful scenery, these towns are home to the Utah Shakespeare Festival and amazing hiking and biking trails. If that wasn’t enough, they are just a short drive from Cedar Breaks National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park! Chase fall colors in Cedar City and Brian Head this autumn.
This article was created in partnership with the Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau.
Bristlecone pine on the Twisted Forest Trail in Dixie National Forest, just outside of Cedar Breaks. These trees are more than 4,500 years old!
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Breathtaking red cliffs create a massive natural amphitheater at Cedar Breaks National Monument. This impressive monument is often thought of as a ‘miniature Bryce Canyon’ and is only a 30-minute drive from Cedar City, and just 5 minutes from Brian Head. Along the rim of the amphitheater and surrounding the cliffs are bristlecone pine and subalpine forests with aspen, spruce and fir trees. In the summer it’s easy to spot delicate wildflowers, and in the fall the changing leaves create an even more colorful view.
For a moderately challenging hike to a picturesque alpine pond, we recommend the Alpine Pond Trail. Alternatively, if you are in the mood for something more mellow, check out the Sunset Trail. The Sunset Trail is an easy paved path with great views of the amphitheater and surrounding meadows. This is also the only pet-friendly trail in the monument.
Explore Downtown Cedar City
In between exploring the outdoors and enjoying the arts, make sure to enjoy some down time in downtown Cedar City. There are a multitude of restaurants, breweries and wineries to enjoy and street art just waiting to be discovered! For that perfect pumpkin spice latte or americano, we highly recommend a stop at Bristlecone. For wine tasting and charcuterie, head to the I/G Winery and Tasting Room. Enjoy crisp fall air and a glass on their patio or inside next to a cozy fireplace. Their wines are made locally with grapes from Washington, California, Oregon and Utah.
Hit the Trails
There are plenty of excellent hiking trails and places to peep for fall colors in Cedar City and Brian Head. For a good pet friendly option near Brian Head, check out Rattlesnake Creek Trail. Another great pet friendly option is Red Hollow just outside of Cedar City. For a mountain bike ride with views overlooking Zion National Park, hit the Virgin River Rim Trail. If you’d like a more alpine-style ride, head to Brian Head Resort. From the resort you will have access to more than 200 miles of single track! There are all kinds of trails and something for every level of rider.
Red Hollow Trail on the left and Rattlesnake Creek Trail on the right.
Off-Roading with Panoramic Views
Numerous dirt roads and off-roading trails decorate the landscape in southwestern Utah. For some motorized fun, pick up an OHV rental at Utah ATV Rentals in Brian Head and tour a section of the Color Country OHV Trail System. Off-roading is an exciting way to spot fall colors in Cedar City and the striking red cliffs of Cedar Breaks. Make sure to include a stop at the Twisted Forest for a chance to walk amongst ancient bristlecone pines! Lastly, cruise up to High Mountain Overlook for sweeping views of Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Utah Shakespeare Festival
In summer and early fall, make sure to catch a show at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in downtown Cedar City. The Utah Shakespeare Festival is one of the oldest and largest Shakespeare festivals in North America! Many of the lead actors travel from Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago each summer to perform. Catch a show at one of the three theaters on the campus of Southern Utah University or enjoy some free, outdoor entertainment at The Greenshow. The gardens surrounding the theaters are a great in-town option to see fall colors in Cedar City as well.