Cedar City, UT
Upon leaving Boulder City, we headed north on I-15 into Utah. The winding, usually speedy, ride through the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona is very beautiful. But construction in the gorge brought traffic to a crawl for a bit, allowing us more time to enjoy the views all around us.
After a drive of 200 miles we arrived at Cedar Breaks RV Park on the north side of Cedar City for a three night stay.
The next morning we drove back south on I-15 for about 20 miles to the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park. We haven’t done much hiking in a while so we decided to start off with the Taylor Creek Trail, a five mile out and back that we did during a visit here a few years ago. That visit was in early March and the trail was covered with snow, so we were interested in experiencing it in warmer weather.
The trail goes up a canyon along Taylor Creek, crossing the water 54 times one way. In March it was covered with ice and deep in some spots making some crossings a bit interesting. But this time the shallow water made all crossings very easy.
The trail passes two restored cabins constructed in the 1930s, one of which is pictured below.
The end point of the hike is the Double Arch Alcove. It’s a large concave rock formation with white and black stripe patterns where water has found its way through the wall.
We don’t see these as “arches” but the alcove is a beautiful place to enjoy lunch before returning back down the creek.
It was a hot day when we did this hike so the over 100 steps out of the canyon to the parking area seemed extra strenuous.
Kolob Canyon consists of one six mile road that leads up to a viewpoint. After completing the hike we drove up to the viewpoint to enjoy the spectacular vistas.
The next day we drove 20 miles east up into the mountains on UT-14 to repeat another hike we did a few years ago. Cedar Breaks National Monument sits at a bit over 10,000 feet above a beautiful natural amphitheater of colorful rock. The rock of the amphitheater is more eroded than, but similar to, formations at nearby Bryce Canyon National Park. It has much of the same beautiful vistas but without the crowds.
We hiked the Ramparts Trail, which goes down along the edge of the canyon for two miles.
Numerous openings along the trail provide spectacular views of the colorful canyon below.
Vegetation along the rim is a bit sparse due to the harsh conditions at the high elevation. But it is a perfect spot for one of the oldest living things on the planet, the Bristlecone Pine.
The trail ends at Ramparts Overlook.
We left Cedar City the next day and headed north on I-15, then east on I-70. We’ll spend a night in Green River, UT before heading into Colorado to explore the mountains around Montrose and and Gunnison CO.
More on that later . . .