Hiking Near Cedar City, UT

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.

Exiting the north end of the gorge


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.

Taylor Creek Trailhead

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.

Lower Alcove

We don’t see these as “arches” but the alcove is a beautiful place to enjoy lunch before returning back down the creek.

Upper Alcove

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.

Bristlecone branch

One of the living things in this photo is very, very old


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 . . .

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16 Responses to Hiking Near Cedar City, UT

  1. exploRVistas says:

    Oh, man…we didn’t go there because it was snowed in. Looks like this is the time of year to go!

    • placestheygo says:

      Wow, Jim! We feel honored that all the way from over the pond you commented right after we published. Yes, this is the time to visit Cedar Breaks since it is often snowed in until June.

  2. pmbweaver says:

    Great header photo.
    The Taylor Creek Trail is beautiful. My gosh, the photo of alcove us stunning.
    Another great hike…Kolob Canyon. The Bristlecone Pine is gorgeous. I THINK I know which one is very, very old in that photo 🙂

  3. Those hikes had some great payoffs. The alcoves were stunning. We haven’t spent enough time in the Kolob area.

  4. It is heartening to know there are still places as beautiful as Bryce but without all the crowds… That park and Kolob Canyon are still on our (very long) Utah list. So beautiful there!!

  5. Laurel says:

    We need to go there!! Those hikes are spectacular—Double Arch Alcove is so beautiful and unique, and the views from the Ramparts Trail look exactly like Bryce Canyon. Your photos are wonderful. I have been so happy here in the Maritimes, but now you’ve got me wanting to head west, LOL.
    And hey, I only see ONE old thing in that photo, and it’s that Bristlecone.

  6. Jeff Pierce says:

    Before I started blogging we did the Taylor Creek Trail and picnic at the overlook. But totally missed the Ramparts Trail, OMG we should have done that one instead! Not just great views, but it has Bristlecones! Thanks John, for including a few pictures!

  7. Boots on the ground! And you hiked for us what we missed during our visit. Steve says, we have to go back to Cedar Breaks to take in that beautiful scenery. Love that caption about the old old living thing 🙂
    Now, John, you are back on prompt postings, I’m feeling behind once again 🙂

  8. Looks like you are in your happy place again!

  9. Sue says:

    Yay! You’re back again! This is such a beautiful area, we’ve always missed it due to it’s short “window” of good weather…well, good weather for us that is. We visited Bryce last year and were put off by the huge numbers of people everywhere but now we can see similar places in peace, thanks for pointing that out. Love the red hoodoos, the fabulous twisted Bristlecones, nature’s black and white art in the alcove and especially the three views of the rare Red Breasted Rock Scrambler. We haven’t seen one in a very long time!

  10. When we traveled later in the fall our plan was to always get past Cedar City and it’s higher elevation–we’ve been through many a snow storm around Cedar City. Now I see we should make a plan to actually visit there–your photos are stunning!

  11. Jim and Barb says:

    I bet is it great to be back on the road and trails! Great pictures and scenery as usual. We need to make it there someday, it is always snowed in when we are driving by

  12. heyduke50 says:

    Ramparts Trail is on our fall list if we get close enough there in the next several weeks

  13. Joe Taylor says:

    Awesome…a new place to explore! Great photos! Love the bristlecone pines and those gorgeous hoodies…gay

  14. Jodee Gravel says:

    Wonderful you’re back on the trail seeing all those beautiful views we won’t! 100 stairs and high elevations, I was deep breathing while reading. Love all the fabulous pics of that canyon. Sorry we missed a chance to see you two, but we’ll catch up this winter some where!

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