There’s a reason why many national TV shows and magazines have rated the Cedar City area as one of the “Top Eight Unique Destinations to View Fall Colors.” That’s one reason why the Cedar City/Brian Head Tourism Bureau has released a list of “When and Where to View” fall leaves locations.
“The display of fall foliage with the striking red-rock backdrop of Southern Utah is unmatched,” said Maria Twitchell, director of the bureau. “Not to mention, a fall color trip to Cedar City can include such national parks as Kolob Canyons (Zion National Park) and Cedar Breaks National Monument. They will not disappoint.”
The bureau offers a weekly Fall Color Report at www.visitcedarcity.com which features current leaf conditions, updated on a weekly basis to coincide with the changing conditions and activities in the local area.
Here are some suggestions of where to plan your “leaf peeping” trips in the area.
THROUGH EARLY OCTOBER—This is typically the best time for leap peeping in Southern Utah. The leaves around Brian Head and Cedar Breaks National Monument should be at peak, and the Duck Creek, Navajo Lake and Panguitch Lake areas should be close behind.
MID OCTOBER—The colors in the high elevation general are past peak at this time; however, there should be some great colors along Highway 14 from Cedar City to the Zion Park Overlook, as well as Parowan Canyon along Highway 143.
LATE OCTOBER THROUGH MID NOVEMBER—Zion National Park offers the best fall color viewing at this time.
You can also make a ride along the Fall Color Loop. Plan about two hours of travel time plus time for viewpoints, lunch and/or hikes. This loop can be taken in either direction.
Beginning in Parowan, follow Highway 143 through Parowan Canyon to Brian Head Resort. A few miles after the resort, take Highway 143 east towards Panguitch.
Known as the Patchwork Parkway, Highway 143 weaves through a patchwork of historic towns, geological foundations, vegetation, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities that appeal to all.
The byway descends through Sidney Valley (about 5 miles east of the junction). The pink cliffs of the Paunsaugunt Plateau glitter in the distance as an ancient lava field sprinkled with aspen trees lines the highway.
After leaving Sidney Valley, head back west towards the junction of Highways 143 and 148. Turn south onto Highway 148. It runs along the red rock amphitheater of Cedar Breaks National Monument. This natural amphitheater is three miles wide and 2,500 feet deep. Along the way, you may want to stop at the Alpine Pond Loop, a trail that winds through Spruce-Fir-Aspen forest then past the pond. The large loop is two miles round trip, while the smaller loop is about a mile.
Then you can head back to Cedar City at the junction of Highways 148 and 14.
For more information, contact the bureau at 800-354-4849 or visit the website listed above. firstname.lastname@example.org
CAPTION: Amazing Fall colors are all around the Cedar City. Photo by Mike Saemisch