CEDAR CITY, UT – As the kids get back to school and the weather starts to cool, the golden aspens and gleaming scrub maple of southern Utah are ready to put on an extraordinary show. Both NBC’s Today Show and USA Today rated the Cedar City area as one of the “Top Eight Unique Destinations to View Fall Colors”. In southern Utah, the display of fall color is impressive and distinctive; the changing of the leaves is short, but a sight one should not miss!
“The display of fall foliage with the striking red-rock backdrop of Southern Utah is unmatched,” said Maria Twitchell, Director of Cedar City • Brian Head Tourism Bureau. “Not to mention, a fall color trip to in Cedar City include national parks such as Kolob Canyons (Zion National Park) and Cedar Breaks National Monument, which will not disappoint”
VISIT CEDAR CITY’S FALL COLOR REPORT
To help visitors and locals alike find the best fall colors at their peak moments, the Cedar City • Brian Head Tourism Bureau offers a weekly Fall Color Report starting September 1st. Easily accessible at www.visitcedarcity.com, the report features current leaf conditions, updated on a weekly basis to coincide with the changing conditions and activities in the local area.
Along with the leaf color status, maps, and suggested drives, tips for taking great fall photos are also included to help visitors make the best of their leaf peeping trip.
Amber Bennett, Cedar City • Brian Head Tourism Bureau’s fall color specialist loves the fall season, “I always look forward to September 1st when the Fall Color report goes live. Through firsthand experience and the help of local leaf experts, I work hard to stay on top of the ever-changing leaves.” Bennett maintains the report up to October 31 when the colors usually reach past peak for the area.
WHEN + WHERE TO VIEW FALL LEAVES
Currently, Cedar City is in very early stages of the fall foliage season. Plan your leaf peeping trip around the best times to view fall leaves and where to find them:
MID SEPTEMBER: The highest elevation areas traditionally experience 30-50% color at this time. Cedar Breaks National Monument and the surrounding area will be at its best.
LATE SEPTEMBER THROUGH EARLY OCTOBER: Typically, the best time for leaf 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 should be close behind.
MID OCTOBER: The colors in the high elevation generally are past peak at this time; however, there should be some great colors along Highway 14 from Cedar City to the Zion National 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.
SOUTHERN UTAH’S FALL COLOR LOOP
The Fall Color Loop is one of the best ways to see a vast amount of colors around Cedar City. Plan about 2 hours of travel time, plus time for viewpoints, lunch and/or hikes. The loop can be traveled in either direction.
Beginning in Parowan, the Fall Color Loop will follow National Scenic 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 is like the blocks of a quilt; weaving through an astounding patchwork of historic towns, geological formations, vegetation, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities that appeal to all – from sightseers and leaf peepers to high adventure fanatics.
The byway descends through Sidney Valley (approx. 5 miles east after the junction), a spectacular sight in late September with immense stands of golden yellow and fiery red aspens. The pink cliffs of the Paunsaugunt Plateau glitter in the distance as an ancient lava field sprinkled with aspen trees line the highway.
After taking in the sights at Sidney Valley, head back west towards the junction of Highway 143 and 148; turn south onto Highway 148. Highway 148 runs along the red rock amphitheater of Cedar Breaks National Monument. The large, natural amphitheater is about three miles wide and 2,500 feet deep with walls of spires and dazzling rock formations, creating a supreme backdrop for fall leaves.
Along the way, find several viewpoints and trails, the best for fall colors is the Alpine Pond Loop. This trail winds through Spruce-Fir-Aspen forest then past the spring-fed Alpine Pond. The large loop is two miles round trip, the smaller loop is one.
Continuing the journey, follow Highway 148 south through Cedar Breaks National Monument. To finish the loop, turn west back towards Cedar City at the junction of Highway 14. Add to the experience by stopping at the Zion Overlook or Woods Ranch for a picnic and then continue to Cedar City.
SHARE THE SIGHTS
While out exploring, send the Tourism Bureau your fall colors via our Facebook or by hashtagging #FallColorReport on Instagram (@VisitCedarCity) and Twitter (@VisitCedarCity).
For more information on scenic drives, fall colors, events or visiting Cedar City, call (800) 354-4849 or check out www.VisitCedarCity.com.