Cedar Mountain is Cool and Off the Beaten Path
By Dixie Brunner
The two million acre Dixie National Forest is a stunning jewel of public land. While the forest has four geographic areas stretching 170 miles across southern Utah, the Cedar Mountain area is certainly among its most stunning. You don’t have to look far to find views here! With high elevations and cool mountain waters, Cedar Mountain is the place to not only get refreshed during hot summer days, but actually enjoy a mountain habitat in largely desert surroundings. From Brian Head Peak, towering 11,307 feet above sea level, to the quaint charms of the alpine village of Duck Creek, Cedar Mountain offers a host of scenery and activities for the southern Utah traveler. The Duck Creek area is gaining national recognition as a great recreational destination, with some of the best trails, scenery and terrain found anywhere in America’s southwest. Forest visitors can enjoy camping, mountain biking, viewing incredible scenery, hiking, horseback and ATV riding and fishing. You can also picnic, camp, view interpretive exhibits and take pleasure drives throughout the area. Lodging accomodations are available as well. By taking scenic Highway 14 west from Highway 89 toward Cedar City, the nearly 42 mile trip offers travelers a number of scenic and recreational stops. During the fall of 2011, a huge landslide closed Highway 14 about seven miles east of Cedar City, but it is planned to be back open in late June/early July of this year. This drive takes you through aspen, oak and pine-covered forests, past crystal clear, ice-cold streams and lakes, to an awe-inspiring and different view of Zion National Park and Kolob Canyon. Why not visit Mammoth Creek, Cascade Falls or get information at the Duck Creek Visitor Center? Or spend some time at Navajo Lake and Webster’s Flat, or take Hwy 143 to Cedar Breaks and on to Brian Head or Panguitch Lake. Many artists find Cedar Breaks National Monument even more inspiring than Bryce Canyon National Park, with different degrees of hikes available to take in the sights. Interpretive activities are available at the log cabin visitor center. Camping is available at six locations on the mountain, with a range of sites and amenities. For more information, call Dixie National Forest at 435-865-3700.