The weather remained our biggest consideration as we selected our second location in Utah. When the terrain is near mountain ranges, the general rule is: don’t count out snow until after Mother’s Day. It was only the middle of March at this time, so we had a while to go before we could expect constant warm weather. Our DirecTV satellite was tuned to Salt Lake City stations while we were in Hurricane/St. George, and they were still getting snow showers regularly. We did plan to make a stop near Salt Lake City before we crossed Utah off of our list, but it wasn’t time yet. We also wanted to stay close to I-15, though, so we selected Cedar City as our next destination. It was only 45 minutes north on the interstate, but the town was about 3,000 feet higher in elevation. Even though the distance between the two locations was pretty short, it was still going to be about 20 degrees cooler than the temperatures at Sand Hollow State Park.
We stayed at a KOA which was nice enough. It was small but clean and in a good location right on Main Street. We were within walking distance of downtown, so running errands was very convenient. We had planned to be there for 11 nights, but the weather turned nasty toward the end of our stay, so we extended our reservation to two weeks before it was all said and done. Cedar City was a cute little town and close to lots of natural attractions like Cedar Breaks National Monument, Brian Head Ski Resort, Bryce Canyon, Zion Kolob, and Dixie National Forest. The Utah Shakespeare Festival takes place each year from the end of June to the end of October at Southern Utah University, so we missed that. The festival is a huge draw for the community though, and I would have loved to have been there during the time that the plays were running.
We arrived at the Cedar City KOA on March 18th, and they were still operating under their winter season hours. That means the office was closed between 11AM and 3PM. We pulled into the lot smack in the middle of that window, at around 12:30. They had left our paperwork for us on an outside clipboard so we could get situated before the office opened again. The only problem was that we were assigned a “buddy” spot. This type of spot allows two rigs to pull up from opposite directions and share the green space between them… a great idea if you know the people you are camping beside. However, we were originally scheduled to be there for 11 days, and we didn’t want to deal with rotating neighbors. Piper and Cessna are NOT GOOD with other animals, and Piper doesn’t particularly like humans unknown to him either. All I could envision was embarrassing chaos for our immediate future. We decided to wait to hook up or get situated, and ask the office if we could switch spots as soon as the staff returned. While we waited we scoped out the park for better options so we could ask for a specific location when the time came. Mike watched tennis, I made a grilled cheese and heated some soup for lunch. When the office opened again, we asked them if we could move to B11. It was a back-in spot instead of a pull-through, so the nightly rate was less expensive in addition to it having a larger private “yard”. They said no problem and we quickly got ourselves situated.
March Madness in Cedar City.
When Mike returns home with his bucket and fishing poles, the dogs immediately want to look inside. They’ve learned there will be strange creatures swimming in water under the lid.
Palm Sunday sunset from my kitchen window.
Zion Kolob was about 20 miles south of Cedar City on I-15. We put our National Parks Pass to good use again and spent one morning driving through the area. We had the dogs so we were not allowed to hike on the trails.
More dramatic landscapes in Zion Kolob.
The view from one of the trailheads in Kolob.
An eagle over the town lake where Mike fished for trout.
The limit for trout was two per day, and it didn’t take Mike long at all to snag a fresh catch each time he went to the public lake.
We had been trying to avoid snow, but it caught up to us in Cedar City. Luckily is was never heavy, just pretty.
The locals called our town “Cedar”, and there was a pretty view of snow capped mountains in every direction we looked.
Another view of the landscape around Cedar (City).
My 48th birthday happened from this stop, so we celebrated by taking a daytrip to Bryce Canyon National Park. We drove along Scenic Byway 14 through the Dixie National Forest to get there. As we reached a summit on the drive, we stumbled upon a few sheep that must have escaped their pens.
Bryce Canyon selfie.
The amphitheater at Bryce Canyon.
These hoodoos looked paper thin.
Google says: A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland.
Sunrise Point at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Me and my dog. There was one paved trail in the park where dogs were allowed, so Cessna and Piper were happy they got to see the hoodoos too.
The Natural Bridge at Bryce Canyon.
The thing that surprised me most about Bryce Canyon was that there were pine trees along the edges of the Canyon. I expected the colorful arid rocks, but didn’t realize there would be fragrant green pines too.
Rainbow Point selfie.
Bryce Canyon vista.
Mike figured out how to take panoramic photos from his phone!
Hoodoos in the snow.
Some parts of the canyon were very steep!
I would definitely call this a fairy chimney.
A panorama from Rainbow Point.
Grottos at Bryce Canyon.
Looks like stalagmites inside a cave!
This was the perfect place to learn about the panorama option on the camera!
Desolate and romantic all at once. If I were a poet, I could write an entire poem about this tree!
Panorama from Bryce Point.
The last panorama shot from Bryce Canyon.
We drove home from Bryce on Hwy 143 and passed by Panguitch Lake. The edges were starting to thaw, but the middle of the lake was still frozen.
As we approached Brian Head Peak the elevation was so high that snow was still everywhere.
We climbed over 5,000 feet on our road trip that day. This was taken near Cedar Breaks National Monument. I really wanted to get out and take a look, but the snow was so deep that there was no way to make it to the overlook – which was only about 10 yards from the road. We would have needed snow shoes and weather proof clothing.
A snowy mountain on the outskirts of Brian Head ski resort, which was only about 30 miles from Cedar City. However, the elevation differences made the two locations seem worlds apart.
The St. George Art Festival was happening over the weekend of March 25th and 26th. It was only about 45-minutes back down I-15, so we drove over one day to check it out. It was a very high quality juried art show. I was surprised and impressed with the caliber of art offered at each tent. Most of the prices were out of my league, but I did manage to find a small print for a wall in our future home and a tiny birthday gift for my step-sister. No dogs were allowed within the tent aisles, so Mike got stuck waiting with Piper and Cessna on the outskirts while I browsed.
A man-made water fall along a walking trail on the outskirts of Cedar Creek.
I guess this black rock was from a pre-historic volcano in the area…
There was a sidewalk along Main Street right by our campground, but it was pretty LOUD with all the traffic. After we found this trail in the canyon outside of Cedar City, we opted to drive the dogs over and park in a lot to get our daily walk accomplished in a more peaceful and natural setting.
Two locals on a leisurely Saturday afternoon rock climb.
We attended Christ the King Catholic Church on Palm Sunday and Easter morning. The church had its own dog! He was a black and white medium sized short haired mutt named Pilate. He greeted members of the congregation as they entered the church and escorted them to where they might like to sit in the sanctuary. After mass, he mingled with everyone in the vestibule as they made their way back to the parking lot.
You can bet Mike is going to take pictures of two big fat dove if he sees them.
We stepped outside to take the dogs to pee on our last night at the KOA and had no idea it had been snowing for a couple of inches… I mean hours.