Instagram is one of the best ways available to share your adventures. Of course, putting your photos out there for the world to see means you probably want to actually put some thought behind your shots. Luckily, Cedar City is full of photogenic locales that do almost all that legwork for you—no filter needed. From the expansive views seen from Utah’s highest city, to a jaw-dropping national monument, to a perfectly fresh volcanic lake, here are some of our top picks for where to get the best shots. The clever hashtags and captions, however, are up to you.
1. Rocky Peak, Three Peaks Recreation Area
Fewer than 10 miles northwest of downtown Cedar City, Three Peaks Recreation Area is a local gem. The 6,500-acre park boasts ample opportunities for hiking as well as more than 27 miles of mountain bike trails, 42 miles of OHV routes. The short and sweet, if a bit steep, 1.5-mile hike up the Rocky Peak Trail is family-friendly and offers 360-degree views of the rolling hills and Cedar City in the valley below. After huffing it up the hill, you’ve earned posting that selfie.
2. Brian Head
At an elevation of 9,800 feet, Brian Head is the highest city in Utah. From such a lofty perspective, it makes sense that the town and namesake ski resort would have some pretty epic views. To get there, take Highway 14 to the top of Markagunt Plateau, an 800 square-mile geologic feature that makes for a very picturesque drive. From the plateau’s pinnacle at Brian Head, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view that stretches out for a hundred miles in every direction. Get some fun shots from the Brian Head Resort ski lift, which operates year-round, or get to even higher ground by driving, biking, or hiking up to the top of Brian Head Peak. On a clear day you’ll be able to see all the way to Arizona and Nevada from the 11,307-foot summit.
3. Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument is no less than stunning. The park centers on the 6-mile scenic drive, a section of Highway 148 between Highways 14 and 143, which offers several overlooks from which you’ll be able to take in the incredible geologic amphitheater that is Cedar Breaks. Known to Native Americans as the "Circle of Painted Cliffs," the formation stretches across three miles, with spires, columns, and canyons that drop as much as 2,000 feet crafted out of purple, yellow, and red rock. Come in the summer, and the blooming wildflowers are practically guaranteed to make your post go viral.
4. Zion Overlook
Highway 14 begins in Cedar City and continues for 40 miles through some of the prettiest scenery in Utah. About 16 miles down the road, there’s a sport that’s especially worth stopping the car to really revel in the view and snap a pic or two: the Zion Overlook pullout, on the south side of the highway. You’ll see vast Utah forests and desert unfolding before you and—you guessed it—even be able to catch a glimpse of Zion National Park.
5. Navajo Lake Overlook
The quality of the vistas doesn’t let up as you continue driving down Highway 14. About 24 miles along this road from Cedar City, you’ll come upon another great place to stop: the Navajo Lake Overlook. Formed by ancient lava that dammed the eastern side of the lake valley, Navajo Lake features pristine waters that are still contained by volcanic rock. In the summer Navajo Lake is a great spot to take a dip on a hot summer day—just remember to leave the phone ashore before you jump in.
6. Kolob Canyons Viewpoint
Kolob Canyons is a highlight of Zion National Park. A short 17-mile drive from Cedar City brings you to the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, from which you’ll be able to continue along the 5-mile scenic Kolob Fingers Road. You’ll be treated to sights of steep walls and towers dressed in layers that change with the season: yellow and orange foliage in the fall, white snow nestled in the sandstone cracks come winter, floral hints in the spring, and lush green highlights against the crimson rock in the summer. While Kolob Canyons attracts fewer visitors than other areas of the park, it’s so gorgeous that it should be trending anytime of the year.
Originally written for Utah Office of Tourism.