University of the Parks: A Guide to SUU’s Surrounding Outdoor Recreational Areas

The temperatures in Cedar City are starting to warm up as summer approaches, which means that it is plenty warm to do all of the summer activities that you have been waiting to do all winter.

With Southern Utah University being close to so many national parks and monuments, it has been named the University of the Parks. Hiking and exploring nearby national parks is a must this summer to get the full experience of attending SUU.

Zion National Park is the closest national park to the university, only an hour drive from Cedar City. Some of the many popular hiking trails in Zion are Angels Landing, the Narrows and the Canyon Overlook Trail.

Red rocks meet the mountains at Cedar Breaks National Monument, a popular hiking and camping destination in the summer. 

Ashdown Gorge Rattlesnake Creek Trail is a hiking trail near Cedar Breaks. This trail is just over 11 miles long and can be completed in a day, or it can be an opportunity for backpackers to camp on along the way. 

Only an hour and a half away, Bryce Canyon is a scenic national park that features red rock hoodoos. The Rim Trail is the best way to view the hoodoos from above and to see a view of the Bryce Amphitheater. You can hike down among the hoodoos by following other trails in this park, including Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden.

Other nearby destinations that are worth the visit are Great Basin National Park and Capitol Reef National Park. Great Basin National Park is very diverse, and visiting the Lehman Caves is a must. Capitol Reef has amazing red rock hikes, some even having a waterfall along the way for the opportunity to cool down in the water.

It is important to know that some of these outdoor recreational areas do require an entrance fee. Wearing proper hiking gear and staying hydrated is recommended.


Story and Photo by: Kennedy Johnston