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Cedar City
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The Cedar City Destination owes its name to Cedar City, located in southern Utah in the United States. The town has acted as a "gateway" to many nearby attractions, including Zion National Park, Dixie National Forest, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Bryce Canyon National Park, though the latter is not within the boundaries of the Cedar City Destination itself. The region is known for being the home of Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespearean Festival, which in turn has caused the area to be a small hub of education and the arts.[2] Diversity in both the geographic composition and the climate of the Cedar City Destination allows visitors to participate in a wide assortment of activities. Hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, and ATVing are a few examples of possible attractions in the surrounding area. St. George is the largest city in the destination, and it acts as the seat of Washington County. Many of the communities in the area were formed by pioneers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and their St. George Temple is the longest operating building of its kind for the religion.[8] 

What Cedar City is known for

Named after the largest city in Iron County, Utah, the Cedar City Destination comprises the southwestern corner of the state, as well as the Kaibab Indian Reservation of Arizona. Cedar City itself is home to an estimated population of around 35,000 people, the Southern Utah University, and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Apart from the namesake of the destination, the area contains notable cities such as St. George, Washington, Hurricane, Panguitch, and Springdale. The area as a whole is considered to be a desert climate with distinctive geographical features, many of which are located in Zion National Park.[2] Southern Utah is home to a variety of outdoor activities, such as biking, stargazing, hiking, boarding, and climbing. Slot canyons are another distinct feature of the region, which are traversable during most times of the year.[1]

Cedar City has acted as a "gateway" to many of the national parks or other recreational areas that southern Utah has to offer. The aforementioned Zion National Park is located in Springdale and is most well known for its hikes, including Angel's Landing, the Narrows Bottom Up, Weeping Rock, the Upper Emerald Pools, and the Riverside Walk. Angel's Landing is particularly famous, with an elevation gain of nearly 1,500 feet and a length of 5.4 miles. The back end of the hike involves holding onto chains and traversing relatively narrow walkways, meaning that park officials discourage small children from participating in the attraction.[9] Some of the other attractions that Cedar City acts as a "gateway" for include Bryce Canyon National Park, the Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Grand Canyon National Park. Beyond just providing a location that is in proximity to national parks in southern Utah, Cedar City is also a center of education and the arts.[2]

St. George is the largest city in the Cedar City Destination with a population of approximately 120,000 and is the eighth-largest city in the state of Utah. The area has seen extensive growth in the past few decades, surpassing cities such as Las Vegas in their per capita growth. The warm temperatures that are present year-round in the area have caused it to become a retirement location or a place where people can purchase a vacation home as a seasonal venture. St. George's name comes from one of the early apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a religion that is prominent in the area. The apostle's full name is George A. Smith, who was referred to as the "Potato Saint" due to his habit of encouraging settlers to eat raw, unpeeled potatoes with the goal of curing scurvy. Somewhat ironically, George was not involved in the city's initial settlement, though he did select many of the pioneers that would go on to perform the task. The religious efforts of the Church of Jesus Christ allowed them to construct one of their temples in St. George in 1877, which was the first of its kind west of the Mississippi River.[8]


The desert climates of southern Utah comprise much of the Cedar City Destination, though there are portions of the area that experience enough snow for a variety of winter activities. Snowboarding and skiing are possible seasonally due to the fact that Cedar City receives an average of 49 inches of snow each year. Rainfall, on the other hand, only averages around 11 inches. The amount of rain that occurs is fairly consistent from month to month, whereas the snowfall is heavily concentrated between November and March, with an average of 8 inches. April has an average of 5 inches of snow, and by May, the chance of snow drops significantly.[3]

Regarding the annual temperatures of the Cedar City Destination, the high and low temperatures average out to be 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 34 degrees, respectively. July and August are the warmest months for the area, with mean high temperatures of around 89. December and January have low temperatures that are usually 16 or 17 degrees, making them the coldest two months for the region. Because of the variety of activities that are available in the destination, tourists visit during the times of the year when their desired attractions are possible.[3]

The Cedar City Destination's location places it in Utah's southwestern corner, though a portion of Arizona is included in the form of the Kaibab Indian Reservation. The destination's western boundary follows the border between Utah and Nevada, rising up to include Beryl and Paragonah before tapering off to the east before reaching Bryce, Utah. As such, the destination includes Dixie National Forest, Zion National Park, and is in close proximity to Bryce Canyon National Park. Like much of Utah, the Cedar City Destination is mountainous and contains many valleys, canyons, and hills. There are areas such as Cedar Mountain that have a range of plant life, though there are also sections of the destination that are more barren. Southern Utah is home to multiple species of plants such as elm trees, white firs, creeping mahonia, poison ivy, cardinal herbs, Zion desert trumpet, and various types of cacti.[4]

Because of the diverse nature of the area's geography, outdoor activities are one of the biggest draws for tourism in the area. Biking, camping, photography, paddle boarding, rock climbing, skydiving, horseback riding, boating, and ATVing are all examples of diversions that people can experience while in the Cedar City Destination.[7]


Cedar City, the namesake of the destination, is currently the largest community in Iron County and is home to tens of thousands of people. The settlement of the area first occurred on November 11, 1851. This day marked the arrival of 35 men from an existing settlement named Parowan, which was 20 miles to the north. The primary purpose behind the trip was to establish iron works, and the process was led by a man named Henry Lunt. Many of the people who comprised the expedition were personally selected by noted Latter-Day Saint apostle George A. Smith. The group of men constructed a handful of cottonwood log houses in a formation akin to that of a fort, calling the area Fort Cedar. The "cedar" portion of the settlement's name came from an abundance of what the men assumed to be cedar trees; however, they have since been discovered to be junipers.[5]

Over the decades, the economy of the city was adapted multiple times. Though iron works remained part of the town's production until the 1980s, the development of a railroad to Cedar City in 1923 was what exposed the area to the world of tourism. The access that the city had to various national parks in the area became one of its most considerable assets, to the point that the city was referred to as "the gateway to the parks." In the modern age, Cedar City's economy is driven by tourism, moderate levels of mining activities, and agriculture. Southern Utah University is also a factor in the town's recognition, which enrolls approximately 7,000 students at any given time. The university, which has since become the home of the Utah Shakespearean Festival, was founded in 1897 as a branch of the University of Utah (known at the time as the Utah State Agricultural College of Logan).[5]

St. George, which is the largest city in the Cedar City Destination, was created as a result of missionary efforts in Santa Clara, which was two miles northwest of what would eventually become St. Geroge. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were hoping to participate in missionary work with the Native Americans of the region and also began to set up experimental farms between 1857 and 1858. Families from neighboring settlements were assigned to move to the area to grow cotton and establish a more formal community. The city would eventually be named St. George after George A. Smith, an apostle for the religion at the time. St. George soon became the location of a Latter-Day Saint temple, which was finished in 1875. The structure was an important symbol of freedom for the saints, who had been forced to abandon previous temples. As such, the St. George Temple is the longest continuously operating temple in the Church of Jesus Christ.[8]

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