Getaway to Brian Head
- Posted On
- Apr 08, 2010
- Southern Utah
Story & photos by Monique Beeley
Nestled in the heart of southern Utah in the Dixie National Forest at 9,600 feet Brain Head is the state's highest resort town. Boasting more than 200 miles of pristine alpine singletrack for mountain biking, hundreds of miles of lush, forested and high elevation red rock hiking trails, the ski and summer resort is just minutes from the redrock amphitheaters of Cedar Breaks National Monument and Ashdown Gorge Wilderness Area. With average summer temperature in the 70's combined with the many, many lodging options all offering screaming summertime deals, Brian Head is the ultimate holiday or weekend getaway.
As we unfortunately know, life gets busy and quality time with your sweetheart sometimes takes a back seat. Brian Head makes for the perfect mid-summer retreat offering the perfect combination of outdoor recreation, fine dining, spas and quality lodging.
Our retreat begins with a scrumptious breakfast at the Grand Lodge, followed by a short drive on scenic Highway 143, recently named The Patchwork Parkway, Utah's newest Scenic Byway. The route leads to Cedar Breaks National Monument. There is a movement underway to change the monument status to that of National Park and you'll understand why when you see this magnificent creature of nature. The Cedar Breaks offers miles of alpine red rock hiking trails. From the visitor center join in on a Ranger-guided hike to learn all about the flora and fauna, weather and time that has all made Cedar Breaks so amazingly beautiful. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch, complete with the red-checkered tablecloth, and find a quiet, romantic spot in one of the many nearby "day use" picnic areas. During the summer months the open meadows surrounding Cedar Breaks are in full bloom showcasing a bursting rainbow of high elevation wildflowers.
Next, head over to Navajo Lake, just a few short miles southeast on highway 14. Navajo Lake Lodge offers boat and canoe rentals for those wishing to enjoy the alpine beauty on the water. The Navajo Lake Loop is a great 11.5-mile beginner/intermediate singletrack that winds around the lake. Built by the Dixie National Forest Service in 1996, this trail offers smooth, groomed singletrack with low grade hills making it a great option for a variety of abilities. An exciting stretch of the ride twists and turns through a lava rock field. Don't fall here!
After an adventure filled day, head back to the lodge for a little R&R and hot tub before heading out for a fine dinning experience at one of Brian Head's great restaurants.
Day two presents a couple different options, the first a little solo time. Both Cedar Breaks Lodge and The Grand Lodge offer full menus of spa services Whether you are looking to pamper your feet with an aromatherapy foot treatment or the Signature Red Leaf Stone Massage, you are sure the find peace and tranquility while your partner enjoys something a little more hardcore.
That would be Dark Hollow, a classic Brian Head downhill mountain bike adventure ride. Head over to Georg's Bike shop first thing and hook up with a shuttle to the trailhead. The 14.5 mile, point-to-point downhill drops a whopping 5,000 vertical feet, boasting technically steep and rocky descents with little climbing. Time for ride, including shuttle, should be around three hours, so you're back in town just in time to meet your sweetie at the lodge for a romantic lunch. Both of you will feel satisfied and content having spent individual time in the morning hours, a prelude to a great day! After lunch, head over to Brian Head Resort for a scenic chairlift ride. Then, either climb to the summit cresting at 11,307 feet via the Brian Head Peak Trail or hike on one of the many resort trails while taking in the amazing panorama of colors, Cedar Breaks to the south and the massive Tushars Mountain in the distance to the north.
After an adventure filled day head down to Cedar City for a true Shakespearean experience. Cedar City, only a few shorts miles from Brian Head, is the home to the Tony Award winning Utah Shakespearean festival. The Festival offers matinee and evening performances, including free greenshow, backstage tours and literary. The summer season runs late June through Labor Day and the fall season is mid-September through October. Find the full schedule at Bard.org
A Brian Head weekend getaway. Plan yours now and start by visiting www.scenicsouthernutah.com