Take a Hike! Festival Company Favorites
Photos, left to right: The beginning of the Rattlesnake/Ashdown Gorge hike near Cedar Breaks National Monument; the Taylor Creek Trail, one of many hikes in Kolob Canyons; a slot canyon on the Kanarraville Falls Trail; Navajo Lake near the beginning point for the Cascade Falls and Virgin River Trails; and Cedar Breaks National Monument.
By Liz Armstrong
The Utah Shakespeare Festival actors and other artists love working at the Festival, but they also love their off-time, especially when they are surrounded by so many opportunities to be outdoors. Many have favorite hikes they have found in the area, and they enjoy sharing them with others, including you.
Cedar Breaks Alpine Pond Loop Trail
Actor Perry Ojeda—who appears in Pericles, Ragtime, and Richard III—claims Cedar Breaks Alpine Pond Loop Trails as one of his favorite hikes. This is also Allison Hall’s favorite hiking spots, when she isn’t working at the guest services office.
Of course, Cedar Breaks has several amazing trails. General Manager Kami Terry Paul suggests that instead of taking the trail to the two main lookout points at Cedar Breaks, you should hike the trail to the left of the main parking area to explore around the rim of the canyon.
Former Southern Utah University President and longtime Festival fan Scott L Wyatt said, “one of the most beautiful places in Utah is Cedar Breaks at sunset.” He recommends walking the trails at dusk to enjoy the striking red rock southern Utah is known for, accentuated even more by the setting sun.
Red Hollow Trailhead
Located at the base of Cedar Canyon, this trail is close and easily accessible and is one of Costume Draper Diana Girtain’s favorite hiking spots.
Located off the road to the left (if you are traveling up the canyon) there is a Red Hollow Trailhead sign next to a large tree with shoes hanging from its branches. Bring an old pair of shoes to toss up onto the tree to leave your mark, and then hike up the trail.
This trail is rather steep, so Girtain recommends wearing shoes with good tread and taking your time hiking the incline.
Ashdown Gorge Trail
Artistic Director Brian Vaughn’s hike of choice is Ashdown Gorge. The trailhead is at the Rattlesnake Trail Head along Highway 143 near Cedar Break National Monument and winds 9.5 miles, ending at Highway 14, several miles up Cedar Canyon.
“It’s a long one, but it’s definitely worth it,” Vaughn said.
One of the most popular hikes in the state of Utah, Kanarraville Falls is located only a short thirteen miles south of Cedar City.
Ojeda recommends this trail, as it takes you through a gorgeous red rock slot canyon. Because water runs through it, be prepared to get your shoes wet, as part of the hike requires walking through the stream. About 1.6 miles in, you will need to climb (sometimes there is a ladder) past a waterfall and continue up the trail to other waterfalls. The hike is a total of about 3.8 miles with an elevation gain of 600 feet. A permit is required for this hike; and its growing popularity has made it crowded on many days.
Kolob Canyons Trails
Kevin Davis, the Festival’s facilities director, says the trails in Kolob Canyons are some of his favorite spots.
Part of Zion National Park and with similar scenery, Kolob Canyons is a must-see area in southern Utah, and it’s located only seventeen miles south of Cedar City. One of the best hikes is a fourteen mile round-trip hike called the La Verkin Creek Trail. The trail ends at Kolob Arch, one of the largest free-standing arches in the country.
“I love Taylor Creek South Fork in Kolob. It’s a moderate hike with waterfalls, greenery and a slot canyon,” added Denise Stiegman of the guest services department.
Stiegman also recommends Cascade Falls up Cedar Canyon around Navajo Lake, saying it’s “an easy and beautiful spot,” but says to go early and finish before 10 a.m. to avoid local crowds. Cascade Falls is another one of Girtain’s favorite hikes, but the falls at the end may not be running this fall because of drought conditions.
Stiegman’s last recommendation in Cedar Canyon is the Virgin River Trail; the trailhead is located across from Cascade Falls.
“It’s about six miles and isn’t difficult but is longish. Bring a picnic and enjoy it with the squirrels, insects and horny toads,” Stiegman says. “We also have seen deer and woodpeckers on this trail.”
Jenny’s Canyon Trail (Snow Canyon)
Located fifty-eight miles southwest of Cedar City, Jenny’s Canyon Trail in Snow Canyon State Park is one of Tate Womack’s favorites. When she isn’t working in the Festival’s child care facility, she loves the area scenery, including this quick three/tenths of a mile walk through a slot canyon.
The trail includes an overlook and has climbing available on the slot canyon walls. Ideal for families and suitable for smaller children, this trail is not physically strenuous while still highlighting southern Utah’s beauty.
And, when you’re not hiking, remember the Festival’s 2021 season runs through October 9. Plays are Pericles, Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, The Pirates of Penzance, Ragtime, Cymbeline, Intimate Apparel, and The Comedy of Terrors. Tickets are available by calling 800-PLAYTIX or visiting www.bard.org.