- 40 miles (64 km)
- 1 hour
- No fees.
An amazing, 40-mile journey through the Dixie National Forest, the Markaguant High Plateau Scenic Byway connects Interstate 15 and Highway 89 through beautiful southwestern Utah. Beginning in Cedar City and climbing steeply through narrow Cedar Canyon and into the Dixie National Forest, catch glimpses of Cedar Breaks National Monument through gaps in the dense aspen, pine, and spruce forest. Camp, bike, or hike at numerous stops along the way in these elevated outdoors. Learn of the history and settlement of the area. Breath-catching views throughout invite you to delve deeper.
The delicate dance of shadow and sun on the brightly colored rock and sand formations in Cedar Breaks National Monument create a surreal feeling. You wonder if you've entered another world. You'll feel like you're surrounded by post card prints or a magnificent, bright painting. But it's better than a painting because with the movement of the earth and clouds, the colors fade and brighten, revealing stunning nuances in this naked reality. No snap shot will do the scene justice. Farther along the path, Navajo Lake lies tucked into the mountains. Cast a fishing line or take a hike around the blue oasis. Near the summit of the route, stop at Zion Overlook where you can see distant Zion National Park.
The byway meanders through solitary, inviting wilderness areas. Take the Webster Flat Road for backcountry access to meadows, canyons, and forests, as well as wonderful views of Dixie National Forest and the terraces carved by the Virgin River. Another backcountry road winds off into a horizon filled with trees and the black rocks of an ancient lava flow, revealing the age of these hills and the history that preceded modern settlements.
People entered the scene long after volcanoes had cooled and their smoke had faded. In the 1850s, Brigham Young sent Mormon missionaries to this area to mine the iron deposits in Cedar Canyon and nearby areas. These missionaries were of English, Welsh, and other national backgrounds and well skilled in mining, a trade which continues in the area today. Visit the museum at Iron Mission State Park in Cedar City for a detailed account of the development of Iron County. See horse-drawn vehicles and many American Indian and pioneer artifacts, including the oldest log cabin in southern Utah.
The rich interplay of people and nature, of history and recreational activities, rewards each visitor to the Markaguant High Plateau Scenic Byway. Although just a short jaunt, the area is replete with highlights and side trips.