10 days in Cedar City and then 14 days in Beaver, Utah…
Why we came…
We wanted to play in the snow! We looked forward to snowshoeing Cedar Breaks National Monument and the Tushar Mountains. We wanted to ski and snowboard Brian Head Resort and Eagle Point Resort. And we planned to kick off our trout fishing season at Minersville Reservoir and Panguitch Lake.
The KOA in Cedar City was decent with long and fairly wide, level gravel sites. The roads in the campground need some repairs, but most of the facility was in good shape and well maintained. Cell phone reception was a strong and reliable data signal. Wi-fi was good during slow periods, but slowed significantly during busy periods. Satellite would be tricky from many of the campsites due to big mature trees. We especially liked the large commercial laundromat…we washed just about everything! The campground wasn’t too peaceful because it was in town with a busy road out front and loud music was common from the neighborhood out back. Unfortunately, our 10 days in Cedar City did not go as planned due to the death of our dog. We still managed to have a couple of adventures, but his loss loomed heavy and the missed adventures will have to wait until we return.
We like the KOA in Beaver. The sites are also long, fairly wide, level gravel. The facilities are in good shape and well maintained. Cell phone reception was a strong and reliable data signal. Wi-fi was good during slow periods, and slowed occasionally with high usage. Satellite would be tricky from many of the campsites due to big mature trees. The campground is on the north side of town, a mile or two off Interstate 15 and has a high turn-over. Unfortunately, it’s on a busy road that gets quite a bit of big, noisy truck traffic. We heard a few trucks until 11:00pm on some nights…it was pretty annoying. However, we enjoyed our stay and had an uncharacteristically high number of lazy days.
A brief, but heavy snow shower in Cedar City, Utah
This would be our first and only ski/snowboard adventure this winter…and it was a good one! Though Brian Head Resort received below average snowfall this winter, it had close to two feet of snow in the last six days. With a bunch of fresh snow, bright blue skies, light winds, and pleasant April warmth, we hit it just right! We rented gear at the resort’s base and bought a half-day lift ticket. We called it quits after just six very fun runs…our bodies weren’t used to it and some of our underused muscles let us know it was time to stop!
We also wanted to ski/snowboard Eagle Point Resort in the Tushar Mountains just east of Beaver, Utah. Unfortunately, those jokers closed one week earlier than we expected so it was a no-go for us.
Arleen shredding the slopes at Brian Head Resort near Cedar City, Utah / The view near the top
This was a nine mile snowshoe route to spread Praia’s ashes. We parked at the junction of Highway 143 and Forest Road 048 and headed up the closed forest road to our mushroom “honey hole”. There was a healthy blanket of snow and we broke tracks the first mile and last mile, but crunched easily along on snow machine tracks the middle two and a half miles. The route gently climbed about 800 feet, however the 10,000 foot elevation kicked our butts! The snow was pretty and it was very peaceful. It was tough spreading our four-legged friend’s ashes, but the trek out was therapeutic.
Breaking tracks near the “honey hole”
We had just spread our dog’s ashes and spontaneously decided to go east towards Bryce Canyon National Park instead of west back to our home in Cedar City. We had no over-night stuff with us, so we stopped in Panguitch to get a few toiletries. Then we had a great BBQ dinner and found a decent hotel about 10 miles south of town. The next morning we got up early and headed to Bryce Canyon National Park where we hoped to snowshoe along the rim. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough snow to snowshoe, but we really enjoyed two short hikes through the spectacular terrain.
Spectacular Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
We still had plenty of daylight after our Bryce Canyon adventure, so on the way home we stopped at Cedar Breaks National Monument to snowshoe. At over 10,000 feet, there was plenty of snow! The weather was sketchy with brief patches of blue sky followed by spotty heavy snow showers and gusty winds. We ended up snowshoeing about 4.5 miles, some of it on packed snow machine tracks and some of it in feet deep snow. At one point, I broke through the crusty top layers and ended up working hard for a ways in crotch deep snow…it was tough! Due to Arleen’s lesser weight and different snowshoes, thankfully, she was able to float on top. We got to the overlook and waited a bit for a sunny break to get a good look at Cedar Breaks…it was incredible! The trek back was tough as the temperature dropped into the teens, the wind picked up, and we got another inch of snow. Other than two snow machiners that passed and faded quietly in the distance, we had the place to ourselves…it was very peaceful.
Between snowshoeing to spread Praia’s ashes, spending the night in a hotel south of Panguitch, hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park, and snowshoeing in Cedar Breaks National Monument, it was a very spontaneous and very surreal 36 hours! We are very blessed!
Heavy snow showers at Cedar Breaks National Monument
Arleen ducking under a tree…we were blazing our own trail
A sunny break at an overlook at Cedar Breaks National Monument
This was a fun 4.6 mile snowshoe route in the Tushar Mountains near Eagle Point Resort east of Beaver. The ski area closed the weekend prior so it was a good place to start a snowshoe adventure. We parked at the Skyline Lodge near the top of the mountain and headed towards 11,317 foot high Lake Peak, a thousand feet higher than where we started. The snow was firm making it easy to trek wherever we wanted. The last hundred feet of Lake Peak were too steep for our comfort so we stopped short of the top. That’s alright…the view was incredible! We dropped easily into a big bowl and decided to climb up to a ridge line that would lead us back. The snow was softer and it was warm which made the 4oo foot climb a bit tough. On top of the ridge with an excellent 300 degree view, we took a long break and posed for some cheesy pictures. Other than a few patches of bare ground, it was easy and enjoyable walking the ridge line back. We really like the Tushar Mountains…they are a little-known gem!
Snowshoeing the Tushar Mountains above Eagle Point Resort
That’s me just below the summit of 11,307 foot Lake Peak / Arleen on the saddle north of Lake Peak
Fishing Panguitch Lake…
The ice had only melted off Panguitch Lake a couple of weeks prior to our visit so we expected decent fishing. We caught one or two small trout and missed a few hits so it was a bit disappointing. The guys on the bank did pretty good using Power Bait, but the fish didn’t have much interest in our flies. At least the weather was very nice…we enjoyed our first adventure at a mountain lake this season!
Arleen at Panguitch Lake
Fishing Minersville Reservoir…
Minersville Reservoir, just west of Beaver, Utah, is known for its big trout that average 16-18 inches long with fish over 20 inches fairly common. The fishing report had consistently declared it “slow”, but we hoped to prove it wrong. Unfortunately, we proved the fishing report to be right. We fished Minersville for about three hours on two different days and managed one nice 17 inch rainbow trout. We missed three or four other half-hearted hits which is “slow” for six hours of fishing. The birds were entertaining, especially the cormorants and loons.
Arleen at Minersville Reservoir with the Tushar Mountains in the background / A common loon
Fishing Paragonah Reservoir…
We fished Paragonah twice and had a blast both times. The first time we caught 15-20 rainbows, 9-16 inches long, mostly on a big black rubber-legged woolly bugger. The second time we met our new friend, Rob, at the lake. The fishing was a little slower, but we still managed to catch 10 rainbows, 9-14 inches long, mainly on lake leeches.
Arleen on Paragonah Reservoir / Arleen with a rainbow trout
A pretty 15-16 inch rainbow trout / A whole bunch of turkeys including some nice toms
That’s me in the kayak
We head to Heber City, Utah. We really hope to fish Strawberry Reservoir…arguably the best trout lake in Utah! If the ice doesn’t melt, there will be plenty of other things to keep us busy. Arleen’s mom, Ellen, might visit and we plan to have lunch with one of our most respected ex-bosses. Stay tuned…
We are REAL excited about our summer and fall plans: 1. Heber City, Utah; 2. Dinosaur National Monument; 3. Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Utah; 4. Pinedale, Wyoming to play in the spectacular Wind River Mountains; 5. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming; 6. Dubois, Wyoming to spend more time in the Wind River Mountains; 7. Red Lodge, Montana to play in the spectacular Bear Tooth Mountains; and then 8. Cody, Wyoming to experience eastern Yellowstone National Park in the fall. We plan to hike to many remote alpine lakes loaded with pretty trout. We may even do a few multiday backpack trips to explore areas deep in the mountains that don’t get many visitors. It will be an incredible summer and fall!
Doing laundry at the KOA in Cedar City, Utah / In the Tushar Mountains east of Beaver, Utah