South Brian Head

Gamify Your Getaway in Iron County

By Melinda Rhodes
October 30, 2023

Visit Iron County

Vacation victory can be yours with these unbeatable things to do in Cedar City, Parowan and Brian Head, Utah.

Everyone loves a good game night. Except maybe that one dude who’s still bitter about the Pictionary incident of 1998. You know who you are. So why not turn your entire getaway into a series of games? Oooh. That sounds interesting. Let’s go! Not so fast, friends. You gotta read the rules. Otherwise your sister the stickler might say you’re playing all wrong. 

Ages 0-99

A getaway in Iron County is fun for all ages! Though many of its namesake mines were emptied years ago, the area will always be filled with unique landscapes and amped-up activities — a winning combination when it comes to vacation destinations. Everyone will enjoy exploring the area and choosing their own adventures. 

Is this a multi-generational vacation? Strap the baby who needs a nap in a car seat and let g’ma and g’pa take her for a drive on the Markagunt High Plateau Scenic Byway. The road gently climbs from Cedar Canyon across Dixie National Forest, with dark volcanic rock and bright aspen forests on either side of you. There’s even an overlook that offers views of Zion National Park. The rest of your crew can join them or go do something else in the area. 

What’s better than running around on a stick horse pretending to be a cowboy? Saddling up and playing the role of a real life equestrian for a few hours. Rising K Ranch offers guided horseback rides for ages 3 and up. 

How about hiking? Legs young and old can handle the short, scenic trails in Cedar Breaks National Monument. The Alpine Pond Nature trail is an easy 2-miler that meanders through meadows and circles around a spring-fed pond. Up for something a bit more challenging? Check out Bartizan Arch via the South Rim Trail, with views of saffron hoodoos and dense green forests. Just remember … what goes down must come back up.

Maybe you're a middle-aged mountain biker? Or a crew of college-aged powderhounds? Brian Head Resort is the place for all of you. In the winter it boasts 650 skiable and/or boardable acres. It also has a couple of tubing hills if you prefer to sit while you slide down the mountain. In the summer, there are upwards of  200 miles of backcountry trails for riders of all abilities … as well as shuttle services that’ll take you to and fro, bro. It also has some pretty gnarly lift-serviced, downhill trails. And ziplines! And disc golf!


  • Your favorite people
  • Plenty of snacks
  • One Adventure Pass for each player

The first two are pretty self explanatory. No gamified getaway is complete without your crew of cohorts and some Nerds Gummy Clusters. What’s that? You don’t eat straight sugar? Whatever. Pack something a bit healthier. Your loss.

But what is an Adventure Pass? Glad you asked. It’s an online offering that offers ideas for things to do in Cedar City, Brian Head and Parowan. Use it to check in when you visit a location and earn points. Redeem those points for a sticker/T-shirt/water bottle/whatever to remind you of your time in Iron County. The Adventure Pass also gives you discounts on gear rentals, meals and merchandise purchases. Win-win … win.

Object of the Game

Visit as many places on the Adventure Pass as possible. Redeem your points for some sa-weet swag at the end of your trip. 


Preparation is the key to enjoying time spent outside. Be sure to bring layers of clothing — it’s usually 15-20 degrees cooler in the altitudinous amphitheater known as Cedar Breaks than it is down in Festival City, as Cedar City was nicknamed. 

Pack some swimwear for hotel hot-tubbing after a Thunder Mountain snowmobile tour on a winter day or jumping in Lake at the Hills on a summer day. You may also want to bring paddleboards or kayaks to use at Lake at the Hills. No motorized boats are allowed, making the water glassy and perfect for paddlers. But if you don’t happen to have anything buoyant, on-site rentals are available.

And don’t forget to pack some extra snacks. Because you know how irritable that one girl gets when she runs out of her Gummy Clusters. If for some reason she needs more sugar, you can always hit the ice cream bar or old-fashioned soda fountain at Bulloch’s Drug Store. Plus, you can earn some Adventure Pass points while you're there.  

Game Play

The vehicle driver gets to choose the first playlist. Music choices pass to the right. Each passenger gets two vetos if they don’t like a particular song. 

There is not a set order for attractions and activities during your gamified getaway in Iron County. Choose your own adventure! But if any disputes arise while trying to decide which restaurant to eat at or the order of things to do in Cedar City, we suggest keeping the peace with a round of “rock, paper, scissors.”

There are special features that can be unlocked when you visit the area — no cheat codes or “left, right, left, right, left, left, right, right, A” button combinations required. These are simply activated by the timing of your trip. 

  • Try your hand at trail poker in the beautiful Parowan foothills during an organized ride that’s part of the Iron County Fair each fall. 

  • Check Brian Head’s calendar of events for disc golf tournaments, charity cornhole competitions, concerts and other happenings.

  • Hit Frontier Homestead State Park after dark. Cemetery tours, a haunted house and games are offered in October, while the place gets lit (literally) in December.  

  • Visit the Parowan Gap on summer or winter solstice. Stand next to the ancient cairns and watch that blazing ball of gas (aka the Sun) go down, the rocky notch framing it perfectly. Other cairns are positioned for spring and fall equinox viewing.

Don’t forget to check in using the Adventure Pass while you’re enjoying these events!

Winning the Game

Everyone's a winner when they visit Cedar City, Parowan and/or Brian Head, Utah. This area offers some of the most memorable things to do in Utah. Stop what you're doing right now and start planning your gamified getaway.

I want an Adventure Pass!