Living in Iron County, Utah

Iron County, Utah: The Gateway to the National Parks

Located in the southwest corner of Utah, Iron County is home to more than 54,000 citizens and some of the most stunning views of nature. To live in Iron County is to live amongst soaring mountain tops, rock formations in brilliant colors, and pieces of history dating back millions of years. Within the 3,300 square miles of Iron County, you’ll also find a close-knit, active population living in one of 15 communities – each area featuring something exciting to see and experience. And lying just outside of the county are some of the nation’s best national parks. Iron County is considered the Gateway to the National Parks, after all. 

If you’re thinking about building a custom home in this special place, read on to learn more about things to do in Iron County and what it’s like to live here.


Why Is Iron County, Utah Called The Gateway To The National Parks?

Iron County is known as The Gateway to the National Parks because of its proximity to five of Utah’s most prominent parks, including Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Canyonlands. Known as the “Mighty 5,” all of these parks are under a five-hour drive – some only 60-90 minutes away. The county is also less than 200 miles away from the Grand Canyon, another national Park that can only be truly experienced in person. These breathtaking parks offer stunning views of nature, including red cliffs, waterfalls, hanging gardens, sandstone arches, and crimson hoodoos. 

Scenic view of Bryce Canyon National Park located in Iron County, UtahScenic view of rock spires and hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park

Things To Do In Iron County

Whether you love the outdoors or prefer indoor entertainment, Iron County provides something for every resident and visitor. Each of the cities, towns and unincorporated communities in Iron County have unique places to spend your time. Here are some of the best things to do in Iron County.  

Play in Nature Year-Round

Iron County is surrounded by millions of acres of public lands. Along with access to several national parks in Utah, Iron County residents have the Dixie National Forest, Parowan Canyon, and Brian Head Resort, where you can ski, tube, zip line, and enjoy some of the best mountain biking in Utah. There are also numerous city parks and areas with ponds, lakes, waterfalls, and colorful rock formations. Among the many areas with hiking, Kanaraville features more than 40 local hiking trails with easy, moderate, and strenuous terrains.

 A mother and her baby son visit Canyonlands National Park in UtahTake in the spectacular scenery with your family in Canyonlands National Park

Prefer to enjoy the outdoors speeding down trails on the back of an all-terrain vehicle? Iron County has hundreds of miles of ATV trails that take riders through desert and forest areas and connect them to other county trails. 

See the Stars Light Up the Darkest of Skies

Iron County is home to Cedar Breaks National Park and Zion National Park, two certified dark sky parks. These parks are protected areas with clear, high-quality starry skies and are some of the best stargazing spots in Utah. Other places in the county, including Brian Head Peak in Brian Head, may not have the dark park status, but also provide great places to view tens of thousands of stars.

The Southern arm of the Milkyway galaxy rising up over ancient Bristlecone Pine tree in Utah's high countryStargazing with views of the Milkyway near Brian Head, Utah

Explore Utah History

Iron County is the birthplace of the first settlement of Southern Utah, a city called Parowan. There are many opportunities to walk amongst national and local history in Iron County, Utah. Inside the county, you’ll find part of the historic Old Spanish Trail in Enoch, remnants from original settlers, Native American petroglyphs, and natural casts of dinosaur footprints from the Cretaceous Age.

Attend Fairs and Festivals

Each year, Iron County hosts the Iron County Fair on the Iron County Fairgrounds in Parowan. Guests can enjoy free admission, rides, carnival food, and events like rodeos, demolition derbies, pageants, parades, and exhibits. 

If you can’t get enough with just an annual fair, the county is also home to Cedar City, also known as Festival City, USA. Throughout each month, the city hosts an array of festivals for different tastes, including heritage, folklife, music, and film festivals. If your interests lie in architecture, interior design, and custom homes, the Festival of Homes is another event to check out. If theater is more to your liking, the world-renowned, Tony-Award-winning Shakespeare Festival is held in the city from June through October.

Custom home winner at the 2020 Festival of Homes in Cedar City, UtahCustom home by Choice Builders - A winning entry at the Cedar City Festival of Homes

Support Local Businesses

Iron County’s incorporated and unincorporated communities are filled with unique, local businesses where you can shop at boutiques, gaze at art from Southern University’s Museum of Art, which features works from students and faculty members as well as Picasso, Renoir, and Dali.  Sample food from around the globe in the diverse, local restaurant scene in Cedar City, try some of the “best cinnamon rolls in the west” at various establishments throughout Parowan, or quench your thirst at the many breweries, wineries, soda shops, or coffee houses in the county. 

Woman walking along store fronts of downtown Cedar City, UtahDowntown Cedar City, Utah

Iron County Lifestyle

Iron County residents enjoy an active lifestyle with 300 days of sunshine each year, prompting even more opportunities to get outside. Whether outdoors, in the home, or visiting a local business, residents feel the close-knit community that fills every space of Iron County. Residents are known for always offering a helping hand and having pride in their community and its history. There are ample chances to get to know your neighbors as community events are always happening in the different cities and towns across the county, year-round.

Those who live in Iron County don’t just play hard, they also work hard. According to BestPlaces, the county has seen a 3% increase in the job market in the past year and is predicted to have 51% job growth over the next decade. Iron County also has an unemployment rate of just 2.8% - compared to the average US rate of 6%.

Even with a growing economy, countless county events, an abundance of outdoor activities, and an array of restaurants, boutiques, museums, and historical sites to visit, Iron County remains a place where small-town charm reigns and residents enjoy a life of simple pleasures.

Home Builders in Iron County, Utah

When you’re looking for the right home builders in Iron County, Utah, it’s important to choose a home building company that has local knowledge and years of building experience. Not only has Choice Builders been in the business for more than 30 years, the company is also a member of the National Association of Home Builders and the Home Builders Association of Utah, meeting high ethical standards and using only top-quality business practices and products. 

Our company uses a 5-step design-build process that’s easy, clear, and highly effective: 

  1. A complimentary consultation where we learn about your goals
  2. The development of a detailed design 
  3. A pre-production phase in which we guide you through important decisions and handle all of the necessary permits
  4. The construction of your home, the way you want it
  5. A final walkthrough of your brand-new home. 

Throughout the process, our unique online portal will allow you to review your selections and financial information, make changes to your design and stay up-to-date on the construction of your home. You’ll be able to access the portal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and view progress pictures, job logs, and schedules to know exactly what’s going on with your build.

Choice Builders works with homeowners who want a custom home in the incorporated and unincorporated communities in Iron county. As a member of the Iron County Home Builders Association, we know the area well and can make top recommendations for living in the county. Our owner, Roger Thomas, is an Iron County resident himself.

Are you ready to get started living the Iron County lifestyle in a home you love?

Contact Us Today!



Booklet: What you need to know before hiring a home builder. A guide for home buyers.

You should feel confident and excited during your home-building process. After all, the builder you choose could mean the difference between a project that's done right, on time, and on budget and one that costs too much, takes too long, and is fraught with quality problems.

But with every builder claiming to be qualified, how can you be sure you’re picking the right one?

Download What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Home Builder, written by Choice Builders’ owner, Roger Thomas. This guide will help you choose a builder who is right for you.

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