Exploring the Cedar Breaks National Monument
With an elevation of over 10,000 feet the Cedar Breaks National Monument offers not only the red rock beauty of southern Utah, but also the beauty of a high elevation forest. Lined along the rim of the "half-mile deep geologic amphitheater" you will discover bristlecone pines, aspens, and beautiful high mountain meadows.
Our visit to the monument started in the town of Brian Head, Utah. This ski and summer resort town offers lodging, shopping, rentals, and more. From Brian Head, the North entrance to Cedar Break is only 2.7 miles so this was the prefect starting point. Plus, because of our travel time of early September we were able to rent a condo for about the same rate as a hotel room.
Exploring the Monument:
Once you enter Cedar Breaks you will come upon several overlooks. Each overlook has a different view into the amphitheater. The main overlook is called Point Supreme and this provides you a broader view. This overlook is located by the visitor’s center.
Hiking in Cedar Breaks:
Hiking in the monument is another outdoor activity for those who wish to experience Cedar Breaks in a more intimate fashion. Most of the hiking trails provide views of the amphitheater. One of the trails we hiked was the Alpine Pond Trail. This trail leads you through bristlecone pines, aspens, and a by small high elevation pond.
Cedar Breaks offers a 28-site campground which includes water, restrooms, showers, tables, and fire grills. The campground has 10 sites that can be reserved and the rest are on a first come first served basis.
Visiting the Monument:
If you plan on visiting Cedar Breaks National Monument here are a few things that will help make your visit more enjoyable. Cedar Breaks is a smaller park that can be enjoyed in a day’s time, if you only plan to stop at the overlooks, and the visitors center. If there is one r eason to make your visit longer than a day it would be to stay in the park after dark to enjoy the famous dark skies, which we will talk about in a minute.
As mentioned above the monument sits at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, so be sure to bring warm clothes even in the warmest summer months. Daytime temperatures at these elevations average 60 to 70 degrees, and nighttime temperatures average 30 to 40 degrees.
It can take time to adjust to high altitudes so be sure to take your time, rest often, and drink plenty of water. Also, remember you will be closer to the sun so a hat and sun screen is highly recommended.
Always keep an eye on the weather as it can change suddenly.
International Dark Sky Park:
Cedar Breaks is the 16th of the 417 National Park Service units to be designated as an International Dark Sky Park, and the first in southwestern Utah. Due to the high elevation and remote location of the monument, Cedar Breaks is an excellent location to view the night sky. The brilliant bright stars transform the park into a night time wonderland. We highly recommend you take the time to enjoy this opportunity. Also, be sure to check out the nighttime viewing events put on by the park service.
Cedar Breaks is one of these unique places that is a must see. Also, it is one location that you can visit in the busy summer travel months and experience less crowds than other nearby locations. So, if you are traveling to Utah, or a Utah resident looking for a summer vacation location, add Cedar Breaks National Monument to your list of places to see.
Cedar Breaks National Monument
2390 W. Hwy 56, Suite 11
Cedar City, UT 84720
Monument Visitor Center (Open early June to mid-October)
Phone: (435) 586-0787
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