Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks resembles a miniature Bryce Canyon. Some visitors say its brilliant colors even surpass Bryce. The Indians called Cedar Breaks the "Circle of Painted Cliffs." Situated at an elevation of 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks is shaped like a giant coliseum dropping 2,000 feet to its floor. Millions of years of uplift and erosion have carved this huge amphitheater. Deep inside the coliseum are stone spires, columns, arches, pinnacles, and intricate canyons in varying shades of red, yellow and purple. The bristlecone pine, one of the world's oldest trees, grows in the area and can be found along the Spectra Point Trail. The Dixie National Forest surrounds Cedar Breaks providing lush alpine meadows clustered with ponderosa pines and quaking aspens. During the summer months, the wildflower display is spectacular.
Recreational activities at Cedar Breaks include sightseeing, photography, hiking, nature study, picnicking and camping. Two mile/3.2 kilometer trails, the Alpine Pond trail and the Spectra Point Trail, are accessible from the road. The trails are easy walks but can be strenuous for the elderly, persons with respiratory problems and those who are not in good physical condition because of the park's high elevation (10,000 feet/3048 meters). The monument is a premier cross-country skiing and snowmobiling destination in the winter with access from Brian Head Resort.
The monument is 23 miles east of Cedar City and three miles south of Brian Head Resort. Cedar Breaks National Monument is open from late May to mid-October. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the visitor center, open mid-June to mid-September, and learn how to visit the monument with minimum impact to the fragile desert environment. Services and roads are usually closed for the winter, due to heavy snow.
However, just because Highway 148, the road that links Cedar Breaks to Brian Head, closes temporarily, doesn't mean Cedar Breaks National Monument is closed. The Winter Warming Yurt at Cedar Breaks serves as a winter ranger station, education center and welcomes cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers to stop in, sit by the fire and sip a bit of hot cocoa.
Because of the high elevation, summer daytime temperatures are cool, 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit/15.5-21 degrees Celsius. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are common.
The entrance fee for Cedar Breaks is $4.00 per adult. Children under 16 are free. The pass is good for 7 days.
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