Friday, August 12, 2011

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument, established in 1933, is located off Utah State Route 14, between Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar City, is a 3 mile wide natural limestone amphitheater eroded to a depth of almost 2,500 feet. Translated into English, the local Indians called Cedar Breaks the "Circle of Painted Cliffs." The elevation of the rim of the canyon is over 10,000 feet above sea level.

The eroded rock of Cedar Breaks is similar to formations at Bryce Canyon National Park and Kodachrome Basin State Park, with differences which make Cedar Breaks unique. Snow often makes Cedar Breaks National Monument inaccessible to vehicles from October through May. the Monument's visitor center is open only from June through October, although park headquarters is open the rest of the year.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is not as heavily visited as some of nearby Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. This makes Cedar Breaks National Monument a less crowded place to visit during the heavy touristing time of the year, when Bryce Canyon and Zion can be a bit crowded.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is the location of the headwaters of Mammoth Creek, a tributary of the Sevier River.

Below the Cedar Break's amphitheater's rim the "breaks" slope sharply downward in ragged walls, spires, arches and columns, colored shades of yellow, orange, purple and red. The colors come from the mineral oxides in the rock.

Bristlecone Pines are among the oldest plants on Earth. You will find the pine trees clinging to the windswept ridges above the rim.

You will find hiking trails throughout Cedar Breaks National Monument, including along the rim. Also on the rim you will find camping and picnic facilities near Point Supreme.

In summer the Cedar Breaks meadows and slopes have added color due to wildflowers. There is also wildlife habitat in the form of mule deer, which you may find grazing on the meadows in the early morning. A self-guided trail takes you from the Chessman Meadow parking lot to Alpine Pond, which you will find to be a beautiful spot to take in the view.

If you are Roadtripping through the Utah National Park and Monuments, you will want to add Cedar Breaks National Monument to your list of what you want to visit.

Click on the map below to get a closer look at where Cedar Breaks National Monument is located in relationship to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.

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