Cedar Breaks National Monument

Southwestern Utah

Sculpted cliffs and towering hoodoos glow like neon tie-dye in a wildly eroded natural amphitheater encompassed by Cedar Breaks National Monument. The majestic kaleidoscope of magenta, salmon, plum, rust and ocher rises to 10,450ft atop the Markagunt Plateau. The compact park lies 22 miles east and north of Cedar City, off Hwy 14. There are no cedar trees here, by the way: early pioneers mistook the evergreen junipers for cedars.

This altitude gets more than a little snow, and the monument's one road, Hwy 148, is closed from sometime in November to at least May. Summer temperatures range from only 40°F to 70°F (4°C to 21°C); brief storms drop rain, hail and even powdery white snow. In season, rangers hold geology talks and star parties at the small visitor center.

No established trails descend into the breaks, but the park has five viewpoints off Hwy 148 and there are rim trails. Ramparts Trail – one of southern Utah's most magnificent trails – leaves from the visitor center. The elevation change on the 3-mile round-trip is only 400ft, but it can be tiring because of the overall high elevation. Alpine Pond Trail is a lovely, though less dramatic, 4-mile loop.

The first-come, first-served Point Supreme Campground has water and restrooms, but no showers; its 28 sites rarely fill.

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