Cedar Breaks National Monument


Esther Aboussou

On the banks of the sea of national parks in Southern Utah sits a breathtaking national monument just 3 ½ hours from Salt Lake. 60 degree Fahrenheit temps in the summer months and the highest base elevation for skiing at Brian Head Ski Resort during the winter make Cedar Breaks the perfect get-away for any season.

The hikes in Cedar Breaks are easily accessible and moderate. The 2-mile Alpine Pond Nature Trail takes you through a lush meadow filled with lavender columbines and mountain bluebells. Take a lunch break at the spring-fed Alpine Pond.

If you want to see the famous red rocks of Cedar Breaks, take the Rampart overlook and Spectra Points trails. The first part of the hike is only a mile long and brings you to the Spectra overlook. You’ll stand on a ledge over 10,000 feet in elevation, gazing at the hundreds of hoodoos and trees below you. Above, you feel as if you’ve entered a giant sand castle with red pillars striped with white. One mile past the Spectra overlook is the Rampart overlook- a smattering of red, yellow, and orange sandstone twisting into unearthly hoodoo spires.

The entrance fee for the park is only $4 per person and camping is $18 a site. If you’d like to avoid the camping fee, there are many primitive campsites close to Cedar Break. Coal Creek Campground is just 20 miles from the monument. It’s a small, beautiful campsite with a creek running adjacent that drowns out noise of the nearby highway. Because Cedar Breaks is a very busy national monument, being able to spend the night in a secluded campground is a relaxing choice.

Pets are allowed on most of the trails as long as they’re leashed, and near the visitor’s center is a short wheelchair accessible hike with a great view of the amphitheater. If hiking is not your thing, the monument also offers many ranger-led programs during the day as well as stargazing at night. As an international dark sky park, be ready to see some incredible stars.