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Cedar Breaks National Monument, UT
Friday, July 18, 2003 - 7:00am by Lolo
60 miles and 1.5 hours from our last stop
I think we would have appreciated Cedar Breaks much more if we hadn't just come from Bryce Canyon. Like Bryce, Cedar Breaks has a spectacular amphitheater filled with colorful hoodoos and interesting rock formations. However, unlike Bryce, there are no hiking trails that take you down and let you walk amongst the hoodoos. That's the part of Bryce that we loved so much.
Instead, visiting Cedar Breaks was more like a spectator sport. We drove the scenic 5-mile drive through the park stopping at the various overlooks along the way. The first one we stopped at was Chessman Ridge Overlook, where the rock formations below theoretically look like giant chess pieces. It was beautiful, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't see it. I guess I don't have a very good imagination.
Our next stop was the Visitor Center near Point Supreme where there was a truly spectacular view of the amphitheater. Unfortunately, all the boys could work up was, "That's nice, but I like Bryce better." I think they're getting a little too jaded. If we had come here before Bryce, I'm sure it would have been a totally different experience. To the boys' relief, an approaching thunderstorm prevented us from hiking the 4-mile Spectra Point Trail along the rim.
What did interest Herb and the kids more than the amphitheater was a motor home identical to ours, right down to New Jersey license plates, parked in the lot near ours. This might not seem like a big deal, but Lazy Daze motor homes are somewhat rare, especially in the East Coast, and their owners tend to be a bit fanatical about them. Anxious to meet our New Jersey Lazy Daze brethren, we stalked the parking lot watching for their return. Upon their arrival, we greeted each other enthusiastically and spent the next half hour exchanging Lazy Daze stories--all of which were good. What really floored me was that they were traveling with 5 kids in a motor home that I found to be quite intimate with 2. I give them a lot of credit. They looked like they were having a really good time.
Cedar Breaks National Monument, which is located in the southwestern corner of Utah, is very similar to Bryce with its fantastically-shaped, brightly-colored rock spires rising out of a giant amphitheater. However, the elevation here is 2,000 feet higher than Bryce, peaking at 10,662 feet at the highest point on the rim.
The 3-mile across, 2,500 foot deep amphitheater was carved out of the Markagunt Plateau by millions of years of uplift and erosion. Like Bryce, the amphitheater is filled with an intricate maze of hoodoos ablaze in colors from warm yellows and oranges to more dramatic pinks and reds.
There is a five-mile scenic drive through the park that has four spectacular overlooks, each with a different perspective of the amphitheater, From the Visitor Center you can take a short walk out to Point Supreme or the longer 2-mile Ramparts Trail along the plateau rim to Spectra Point. Both provide incredible views into the amphitheater.
Cedar Breaks National Monument location map in "high definition"