‘The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.’-Unknown
Much like my decision to visit Great Basin National Park, I stumbled upon Cedar Breaks National Monument by looking at a map and seeing what was cool! Cedar Breaks is about 40 minutes from Zion and just a slight detour to my next stop of Bryce Canyon. It is a hidden gem and if you are in the area, a must see!
As you drive up the hill (sorry, mountain…you can take the girl off the mountain but cannot take the vernacular out of the girl), it appears as if you will not be seeing anything worth making the extra stop for. Sure the views below are incredible but what views from above aren’t. Even entering the car park, you have no idea what is coming. But before I get there, something to note…Cedar Breaks is not free. It’s $10 and there is a walk up ticket window. Now if you have your America the Beautiful Pass (and why don’t you), your visit is included. The park ranger was very kind and when she saw I was from Oregon (you need to show your pass and id together), she asked how I was doing with the fires. It really is the little things.
Even from the ticket window, you can only see a sliver of what is to come. And wow, let me tell you, it is spectacular! Cedar Breaks is a natural amphitheater and about 3 miles across and several thousand feet in height. It’s also at a high elevation and does get quite a bit of snow in the winters that may restrict access. So if traveling in the winter months, always check the NPS website for current conditions.
The sheer scale was incredible and a great teaser for what was to come at Bryce. I ended up meeting a couple who were talking to an older gentleman who gave them some bad travel advice. See sometimes it pays to have inherited the Irish gene of being a bit nosey. He was telling them about how they should visit Monument Valley. Which they should and I would have on this trip if it were open. The entire area is on a reservation and closed. They also didn’t know that the northern entrance of the Grand Canyon was also closed. What was more random was that I ran into them again at Bryce later that day! One of the women even took my photo at the canyon so I would have something that wasn’t a selfie!
You just walk around the rim and check out the epic views. I did see some chipmunks, which always make me smile. It’s a place you can just pop your head in and head on your way. Very easily manageable in size.
Cedar Breaks was a great start to my second full day, a day that has to be one of the most beautiful days of my life…in fact this is only the first of three blog posts about day 2!