Cedar Breaks National Monument, UT

Monday, July 21

Today’s goal wasn’t actually to visit somewhere awesome, it was to take my laptop in to get fixed. So let me say now that I love Utah, where “taking the long way home” after a mundane run to the city can so easily encompass awe inspiring scenery.

Instead of turning back south on I15 after a successful trip to Cedar City, I instead strike off east on 14Β into the hills.


And climb, and climb, and climb. Signs discourage semis taking this road with 8 degree grades. Bertha has no difficulties, but I think it would be challenging towing Cas. Doable, but challenging. At least there are plenty of turn outs for resting a hot engine, or picture taking in my case.

Soon the pleasant aroma of spruce and fir greets my nose and the temperature has dropped 20 degrees to a pleasant 65. Ahhh, elevation. Then comes the turn off I’m looking for, Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Cedar Breaks sits on the same geological level as Bryce, it’s in the Pink Hills at the top of the Grand Staircase. It’s much smaller though than Bryce, with only six miles of road and six overlooks and turnoffs, and four hiking trails total. It does still have a little campground.


At over 10,000 feet, it’s a cool respite on a hot day. The cost for entry is $4 a person, paid at a little kiosk near the adorable little Visitor’s Center. Having my inaugural pass I don’t pay a dime.

As far as rock formations go, it does share similarities to Bryce, but has less hoodoos. If I’d seen this place first I probably would have been more impressed. In my book it was still well worth the drive and impressive, just not on the same scale. But it does have one great thing going for it, it’s less crowded in the bigger parks. Traffic is less of an issue, there is no pressure to vacate an overlook before you’ve had your fill, and the trails are quiet.


And the wildflowers, wow. There are alpine meadows up here with an outrageous variety of wildflowers this time of year. I could take one picture and catch three different colors in the same shot. In the winter this area apparently gets 15 feet of snow, so the trees and plants need to grow quickly while they have the chance. Cedar Breaks is still open in winter though, for snowshoers, cross country skiiers, and snowmobiles.


With time enough for one hike, I decide on the Alpine Lake trail. It’s a moderate difficulty two mile loop passing through forest and meadow, with glimpses of the orangey pink cliffs in the distance. It feels great to go hiking without immediately breaking into a sweat or having to constantly maneuver around other hikers going slower or coming the other way.

And the lake.


The water is pretty clear so long as nothing stirs up the bottom, but has an almost yellowish cast to it, tannins from the trees that have fallen in perhaps? The whole time I’m there no one else shows up. I sit down on a rock for a minute before continuing to appreciate the view, the peacefulness, and the fresh air. These are the moments that make full-time RVing special for me.

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  1. Gary on July 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks for the great pictures Becky. I lucked out on a trip there in May of this year (2014). There was still snow in some areas, but it was open. I missed the flowers as they weren’t blooming. It’s a wonderful place to see and you’re right about not being rushed. I was on an outlook and had a ranger to myself explaining what I was looking at and answered all my questions. Unfortunately I couldn’t go on the trails like you did, as I had my dog with me.

    • Becky on July 26, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Oooh, you did get lucky Gary, because it sounds like the park is often still closed in May. I bet it was still pretty even without the flowers, because you’d have the snow for contrast against the deep green pines and orange cliffs. Hopefully next time you’ll get the chance to hike the trails.

  2. edward on July 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Yellow water in the lake was spruce tea (from the needles) and you didn’t even have to go to a trendy restraunt.



    • Becky on July 25, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Haha, thanks Edward now I know.

  3. Tiffany S. on July 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    You’re our new hero! We just bought our first tiny trailer (16′ T@B) but can only take it out on the weekends for now as we have day jobs (boo day jobs). Let us know if you make it near Seattle!

    • Becky on July 25, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Awww, thanks Tiffany. Congrats on your T@B purchase! I fell in love with those little teardrops the first time I saw one, if they’d had a bathroom I may have been tempted to take one of those full-timing instead. πŸ˜›

      Enjoy your weekends out, and when I make it up to the Seattle area it’ll be up on the blog I’m sure.

  4. Curious by Nature on July 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    The Alpine Lake shots look very much like a lot of the Yukon and Alaska.

    • Becky on July 25, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Interesting Curious, I’ll have to see for myself by visiting those areas someday. πŸ™‚

  5. Russell on July 24, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    We have arrived… Good timing, we are going to Cedar Breaks NM tomorrow. Then, Bryce and Zion later in the week. Need a break from the close to 100 degree heat in UT. Looking forward to the high 70’s tomorrow…lol.

    Thanks for all your post in this area. It’s making our trip plans that much easier.
    Russell recently posted..OREGON CAVES NM to SUTHERLIN, ORMy Profile

    • Becky on July 25, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Haha, you’re welcome Russell, glad to help. Enjoy your trip!

  6. Marcia GB in MA on July 24, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Wow! The best of both worlds: the desert and beautiful cliffs and fields of colorful wildflowers. Not too shabby. What a special place!

    • Becky on July 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

      It really is Marcia! And it’s so much more peaceful and quiet. πŸ™‚

  7. mike on July 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Becky I was thinking of winter jobs up at Brian Head…I don’t know if you ski but with any job at a resort you get a free seasons pass and if you don’t ski discounted lessons and add that to the cool stuff you are doing. I know that almost every ski area is desperate for help come ski season. Oh geez I might be thinking of what I would love to do. I manage a hotel in Vegas but I love to ski..If I was as brave as you and did not have a girlfriend and seven year old son I would hook up the Casita and go find myself a job at one of the resorts for next winter and be a ski bum.
    It is fun to dream lol

    • Becky on July 25, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Ahh. Yeah those aren’t the kind of winter jobs I’m looking for – it would not be fun to stay in Cas up in the mountains in winter, down at Amazon warehouses in December is hard enough when my plumbing starts freezing in the single digits.

  8. Reine on July 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    We were in the Grand Staircase, Bryce, Zion area the last two weeks in May in 2013 and Cedar Breaks was still closed. Be glad you saw it. The window for that park is very small. Since you said a “successful” trip to Cedar City, I’m assuming you got your laptop fixed.

    Beautiful area. Enjoy.

    • Becky on July 25, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Yep, laptop all better finally.

      I still need to see more of the Grand Staircase and Lake Powell area, I’ll get that before leaving.

  9. Jodee Gravel on July 24, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Nice to get above the heat and enjoy more of your beautiful surroundings – and to get the laptop fixed as well :-).
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Joy of Exploration – Neil Armstrong and DadMy Profile

    • Becky on July 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      All good things Jodee, all good things.

  10. jo on July 24, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Again, Becky, I am inspired by reading your words, seeing your images and feeling the sigh of beauty all around. I am in beginning stages of buying the RV I found for me. Thank you!

    • Becky on July 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      You’re welcome Jo! Good luck on the adventure, hope that RV works well for you.

  11. Evelyn B on July 24, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Great pictures. We were in that part of Utah in late October of 2010 and weren’t able to go to Cedar Breaks because the roads up there were closed due to snow. So, you are right about a small window of time to visit. Glad you had the opportunity.

    • Becky on July 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Yikes Evelyn! I saw at the turnoff there was a gate that could be closed and figured it saw use in the winter after heavy snowfalls. I hope you get the chance to come on a future visit.

  12. mike german on July 23, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Oh yes and by the way your pics are beautiful as as always. I love reading your blog..

    • Becky on July 24, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks. πŸ™‚

  13. mike german on July 23, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Becky Cedar City is very close to Brian Head Utah which is a cute little mountain town and resort with a great ski area. We live in Vegas but ski there several times a year and I know that they are always looking for seasonal help. I also think that besides being a winter resort many folks go up there to cool off from Las Vegas (it can get a little warm in the summer here). You might check that out for employment.

    • Becky on July 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Thanks for the tip Mike, I’ll keep it in mind for future summers, but I’ll likely be in a different state next year. So many places to go!

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