There are so many amazing places to explore in the Southwest and so many surprises. I had never been to Cedar Breaks National Monument (near Cedar City, Utah) and in fact, I was not even aware of it. Peter had been there and wanted to show me the area and we both wanted to take photographs. As we drove up the mountain to 10,000+ feet, the trees thinned to a few.
It was a surprise to step out of the car, walk through the bristlecone pines, juniper trees, wildflowers and grass to look out 3 miles and down into a half-mile deep natural amphitheater. Breathtaking actually!
This monument is open June thru October (snow in the winter precludes travel) and I understand that the fall colors are incredible in September/October.
The rock colors come from iron and manganese in a varity of combinations to produce reds, oranges and yellows with some purple. My colors! The Indians used to call this area the ‘Circle of Painted Cliffs.’ Again the repetition of shapes captured my imagination.
Cedar Breaks national Monument, established in 1933, had a lodge that was torn down in 1979 because the monument was not profitable. The uproar from that caused the Park Service to think again about tearing down other park lodges.
The canyons, spires, walls and cliffs are extremely steep making me understand why the early settlers called them badlands or breaks. That’s how it got the name ’Cedar Breaks’ – breaks combined with cedar trees (they were really junipers)!