March 10, 2011
Several communities in Bryce Canyon Country offer close access to Cedar Breaks National Monument. From the town of Panguitch this attraction is just a 45-minute drive along Scenic Byway 143. This route will take you past Panguitch Lake, through forests of pine and ponderosa pines and past expansive fields of lava.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is a smaller version of Bryce Canyon, and is often referred to as the “Circle of Painted Cliffs”. Cedar Breaks was formed over eons of time by the erosion of wind and water and by geologic uplift, thus creating the multi-colored formations that fill this natural amphitheater.
Visitors can take advantage of the majestic scenery and year-round activities that include sightseeing, hiking, biking, photography and wildlife viewing. The rim of Cedar Breaks sits at an elevation of 10,000 feet and offers mild summer temperatures that have an average or around 65 degrees. This high elevation means plenty of snow in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Cedar Breaks National Monument is just three miles south of Brian Head on Scenic Byway 143.
You’ll find that you can spend at least a half day exploring the trails, fields of flowers and scenic overlooks along the 5-mile road that passes on the edge of Cedar Breaks. Bristlecone pine, one of the oldest tree species in the world, are found on trails such as the Alpine Pond Trail and Spectra Point Trail. These trails are about a mile each direction and not too difficult.
Near the visitor center you’ll find overlooks at the Point Supreme, Spectra Point, and Ramparts Trails. One mile to the north you find Sunset View on the edge of the Markagunt Plateau. Chessman Ridge Overlook, is a trail-head to access the Alpine Pond Trail and North View overlook is one additional quality spot to stop for photographs.