NORTH VIEW, Iron County — Just 45 minutes east of Cedar City is one of Utah’s hidden gems: Cedar Breaks National Monument.
The monument is a natural amphitheater that stretches 3-miles long and half a mile deep. It was declared a national monument by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, according to Shannon Eberhard, a park ranger at the national monument.
President Roosevelt decided to make Cedar Breaks a national monument as a part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program, which gave young men jobs during the Great Depression by having them conserve and renew public lands like Cedar Breaks National Monument. The National Park Service website said that the CCC helped create fences, roads, trails, buildings and campgrounds for the monument.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is known for its beautiful scenery. The rocks that make up the amphitheater are bright orange and stand out against the blue sky on sunny days.
The monument is home to alluring Douglas fir trees and bristlecone pines, according to the national monument website. You can also find elk, mule deer, mountain lions and black bears roaming the monument.
As for activities available at the monument, Eberhard said it really depends on the time of year that you visit.
“If you’re coming in the summer, especially when it’s pretty hot everywhere else, we’re pretty famous for our wildflowers," she said. "We have a really great diverse collection of wildflowers in the summer.”
Eberhard mentioned that the park is a popular spot during the hot, summer months because Cedar Breaks is much cooler, due to its elevation of over 10,000 feet.
“All year, we are pretty famous for our night skies,” Eberhard said. “We have a pretty good quality dark sky up at Cedar Breaks. With the high elevation, it also makes for nice, crisp star viewing.”
Wintertime brings about 15 feet of snow, according to Eberhard, and many fun activities.
“In the winter … a lot of people come up and snowshoe and ski and can even snowmobile on our main roads through the park,” she said.
Eberhard also mentioned that this season, the monument is doing free guided snowshoe hikes. Snowshoes are provided for those who don’t have any. Eberhard said that more information will be available on that later this week.
Currently, there is no fee to enter the park. During the summer, a fee of $7 per person is collected. Discounts and free passes may also be available. Check the national monument website for more information.