When we arrived in Cedar City, we had reached approximately the half way point of our road trip. We were still going to spend Thanksgiving with our family in Utah, and then drive back to California through the Bonneville Salt Flats and on through Nevada. It was now travel day number five, and we had already driven over from California and visited Manzanar, Death Valley, Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. One reason we went to all these places, was that most of the national parks in Utah were already snowed in, and some of them were even closed. Otherwise, we would have rather been in Utah for most of the trip. Now we were thinking about visiting either Zion or Cedar Breaks, and we chose Cedar Breaks, since we had already been to Zion before. Also, we knew that Cedar Breaks was a relatively small park and we could definitely do it in one day.
Cedar Breaks National Monument reminds me a lot of Bryce Canyon, which I think, is the most beautiful national park in the United States that I have seen so far. The amphitheatre of red rocks and hoodoos is just amazing! But Cedar Breaks is much smaller than its big brother Bryce, and one can easily drive through it while stopping at the overlooks in a few hours. There are four overlook areas on the main road, and some hiking trails that start from them. In the summer time, they are probably much more fun, but now they were all very icy. The monument is officially open only from June to the end of October. So now the visitor center and the facilities were closed. But if the road is open, one can still drive over and see the beautiful rock formations. Updated information about the road conditions can be found from here, or one can check out the web cam to see the road by choosing the location “Brian Head”.
I would recommend to drive around Cedar Breaks, since it doesn’t really take a lot longer than just turning around and driving back. While we visited, the ski resorts on the other side of the mountain were already open and there seemed to be more than one of them. During the winter there are many snowmobile trails and it’s probably a great place for snowshoeing too. During the summer time there is also a camping area that can be used by the guests. We stayed in Cedar City at Abbey Inn, and we really liked it! The hotel was quite average, but there were many small things we loved: super friendly staff, a clean room, great breakfast and some little extra things like chocolate gifts, a huge tea selection, separate make up towel in the bathroom, and so forth. No wonder they had such great reviews!
I must say, that after living with the wild fire smoke in the San Francisco Bay Area and staying two days in a smokey casinos in Vegas, I fully enjoyed breathing the clean mountain air. We love being outside in nature, and Cedar Breaks offered us a great setting to do just that!