If you want to see Bryce Canyon without the millions of tourists standing in your way, Cedar Breaks may be your next destination. Cedar Breaks National Monument is a mere hour drive away from Bryce Canyon but receives far fewer visitors than the wildly popular national park.
Cedar Breaks and Bryce are very similar in geological features but Cedar Breaks resemble what Bryce looked like possibly ten of thousands of years ago. It is a maturing canyon and Bryce Canyon have more spectacular and more defined hoodoos but Cedar Breaks is nothing short of amazing especially when you take out all the tour buses.
Cedar Breaks is also located in Southwest Utah. At 10,000 feet, this canyon is bound to be cold year round even on hotter days, which is perfect to visit in the summer.
Nearest Town and Services
Cedar City is the closest town and is about 30 mins drive from the park’s visitor center. There are many services here like food and gas. Hotels are also available in the city.
What To Do/ Highlights
Cedar Breaks is known for its beautiful unique hoodoo geological features. The park is small and most of the trails and things to see are located along the rim of the amphitheater. There are no official trails that go into the canyon unlike at Bryce. The canyon walls here are still too steep for trails. But there are many trails along the rims and there are overlooks for those who are just driving through the park.
The park’s main road is a must do. It takes only about 30 – 40 mins to drive through the entire park and you can add 10-20 minutes for stopping at the overlooks.
Hiking here is not strenuous and trails are well maintained. You can bike along the park’s road and wildflower sighting is spectacular here.
There are only a few trails in the park that go along the rim of the amphitheater and it starts from the visitor center. At spectra point, you will get a very view of the canyon and get to visit a 1,600 years old Bristlecone Pine tree. Alpine Pond Trail is also a good trail for family; the short loop takes you through a beautiful forest and a seasonal pond.
Park is high in elevation, so it’s very cold in the winter.. Winter is a good time for snowshoeing and snowmobiling through the park’s road. But summer starts from June or July to September and these months are the best time to go for wild flowers especially August. Camping can be busy but the park is not crowd and the trails are mildly used.
Where To Camp and Stay
Point Supreme Campground is the only campground inside the park. It is reservable during summer and is open to first come, first served. It is $14 per night and is equipped with toilets, water, and parking. More information on camping at Cedar Breaks here.
There are three other campgrounds in the Dixie National Forest operated by the national forest service right outside of the park within 10 miles drive; deer haven and cedar canyon campgrounds are good options. They are also reservable with minimal fee.
Dixie National Forest also has some free disperse camping options available, please consult the national forest ranger to where you can camp.
Hotels are available at Cedar City.
The park is spectacular and it was a great visit. The amphitheater is huge and very colorful. Similar to Bryce, Cedar Breaks is at its best during sunrise and early morning because the sunsets behind the canyon. The park is small and easy to absorb, which makes it the perfect option for a quick visit if you are short on time. The trails here are short as well. You can do all the trails and visit all the overlooks within a single day visit. Camping here is fun as it is much cooler than everywhere else in Utah, which is a good break from the summer heat. Although there is not a trail down the canyon from the rim, there is a trail that goes from Dixie National Forest that wraps around the monument that will take you into the canyon; it is a strenuous 12 miles hike; please ask rangers at the park for trail guide.