My family and I drove this byway on one of my most memorable trips.
This byway covers only 6 miles. The entire length of SR-148.
But the getting there … and the departing … has to be considered part of the byway if not officially. Head east up the canyon on SR-14 from Cedar City.
This beautiful drive through the Dixie National Forest covers 18 miles. Open meadows. Colorful flowers. Lush greenery. And in summer, escape from the scorching temperatures below as I remember it.
Turn north at the junction of SR-148. Cedar Breaks National Monument sits high on top of the Markagunt Plateau. At an elevation of more than 10,000 feet.
Picture a huge amphitheater stretching for 3 miles. And you’re at the top looking down. More than 2000 feet down!
Native Americans called Cedar Breaks the "Circle of Painted Cliffs." Millions of years of uplift and erosion have exposed the limestone below.
And revealed a massive natural coliseum filled with bluffs, hoodoos, ridges and canyons. In a magical array of colors.
More than fifty different shades have been identified in the Breaks. Perhaps white or orange at the top. But as your gaze moves down, you’ll see rose and coral. And coffee, lavender and yellow. Even purple.
There’s a relatively short 2-mile hike if you want to walk a little … Alpine Pond Trail. A quaint historic visitor center … built in 1930 … and a campground are found at the edge of the monument along the byway.
Heavy winter snows close the byway during winter. So you’ll find it open only from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. But in winter, the byway becomes a route much travelled by cross-country skiers and snowmobilers.
As you head north away from Cedar Breaks, you’ll hit the junction of SR-143. Continue north to Brian Head and I-15 below that. Or head east to Panguitch, Highway 89, and even over to Bryce Canyon National Park if you want.
As I said above, the Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway is only 6 miles long. Probably about 30 minutes to stop and see some of the sights. But I recommend taking longer and spending some time at the monument.
We took the road heading northeast towards Panguitch and came across a gem. Panguitch Lake. We found it so peaceful … and relaxing … that we parked our trailer and stayed there for 3 days!
Unplanned and at the spur of the moment. Still memorable.