Of the several national parks and monuments we plan to visit on this trip, Cedar Breaks National Monument was our first. I had to look up what a monument was since I was envisioning statues of soldiers atop horses or concrete epitaphs. A monument, in this context, is a protected area, similar to a national park, but can be created from any land owned or controlled by the federal government. A national monument can be proclaimed by the president, whereas a national park can only be established by an act of congress. It isn’t unusual for a protected land to start out as national monuments and later become a national park.
From St. George, which is situated at about 5,000 feet above sea level, we drove up into the mountains to over 10,000 feet.
At the gate, we purchased our interagency annual pass. As non-US citizens, we (well, Ken) didn’t qualify for the senior card, even though he met the age requirement of 62, so our pass cost $80USD, which covers 4 people in the car at Cedar Breaks, but everyone in the car at national parks (according to the ranger who sold it to us).
Cedar Breaks is viewed from several points along the rim. The first is at the visitor center, and then you can drive along the road, through alpine meadows, and stop at each of the others. Trails connect some of the viewpoints. Each perspective was stunning and surprisingly different.
We drove just outside of the national park gate into the Dixie National Forest. As guided by a ranger at the visitor center, we pulled off onto a gravel road and drove around a bit until we found a suitable place to park Artie for the night.
It was a peaceful spot to sleep and, with the dark skies in the park and forest, a great place to play with night sky photography (rank beginner here so will keep trying).
- Camping at Cedar Breaks: $24USD for a site, includes hot showers and water, but no hookups.
- Camping in the Dixie National Forest: Free with no services. Ask the ranger at the visitor center for directions.
- Entrance to Cedar Breaks National Park: $7 per person over 16 or free with Interagency Pass.