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Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National ParkGeology of Cedar Breaks National Monument

Sixty-million years ago the area where Cedar Breaks now stands was not the highest point, but rather it was the lowest and the bottom of a seventy mile long lake. As time passed, more changes occurred until sand, gravel and sedimentary deposits filled the ancient lake. The lake dried over and over again for a period of about twenty-five million years and each time the cycle resulted in laying down more layers of material. These materials compressed and hardened into sedimentary rock. The rock "rusted" when iron, oxygen and water combined, giving the coral color to the sediments. It's these sediments that became the siltstone, sandstone and limestone of the Claron formation of Cedar Breaks.

Over time, uplifting occurred to form the gorgeous amphitheater seen at Cedar Breaks National Monument today. The Cedar Breaks hoodoos are over 60-million years old. The rock statues are sculpted claron rock formations which consist of sandstone, limestone, dolomite and siltstone layers. The sedimentary layers contain lignite, coal and fossils, including evidence of the lush mesozoic period, when the now cool climate of the mountain was tropical and different plants and animals flourished.

Cedar Breaks is located at the Markagunt Plateau rim were conditions are ideal for hoodoo formation. The steep slope gives the environment required where faults and joints from compressional forces guide patterns of erosion. The yearly weather cycle aids in the process. During the cold months of the year a cycle of freezing and thawing loosens the slope surface, allowing debris to be sluffed away by runoff. The material carried works on the softer rock to create gullies, and ultimately canyons. The hard rock left behind is further eroded along its vertical cracks, again subjected to the freeze - thaw cycle, carving the hoodoos.

Cedar Breaks National Park, Utah Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona - North Rim Map Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah Lodging: Zion National Park Zion National Park Cedar Breks National Monument, Utah Dixie National Forest: Cedar Mountain Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona - North Rim Map Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Utah Lodging: Zion National Park Zion National Park Cedar Breks National Monument, Utah Dixie National Forest: Cedar Mountain Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Hoodoos at Cedar Breaks
Hoodoo's are pillar-like rock formations of various shapes and sizes. Cedar Breaks National Monument will cast a spell over you with the magnificence of its rock temples, spires and domes. These tall, elegant formations are called hoodoos. In the Cedar Breaks amphitheater they literally crowded together to form magnificent castle-like scenes. Hoodoos are found in Cedar Breaks, Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. The limestone hoodoos of Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon appear similar, but the sandstone hoodoos in Zion National Park look like fossilized sand dunes.

The showcase of Cedar Breaks Hoodoos will ultimately turn to grains of sand. The patterns of rock formations show off their unique crisscross design formed through the long process of freezing and thawing. The process continues today, and rock formations continue to be designed by nature. When water seeps into the fractures of the rocks, it dissolves the calcium carbonate that holds the small rock particles together. In cold weather the water turns to ice as temperatures drop, then the ice expands pushing the fractures open. The overnight freezing and daytime thaw are abundant, occurring two to three hundred times a year. Since different rocks are of varied hardness, erosion takes place at different rates. Just like Zion National Park, erosion will continue until the plateau is flattened and the rocks turn to sand.

Directions to Cedar Breaks

U-148 Closure Dates. U-148 to Cedar Breaks closes in the winter due to snow depth.

From Las Vegas: Take I-15 north to Cedar City. Take U-14 east from Cedar City to U-148 and turn left to Cedar Breaks.
From Arizona: Take US-89 north through Mount Carmel Junction and turn west on U-14. Turn right at U-148 to Cedar Breaks.
From Salt Lake City: Take I-15 south, exit at Parowan. Take U-143 to Cedar Breaks.
From Mount Carmel Junction: Take US-89 north to U-14. Follow U-14 to U-148 and Cedar Breaks.

Cedar Breaks Road Map - Cedar Mountain Map

Zion National Park Maps Map:  Cedar Mountain - Dixie National Forest Southern Utah map Zion National Park Map - Overview of Zion Utah State Road 14 Utah State Road 148
 
Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks resembles Bryce Canyon in that its hoodoos appear similar and both are at high elevations; but this is where the similarity ends. The parks are very different.

 

Lodging Zion National Park
Lodging Zion National ParkLodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.

 

Where does the beautiful coral color at Cedar Breaks come from?
Rock formations dating from the late Mesozoic and Early Cenozoic periods include dakota, tropic shale, straight cliffs and Cedar Break's dominant soft, calcareous claron formation. Claron is a colorful combination of pinks and oranges caused by trace amounts of iron oxide. The white formations you see in the park are lacking the iron oxide. The pink limestone from the claron formation, with its iron and manganese oxides is responsible for the reds and pinks that we see in the rocks today. Comparing the Claron of Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon shows that the Claron of Cedar Breaks is thicker and more colorful. Cedar Break's smaller amphitheater is three miles wide and two thousand feet deep.

What is the elevation at Cedar Breaks?
Cedar Breaks sits at 10,350' and nearby Bryce Canyon ranges between 6,600' to 9,100' elevation. Zion National Park is the warmest of the Southwest National Parks and Monuments with an elevation range of 3,700' to 8,726'. Cedar Breaks is the coolest with Bryce Canyon being a close second.

Utah's Dixie National Forest: Cedar Mountain
Cedar Breaks National Monument is surrounded by Utah's Dixie National Forest. From Mt. Carmel Junction, drive north on US-89 to the junction with SR-14. SR-14 is known as Cedar Mountain which is the scenic byway to travel to Cedar Breaks. Once on Cedar Mountain, travel through the beautiful forest, and then turn at the signed highway to Cedar Breaks - SR-148. It's 22 miles from Mt. Carmel Junction to boundary of Dixie National Forest and 45 miles to Cedar Breaks.

Utah's Dixie National Forest: Red Canyon
Red Canyon is a unique part of Dixie National Forest that is not only traveled through on the way to Bryce Canyon, but it has eroded hoodoos like Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks. It is found along Scenic Byway 12.

 


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