July 12, 2016

Gaelyn wildflowers Cedar Breaks National Monument Utah

This year I finally planned right for the Cedar Breaks National Monument Wildflower Festival.  Tis the season for meadows to explode with color in the high country.  So get ready for some more wildflowers because Widforss and Big Basin just weren’t enough.

From the hell heat of Kanab to 10,000+ feet (3048 m) with a brisk wind and jacket needing temperatures the day was filled with contrasts and sensory overload.

SR89 N Utah

The drive north on SR89 always seems to lead Bill and I to someplace beautiful.  Hard to loose through Utah’s red-rock country and white cliffs.  Road cuts tell a complex geologic story.  Plus it’s always a good excuse to stop at the German Bakery in Orderville for breakfast where they make the most delicious assortment of pastries.

Lava flow SR14 Utah

Meadow SR14 Utah

Then SR14 winds through forests, meadows, and lava flows which I got better shots of on the return drive.  Some roads are just to busy to stop along.

Scarlet Paintbrush, Markagunt Penstemon & Pretty Cinquefoil Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahScarlet Paintbrush, Markagunt Penstemon & Pretty Cinquefoil

Scarlet Paintbrush Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahHad barely entered Cedar Breaks on SR143 north and had to stop for the first field of flowers.  Lush green meadows scattered with dots of brilliant and subtle colors. The wind caused those blooming stalks to dip and dance.




Scarlet Paintbrush

Signs Plein Air Art Event & Wildflower Festival Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahNext stop, the entrance station where I finally bought my Geezer Senior Pass.  It’s likely this $10 for life pass will cost more in the near future for 62-year old US citizens.

Visitor Center Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahThe Visitor Center is a quaint little log cabin built by the CCC during the 1930s when they also constructed roads, scenic overlooks, and other facilities at Cedar Breaks.  I bought a book about 65 Utah byways for backcountry drives.  We’ve done a few and I’m looking forward to more.

Aspen Bluebell Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahAspen Bluebells & Scarlet Paintbrush Cedar Breaks National Monument Utah

Aspen Bluebell & Scarlet Paintbrush

Was given a flower list and thankfully many of the flowers around the Visitor Center were labeled.  We missed the Ranger guided wildflower hike yet managed to see quite a bit on our own.

View from Point Supreme Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahThe view is to die for from the Point Supreme overlook at 10,350 feet (3154 m).  And we did see one artist from the Plein Air Art Event painting both flowers and the view.

Sulpher Buckwheat, Aspen Bluebell & Southern Ligusticum Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahSulpher Buckwheat, Aspen Bluebell & Southern Ligusticum

Southern Ligusticum & Colorado Columbine Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahI’d truly hoped to see more Columbine.  Best shot because I wouldn’t think of walking on the flowers and didn’t see them anywhere else.



Southern Ligusticum & Colorado Columbine



North View Overlook Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahWe drove to the end of the 6 mile road to North View overlook and were greeted by shades of orange and beige rock carved into fantasy figures of stone.  The steady southwest wind felt more than brisk along the rim at 10,435 feet (3180 m).

Silvery Lupine Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahSilvery Lupine

Then stopped for flowers on the way back.  Still windy moving the flowers about but not quite as chilly.

Silvery Lupine, meadow & cabin Cedar Breaks National Monument Utah

Silvery Lupine Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahI got really lost in this field of lupine, meadow, forest and a cabin.  We were right on the edge of the monument boundary.  Can you imagine living with this kind of view?  Would be buried under snow in winter.





Brian Head from Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahPlus 11,000 foot (3352 m) Brian Head for a backdrop.

Scarlet Paintbrush & Dandelions Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahLittle Sunflowers Cedar Breaks National Monument Utah

Towering trees, not all living, lined the colorful meadows.  Fresh sharp smell in the air like a blend of pepper, syrup, and lemon.

Chessman Ridge Overlook Cedar Breaks National Monument Utah

Chessman Ridge Overlook Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahAnother amazing view of Cedar Breaks’ rocky amphitheater from Chessman Ridge Overlook at 10,460 ft (3188 m).


Painted rock in root wad Chessman Ridge Overlook Cedar Breaks National Monument UtahSomeone left their mark, at least it’s removable.








Cinder Cone & lava flows SR14 Dixie National Forest UtahBack out of the monument on SR14 we stopped for a clear view of a cinder cone and young lava flow from only 1,000 to 5,000 years ago.  It’s interesting to see how the forest grows out of this coarse looking rock.  Mammoth Cave lava tubes can be explored nearby yet we had no lights so must return a different time without Sasha along.

Navajo Lake SR14 Dixie National Forest UtahNavajo Lake is a product of this volcanic activity.  Water flows underground through old lave tubes sometimes popping up to the surface in rivers and springs.  The lake feeds two different watersheds—south into the Colorado River and east into the Great Basin.  During the 1930s, the CCC built a dike across the lake to maintain water levels for recreation.


Duck Creek Visitor Center Dixie National Forest UtahStopped at the Duck Creek Visitor Center which I suspect could be CCC built.  A map and signboard showed lots of camping opportunities in the Dixie National Forest.  Three feeders on the porch must need constant filling with so many hummingbirds ferociously flying about.  Very difficult to photograph especially under a shady porch overhang.

Hummingbirds Duck Creek Visitor Center Dixie National Forest Utah


Duck Lake thru trees Dixie National Forest SR14 Utah

I saw a few people fishing in Duck lake across the road.  But there’s not much to see in the town of Duck Valley except real-estate businesses.  We drove through looking for a place to eat with absolutely no luck as everything was closed except the hardware store.

SR14 E Dixie National Forest UtahBefore too long we could see red rock again and turned off SR14 before SR89 for a short cut through Stout Canyon.

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