Weekend Window: Cedar Breaks, Utah

Cedar Breaks National Monument has drawn human visitors for 9,000 years.

Sept. 30, 2007 — -- Cedar Breaks National Monument is nestled between Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks in Southwestern Utah.

"This area has been used by people for over 9,000 years," Park Ranger Jenny Herbert said. "You travel through the forest and then you just come across this cliff edge."

Cedar Breaks is often confused with Bryce Canyon because of their similar landscapes.

"Our amphitheater looks the same," Park Ranger Josh Boles said. "Our amphitheater is twice as deep and twice as steep, and so it reveals the colors a lot better. So if you're into color, this is definitely the place to be."

The colors are all natural, all the result of byproducts found in the rocks.

"All the oranges, yellows and reds you see are a byproduct of iron oxide," Boles said. "When you see white, it's pure limestone. And when you see purple, it's actually manganese oxide."

The rock formations in Cedar Breaks are called "hoodoos."

"Hoodoo is simply something that charms or enchants or casts a spell," Boles said. "And if you're out here long enough, and you see the way the light reflects off the rocks do just that, they charm you, they enchant you, and you have a spell cast upon you."

Scenic rock formations aren't the only things Cedar Breaks has to offer. There's wildlife too.

"Here in the park," Herbert said, "we have bristle cone pines that are over 1,600 years [old]. Actually, our oldest is 1,671 years old this year. They are amazing trees. They have to be really hearty, durable plants."

From experiencing the forest and meadows to observing the wildlife, there may be something for everyone in Cedar Breaks.

"Usually, when most visitors get to Cedar Breaks, they don't say anything," Boles said. "I like to say it's the number one cause of speechlessness in southwestern Utah."