We drove a loop today though a small bit of southwestern Utah, visiting Cedar Breaks National Monument to the north before driving southwards to visit various less traveled areas of Zion National Park. The weather was good and we saw some spectacular scenery!
Dixie National Forest Lava Field
While on our way to Cedar Breaks National Monument, we drove by a large lava field in Dixie National Forest! The remaining chunks of lava appeared to be very old. They were quite broken up and trees were growing in many areas.
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument protects an area to the east of Cedar City in southwestern Utah. The park consists of a landscape that is very similar in appearance to Bryce Canyon National Park.
Gallery; Gallery: https://gallery.thesun.arfycat.com/Galleries/USA/Utah/Southern-Utah-2021-05-14/Cedar-Breaks-National-Monument
North View Overlook
Our first stop was the North View Overlook. It was cold and windy at 10,435 feet above sea level with small amounts of snow on the ground! We also got our first glimpse at the amazing landscape below us. Very beautiful!
The perfect landscape for a panorama!
Chessmen Ridge Overlook
Our next stop was the Chessmen Ridge Overlook to the south. Not as windy but still cold and still a beautiful view!
Chessmen Ridge was also a good spot for making panoramas!
Sunset View Overlook
A bit further south was the Sunset View Overlook. Once again, a very beautiful view showing the landscape from a different perspective.
Point Supreme Overlook
Our final stop in the park was Point Supreme Overlook. It was the largest overlook with a large parking lot and a small information center that was closed.
This panoramic scene is probably the most similar to Bryce Canyon out of the four viewpoints that we visited today in Cedar Breaks.
Zion National Park
We visited three separate parts of Zion National Park today! The remote Kolob Canyons in the northwest, the even more remote Kolob Terrace and reservoir to the east, and the area between the west and east entrances along Route 9.
The Kolob Canyons area of Zion National Park consists of a short 5 mile road with a few places to stop as well as a number of hiking trails. The scenery is quite beautiful with a mixture of colors. We were able to see the mountains from a variety of locations and elevations as we drove down the park road and back afterwards.
Kolob Terrace & Reservoir
The Kolob Terrace Road goes in and out of Zion National Park as it heads northwards 24 miles from Route 9 to the Kolob Reservoir.
The areas inside of Zion National Park have some impressive mountain scenery!
The reservoir was a good size with beautiful calm water. It is almost encircled by an unpaved road with many spots to park on the shore.
There were many birds! Some species were familiar to us while others were new. The Mountain Bluebird standing on a fence post was particularly beautiful! We haven’t identified everything yet as many of the species here are unfamiliar to us though we can generally make a good guess as to what family they belong to.
After returning to Route 9, we continued east and entered the main section of Zion National Park. We drove eastwards through the Mt. Carmel Tunnel and onwards to the east entrance. There isn’t really a good term to describe this section of the park so we’re calling it Canyon Junction after the location where the scenic drive splits off from Route 9.