Friday mystery photo

Mary Byzewski, Flickr

This photo photo was taken at Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is located in Utah near Cedar City. The site was designated as a national monument in 1933.

Cedar Breaks is a natural amphitheater, stretching across 3 miles, with a depth of over 2,000 feet. The elevation of the rim of the amphitheater is over 10,000 feet above sea level.T he amphitheater, located near the west end of the Colorado Plateau, covers the west side of the Markagunt Plateau, the same plateau that forms parts of Zion National Park. 

Cedar Breaks National Monument from Point Supreme and Sunset View. Photo: AlaskanDude, Flickr

Wildlife can often be seen in this high altitude setting. Mule deer and porcupines are common, as are rodents and similar animals such as pikas, marmots, red squirrels, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, pocket gophers, and chipmunks. Mountain lions and other larger animals live in the area but are seldom seen. Common birds include the Clark's nutcracker, violet-green swallows, and the common raven.

The bristlecone pine, a species of tree that probably lives longer than any other single organism, can also be found in the high country, with some local specimens known to be more than 1600 years old. Sub-alpine meadows dot the canyon rim in such areas as Alpine Pond, which is an easy hike from the road along a clear trail. 

Sub-alpine lake in Cedar Breaks National Monument. Photo: BrewBooks, Flickr

Because of its elevation, snow often makes parts of the Cedar Breaks inaccessible to vehicles from October through May. Its rim visitor center is open from June through October. Several hundred thousand people visit this spectacular wonder annually. The monument area is the headwaters of Mammoth Creek, a tributary of the Sevier River