Cedar Breaks National Monument trip - Route 14 photo opps

Discussion in 'Travel' started by mike_r|2, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. My wife and I are staying in St. George Utah next week for one night and are going to make a trip up to Cedar Breaks National Monument, then loop all the way back to St. George Utah via Routes 14, 89, and 389. We've been to Zion the last two years so I really don't want to pay the $25 fee just to drive through it (although it's probably worth every penny of that just to see it again). Can anyone tell me how the scenery & photo opportunities are along Route 14 over to Route 89? Or is there another route that would be better to take? We only have the one day then are heading back to Las Vegas. Thanks.
  2. You don't have to pay if you stay outside the park and take a shuttle into the park. When I went via Rte 14, it was a v. rural and curvy road...still there was plenty of red rock visible. Last time I was at C. Breaks it was late in the year and there was no foliage on the trees....so I can't make any comparisons. The monument is at rather high elevation (8500'), but it's worth the drive...and it's cool there in comparison to sizzling Vegas or St George.It's like a mini Bryce Cyn...obviously it has its own beauty....and it feels more intimate.
    Give yourself some time or you'll compromise too much and be unhappy due to rush.
  3. If you're up for a short to moderate hike, there are a number of pretty slot canyons in the area within reach of the weekend warrior. http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/zion_national_park/index.html
  4. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    The important thing is to be at Cedar Breaks late afternoon to sunset since that's when it's best lit. Its an amphitheatre open to the west, 14 or 143 for photographs Personally I've several times stayed and photographed Bryce in the morning and then driven across via 12, 89 and 143 or 14 to Cedar Breaks to arrive mid afternoon , and drive back for dinner and bed.
    As you'll be ( or should be) at Cedar Breaks till fairly late and some of your journey back to St Georges will be in darkness, best to go back via 14 to Cedar City then the fast 15 back to St George's I'd suggest. Truth to tell that would be the fastest way there too though you sound like you'd prefer a different route with the chance of some photographs. Sadly though, whilst the roads leading to Cedar Breaks are pleasant enough , I can't ever recall finding it worthwhile in the middle of the day stopping the car along 89/14/143 to take photographs- a pleasant enough drive, but nothing spectacular for me. What I haven't done is explore the network of tiny roads in the 143/89 /14 triangle, though I'd expect progress might well be slow depending on what you're driving. Frankly I think the Zion Plateau, along the 9 east of the bridge would offer most hope but from the sound of it you've done that.
    I think that if you're very lucky and get some really interesting clouds and light then you can photograph pretty much anywhere and along the 9/89/14 route is no exception. You're just not going to be able to bank on it. With some decent light , Cedar Breaks is well worth while though
  5. kts


    that's a beautiful drive in late October when the tree's start changing color but in the middle of August 14/89/389 is not going to be very scenic unless you like being in a train of RV's, Semi's and tourists.....going up 15 you could hit Zion Kolob Canyons on the way to Cedar Breaks or if you want to be more adventurous drive over to Virgin on 9 and turn left on Kolob Terrace Rd and drive that all the way up to 14 and over to Cedar Breaks......that's a beautiful drive and very little traffic
  6. Thanks very much for all the suggestions. I realize we probably aren't going to be anywhere the best time of day to take great pictures this go round but that's okay. Cedar Breaks looks like a neat place. Last year we went to both Zion & Bryce Canyon so looking for somewhere new. Since my original post I made a reservation in Kanab the night of Aug 16 (Victorian Jnn) rather than St. George. In hindsight we should have tried to stay there at least two nights to give us more time.
  7. The route you propose (14, 89, 389) is fairly long, something over 200 miles of mostly 2 lane road. You'll spend an awful lot of your one day just driving.
    I agree with thom - the Kolob Canyon part of Zion NP is a good option. There's that $25 fee again, but the Kolob section is distinct from the Virgin River canyon and photo-worthy on its own merit. Much less crowded than the main canyon, too. No food in there, though - bring whatever you'd want to eat and drink. The entrance is on I-15 between St George and Cedar City.
    Cedar Breaks is higher altitude than stated earlier - the sign as you enter the parking lot said 10,004 feet that last time I was there, and I'm pretty sure it hasn't changed much. The parking lot is on the rim, so that's about as high as you'd get; if you want to hike, you'd be hiking into lower elevations, but remember the hike would end with the climb back out. The advice about sunset is good - the westward-facing orientation favors the afternoon light, and the hoodoos fairly glow in that last light of day. My suggestion would be to start the day in Kolob Canyon and then head up to Cedar Breaks for sunset. The drive back to St George in the dark would be on good roads.
    If your itinerary is to stay in St George the night after your Cedar Breaks day, then you would be coming up from Las Vegas (right?). It would be easy and maybe 3 hours of driving from Vegas to the Kolob entrance. That will depend to some degree on how slow the traffic is in the Virgin River Gorge on the NV-AZ-UT border - repaving in the AZ part. It's all single lane, both ways, and you'll go at the speed of the slowest vehicle in the gorge. No place in the gorge to get off the interstate and no food or drink - bring what you want.
    If your itinerary is to stay in St George the night before your Cedar Breaks day, then you would be driving back to Vegas in the evening. From Cedar Breaks, expect about 4 hours driving plus whatever stops you make, such as dinner in St George or Mesquite.
  8. Since you've mentioned timing, you may want to look closer at Valley of Fire, which is off I-15 and only about 50 miles No. from Vegas. But as David indicated, the light (weather related) may dictate whether it's worth the production....similar goes for this place, since the light during the mid day wouldn't be will be photo friendly. Oh, and currently the temps could reach 100+ degrees....something to consider.
  9. OK, the reservations in Kanab changes everything. Belay my last post.
    First, the Victorian Inn was excellent when my wife and I stayed there a few years ago - you should enjoy it. We also liked the family restaurant on the main street in Kanab; I don't recall the name, but there aren't two. There was a time when Hollywood used that area for shooting westerns, and the restaurant had lots of photos from that time. Good food, reasonable prices, filled with mostly local folks (always a good sign).
    Hitting Cedar Breaks for sunset shots and then driving to Kanab will be a drive that will NOT be the high point of your trip. A few hours of driving two lane roads in the dark with deer infrequently standing on the roadside is probably not a happy time. Going to Cedar Breaks on day 2 on the way to Vegas I think would be a more enjoyable plan.
    On day one, getting to Kanab via 59&389 will be a good, scenic drive. Good scenery to photograph along the way. I recommend turning off to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes (watch for the sign). If you get into the Kanab area early enough, or maybe first thing on day 2, the Best Friends Animal Society facility just north of Kanab would be a great place to see and photograph a striking variety of animals from around the world. They take in unwanted circus animals among others. Nice people there.
  10. Thanks Bob. Yes, we'll drive up to Cedar Breaks the second day on our way back to Vegas since we'll be going to Kanab via the southern route. I'll may try to work in Coral Pink Sand Dunes on our way to Kanab, and the Best Friends Animal Society sounds neat too. I had thought about driving over to Page, AZ after we get to Kanab to try to photograph Horseshoe Bend at sunset but I'm afraid we would be beat by then and it wouldn't be enjoyable, and would then have to drive all the way back to Kanab. Crazy that we didn't plan more than one night but oh well. I've read good reviews of the Victorian Inn so we're looking forward to that. Last year we stayed at the Best Western Zion Park Inn and it was nice too (especially the breakfast buffet!).
  11. The Page idea has a further complication. If you want to try getting there, do some Googling/Binging about the roads (89 and 89A). There was a washout some time ago and rebuilding the road has been slow. If construction is ongoing, you may be forced to take a detour route that will make the trip noticeably longer (both ways).
    When UT59 crosses into AZ you'll find Colorado City on the AZ border. Aside from its history regarding the Mormon Church (Wikipedia info), Colorado City will be the last place you'll be able to get gas or a cold drink until you get over to Fredonia.
    My wife and I also like the Best Western Zion, too. Good place for dinner as well as breakfast. Have a great trip, and be sure to lose some money in Las Vegas - it's how our taxes get paid!
  12. I finalized our route. We will drive from Las Vegas to Cedar City this weekend, then up to Cedar Breaks. After that, we will head towards Kanab via SR 14, staying at the Victorian Inn. The next day it will be Zion before heading back to Vegas. I've visited Zion four times already so we won't need to spend a lot of time there, but I know I would really regret not going once again while we're so close. There is no place like it I've ever been to. I also want to stop at the Grafton ghost town outside of Springdale. Not sure whether there is much to see or photograph there but it's only a few miles from the main highway.
    I'm excited, because last year I went to Zion with nothing wider than my 16-85DX. Then to make matters worse it was overcast and pouring down the rain while we were at Zion and Bryce due to a tropical storm. It probably rains five times all year in the desert and it rained about the whole week we were there. This year I have a new Tokina 11-16 2.8 and hopefully we'll have much better weather!
  13. Glad you have it all set. You'll love Cedar Breaks. And the weather looks very nice through at least next Wednesday (former operational weather forecaster).
    The drive across UT14 is a pleasant one, but keep a watchful eye for people on ATVs in the Duck Creek area, especially the kids. They get into the road unexpectedly sometimes (popular summer rental area). Once you turn south on US89, the drive goes through an attractive farming valley - you may find yourself tempted to stop and shoot a little (really nice in October when the aspens turn).
    Have a great time. And remember to donate some money in the casinos to help cover our taxes!
  14. My wife and I are staying in St. George Utah next week for one night and are going to make a trip up to Cedar Breaks National Monument, then loop all the way back to St. George Utah via Routes 14, 89, and 389.
    This is a bit late at this point but for future reference, missing Snow Canyon State Park while in St. George is a missed photographic opportunity. I find it actually far more interesting photographically than Cedar Breaks, with a variety of formations and viewpoints. Also just north of St.George is Yant Flats, an area with geologic formations that rival The Wave, Coyote Buttes and White Pocket in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Also, not mentioned was Twisted Forest, an area of bristlecone pines near Brian Head/Cedar Breaks. As others have noted, you'll spend a lot of time driving instead of photographing.
  15. Charles, I'll check those places out. You are right, probably more driving than photographing. One of these years I'm going to make a dedicated photo trip out that way, and less a Las Vegas vacation. Thanks again everyone for all of your suggestions.
  16. One good sunset option closer to Kanab is the old Paria Townsite and the wildly colored hills surrounding it. http://goo.gl/maps/G4PSz
  17. We had a great trip up to Zion and Kanab Utah a couple weeks ago. I highly recommend the Victorian Inn for anyone looking for a nice place to stay in the area. We decided to cut out Cedar Breaks and just focus on Zion over the two day period. Unfortunately, because of time I didn't get to shoot as much as I would have liked but did get a few good shots in Zion. We even saw some big horn sheep on the rocks on the east side of the park which was neat. One of these years I would like to take a dedicated photo trip to the southwestern Utah/northern Arizona region and take at least a week. The landscape and the light is so amazing in that part of the country. Thanks again for all the advice everyone gave me in advance of our trip.

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