Cedar Breaks Geology, Rock Formations

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Geology

Cedar Breaks National Monument is world-famous for its unique geological rock formations and colorful hoodoos set in an amphitheater 3 miles wide and 2,000 feet deep. Read More

  • Learn more with a ranger-led walk and talk from Point Supreme Viewpoint 
  • Camp at Point Supreme Campground for campfire talks and excellent daytime hikes 
  • Follow the Spectra Point/Ramparts Overlook Trail and gaze at the red rock hoodoos, fins, arches and spires

Overview

The unique geology which created the magnificent rock formations at Cedar Breaks Utah began 60 million years ago. Three geological processes created this natural amphitheater of colorful hoodoos: deposition, uplift and erosion.

A Geology Lesson

The area was once much lower, and covered by Lake Claron. Sediments were deposited at the bottom of the lake which became the sedimentary limestone rocks seen today. The colors come from oxidized irons (red and orange rocks) and manganese (purple rocks).

The Hurricane Fault runs through Cedar Breaks National Monument UT and when active it created this uplift of rock to the current 10,350 feet above sea level. Finally water, wind and acid rain have eroded the varying hard and softer rocks into amazing shapes.

Scenic Drive

There is a five-mile scenic drive around the rim of Cedar Breaks which offers several viewpoints to see the amazing geological formations. This road is suitable for bikes.

Hikes

  • Spectra Point/Ramparts Overlook Trail – 4-mile hike along the rim with spectacular viewpoints.
  • Alpine Pond Nature Trail – self-guided double loop trail through forests and meadows with excellent views of Cedar Breaks geological formations. Pick up a trail guide from the Visitor Center.

Learn More

  • Geology Walks
    Late-May to mid-October 10am and 2.30pm Mon-Fri weather permitting.
    Informative talk with a ranger starting from Point Supreme Viewpoint.
    Sats and Suns only 10am, weather permitting. Meet at Spectra Point trailhead in Visitor Center car park. 2-mile moderate round-trip hike at elevations of 10,500 feet. Weatherproof clothing and suitable footwear required.
  • Evening Campfire Programs
    Mid-June through Labor Day about 9pm.
    Meet the ranger at Point Supreme Campground near Cedar Breaks Visitor Centre for topical talks about Cedar Breaks geology.