A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Summer Snowstorm at Cedar Breaks

Sunday hike, June 19

Snow falling on the great amphitheater just before mid-summer at Cedar Breaks

By Michael Mountain

I was expecting fields of spring flowers. Instead, the entire national monument at Cedar Breaks was covered in several feet of snow, and it was 32 degrees and actually snowing.

I hadn’t checked the weather before driving up Cedar Mountain, about 50 miles from home, but never imagined it could be snowed out in the middle of June.

“I don’t ever remember it snowing this late,” said one of the rangers. He was dressed in winter gear; I was wearing a T-shirt!

Compared to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks is not one of the most famous national parks and monuments in the region.

But at over 10,000 feet, it’s spectacular, in big ways and small – from the huge amphitheater of ancient rock to the gorgeous flowers that spring to life for their short summer season before winter again envelopes the land.

It’s also home to some of the oldest trees in the world – bristlecone pines that were growing at the time of the Roman Empire.

I’ve been to Cedar Breaks in mid-June before, and I was not expecting this as you walk past the entrance to one of the viewing platforms:

The footpath to one of the viewing areas!

I’ll go back in a few weeks to see the flowers. But rather than standing around, freezing, I headed back down the mountain to around the 9,000-foot level and stopped at Navajo Lake.