Hikes National Parks/Monuments

Alpine Ponds Nature Trail

(Last Updated On: October 16, 2018)

Alpine Ponds Nature Trail is a two mile loop in Cedar Breaks National Monument. The altitude of this trail is around ten thousand feet, and though there isn’t a lot of elevation change, the thin air forced us to take the hike slowly.

 

We started at the north end of the loop and walked south (the hike could be done as a shuttle if you had a car at the south end). The trail drops down off the ridge and goes through the thick forest. We spotted a marmot, squirrels, chipmunks, and many different kinds of birds. You can hike either direction, but we recommend taking the lower trail first. You will pass the ponds first this way, and it’s not quite as steep on the way back.

The Alpine Ponds Nature Trail begins behind this yurt, which is the Discovery Center.

We chose the lower trail on the way out, which means we came back on the upper trail. We recommend this way for more gradual elevation change.

Make sure to grab a trail guide and read about each of the trail markers along the way.

This trail has a lot of different terrain. Sometimes you are walking through aspens.

Most of the time you hike through the pines.

After only about a half mile the ponds appear on the left side of the trail. They are small and very shallow. Our boys were excited to see a salamander, but we couldn’t find any, though they are supposed to be there. The trail leads right along the edge of the ponds which are beautiful.

The ponds were pretty even though they were very shallow.

The trail walks right next to the pond.

The climb back to the ridge is slightly uphill, but nothing strenuous. Eventually the trail comes out right at the road at the one mile mark. Then it doubles back on itself and follows the road back toward the parking lot. The trail is just out of sight of the vehicles as it works its way backward.

The trail opens up and there are beautiful views of the amphitheater.

This is the halfway marker and turnaround point. The trail begins to follow the road here.

The upper trail was a little less shady and a lot closer to the road.

Alpine Ponds Nature Trail is our favorite hike in Cedar Breaks National Monument. It is the shadiest, prettiest, and most peaceful hike in the area.

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