Cedar Breaks National Monument, located east of Cedar City, is a smaller, quieter version of Bryce Canyon. Cedar Breaks sits at an elevation over 10,000 feet, and for this reason, it is only open to visitors from Memorial Day to mid-October. In the winter months, the snow is deep and roads are closed.
Cedar Breaks has a small Visitor Center with an active Junior Ranger Program. There are also several hikes to do within the park boundaries, as well as a scenic drive.
The first thing you should do at Cedar Breaks National Monument is the scenic drive. This is a short drive to several viewpoints. Each viewpoint opens up to a view of the vast amphitheater that makes up Cedar Breaks. It has all the beautiful oranges, reds, and purples or Bryce Canyon, but it is more open with fewer hoodoos.
Make sure to take in a hike while at the park, too. Our favorite was the Alpine Ponds hike, which runs about two miles. There is also a great nature walk that goes from the Visitor Center, past the campground, and to the first viewpoint. The Sunset Trail is a good one to shuttle with kids. Drop them off at the Sunset Point Overlook, and meet them at the Visitor Center.
Aside from the small Visitor Center, there is a yurt a few miles up the road. The yurt houses a small discovery center for the kids. Inside there are some hands-on exhibits, and there is always a ranger there to answer questions. A stop at the Family Discovery Center yurt is time well spent. Make sure to check the hours because the yurt is only open a few days a week.
The Junior Ranger Program is a must when you visit any National Site. We recommend printing off the Junior Ranger packet beforehand and work on it as you travel, and then finish it at Cedar Breaks. Our kids love being sworn in and earning a badge to add to their collection.
You can easily spend a half day at Cedar Breaks National Monument. The crowds are thin and the views are inspiring. We have a post with other ideas of things to do near Cedar City when you are in the area.