The fairly easy 2-mile round-trip Alpine Pond Nature Trail loop leads through woodlands of bristlecone pines to a forest glade and a pond surrounded by wildflowers, offering panoramic views of the amphitheater along the way. A trail guide pamphlet is available at the trail head.
A somewhat more challenging hike, the 4-mile round-trip Spectra Point/Ramparts Overlook Trail follows the rim more closely than the Alpine Pond Trail, offering changing views of the colorful rock formations. It also takes you through fields of wildflowers and by bristlecone pines that are more than 1,600 years old. You'll need to be especially careful of your footing along the exposed cliff edges and allow yourself some time to rest -- there are lots of ups and downs along the way.
The 1-mile round-trip Campground Trail connects the campground with the visitor center, providing views of the amphitheater along the way. It is the only trail where pets are permitted.
There are no trails from the rim to the bottom of the amphitheater completely within the monument, but there are trails just outside the monument that go into the amphitheater. Check with the visitor center for details and directions.
Because of its relative remoteness, Cedar Breaks is a good place for spotting wildlife. You're likely to see mule deer grazing in the meadows along the road early and late in the day. Marmots make their dens near the rim and are often seen along the Spectra Point Trail. You'll spot ground squirrels, red squirrels, and chipmunks everywhere. Pikas, related to rabbits, are here too, but it's unlikely you'll see one. They're small, with short ears and stubby tails, and prefer the high, rocky slopes.
Birders should have no trouble spotting the Clark's nutcracker, with its gray torso and black-and-white wings and tail, in the campground. The monument is also home to swallows, swifts, blue grouse, and golden eagles.
Winter Sports & Activities
The monument's facilities shut down from mid-November to late May or even later. The thick blanket of snow keeps cars out but makes Cedar Breaks perfect for snowmobilers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers, who usually come over from nearby Brian Head ski area. Snowshoers and cross-country skiers have numerous options, but snowmobilers are restricted to the main 5-mile road through the monument, which is groomed and marked.