72°F
weather icon Clear

Cedar Breaks offers wonders day and night

Cedar Breaks National Monument, located in southern Utah, is a small park most cherished by us desert dwellers for its cool summer temperatures and spectacular views into its deep, hoodoo-filled amphitheater.

But during July and August, you’ll find the little park brimming with additional activities, any one of which, by itself, might be worth the journey there.

The park’s annual wildflower festival runs July 4-19. Just driving through the park this time of year, you will be surrounded by meadows ablaze with floral color. But by taking to one of the trails on foot, you can see the flowers individually and start counting up the different kinds you see. More than 260 species are found here!

Favorable geography is at the root of this remarkable diversity. The park is located on the Markagunt Plateau at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet. This time of year, moist air moves inland from the Pacific and because hot air holds moisture, the air currents retain their moisture while traveling over the hot Mojave Desert. But once they hit the higher, colder plateau, the currents cool and release monsoon rains. Plenty of monsoon rain, and the plateau’s fertile sedimentary soils, add up to ideal conditions for wildflowers.

During the festival volunteers and wildflower specialists will lead guided walks at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. Children who visit on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. can make crafts, play wildflower bingo and even earn a Wildflower Festival button as a master flower protector in the Daisy Defenders gallery.

The Zion Canyon Field Institute will also offer educational workshops related to the festival. One of the most appealing will be Saturday July 11 when photographer Michael Plyler will teach the techniques of photographing the park’s stunning wildflower displays. There will also be a workshop in wildflower journaling, where you can learn some of the best ways to record your experiences. Advance reservations are necessary for both these workshops; make them through the Zion Canyon Field Institute, 800-635-3959, www.zionpark.org.

Outdoor fun doesn’t end once night falls, as Cedar Breaks offers stargazing parties on Saturdays from July 4-Sept. 5, with a special party Aug. 12 to view the Perseids meteor shower. All the night sky programs take place at Point Supreme Overlook. Park staff and astronomy volunteers will be on hand to give you a constellation tour and assist you in viewing the skies with the large telescopes that will be set up for visitors. You are also welcome to bring your own optical equipment.

All star parties during July start at 9:30 p.m. and those in August at 9 p.m. Of course all star parties are dependent on having unclouded skies. The cool nights at this high elevation can dip down into the 30s or lower even in summer, so bring a warm jacket, hat and gloves.

The park has a 25-site campground for tents and RV’s. Some sites are available by reservation at www.recreation.gov but many are on a first come, first served basis. Restrooms and showers are available.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Pahrump Senior Center to host rummage sale

Officials at the Pahrump Senior Center want the community to know that “one person’s clutter is another person’s treasure.”

Lauver, Kamien rule at Pahrump homecoming

The announcement of Pahrump Valley High School’s homecoming king and queen was taken very differently by the two winners who heard their names called at halftime of the Trojans’ football game against Boulder City on Sept. 13.

Divas on a Dime: Welcome apple season with this easy dessert

Thank you, summer. It’s been a blast, but we’ve had our fill of scorching heat and dusty days. We know better than anyone how wonderful it feels when the leaves begin to change, temperatures drop, and autumnal bliss is in the air. It may not be here yet, but we know it’s coming!

VEA makes move to fulfill Pahrump community center commitment

The Nye County Commission has given the thumbs up to the letter of intent from Valley Electric Association outlining the cooperative’s desire to make good on promises made to the community by donating $5 million, plus necessary land, to construct a new community center in Pahrump.

Roundup focuses on Beatty burros

What do you do with too many burros? The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s solution to that problem is to gather as many as possible and take them to holding facilities.

List: Nye County school menu

Nye County School District elementary menu for the week of Sept. 23 – Sept. 27

Nye County kids can win spot in Las Vegas Lights FC soccer clinic

Children ages 8 through 12 are eligible to enter a contest for a chance to participate in the Amazingly Fabulous Completely Unbelievable youth soccer clinic run presented by America First Credit Union and run by Las Vegas Lights FC coaches and players.