Alpine Trail Cedar Breaks Utah - Orlando / Florida Guide
Florida Guide > Places to Visit
On a day visit to Cedar Breaks National Monument we were looking for a short hike, not too challenging or strenuous, just something that would take us away from the main hub of visitor overlooks and give us an opportunity to see more of the park. The Alpine Pond trail seemed to fit the bill, described as easy to moderate in difficulty and with the option of walking one or two miles through forest and alpine meadows.
As with any hike, no matter how short or easy it is important to be prepared so we made sure we were well protected with sunscreen and in the case of one of our party, insect repellant as he always seems to be a tasty morsel! We were all wearing hiking boots or trail shoes which we were glad of during the trip and carried with us waterproofs and water.
The trailhead can be accessed from either the Chessmen parking area or the Alpine Pond parking area. We started at Chessmen and were immediately plunged in to the forest, after only a few yards we came across a stand offering guided trail leaflets for just a couple of dollars, we weren' t carrying any cash but as it was an honor based payment we took a guide anyway and on our return to the car one of our party sprinted back and deposited the payment in the slot. As we walked on we could see we were close to the edge of the cliff and were careful to stay on the path and avoid the cliffs crumbling edges. Through the breaks in the trees magnificent views were visible and our trail guide told us that the mountain in view up ahead was Brian Head and that the rocks we could see at its peak were volcanic. Continuing along the trail we could see the magnificent Cedar Breaks amphitheater, the reason that so many people visit this park, a quick reference to our trail guide tells us the rocks here are composed of limestone, shale and sandstone, the colors are simply stunning.
Not much further and we reached Alpine Pond, the pond after which this trail is named, the ground was a bit squelchy in areas and we were all glad of our boots and trail shoes. Our guide told us that when the water leaves the pond it flows into the amphitheater below and then west to the Great Desert Basin. The trail guide tells us much about the ecosystem of the park, about how dead trees are never removed but allowed to decay and return nutrients to the soil, about how certain native flowers release nitrogen into the soil and about how lichens form on rock and start the process of breaking down the rock. It' s interesting stuff and far easier to relate to when hiking through the environment where it all happens.
We reached Alpine Pond Parking area and doubled back on to a trail running roughly parallel with our original trail only higher up, our trail guide continues to give us information about our surroundings and when we reach Alpine Pond overlook we stop to take a break on a convenient log. The trail has climbed up steadily without us being too aware but now it' s time for a a slurp of water and hurrah, someone has sweets!
Somewhat fortified we set off again and as we are in quite a densely forested area we are able to pick out some of the trees mentioned in the guide, one has been hit by lightening and our guide gives us a timely reminder about the frequency of thunderstorms in the summer months, their threat to the trees and how we should behave in order to remain safe when lightening is around.
Before we reach the end of the trail we pass through a meadow of wild flowers, which when we visited in late summer, was in glorious bloom. We felt so lucky to have experienced all this beautiful scenery a whole world away from the hustle and bustle of busy cities and even busy areas of National Parks.
If you enjoy getting off the beaten path, if only for a short time, then this trail is highly recommended. It took us about an hour and a half, walking at a leisurely pace and taking time to stop along the way.
The trail guide was great value for money worth the trip even though we did have to return from the car to the trailhead to pay our debts!
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