Nature puts on colorful display at Wildflower Festival: STGnews Photo Gallery

CEDAR BREAKS – Cool temperatures, red rock vistas and expansive meadows dotted with wildflowers were highlights of the ninth annual Cedar Breaks Wildflower Festival, which ends Sunday.

Sitting at an elevation of 10,000 feet, Cedar Breaks has long winters and short springs; as a result, everything blooms at once, Daphne Sewing, park director of education and partnership, said.

Scarlet paintbrush in bloom at the Cedar Breaks Wildflower Festival, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah, July 19, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Scarlet paintbrush in bloom at the Cedar Breaks Wildflower Festival, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah, July 19, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Every year from late June to mid-July, the forests and meadows of Cedar Breaks explode in a riot of color, ranging from white, yellow, purple, blue and red, as wildflower varieties such as cushion phlox, Colorado columbine, scarlet paintbrush, little sunflower, aspen bluebells and more burst into bloom.

To celebrate, the park hosts an annual festival complete with guided nature hikes, wildflower checklists, children’s activities and more.

“The wildflower festival is an annual event that we host here at Cedar Breaks,” Sewing said. “It’s a celebration of the spectacular blooms that occur.”

The blooms, coupled with the extraordinary views – offered at several vantage points within Cedar Breaks National Monument – attracted people from near and far this year, and guests could be seen honing their photography skills, hiking, camping, picnicking and participating in the myriad of activities provided.

Red rock vistas are viewed from several turnoffs in Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah, July 19, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Red rock vistas are visible from several turnoffs in Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah, July 19, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

At the Visitor Center, located at the Point Supreme viewpoint, visitors were invited to re-create the wildflowers with chalk or paints, meet for a free guided hike and view the sun through special high-powered telescopes.

At night during the festival, rangers host a star party, at which visitors can take advantage of uninterrupted views of the pristine sky.

Booths at the Visitor Center, operated by a group of Southern Utah University representatives – students, former teachers and professors – treated guests of the monument to a biology lesson with the Bio Blast program.

Melanie Durfee, of Cedar City, and Damaris Perez, a pre-med student at SUU, operated the bat booth, which showcased a bat skeleton and bat facts, and they also handed out bat books for children to color and complete.

L-R Mike Booth, Kurt Rishel, Wendy Stubbs and Brett Knippelmeier ride their bikes through Cedar Breaks as part of their cross country journey to raise awareness for MS, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah, July 19, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Left to right: Mike Booth, Kurt Rishel, Wendy Stubbs and Brett Knippelmeier ride their bikes through Cedar Breaks as part of their cross-country journey to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah, July 19, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Also at the Bio Blast booths were opportunities to disect owl pellets, learn about bugs and attempt to catch a butterfly.

Cedar Breaks is located on Highway 148, a scenic stretch of road taking travelers through Cedar Breaks National Monument, across Brian Head and past Panguitch Lake in Southern Utah’s color country, and is a popular summer destination because of its low temperatures.

“Summer is our busy season,” Sewing said. “It’s nice and cool.”

The monument receives visitors of all types who are traveling the scenic road by RV, car, motorcycle and bike.

A group of cyclists with Bike the U.S. for MS, traveling cross-country from Yorktown, Virginia, to San Francisco, California, made the high-altitude climb into the park in an effort to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis, members of the group said.

Sunday marks the final day of the Wildflower Festival, but travelers can still see the wildflowers as they continue to bloom and fade with the changing seasons.

Rangers and volunteers who are knowledgeable about the various flowers will continue to be on hand to educate patrons of the park and help them enjoy the colorful show, Sewing said.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Resources

  • Find more information about activities, hikes and camping in Cedar Breaks here

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