fbpx

Basic Facts About Cedar Breaks National Monument

A massive natural amphitheater spanning 3 miles across, Cedar Breaks National Monument is located in Utah. The gorgeous landscape of this rugged national monument draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the country every year.

History

In the 1800s, Mormon settlers who came across this rugged landscape of steep canyons, cliffs, and walls referred to the wild area as “breaks” due to its difficulty to pass through. These settlers mistakenly referred to the abundance of juniper trees that grow in the area as cedars, resulting in the monument’s current name, Cedar Breaks. The amphitheater is situated on the same plateau as Zion National Park and eroded into its current form over millions of years. In 1933, Cedar Breaks was established as a national monument by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

Landscape

Cedar Breaks National Monument is composed of an enormous natural amphitheater of limestone and volcanic rock which yield vibrant colors and unique rock formations. The breathtaking landscape also includes juniper trees and alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers that surround the steep amphitheater.

Basic Facts About Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Situated in central Idaho’s Snake River Plain, Caters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve protects a vast area of lava flows, sagebrush, and cinder cones. The rugged landscape resembles that of the moon’s surface and was visited by Apollo 14 astronauts in preparation for their trips to the moon. 

History

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge established Craters of the Moon as a national monument. In 2000, President Clinton expanded the monument’s area. Craters of the Moon was established over the course of 15,000 years by a series of lava eruptions, leaving behind basalt lava deposits and other volcanic features. Throughout history this region was home to varying Native American tribes who created trails through this rugged landscape. Those trails were then used by pioneers along the Oregon Trail to avoid the region’s lava flows. 

Landscape

A rugged, breathtaking landscape, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve boasts volcanic terrain encompassing Idaho’s Great Rift. The monument protects lava fields, sagebrush steppe grasslands, and represents one of the country’s best examples of flood basalt. The volcanic features that define the monument are similar to the moon’s surface for which it is named.

Getting to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is situated in central Idaho in the Snake River Plain. Located between the towns of Arco and Carey along US 20, the monument is defined by age-old lava flows, cinder cones, and sagebrush. With a landscape resembling that of the moon, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is one of the most unique national monuments in the country. 

You have a few options for how to get to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. The best way to access the monument is via car, so it’s best to either rent one or have your own for your visit. Driving to the monument will require visitors to travel along U.S. Highway 20/26/93, and the official address is 1266 Craters Loop Road. The cellular service in this area is unreliable so don’t plan to use digital navigation services as your only means of navigation. 

If you plan to fly, the nearest airports to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve are Hailey, Idaho, which is 60 miles away; Idaho Falls, Idaho, which is 84 miles away; and Twin Falls, Idaho, which is 90 miles away. 

Getting to Cedar Breaks National Monument

Located in southwestern Utah, Cedar Breaks National Monument protects a 3-mile long natural amphitheater. The rim of this beautiful monument rises 10,000 feet above sea level, resulting in snowy weather throughout the year. You have several options for how to get to Cedar Breaks National Monument. 

The best way to get to Cedar Breaks National Monument is by car. The nearest airport is Cedar City Regional Airport, which can be accessed via connecting flights from Salt Lake City. Once there, the airport is about a half an hour drive from the monument. 

If you have a car or plan to rent one, you’ve got several routes available for driving to the park, including via I-15 or US Highway 89. This national monument is only 60 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park, 79 miles from Zion National Park at Springdale, and 45 miles from Zion National Park at Kolob Canyons.

Basic Facts About The Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

A US national monument situated in northwestern Nebraska, the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument protects a massive amount of well-preserved Miocene fossils. The area is also composed of grassy plains and a valley of the Niobrara River.

History 

In the 1890s, scientists discovered the incredibly-well preserved bones of Miocene Epoch mammals, making the Agate Fossil Beds one of the most significant sites of its kind. The High Plains were once home to these ancient mammals and tribal nations like the Lakota Sioux before becoming inhabited by settlers moving west across America. The fossils found here date back to 20 to 16.3 million years ago, and are some of the best examples of Miocene mammals in existence today.

The site’s Agate Springs Ranch was originally owned by Captain James Cook, and is currently a working cattle ranch. The Agate Fossil Beds National Monument includes a museum that houses many artifacts from the Plains Indians. The national monument was officially established in 1997.

Landscape

The main features of the park include the grassy plains, the Niobrara River valley, and the Carnegie Hill and University Hill fossils. There are a variety of plants and wildflowers found on the plains, some of which include prairie sandreed, blue grama, little bluestem, sunflowers, and western wallflowers.