Spectra Point - Ramparts Trail

Stunning hike in Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
5.4 km
Ascent
257 m
Descent
257 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
3 km
High Point
3.2 km
Gradient
Spectra Point - Ramparts Trail Map

Autumn is a wonderful season for hiking the 3.5-mile out-and-back Spectra Point-Ramparts Trail. At an elevation of 10,000', Cedar Breaks National Monument may be small in size, but it is massive in beauty. At that elevation in the fall, this hike is even more spectacular after fog has rolled through. At that time of year, the fog flash-freezes to the trees and dried flowers, making everything quite ethereal. Be careful, however, as slick conditions make the edgy trail a bit dicier.

Description

Plan on a sufficient amount of time for this hike; it can take quite a while to cover 3.5 miles when one is continually captured by such grandeur. Fortunately, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Cedar Breaks a national monument in August 22, 1933, preserving this amazing place for all of us.

According to the National Park Service, “this area's human history reaches back thousands of years. The Southern Paiute called Cedar Breaks 'u-map-wich,' or 'the place where the rocks are sliding down all the time.”'Ungkaw Pekonump is another Paiute name that translates into red-cove. Settlers later called it 'Cedar Breaks,' by misidentifying the area’s juniper trees as cedars. 'Breaks,' is a geographic term to describe a sharp/abrupt change or 'break; in topography.” No trip to such a place would be complete without reading about the history that shaped it.

The Spectra Point-Ramparts Trail is a stunning 3.5-mile hike along the south rim of the Cedar Breaks Amphitheater, with views of Jericho Canyon right from the get-go.

About a mile into the hike, take the spur trail to Spectra Point, with 1,600-year-old bristlecone pines and truly stunning vistas making the slight diversion quite rewarding.

After leaving Spectra Point, the main trail descends over 300 feet via steep switchbacks into the woods, terminating at a stunning overlook of The Ramparts and the vast amphitheater below. Soak it all in before turning around and heading back to the trailhead.

To access this hike, take UT14 18 miles from Cedar City, then drive 4 miles on UT148 towards Cedar Breaks and Panguitch Lake. If you don't have a National Parks Pass, pay the entrance fee at the small kiosk at the park visitor center on the left. At the Spectra Point Trail sign, begin the hike at the steps that lead up to the actual trailhead.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/cebr/learn/historyculture/index.htm

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

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