A good example of how diverse Utah's national parks are is playing out now. While visitors to Arches and Canyonlands national parks are enjoying warm, short-sleeve weather and blooming flowers, Cedar Breaks National Monument is still closed due to heavy snows.
In fact, monument staff say they won't be able to open this coming Memorial Day weekend as has been tradition. Instead, the opening has been pushed back to at least June 5.
While this year's snowfall is far short of the record accumulations that came the winter of 2005, the monument reports that the amount of snow currently on the ground is about double what usually can be found at this time of year.
"Extensive work remains to widen the road to allow for two-way traffic, and to open the visitor center parking lot and scenic overlooks," says Superintendent Paul Roelandt. "Although opening for Memorial Day Weekend is very important to us, visitor safety is even more important. At this point we don't anticipate opening the road until at least June 5, or until the ice and snow thaw enough for safe passage."
A positive of the heavy snows is that this summer's wildflower bloom at the monument should be spectacular. While the wildflowers normally start to bloom in early July, monument staff say that schedule could be pushed back due to the heavy snowload.
And while the monument's campground normally opens in June, that, too, could be pushed back due to the snowload. If you're thinking of heading to Cedar Breaks, call park headquarters at 435-586-9451 for the latest conditions. Once the visitor center opens, you can call it staff at 435-586-0787 for the latest on campground conditions and this summer's special events.