Cedar City Ranger District
The Cedar City Ranger District is located on the Markagunt Plateau, a gently sloping, eastward tilted earth block that has been modified by erosion, volcanism, and some glaciations. The plateau has many dead spruce trees - trees that have been killed by an epidemic of spruce bark beetles. Bordered by the beautiful pink limestone of the Wasatch formation (the same formation that forms the spires and landscape of Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument), the District has some of the more spectacular scenery in the west. This panoramic tapestry becomes even more spectacular during the splendor of autumn's colors.
Elevations range from approximately 6,000 feet to 11,307 feet at Brian Head Peak. Volcanic knolls rise up to 800 feet above the plateau, and lava flows occupy the surface in numerous locations.
Precipitation varies from 12 to 14 inches per year, with the majority occurring as snowfall between October and April. Frost free days vary from 200 to 100, with the average summer temperatures ranging in the mid 70's through the daytime and mid 40's during the night.
Vegetation transitions from pinyon-juniper and sagebrush at the lower elevations, through ponderosa pine, mixed conifer and aspen at the mid elevations, climaxing i spruce-fir, aspen and high alpine meadows.
Year-round recreation occurs on the District; fishing, boating, OHV riding, camping, hiking, and biking are popular throughout the summer; touring, sight-seeing, and photography are enjoyed by many during the later summer and early fall; big game hunting takes the spotlight during the fail; snowmobiling, skiing, and snow play occupies the winter months to round out the recreation year. The Brian Head Ski Resort is located on National Forest and private lands within the District boundary and is the major developed winter sports area for southern Utah and Nevada.
The District has ten developed campgrounds with a combined capacity of 2,995 people at one time. The primary camping season is from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Although most campgrounds remain partially open after Labor Day, water and sanitation systems are generally closed to prevent freezing damage. An $8 to $12 user fee is charged for single unit sites at each of the campgrounds, which are run by concessionaires. Reservations must be made for the campgrounds by calling the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) toll free at 1-877-444-6777. Reservation information is available through the NRRS web site www.reserveusa.com.
The 7,000 acre Ashdown Gorge Wilderness Area was established within the District in 1984, and includes one of the largest Bristlecone Pine stands in the west. These trees, known as nature's oldest living things, are readily accessible by a short hike. The wilderness area is closed to motor vehicles and mountain bikes.
A wide variety of wildlife species inhabit the District; including elk, mule deer, cougar, black bear, wild turkey, blue grouse, golden eagle, and many small animals, birds, and reptiles. Trout inhabit the lakes and streams.
Timber is harvested from the commercial timber stands on the District, and domestic sheep and cattle are permitted to graze the range area throughout the District.