National Parks Yurt: Cedar Breaks National Monument

One of the things that I always find fascinating is the wide range of the unexpected I find when I go to a National Park. On my first visit to Cedar Breaks National Monument, I learned that there is actually a National Parks Yurt:

national parks yurt at Cedar Breaks National Park

This was the sign on the Yurt’s door:

What: Warming hut and resting spot for winter visitors (cross country skiers, snowshoers, snowmobilers). Wood stove, hot drinks, park information available. No restroom facilities. Cross-country ski and snowshoe trail marked on upper Alpine Pond trail, starting at yurt; 2 mile round trip to Chessmen overlook.

When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays from December 1 to about April 15, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, but only when highway 143 is open above (south of) Brian Head.

Who: Hosted by volunteers for Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Warning: Severe weather conditions possible, which may cause highway 143 to be closed without warning. Check weather forecast and plan accordingly.

The inside, although sparse, I’m sure is a welcome sanctuary from the cold for cross-country skiers and snowshoers:

a peak inside the yurt at Cedar Breaks National Monument

I may just have to take up snowshoeing to give the National Parks’ yurt a try…has anyone taken advantage of the yurt and, if so, what are your impressions of it?

Crater Lake In Winter

This was my first visit to Crater Lake National Park and although it was May, there were still piles of snow along the side of the road that stood over 15 feet high. Driving next to these snow banks was enough to make the trip worthwhile and is a great reason to visit Crater Lake in the winter.

The big drawback to visiting Crater Lake in the winter is that your activities are limited. Crater Lake rim drive is closed. Due to the large amount of snow, hiking is pretty much out of the question (although cross country skiing and snow shoeing would be possible — permits are required for overnight snow camping). That means that there’s really only one spot to view and take photos of the lake:

snow covered Crater Lake Wizard Island in winter

Crater Lake in winter

Crater Lake National Park in winter

As can be seen from the photos, the other big difference is that cloud covered weather doesn’t let the beautiful blue of Crater Lake shine through, and instead leaves it a steel grey. I heard that has a much bluer tint when the sun is shining brightly even in winter, but to really get the color you need to visit in summer (which means I will be back again) when you can take photos like this:

Crater Lake Wizard Island in summer