State Road 14 is a tourism corridor that goes east from Cedar City up and over the mountains into Bryce Country, Utah. As can be imagined, a lot of traffic passes through this region during the summer season. During the high elevation spring snow melt season, the traffic on SR 14 can be minimal if the winter snowfall was heavy. This is because the high elevation destinations, like Cedar Breaks and Duck Creek, have to wait for the snow and ice to melt before the summer season businesses can open. The Brian Head Ski Area is practically the only winter destination in this area and the road to Brian Head from SR 14 is also closed during the winter, because the snow drifts are extremely deep. To sum it up, nearly every destination along Utah SR 14 is a summer season destination and determining when spring has finally arrived at this high elevation is not always easy to do.
Utah SR 14 is also known as Markagaunt High Plateau Scenic Byway. I have driven this road a few times in the past and the photographs for this article were shot late in the month of April 2018. That year was one of severe drought, so the snow pack was quickly melting away for the summer tourist season. In contrast, the winter of 2019 was much heavier and the spring season snow melt lasted well into June.
For those who plan to cruise the Markagaunt High Plateau Scenic Byway during the spring season, there will be plenty of spectacular high elevation landscapes to see. The number of scenic overlooks and roadside turnouts are limited, so most of this scenic drive will be for your eyes only. Tourists and outdoor adventurists that want to visit destinations along Utah SR 14 during the spring season are best advised to do some research ahead of time to see which places are open. Usually it is the opening of Cedar Breaks National Monument that officially marks the start of the summer tourist season on top of the mountain. Taking a cruise on the Markagaunt High Plateau Scenic Byway is a good way to become familiar with this majestic place!
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