Bristlecone Pines and roots, Ashdown Gorge Wilderness, Dixie National Forest near Cedar City, Utah
Howie Garber/age fotostock
Down-canyon from the popular Cedar Breaks National Monument, the 7,085-acre Ashdown Gorge Wilderness Area offers many similarly spectacular natural wonders in a more accessible environment. The colorful Wasatch limestone, eroded to a soft edge, is not as steep. Nearly 10 miles of trails provide access to a number of ecosystems like meadows, forests, and the excellently named Twisted Forest, made up of bristlecone pines, one of the oldest life-forms still in existence. Water flows in the creeks year-round and provide for the many animals in the area like yellow-bellied marmots, golden-mantled ground squirrels, chipmunks, mice, mule deer, and voles. Winter snows add a whole new dimension of beauty.