U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Exploring Cedar Mountain|
Cedar Mountain is a prominent landmark located five miles northwest of Craig, Colorado. The mountain encompasses an 880-acre block of public land and represents a significant resource due to its suitability for communication facilities and proximity to the community of Craig. Cedar Mountain has an elevation of 6,500 feet, and rises 1,000 feet above the Yampa Valley providing panoramic views. Because of Cedar Mountains isolation from similar terrain, the horseshoe-shaped rim provides a vantage point which offers a superior view of the surrounding countryside. Cedar Mountain offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities year round. Additionally, Cedar Mountain's natural qualities provide opportunities to experience isolation and solitude just a few miles from Craig.
Cedar Mountain is accessed by taking U.S. Highway 40 west from Craig 1 mile, turn right on (County Road 7), go north for 5 miles then turn right on Cedar Mountain Access (BLM Route # 2190). The access road is presently a steep dirt road only passable in good weather.
The year-round recreational activities offered on Cedar Mountain include scenic and wildlife viewing, nature study, picnicking, hiking or mountain biking on 3.5 miles of trails, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, horseback riding, and hunting. Motorized vehicle use is restricted to the existing road. Motorized vehicle use off this road is prohibited.
Weather and Climate
Cedar Mountain and the Craig area is characterized by a climate typical of a semi-arid high plains region. Annual precipitation ranges from 12 to 16 inches a year, of which over one third is in the form of snow. The record temperature extremes from Craig range from a summer high of 100 degrees F to a winter low of -43 degrees F. The mean average temperature is 42 degrees F.
Mule deer are the most numerous large mammals found on Cedar Mountain. Deer habitat, including summer and winter range, is located on top and on the north end of the mountain. Other mammals often seen include marmot, fox, coyote, and various species of squirrels and rabbits. The most significant birds known to use Cedar Mountain are raptors such as golden eagles, redtail hawks, and turkey vultures. Several of these birds nest on the rock outcrops found on the mountain. Nesting areas should be avoided because pressure from recreational use of the immediate nesting area may force the raptors to relocate away from Cedar Mountain. Click here to view the Cedar Mountain Watchable Wildlife information.
There are three major vegetative types present on Cedar Mountain: sagebrush, Pinyon/Juniper Woodland and mountain shrub communities (serviceberry & snowberry). Juniper covers most of the dry, steeper slopes. Open, flat terrain is dominated by sagebrush and the moist hillsides are characterized by mountain shrub species. The mountain also provides a diversity of grasses, forbs and wildflowers typical of the semi-arid areas of northwest Colorado.
The primary geological feature of the mountain is the cap of volcanic basalt that has prevented the erosion of the underlying Browns Park Formation of sands and sandstone. Deposition of the Browns Park Formation resulted from sandstone, conglomerates and siltstone being eroded from the Elkhead and Uintah Mountains. Volcanism was occurring in the Elkhead Mountains and Park Range. Deposits of volcanic ash are mixed in with the Browns Park sediments. A lava flow from a volcano in the Elkheads covered the Browns Park Formation in the Craig area. The basalt cap at Cedar Mountain is a remnant of that flow. Erosion occurring since that time has washed away all evidence except this remnant at Cedar Mountain. Few other places exhibit the sedimentary depositional patterns evident in the Browns Park Formation, the nature of volcanic events and rock characteristics, and the results of erosion and weathering in such close proximity to each other.