The United States Congress designated the Cedar Mountain Wilderness Area (map
) in 2006 and it now has a total of 99,428 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Utah
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Located 45 miles west of Salt Lake City, the Cedar Mountain Wilderness comprises a typical north-south Great Basin range. The area is generally accessible year-round and offers open-country hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, photography, and nature study amid rolling sagebrush-grassland benches, steep juniper woodland slopes, and rugged limestone outcrops. On the east side of the mountains the main ridge breaks into sheer cliffs. Surrounded by desert playas, these mountains rise from a low point of 4,200 feet to 7,700 feet and offer outstanding views of the Great Salt Lake basin and the high peaks of the Wasatch. The arid high desert environment supports a surprisingly diverse population of wildlife including wild horses, mule deer, upland game, raptors, snakes, lizards, coyotes, badgers, and mountain lion. Benches and valley floors on both the east and west side provide year-round habitat for antelope. Bighorn sheep may occasionally wander through from nearby ranges. Temperatures range from the upper 90s/low 100s in the summer to below freezing in the winter. This Wilderness receives about 15 inches of annual precipitation and snow level in the winter is generally above 5,000 feet. Spring and fall are ideal seasons to visit.
The Hastings Cutoff route of the California National Historic Trail passes through the Cedar Mountains at 5800' Hastings Pass. This route was pioneered by government explorers Kit Carson and John Fremont in 1845 and later used by overland emigrants including the infamous 1846 Donner-Reed party and the 1849 Gold Rush. Mountain man Jedediah Smith barely survived his epic journey through the area in 1827 while returning from California. Goshute Indians have called the area home for centuries.