The Markagunt Plateau
Markagunt is a Native American name for “highland of trees.” The large, high plateau—much of the land is between 9,000 and 11,000 feet in elevation—consists mostly of gently rolling country, forests, and lakes. Black tongues of barren lava extend across some parts of the landscape. Cliffs at Cedar Breaks National Monument are the best-known feature of the plateau, but the land also drops away in the colorful pink cliffs farther southeast.
Two Scenic Byways, Markagunt Scenic Byway (Hwy. 14) and Highway 143, cross this highly scenic area. Hwy. 14 climbs up a very dramatic cliff-lined canyon from Cedar City, reaching vista points over Zion National Park before dropping onto Long Valley Junction on Highway 89. Scenic Byway 143 (Hwy. 143) departs from Parowan, climbing steeply up to lofty Brian Head with its ski and recreation area, past Panguitch Lake, and down to Panguitch in the Sevier Valley.
Popular activities on the Markagunt include fishing, hiking, mountain biking, downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Contact the Cedar City Ranger District (1789 Wedgewood La., 435/865-3200, www.fs.fed.us/r4/dixie) of the Dixie National Forest for information. In summer, volunteers or foresters staff the visitor center (435/682-2432) on Highway 14 opposite the Duck Creek Campground turnoff.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition