Jul 24, 2012

Bryce Canyon National Park

After a a fun stay in Zion, we headed over to Bryce National Park. The drive was about 2 hours. On the way we stopped at Checkerboard Mesa. It stands tall, about 10 miles from the end of the tunnel on Highway 9, resembling a checkerboard.


Checkerboard Mesa rising tall

Closeup view of Checkerboard Mesa 



We could not imagine what Bryce looked like. We had a long way to go before we even entered the park, but were gladly welcomed with views like this.

Hoodoos along the UT 12 driving in from UT 89

The drive on UT 12 was just so beautiful. It was almost sunset and the entire area was lit up in hues of red \ orange and brown. The picture below is of the Red Canyon Tunnel which was a gateway to a natural wonder.

Red  Canyon Tunnel

Days spent at Bryce: 1 night and a day

Best place to stay: Stay within the park or near the entrance if possible. There are also hotels in Tropic, about 7 miles from the entrance. Staying closer to the park is convenient should you wish to go back into the park to see the spectacular night sky (which you must!).

Some of the things we would recommend to experience the park are the following:

** MUST SEE VISTA POINTS**
We whole heartedly recommend the following must see vista points: 

1. Sunrise Point
2. Sunset Point
3. Inspiration Point
4. Bryce Point


The names to these points are very apt and say it all as to the experience to expect. As you may have guessed, the best times to be at Sunrise and Sunset points are at Sunrise and Sunset. Bryce Point Amphitheater is a must see. The views are fantastic.

** HIKE AMONGST THE HOODOOS IN QUEENS GARDEN**

One of the best ways to experience the park is of walk among'st the hoodoos. The Queens Garden trail is a popular one and is quite easy to hike down from the rim to the base amongst the hoodoos. It is steep in some parts but manageable. I would not recommend strollers. Its best to leave them at the rim and walk down. Its just beautiful. If hiking with smaller children please hold on to them since the path can be narrow at points with sharp drop-offs.

Close up of the Hoodoos
For more information on hoodoos click on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoodoo_(geology).


** VIEW THE NIGHT SKY**

This is a must see and you should try and avail of this opportunity to see the Milky Way over Inspiration Point. Do check the weather when planning to avoid disappointment. We had an exceptionally cloudy sky that day however we were rewarded the next day at Arches National Park. 

Things to Note:

The popular vista points can be experienced in about half a day. However,  if you plan on hiking, more time will be required. The views are very pretty, some with expansive views of the park and some with numerous hoodoos with the sunlight doing its magic. The pictures below say it all.

It was very cold that day ( Memorial Day Weekend ). Do plan to carry warm jackets\ sweaters and mittens. The temperature in Zion the previous day was in the upper 80's F, however at Bryce it must have been around 60 F. What a vast difference! 

Photo opportunities: Bryce canyon is known for its natural beauty. On that extremely partially cloudy day, each moment brought a different color to the hoodoos with the sun peeping from behind the clouds. Amphitheatre \ Bryce Point in particular was one that we most enjoyed.   


View from a vista point

View while hiking down the Queen's Garden Trail

The multi colored hoodoos

Hikers on the trail amidst the Hoodoos. 

One of the best vistas to visit
Hoodoos


View from Amphitheatre

The Grottos and arches
Bryce Canyon = CHECK. Our next destination was Arches NP. More about it in my forth coming post. Till then enjoy viewing the pics.

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