Friday, April 13, 2007
Bryce Canyon National Park; Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park is located about 85 miles northeast of Zion. The major difference between the two parks is that the scenic drive is along the rim at Bryce, as opposed to down in the bottom of the canyon at Zion. To reach Bryce from Zion, you have to travel through the tunnel on Rt.9, then follow Rt.89 north, and then head east on scenic Rt.12, climbing all the way from 4000 ft. to 8000 ft. Temperatures are about 10 degrees cooler because of the higher elevation. Considering this, we decided to take a day trip to Bryce from our base camp at Zion rather than move the motorhome to Bryce.
The trip up took us about 2 1/2 hours and was so well worth it. Photos and videos can't do Bryce Canyon justice. But I'll share the photos that I took from various overlooks along the plateau rim, in order to show as much perspective as possible.
The best known section of the park is the Bryce Amphitheater, a semi-circular section of the eastern side of the canyon with the most spectacular hoodoos, pillars of rock created by erosion. The amphitheatre lies behind the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge.
We walked along the Rim Trail behind the Lodge and reached Sunrise Point for our first dramatic views of the hoodoos. This and other photos are best viewed by clicking on them to enlarge, then using your browser's "back" button to return to the blog.
From Sunrise Point, we decided to follow the advice in the tour booklet and drive to the far end of the 18-mile park road which ends at Rainbow Point. Views of southern Utah extend 100 miles on clear days.
Working our way back from Rainbow Point, our next stop was Black Birch Canyon. This close-up gives a better view of the sandstone hoodoos.
Look at the persistent tree growing up at the top of this hoodoo at Agua Canyon.
Natural Bridge is really an arch. It was formed by rain and frost erosion from the top of the rock, not flowing water underneath.
Back at Bryce Point, we have reached the opposite end of the Bryce Amphitheater from Sunrise Point, where we started our tour. At the end of this walkway, views extended almost 360 degrees.
The Under the Rim hiking trail connects Bryce Point with Rainbow Point. We opted to hike down a small section of the Navajo Loop Trail from Sunset Point, also part of the Bryce Amphitheater.
The trail switchbacks all the way down to Bryce Creek.
We opted not to hike all the way to the bottom. But Bryce is a hiker's paradise. We appreciated this view from below the rim.