Bryce Canyon National Park
It took awhile, but I finally got to Bryce. I had been eagerly looking forward to seeing the amphitheater full of hoodoos and spires when I began traveling in 2013, but my arrival in southern Utah coincided with the government shutdown which had closed all the national parks. When I spent about 6 weeks in Utah this spring before leaving on our trip around Lake Superior I still didn’t get to it – I was overwhelmed with the beauty and variety that was closer, plus my appreciation for hiking in solitude and/or exploring off trail has now become a very strong preference. But I finally made and I’m so glad I did: Bryce is amazing. I’ve seen countless hoodoos and red rock in the past couple, and I’ve even visited Cedar Breaks National Monument several times, but Bryce Canyon is a true masterpiece, a sculpture of red and orange sandstone.
Terry and I had no real plan but decided to park at Sunset Point and walk down into the bowl-shaped canyon via the Navajo Loop Trail. As amazing as it was to see the hoodoos clustered together from the rim, it was even more awesome to walk among them. Without a plan we joined up with the Queen’s Garden Trail – which I loved because it was lined with ponderosa pines, got a little off trail, ate lunch in the shade, and made our way back to rejoin the Navajo Loop. This section of the trail leads through the infamous Wall Street, a narrow canyon with towering spires overhead. It was pretty dramatic.
Once we had switcbacked up to the rim we walked out to Inspiration Point along the Rim Trail but decided that we because we wouldn’t have time that day to walk the 11 miles that we’d return to the car and drive to the other viewpoints which overlook the canyon. I think that many of these other overlooks get shortchanged since they don’t directly overlook the famous amphiteather, but Terry and I really enjoyed them. Unfortunately a storm was coming and the clouds cast dark shadows below, making for a lot of poor photos at this point. Since I’ll definitely return to do more hiking here though I can’t be disappointed.