Hike on the Golden Wall Loop Trail
With recent higher-than-usual temperatures Tom, Terry, and I agreed to not chose a lower elevation hike for our next outing. Running through our to-do list Terry reminded us of a national forest trail along the border of Bryce Canyon that we had taken note of last year. Unfortunately, once we arrived at the trailhead the ground was completely snow-covered and there were no visible tracks to indicate where the trail actually was. Unanimously we agreed to backtrack to the Red Canyon area about 15 miles west and hike a trail Tom and I had raved about.
The Golden Wall Loop (specifically the route that includes the stretch of the Castle Bridge Trail) is some of the most scenic hiking in Utah, providing opportunities for up close inspections of the red hoodoos as well as some incredible 360 degree vistas that stretch upwards of 50 miles over lush valleys, ponderosa pine-filled red rock drainages, and snowy mountains. Just the contrast between the vivid deep orange of the rock and the saturated green of the ponderosas makes the walk worth it.
Our previous hike there has been on a cloudy-but-sunny day that had produced the most wonderfully complementary shadows to the textures and organic forms of the hoodoos but this trip we were blessed with lovely bluebird skies and increased visibility. The hike was just as wonderful as our previous trip; at 5 ½ miles the loop trail makes for a short day but with enough of a challenge considering the elevation changes. We took our time hiking, took lots of pictures, and laughed our way through the day. At the conclusion of the hike we drove up the road a couple miles to a different trailhead and walked out to overlook where we sat and enjoyed the cold beer Terry had brought. It was a perfect end to a perfect hike.