Bryce Canyon National Park

With names like Fairyland Trail, Queens Garden, Thors Hammer, Fairy Castle, The Cathedral and Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon National Park sounds like an imaginary playground from children’s tales.  In reality its not far from that, the amazing rock windows, spires and grottos look like they’d be more at place in some fantasy land of a Narnia or Lord of the Rings movie.

The highway along the top of the ridge is great for riding, it winds along the top of a mesa through trees and green pastures, these are all along the edge where its eroded away. Most of the tourists stick to the upper third of the highway where the big sections of spires are, we went all the way to the end to avoid the crowds. If here by motorcycle going all the way to Rainbow Point is a must!

We were also reminded just how blessed we were to have an opportunity to travel like this and see such amazing landscapes by a crazy German running, skipping and leaping through one of the packed parking lots.  He was running from car to car and taking pictures of license plates while talking to himself, New York great! Oregon yes yes! Washington very good!  He came to ours and asked “What state?”  When we told him he excitedly exclaims “New Mexico! yes I do not have dis one! So many states! I love America! So beautiful! Freedom to go from everywhere, this is great! I love America!!”  With that he leaped through the air down the street like a ballet dancer to get more pictures, we both laughed hysterically but hes right. The western states are as big as countries in other places and we might need passports to go between them, America truly is great to preserve beautiful places like Bryce Canyon “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People”

On the way to Bryce several miles before the main entrance on Highway 12 we saw a little pullout for a Mossy Cave trail-head that went to a waterfall and a cave.  The trail is nicely maintained and runs along a wide stream.  Its a beautiful and easy hike, highly recommended if coming from the east.  The parking area isn’t too big so there shouldn’t ever be too many people there.

Some shots of the cool waterfall at one end of the trail.  Anyone brave enough to walk across the single log bridge right at the mouth of the waterfall?

Up above the waterfall are these windows in the rocks.  This rock outcropping looks just like a ceramic aquarium decoration we used to have, well until one of our fish grew too big and got himself stuck in one of the holes and we had to break it to free him.

We hiked up to the mossy cave grotto also. There’s not much there except for a smallish cave with water dripping from the roof.  Its a ways up and by now Cece was getting tired, a lot more effort for not much reward.  There was some pictures there of how it looks in the wintertime with lots of icicles hanging down, that would be more interesting to see.

Cool, triangle flowers? What are these?

While waiting for Cece and taking pictures of flowers I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye down the trail by the bike.  Cece was hugely excited to see her first snake of the trip and one that shes never seen in the wild before!   She thinks this is a Western Hognose Snake, it was about 2 1/2 to 3 feet long.   The markings look a bit like a bull snake to me but all those that I’ve seen back home were twice as big and deep in the bushes it was hard to tell.   We tried to get pictures for her boss at the Rattlesnake Museum but this is the best one of the bunch, sorry Bob.

Continuing on down the road…  We Made it!      Away from the sign was another Obelisk shaped rock structure with a flat rock on top.   I went over to check it out for any additional plaques for a historical marker of some sort and realized, “Hey this is about the right height and distance for a good picture.”  LOL.   No tripod needed for this one.  More national parks need to think of this, really convenient and Bryce was the only one we’ve seen with it.

Lots of beautiful colors in Bryce Canyon, peaches, salmons, reds and ochres with some violets and whites thrown in as well.

Photographers take note.  These big amphitheatres of spires are horseshoe shaped and constantly change throughout the day with the lighting and shadows.   One side catches the rays of the morning sunrise and the other catches the sunset.  We made a quick stop at one lookout on our way into the park and then stopped at the same place on the way out 4 or 5 hours later and everything looked completely different.

We were here during the middle of the day aka bad lighting hours so we didn’t get as much of the dramatic shadows of the morning and evening shots.

Down inside the spires you really gain a better prospective of how tall these spires are, its like being in a natural cathedral.  Words cannot describe how truly awe inspiring it is.

Bryce Canyon is a hikers dream.  Trails connect every one of the overlooks, there are many miles of them throughout the park and from what we saw they look to be wide and smooth.  There’s even some bathrooms deep down in the canyons.   You could easily spend a week just walking the trails and with the way the changing light dramatically alters the landscape you could walk the same trails at different times of day and see things differently.  There are also some trails for horses only, how cool would that be?

I had been wanting to visit Bryce Canyon for a long time, it was everything I hoped it would be.  It reminds me of hiking through the steep walled arroyos growing up but on a much grander scale.  I would have liked to have camped out here and done a bit more hiking but we had to continue on down the highway if we were to get to Zion the next day.

1 comment to Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Cece

    It was the best trip of all times. I remember going to bryce canyon when I was little girl with my parents. It was great fun, it was pretty amazing to see.

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