Today was Bryce Canyon day!
We headed off nice and early on the 1.5hr drive to Bryce Canyon National Park. We were really looking forward to this one as photos we had seen were stunning.
A fairly quiet drive was made exciting by the proper arrival of SNOW! As we got within an hour of Bryce, we found the ground covered in snow. The roads were all fine, but it was delightful to see the white dusting all the landscape.
We drove into the park, and made our visit to the Visitors Centre. Unlike the previous two days at Zion, it seemed deathly quiet. There were very few cars around and we got the sense that we would be lucky to see a dozen other cars in the park. After getting our bearings and maps and things, we headed to one of the main view points of the famous Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre.
It is incredible how similar, but also how vastly different the landscape and parks can be here in Souther Utah. Unlike Zion, which was magical and dramatic cliffs, with myriad hikes, Bryce Canyon was different.
The amphitheatre is a mind blowing canyon full of “hoodoos”… massive upright standing red rock formation. The hoodoos come from bigger rock formations that erode, giving a dramatic canon full of tall red soldiers. From above it looked immense.
We wandered along the rim for a while, trying to view the canyon from different angles, each catching the rising sun in different ways.
Today was going to be quite different to Zion… more about sightseeing in a way, more so than hiking. Bryce has one main scenic road that you can drive up and down, with about a dozen viewpoints along the way. Each would give a different view of the canyon and its hoodoos.
There was also some more unique rock formations, like Natural Bridge… a massive rock eroded by water to form a bridge like formation. The shapes, the colours… all was unbelievable.
So we spent the good part of a few hours doing the scenic drive, soaking in all the different views. There was also time for snowball fights 🙂
From there we went to something different. Mossy Cave is off the scenic drive, down at canyon floor level, and offers an alternative to the canyon. A short hike along a river leads to a small cave. In summer it has flowing water, but in winter it is full of icicles and frozen mini waterfalls. It was nice diversion from the drama of Bryce Canyon.
From here, I embarked on a 1.5hr hike down into the canyon. From the main Sunset viewing point, you could head straight down into the canyon, and hike amongst the hoodoos. It is remarkable how different it felt. From above, the canyon seems huge and almost impenetrable. But hiking into the canyon it becomes more intimate, as you wander amongst the hoodoos and other formations. It was amazing to just wander the trail down on the canyon floor, looking up at the formations.
A strenuous hike back to the top, I met Kate and we visited our last sightseeing spot, Bryce Point. We probably saved the best for last, as it was stunning, and with the sun starting to set it presented us with some final stunning imagery.
With the sun going down we headed back for our last night in Kanab, before we get moving again tomorrow. We finished the night at the local restaurant. Burger challenge… not too bad… pattie a bit overcooked, but the pickle and mashed potato was a nice side touch!
Oh, and a bonus photo… Kit Kat I picked up yesterday after getting a heads up from my mate Craig that they were floating around in the US 😉