We arrived at the entrance of Bryce Canyon National Park in the late afternoon and decided we’d drive to the end of the road and back before the sunset. We suggest that you drive to the end of the road and pull into the turnoffs on your way back out of the park. That is because when you head back out of the park all of the turnoffs are on the right hand side, making traffic flow more smoothly. Although the drive in itself is beautiful, you really need to get out of the car and peer over the edge or take a little walk to get the full experience of the unique beauty that Bryce Canyon has to offer. One attraction that you don’t need to get of the car for are the pronghorns! Very cool deer-like creatures.
Rainbow Point greets visitors at the end of the road, mile 18. If this is your first stop, it’s quite impressive, which is good because it only gets better from here. One of our first stops after Rainbow was the Natural Bridge. The bridge was a great place to take a few photos and take in the wonder of the scenery. We stopped at a few additional turnoffs before we arrived at Paria View to watch the sunset. There is a turnoff called the Sunset Point but we opted to visit Paria Veiw for the sunset because we got a tip that this was truly the place to watch the sun go down. The sun will be behind you as it sets, but it casts great light on the rocks as it goes down. Overall it was great to watch, although like most other places in the park, it was quite busy. Another good place to watch the sunset is out of the park in the valley below.
Unlike the summers in Alaska, when the sun goes down in Utah it gets dark fast! After the sun went down the temperature dropped and we headed out of the park and to our hotel, Bryce Country Cabins. We had Cabin #1 and couldn’t be happier! Good price for a great cabin!
That night we celebrated Kate’s 30th birthday at Stone Canyon Hearth Grill. It did take a while to to find it in the dark and on the dirt roads but it was a pleasant and an unexpected surprise when we finally did find it. The grill, which considers itself as the only fine dining in the Bryce area, was really good.
The next day we woke up early and headed back into the park. We opted to drive straight to Bryce Point, which simply put – was amazing. The hoodoos looked like something not of this world. Awestruck we stared into the scenery and drained out the noisy tourists surrounding us.
Our next stop was Sunset Point where we started our day hike. We started on the Navajo Trail and looped it with Peek-A-Boo Loop to make a Figure 8 hike. The Navajo Trail was much busier than the Peek-A-Boo, but both had their special moments. Peek-A-Boo has a lot of horse traffic, so we had to dodge multiple horse droppings. Most of the time our eyes were on the weathered and eroded rocks, called hoodoos. Before they become hoodoos, they are thin walls of rock called fins. Frost-wedging enlarges cracks in the fins, creating holes or windows. We saw a line of windows on the Peek-A-Boo trail which were quite impressive. One day the tops of the windows will eventually collapse, leaving a column – or hoodoo.
We’re so happy we stopped at Bryce National Park. You won’t find anything like it anywhere else. It’s a place that takes you back in time while taking your breath away.