Eye Candy in Utah

April 23, 2018

by Steve

Utah is home to five national parks. Sometimes called the "Big Five," they are Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Zion. We have been to Arches, Bryce, and Zion on family vacation trips in the past, but as we went in the summer, both Arches and Zion were too hot to enjoy. Now that we have the luxury of being able to go at any time of the year, we thought that we would try to visit these parks during less hot times. We previously wrote about visiting Zion. This post is on our visit to Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon sits at around 8,000 ft elevation, which can make visiting in March a bit dicey weather-wise. We were fortunate to have a good day for our visit, with just a bit of snow on the trails. Bryce is fairly small, making it possible to see most of it in a day or two. And as it's only around 1,000 feet from rim to bottom, hikes that involve a few trips to the bottom are completely doable in a day. The nice aspects of coming early in the season is that the park isn't too busy yet, the weather is cool, and the mule rides aren't operating yet, which makes the shared trails more enjoyable. The park was still plenty busy when we went at the end of March, and although the park bus system hadn't started yet, there still were some challenges in getting a parking spot at the more popular overlooks.

The thing about Bryce is that there is such eye-popping astounding scenery around every turn in the trail. 

All of these eroded sandstone hoodoos make for such interesting shapes.

Trees can grow in the narrow canyons if they can manage to get enough water and light. They may have to grow really tall to reach the sunlight

What's a hike without the required selfie?

So many hoodoos, so little time.... The hoodoos form along ridges that extend into the canyon. The trails go over the ridge, then down into the canyon, then up and over the next ridge.  Repeat. And repeat.

There are a few tunnels on the trails that get you from one side of a ridge to another.

See what I mean about eye candy in this canyon?

While we were in Bryce for only one day, we did take over 170 pictures and could easily have taken more. I kept saying, "Wow, that's beautiful. Do I have that picture already?" Well, I probably did, but took another anyway.

In our next installment, I'll write about our visit to Capitol Reef.

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