If there is one thing Bryce Canyon is known for it’s the massive red hoodoo rock pillars formed over thousands (more like millions) of years of erosion. I could enlighten you with facts found on my brochure about the Cretaceous Seaway that drove a path through central North America and left sediments that form the base of the hoodoos; about horizontal compression 10 million years ago that made the Rocky Mountains and the Utah Table Cliff and Paunsaugubt plateaus; about how the Paria River and tributaries have been carving these plateaus into rock fins which become pinnacles and spires through erosion that now give us the natural glory of the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater, but that would be boring, right? Instead, I will give you photographs to inspire you to plan a trip here to see the beauty in person.
The Bryce Amphitheater
If there is only one place you can choose to stop, this is it. Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce point all afford magical views of this garden of hoodoos. If you’re feeling more adventurous, but don’t want a challenge, try hiking from Sunrise to Sunset Point. I woke up to catch the sunrise from Sunrise Point, then headed down the wide, worn, and well marked trail towards Queens Garden. Keep your eyes open for a sign directing to to continue on the Navajo trail to Wall Street. Once you get through Wall Street, you will be facing a wall of switchbacks. They are wide and short, but numerous. Alas, what goes down must go up. And if you want to see the hoodoos up close, this is the easiest way. If you prefer a slower, less steep ascent, then reverse the direction and take the trail from Sunset to Sunrise. The guide from the National Parks says 2-3 hours, but I finished it in 1.5 hours – and I’m far from being in hiking shape!
|Glowing rocks of sunrise|
|The Sentinel keeps watch over the Queens Garden|
|Occupying Wall Street…Bryce’s Wall Street, that is|
|SWITCHBACKS!! Why did I choose to go the direction that had this as my uphill climb at the end?|
When researching Bryce Canyon, I could not find a single resource that showed me what to expect from all of the other viewpoints in the park, along the 18 mile road that stretches the length of the park and dead ends. So, while I don’t have all the points (missing 4), here are most of the views. All of these viewpoints are located conveniently off the road. Minimal walking required.
I only stayed one night in the area, so to make it a memorable one, I opted to stay within the park at the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge. It’s definitely rustic and lacking the conveniences of the other options outside the park, but you’re paying for the history and for the ability to walk out your door and be walking along the rim of the amphitheater in 1 minute. For someone who wants to hike at sunrise but hates getting up early, this was a no brainer!