Next stop, Bryce Canyon (yeah, we know, that was wayyyy back on June 6th).
This park is at high elevation, between 8,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level. That provides for views of up to 200 miles with the scent of pine forests filling the pristine mountain air. Its a relatively small park at only 56 square miles (or 35,835 acres) that was established on September 15, 1928. Bryce Canyon, while small in size, owes its National Park status to the world’s largest concentration of hoodoos found within its boundaries. In addition, it has within its boundaries a National Historic Landmark built in 1924 known as the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Its a phenomenal place.
After getting set up in beautiful campsites within the park at Sunset Campground (hat tip to RT & Linder for scoring two sites after we had been told by the park Ranger that the campground was full!) we all went for a bike ride on the paved paths throughout the bike-friendly park. We rode to Sunset Point which overlooks Bryce Amphitheater (the park’s premiere attraction), past the Bryce Canyon Lodge and down to the Visitor Center to get info for a special hike for tomorrow. When biking, you know that whatever goes down must go back up, right…so back on the bikes for the ride up (mostly) to Sunset Point where we decided to take a hike up the rim trail from Sunset Point to Inspiration Point which overlooks Bryce Amphitheater. Just incredible!
Bryce has a great shuttle system that we took advantage of the next morning to get from the campground to Bryce Point, the shuttle’s last stop at the end of the park road. From there, we picked up the Under-the-Rim Trail at Rainbow Point for the long hike out through the canyons and all the way back to Bryce Point. There we connected to the west side of the Peekaboo Loop Trail and finally joined the Queens Garden Trail which brought us right through the hoodoos of the amphitheater and up the steep climb to Sunrise Point. From there, it was just a short walk along the rim trail back to Sunset Point and across the street to the campground. A great hike.
RT & Linder wanted to get some additional bike riding in the next day and Siobhan and I headed to the Visitor Center/Park Store to check that out. Each of our three nights here we enjoyed happy hours and BBQs. An awesome park, definitely in our top ten…so far!