Bryce Canyon National Park

We arrived in Bryce Canyon National Park around 2:30pm on Friday the 20th. Since this was still our “rest day,” we mostly just drove to the various lookout points in the park to take pictures.

Bryce Canyon from Inspiration Point

Natural Bridge

Rainbow over Ponderosa Canyon

Altogether, we only hiked two short trails totaling 1.2 miles (Piracy Point lookout and the Bristlecone Loop). These were located away from the canyon area and up in the higher pine forests, so there was still a good deal of snow cover.

Bristlecone Loop

Our original itinerary allowed for two days of hiking in Bryce Canyon, but we decided it was worth gaining an extra day by condensing this into a single mega-hike on Saturday. We got started shortly after 8:00am, and hit all the major trails in the canyon by 3:00pm – a total of 15.1 miles. Not too bad, considering the elevation changes, snack/picture breaks, and a stop for lunch.

We started with the Fairyland Loop, and then hiked sections of the Rim Trail, Queen’s Garden Trail, Peekaboo Loop, and Navajo Loop.

Fairyland Loop

The Fairyland Loop was considerably north of the main canyon, and included a short side-trip to the Tower Bridge. This was where we picked up our 3rd companion for the day – a bright blue bird with a mohawk. He stalked us for several hours looking for handouts, but I just tossed pebbles at him.

Tower Bridge

We also lucked out in finding a tiny little stream, which we used to refill the water bottles. After all the rain/sleet/snow/hail we’d seen earlier in the week, this was actually the first completely dry day of the trip. We needed more water than usual.

Filtering water

After lunch, we began hiking the network of trails in and around Bryce Amphitheater. Ironically, the Peekaboo Loop (which had been recommended by a Milwaukee law student back in Zion), was both the most scenic and least crowded trail in the park. It offered great views of the Wall of Windows and Cathedral rock formations, along with plenty of limestone fins and hoodoos.

Exploring Queen's Garden

Stopping for a break

Peekaboo Loop

Wall of Windows (in background)

Some hoodoos

We ended the day by climbing out through Wall Street and up the switchbacks to Sunset Point. We left Bryce around 3:30pm, bought gas and groceries, and set off for Capitol Reef National Park.

View into Wall Street

Approximate Total Distance: 16.3 miles

Published in: on May 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Another great post Matt! Looks like the weather was much better for hiking and site seeing. The views are stunning. I am getting more jealous with every post and picture! Take care!

    • You’d definitely like it out here. Family vacation out west next year? Haha.

      • Always open to family vacations at national parks!

  2. Nice post! Our family went on a three week trip out west when I was fourteen and we ended up in California where we spent a few days with your “Great” Uncle Jim and Aunt Faye as well as Jamey, Melissa and Andy. We stopped at Zion and Bryce Parks and did short (@1 mile) trails at both parks. As a told you earlier we did see a rattlesnake up close on the trail at Zion! Your photos are incredible and depict both parks as significantly more scenic than my memory had stored them. (It may have to do with places you were able to observe due to hiking so far and being “off the beaten path”. Perhaps it was the fact that we were out there in August and I don’t recall seeing any green plants or snow or much water, for that matter, during our visits to those parks.)

    It seems likely that with the miles you are travelling by foot that you are both going to have to stop and shop for new hiking boots at some point!

    • The hiking boots you got me last summer are holding up great!

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