Wednesday, July 7, 2010 (Bryce National Park/Drive to Zion)

High Point: Walking down into Bryce Canyon

Low Point: Walking back up the 320 ft elevation change to the canyon rim

People com to Bryce to see the unique rocks and hoodoo spires, so we spent the day doing just that.  After packing up camp and leaving the trailer at a drop-off lot (no campers or trailers at some of the viewpoints), Mike and the girls headed down the trail at Sunset Point into the Queen’s Garden Trail (it was my turn to hang with the dog in the parking lot).  According to my happy hikers, the walk down into the canyon was great.  The walk back up the 320 feet was not a good time.  The trail itself was only .8 miles one way, and they’d planned on continuing the path where it hooks up with the Navajo Trail, but the sky looked threatening and they didn’t want to be climbing the slippery clay trails in the rain.  By the time they did climb out of the canyon, they were looking rough.  They had been moving fast to keep ahead of the weather, and Mike was impressed that the girls pushed forward and didn’t complain during the difficult climb.


Getting ready to explore the Queen’s Garden Trail


Standing in the Queen’s Garden



Finding some shade


On the way up, looking back into the Garden


Still quite a climb, and trying to beat the rain

Meanwhile, Buster and I were doing great.  We sat at one of the picnic tables where he got lots of attention from passing hikers.  He even had his picture taken with the kids from one of the Japanese tour busses.

Mike noted later that most of the other hikers they came across during their walk were French, German, or Japanese.  At some of our stops, you can be standing at an overlook with a dozen other people and hear 3 or 4 different languages.    It has been this way through most of the national parks we’ve visited since Yellowstone.  Julia thinks it’s cool, and it really is.  Obviously, people visiting the country make a point to see the famous landscapes.  That’s fantastic, and it’s great to feel like you’re seeing something amazing and sharing it with the world.  We just got to wondering if the economy has fewer Americans visiting the more remote parks.

We saw the rest of Bryce from the overlooks (click to see a more detailed view).

We drove to the end of the park at Rainbow Point and had a quick picnic lunch, stopping to take an obligatory photo at the elevation marker.


My sister and I had a our picture taken here in 1993.

It’s a family thing, but we were in such a hurry, we didn’t get me alone.

Driving back toward the park entrance, we  stopped at the viewpoints – Bryce Point was the most impressive, giving views of cave-like structures called grottos on one side of the canyon, a massive collection of hoodoos in the middle, and impressive valleys toward the other side.




Leaving Bryce and driving toward Zion National Park, we drove through Red Canyon and did lots of oohing and aaahing over the colorful cliffs.








Near Mt. Caramel, we came across this great sign.  I know it’s supposed to look all retro and wholesome and stuff, but the owner cannot be naïve enough to think nobody is doing a double-take when they drive by.




Bryce is characterized by delicate-looking spires you need to peek down into the canyons to see. Zion is its exact opposite; here, the canyon walls rise around you in massive, powerful forms.  It is impressive in its strength.


DSC03169We came in through the east entrance, where a series of tunnels built in the 1930’s bring visitors more than a mile under the mountains before winding through the valley floor toward the town of Springdale.  Our camper was 7’10” across – the minimum needed to require a $15 fee to use the tunnel because they clear everybody out first and send you through straight down the middle.  Apparently, vehicles are larger today than they were 80 years ago.

Once we were through the tunnel, it was a slow 6 miles into town over crumbling roads.  They were doing some night construction and hopefully improving the surface.

Our home in Springdale is Zion Canyon Campground, an rv park just outside Zion.  If you ignore the other trailers everywhere, the view of the canyon walls is great.  It doesn’t have the atmosphere of some of the other more rustic parks we’ve enjoyed, but the temperature here this past week has been around 102, so the girls are bound to enjoy the pool after some hiking in the hot sun.  After a run to the only local grocery store (yet another park-focused store on our trip that charges a fortune for the things campers routinely buy – $5 for lemonade mix – $6.35 for a package of Quaker granola bars), we ate sweet corn and beef/potato goulash before calling it a night.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

One Response to “Wednesday, July 7, 2010 (Bryce National Park/Drive to Zion)”

  1. Laura says:

    So glad you got a Rainbow Point pic, I love the one of me & Christine from back in the day! 🙂

Leave a Reply