April 15, 2018

Bryce Canyon

by Steve W

We arrived at our hotel near Bryce Canyon National Park late in the afternoon and checked in shortly before dinner time. We knew that there was a restaurant a couple of blocks away that we had eaten at years ago on our last trip to Bryce, so we decided to try it again. Even though it was within walking distance, the cold weather forced us to drive over.

Ruby's Inn Cowboy's Buffet and Steakhouse offers dinners from the menu as well as a buffet. Neither looked very good, but we were hungry and ate a mediocre dinner. Upon returning to our hotel, we asked the front desk if there was anywhere else in town to eat and were told "That would be a no". The downside of the off season!

The next morning, we awoke early to get a full day at the park and found that it had snowed overnight and that the temperature outside was 0 degrees Fahrenheit (remember, water freezes at 32 degrees), but that it felt like minus 11 degrees. Brrrrr!

After breakfast, we bundled up as best as we could, with several layers of clothes, jackets, hats and gloves, and made our way into the park after picking up some picnic food at Ruby's General Store. As we got to the Visitor's Center, we saw a shuttle stop with icicles dripping off the top. This was a sign of things to come.

The roads had been plowed, making driving easy, but the surrounding ground was covered with snow. A beautiful sight to start the day, with many more beautiful sights to come.

A winter wonderland

This is optimistic!

Portrait of a man freezing his ass off.
Someone whose ass is actually frozen

We stopped at every opportunity, driving to an elevation of over 9,000 feet to enjoy the natural beauty of the park. Photos don't do it justice, but we took over 300 of them anyway, some of which are included in this blog.

Bryce is known for its hoodoos, odd shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion. These hoodoos are layered like the canyon walls they were once part of, so the colors change vertically as seen in previous parks.

"If I was the President..."

...And the Congress called my name"

"I'd say "Now who do...  

..."Who do you think you're fooling?"
Hoodoo that voodoo that you do so well.
Unlike some parks, where you are often at the bottom of the canyon looking up, the roads, trails and views at the Bryce Amphitheater are on the rim of the canyon, so you are looking down from an elevated position. Also, you get gorgeous views of the surrounding areas.

The most beautiful sight of all!
Given the snow on the ground, we declined to take the hiking trails and just drove from place to place, trying to warm up in the car during the short drives. What we did see, however, were hikers with hiking traction devices on their shoes so that, like tire chains, they could get a grip on frozen trail surfaces in order to traverse them.

There were various points of interest along the way, as shown in the photos below:

Inspiration Point - elevation 8100 feet

The path to the top of Inspiration Point

View of the Bryce Amphitheater
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Bryce Point - elevation 8300 feet

One of the planet's natural wonders!
Natural Bridge - elevation 8627 feet

Aqua Canyon - elevation 8800 feet

Thor's Hammer
Black Birch Canyon - elevation 8750 feet

Yovimpa Point - elevation 9100 feet

Each of these national parks offers a different perspective on the forces of nature and how they create these geographic wonders. We've now done four out of the five national parks in Utah (plus one state park), with Zion National Park next.

Note: We were here in February.

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  1. So happy to enjoy these beautiful photos and frigid accounts vicariously.


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