Monday, January 9, 2012

Family Summer Trip Day 11 - Bryce Canyon

After spending a day and a half driving from West Yellowstone, MT through Salt Lake City, UT to Bryce Canyon National Park, we were ready to get out and stretch our legs and walk around.  Additionally, we had been in winter-like weather since Day 2, so, everyone was ready for some warmer temps.  For those that have never been to Bryce Canyon, it is unlike any other place on earth.  While there are many places that have sandstone and arches, none (or very few) have the number of strange formations known as hoodoos (see picture below).

The Hoodoos seen along the Queen's Garden Trail
We arrived at Bryce Canyon campground around 1pm and quickly set up camp.  I had not reserved a campsite because I was under the impression, based on the NPS website, that they didn't reserve tent sites, only RV sites.  Apparently, there are different rules for the two campgrounds.  Something like they take tent reservations in the South Campground, but not RV and vice versa in the North Campground.  We were fortunate and grabbed one of the last campsites in the North Campground.  It turned out to be one of the better sites in the park, I think.  FYI, be prepared to get dusty camping in Bryce.

After a quick camp setup, we headed out on the trail.  The plan was to do a short day hike down to the floor of the canyon and back up.

The descent to the Canyon floor.
For a quick view of Bryce and all it's beauty, this was a great hike.  From our campsite in the North Campground, we followed the Rim trail to the Navajo Loop trail.  Here we descended close to 500 vertical feet to the Canyon floor using a long series of switchbacks.  

On the Canyon floor, we joined the Queen's Garden trail.  You hike along the Canyon floor for about a mile, then you start heading back up 500 vertical feet to Sunrise Point.  Along the way, we saw things that reminded us of an old Bugs Bunny / Road Runner cartoon.

Where's Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner
In all, it was a short hike, around 3 miles.  We were back at camp by 4pm or so and ready to make dinner.  Tonight's dinner... foil dinners.  Mmmmmm.

Bryce Canyon National Park is fairly small and could probably be seen in a couple of days.  Our plan was to get up the next morning, though and head to the Escalante / Grand Staircase National Monument.

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