Today is a good day for a road trip after yesterday’s strenuous hike to Angels Landing. So we drive 80 miles to Bryce Canyon.
Our original plans were to leave Zion tomorrow, Sunday, and spend 3 nights in Bryce. After checking the weather, however, we opt for 3 more nights at Zion.
It’s a scenic but overcast drive as we head north on US Route 89.
We turn east on Utah State Route 12 and pass through Dixie National Forest. The sun pops out now and then and I get some pretty previews of the red sandstone and hoodoo formations yet to come.
This is how I am imagining Bryce Canyon will be…
Utah State Route 63 heads south and takes us into the National Park.
Actually, 63 dead ends into the Park and is the main road through the Park.
As we drive to the Park’s entrance, we notice that most of the restaurants, attractions, and souvenir stores leading to Bryce Canyon are not yet open. It’s still snowy and cold at this higher elevation, validating our decision to stay longer at Zion NP.
Since the shuttle is not running yet, we drive to Rainbow Point and make our way back through each stop along the way.
The drive through Bryce Canyon is not what I expected, coming from Zion NP.
The Park traverses the rim of the canyon instead of cutting through it. To partake the marvelous views you need to view Bryce from the edge or hike through it.
So as we drive the 18 miles to the end of Route 63, relax while I give you a brief history of Bryce Canyon’s geological wonders.
First of all, Bryce Canyon is not really a canyon but a horseshoe-shaped bowl formed by several creeks and streams that rapidly began carving down into the rock layers of the Colorado Plateau. The beginnings of these streams moved slowly, further and further back, like fingers into the edge of the plateau, creating the scalloped amphitheater in which the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon can be seen eroding from the rim. (nps.gov)
Hoodoos begin as a fin-like column capped with limestone. Freeze/thaw cycles and acid rain erode a window in the fin. Eventually the limestone cap can no longer support itself and the window caves in creating a cairn-like formation. (nps.gov)
Here are my pics from Bryce Canyon…
Rainbow point… elevation 9115 feet
And here is a most unique hoodoo…
Black birch canyon… Elevation 8750 feet
Ponderosa Point… Elevation 8904 Feet
Agua canyon… Elevation 8800 feet
Natural bridge… elevation 8627 feet
Fairview point… elevation 8819 feet
Swamp canyon… elevation 7998 feet
Bryce point… elevation 8296 feet
Inspiration point… elevation 8100 feet
Sunset point… elevation 8100 feet
As we drive back to Zion, the weather threatens snow and the temperatures drop.
But Watchman Mountain stands tall and offers protection and comfort as we exit Zion NP and cozy-up in our RV.