Our next stop was Bryce Canyon National Park. We arrived at the campground, ate a quick lunch, broke and fixed the slide again (new motor is fine, pin sheared), then drove to the park for a quick overview. It was cold and the chances for rain were high, so we didn’t unload the bike. We just drove the truck to the park. Bryce Canyon also has a great shuttle system, so we parked the truck in town and took the shuttle through the northern end of the park. After our quick orientation, we toured the visitor’s center and went home.
We weren’t sure what kind of hikes we wanted to take the next day, but thought we would opt for a couple of easy ones. Since all the shuttle stops went along the top rim, we thought a nice rim walk would be perfect. We could begin anywhere and there would be a shuttle stop at various places along the way. While we wouldn't get to go down into the canyon, we also wouldn't have to walk back up!
The next day, we grabbed our rain gear and headed back to the park. We found one trail that lead out into the canyon but not all the way to the bottom and we made a last-minute decision to detour down that trail for a ¼ mile or so to see some hoodoos. This is a shot of the trail from the rim.
Here are a few random things we saw along the way.
There seemed to be something interesting around every bend in the trail.
The Bristlecone Pine is one of the oldest trees in the world. We saw one similar to this and our guide told is it was over 150 years old. It was only about 15 feet tall.
We walked downhill about a ¼ mile and decided to go a bit further. We continued to do this until we reached the bottom of that trail and saw the Queen.
We had not intended to walk down so far, and we were left with two choices: returning the way we came – about a mile and 350 feet in elevation back up to the rim; or continuing further down the canyon on two different trails that were highly rated - about 2 additional miles and 600 feet in elevation to the top of the rim.
Of course we chose to go further down! The middle trail was surrounded by trees and was quite peaceful.
It was a wide path on a slow decline in to the bottom of the canyon until the last ¼ mile where it began to increase in elevation.
This was an awesome stroll!
When that trail ended, we came to the Navajo loop. Since it was a loop, we only hiked half of it – the other half was still closed because of icy conditions. This trail pretty much scaled the canyon wall. It was all uphill and pretty steep. We stopped often along the way to take pictures whether it was a pretty shot or not. Sometimes we just needed to catch our breath. Half of the Navajo Loop was short switchbacks. For snow skiers, think walking up a double black diamond mogul run. Here is a shot from about ½ way up.
And here is another shot from close to the top.
About 15 minutes before we got to the rim, the trail opened up to some great views and we were able to see some really cool Hoodoos.
By now it was lunchtime and we needed to make a decision about the remainder of the day. We decided to skip the rim walk and do the longer free southern park rim tour. We grabbed a quick lunch (hot dog and Powerade at the local convenience store) and made a reservation for the afternoon shuttle tour to the South Rim Road. The tour was 3 ½ hours long and went well beyond the normal park shuttle system. Our tour guide, Jay, did a wonderful job of educating us on a variety of park facts and lore.
From the far south end at Rainbow Point, you can see the main canyon where the regular shuttle runs and we did our hike. Follow the canyon from the left wall past the rainstorm to the right hand side of the picture.
That is the main part of the park and the place we hiked. We made a few more stops at viewpoints along the way and saw some more interesting rock formations.
We arrived home exhausted, but glad we were able to get so much done during our day in the park.
Seeing the formations at these parks reminds us of the One who created it all!
Psalm 148:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights!