I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the colors, shapes, shadows, textures and immensity of scope I found when I opened the door to this hoodoo world.
My senses were on overload as I gazed upon this constantly shifting tapestry repainted every few minutes by nature’s light.
Queens Garden / Navajo / Peekaboo Loop Trails
How did I really feel about my first day at Bryce?
You know sunrises are going to be spectacular when there is an aptly named viewpoint.
Prepared with a hot cup of coffee and warm layers made it easy to wait for the sun to shout good morning. The orange ball glowed and then burst over the horizon, blasting a cascade of light on the canyon walls as it’s final hurrah.
Fairyland Loop Trail
A little video of my time in Fairyland.
So much stimulus, on overload, I found myself needing to say goodbye to this otherworldly place that’d captivated my spirit.
- Off-season visits are highly recommended to avoid the tourist buses and large crowds. This is a very small park, with the bulk of visitors gathering along the most scenic section. You’ll have a challenging time obtaining photos minus strangers if you go during peak season.
- I stayed at the only campground open in the park in the winter, North Campground. It made for a quick easy drive after sunset and before sunrise. Another good option is Bryce Canyon City which is just a few miles up the road and has two Best Western Motels, as well as a good reasonably-priced restaurant.
- For winter hiking, expect icy, snowy and muddy trails. The mud is clay; you’ll be messy I can guarantee it! I recommend carrying either shoe chains (i.e. Yaktrax) or microspikes (i.e. Kahtoola MICROspikes) as well as hiking poles.
- While the vista points and rim views are superb, walking among the giants is out of this world!
- Free water bottle refilling stations are available at many places in the park including an outdoor station at the visitor’s center. They also have impressive solar trash compactors. Impressive!
- Beware of planning too much time for the park. I found myself on sensual overload and found two days sufficient. Head over to Zion National Park or to Grand Staircase Escalante-National Monument for a little visual recovery time.
- Link to blog posts of other hikes I’ve taken in Utah