Bryce Canyon National Park
"It's a helluva place to lose a cow", remarked Ebenezer Bryce about Bryce Canyon. (Ebenezer was a homesteader in the Paria River Valley around 1875 and the Park is named after him.) As I looked at the Ampitheater from Bryce Point, I couldn't agree more. It was awfully crowded down there with phantasmagorical rock sculptures shaped by water, frost and erosion over millions of years standing toe to toe into the distance.
Bryce Canyon is not a canyon. It is actually a series of natural amphitheaters carved by erosion. And the air is so clear at Bryce that we could see far into the horizon. The Hoodoo (Bryce Canyon's newspaper) writes that "On a clear day you can see over 150 miles and even recognize landforms in Arizona!". As we drove from one vista point to the next, I appreciated more and more the panoramic views of Escalante National Park which borders Bryce Canyon. At Rainbow Point, we had reached the highest point of the Park at 9,100 ft. above sea level.
The white grottoes seen at Bryce Point are in sharp contrast to the red hoodoos in the Park. They look ethereal in pale tones but not unique as the rock formations are tinged in a paletteful of hues from reds to oranges to ochers to yellow and whites and subtle shades in between.
Sunset produces an amazing layered horizon. We were at Sunrise Point at the end of the day where we should have been at dawn. But it is just as spectacular here at sunset.
Tunnel through Red Canyon
We passed through Red Canyon on our way to Bryce and this area is ablazed with towering walls of red rocks. It's definitely worth a stop.
How to get there:
Take Highway 15 North from Las Vegas. At Cedar City in Utah, take Highway 14 to 89 north to the Park. Sometimes Highway 14 may be closed as it was when we went up to Bryce so take Highway 20 instead through Red Canyon to 89 south. Bryce Canyon is 270 miles from Las Vegas. There's an entrance fee per vehicle of $25 which is valid for 7 days or $12 per person if traveling by motorcycle, bicycle or as a pedestrian. These fees I've indicated were valid in late September 2015. It's best to purchase an annual pass if you plan on visiting other national parks in the area like Zion or Escalante. Seniors over 62 years of age pay $10 for a lifetime pass. Check the Bryce Canyon website for more updated information: www.nps.gov/brca.
If you wish to avoid the hassle of finding a parking space within the Park, there's a free shuttle that takes visitors to various vista points within Bryce Canyon and may be boarded from parking lots outside the Park at Ruby's Inn and the Visitor's Center. Shuttles run from mid April to September 30.
Images by TravelwithCharie