These adventurous photographers spent our last day in the beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park soaking up every view we possibly could! We rose early for one last fiery sunrise, and we kept our boots on the trail as long as we could before taking the grueling trip back to Salt Lake (why, oh why didn’t any of us look at a map before we booked our flights??). We were loath to leave, but we could only shoot so many hoodoos… right?
Another morning of hoodoos
The day began like had every other. The alarm jarred us from our comfy beds well before any hints of sunrise, and we drove out to Sunset Point. I really liked this spot, as it afforded us views both east and west – both of which are stunning at that hour.
But once the rich colors paled into bright-light obscurity, our photo fingers gave way to hiking toes.
We were faced with another tough decision. We could either clamber back down from Sunset Point to hit the Peekaboo Loop Trail, or we could stay up top and hike the rim.
Much as I would have loved to explore more of the slot canyons and the valley floor, we opted instead for the rim so as to not duplicate what we had already seen on the Navajo Loop.
The Rim Trail
Despite the trail officially being closed for the winter, we made our way south from Sunset Point to Inspiration Point. The original plan was to just go that far, but the scenery was so beautiful, and it was our last chance on this trip to hike the park, so we continued onward.
Most of the trail was sufficiently packed down, and it was easy going. Some spots were a little muddy, and I was glad for the hiking boots. Then there were the shady stretches. These saw little sun and plenty of foot traffic. Therefore, snow was quickly packed to ice. And if there was even the slightest incline? Let’s just say that ice and slopes make for interesting hiking!
The remarkable park
Around every corner was a new marvel; we most especially admired the “fire and ice” landscape – where only half saw enough sun to clear the white snow. Once more, I couldn’t put my camera down. Even in the bright daylight, the scenery is too beautiful to not photograph.
I also spared a glance in the opposite direction. While the amphitheater is clearly the main attraction, it isn’t until one looks away from it to really get a sense for how remarkable it is. Behind us, there wasn’t a hint of the red hoodoos. Looking at this image, you would never suspect such a wonder lay below. It made me think about how incredible the canyon’s first discovery must have been. Wide open plains, some trees, and then BOOM. Like suddenly being transported to Mars, this alien world is just there.
Utah truly is an amazing place.
Our last view
We made our way finally to Bryce Point, sliding down the massive sheet of ice to the viewpoint. There, we could survey the entire amphitheater far below and observe the ants of the brave souls who continued along the rim trail down into the slot canyons. Next time, for sure, I’ll join them and explore the full rim. And I’ll add the complete Fairyland Loop to that. I already can’t wait to go back!
Begrudgingly, we retraced our steps back to Sunset Point and departed. It was a wonderful few days in both Bryce and Zion, like all trips, much too short.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks! If you missed out on any of the adventures, you can catch up here.
Stay tuned for Norway next! We just got back from that beautiful country, and I am still sifting through the thousands of pictures I took there! Those tales begin next week; be sure to follow my blog for all the latest!