Bryce Canyon National Park is a place I have heard about constantly since we visited it. This was my mother’s favorite park that we’ve visited, and she talks about it any time someone brings up a national park. She loved this park so much because of its unique rock formations, huge columns called hoodoos.
Bryce doesn’t look like much as you’re driving into it. There’s a hiking supply store and gas station right before you enter the park, and once you’re inside it just looks like you’re driving through a forest. There’s no evidence of a canyon from the main road until you reach the end. However, once you pull off on a side road and see the canyon, your breath is taken away. The first thing you notice are these gigantic towers of rocks, the hoodoos. Beyond them are layers of mountains, blue sky, and puffy white clouds. It’s a view unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
We did one big hike during our summer trip to Bryce Canyon, the Navajo Trail. This trail goes down the side of canyon and gives visitors access to various areas on the canyon floor. Part of the trail is made up of wiggles, which really just means the trail traverses the side of the canyon so that you can walk down it. Going down is nothing. It’s a long walk, so it’s tiring in that sense, but it’s absolutely nothing compared to the walk back up the wiggles. I don’t think that any trail had exhausted me like that one did (at least up to that point!). We had to stop multiple times on the way back out to catch our breath. They looked so innocent from below, and then turned out to be evil on the way up! The other “hike” we did was really just a walk on the edge of the canyon to see the view. We ate lunch at a picnic table that overlooked the canyon and the mountains, which is one of my favorite times we spent in the parks.
We returned to Bryce in January of 2017 as well (my mom insisted that she just HAD to see the hoodoos covered in snow). While there are other parks in Utah that I like more than Bryce Canyon, I have to say that those hoodoos covered in snow were incredible. I thought that snow wouldn’t stick to them because they’re so craggy, but there was snow clinging to them anyway. We walked along the Rim Trail that day, which goes between two high points that jut out over the canyon. I realized on that walk exactly how cold Utah gets in the winter. I’d been there before, many times, but usually I was skiing so I was bundled up. On this walk, however, I was definitely not wearing enough layers!
Bryce Canyon ranks a little bit lower on my list. I would put it around #7. That’s not to say that it isn’t amazing and that I didn’t like it, it just goes to show that every park is amazing and I have to make choices! I’d definitely recommend Bryce Canyon to a friend (and I have).