We were up bright and early on the morning of our departure from Torrey, UT, as we headed to Bryce Canyon National Park. We were packed and ready to go when Colin came back from turning in our key with a wide grin. He said the campground manager asked where we were heading and then advised that we take Scenic Byway 12 to Bryce. The GPS was taking us a slightly shorter route, but with only a few minutes added to the overall trip, we easily decided that scenic was the way to go. (There should be a ‘find scenic drive’ option on Maps).
A Must Drive!
This was a beautiful decision. It would have been worth an additional hour or more drive, especially during the fall season. All the leaves were a gorgeous yellow or orange, and there were cows roaming EVERYWHERE, which was super fun to experience. We got out of the car often to see the trees and landscape and take a few selfies with the cows. It was such a bonus to our already wonderful experience and we suggest this route 100% to anyone traveling from one park to the next.
Sunrise Over The Mountains On Byway 12
A Beautiful Fall Drive
Love The Colors!
The entire visit in Utah felt like we never left a National Park. The beauty, serenity and elegance of our entire journey is unmatched to any trip thus far. Bryce Canyon National Park is no exception to the beauty that is Utah. When we arrived, we decided to take the shuttle into the park to save on finding parking spots. It was a relief to not worry about driving and be able to see the beauty of the park from a passenger window.
So Many Shapes And Sizes Within The Canyon
The shuttle ride is REALLY easy, and you also get to see Old Bryce Town. Now a few key pieces of advice. Check the website for the Bryce Canyon Shuttle here. The website will tell you the hours for the season, where to park and the different stops. This will ensure you are able to get to the trail heads you desire. An additional piece of advice is to check the hours for Old Bryce Town. We had planned on stopping there before heading into the park, however being off season meant different hours. The website for Old Bryce Town is here and will show the hours and any special events happening.
Bryce Has A Great Shuttle System!
Once on the shuttle and wandering through the park, the navigation to and from was very easy to follow. There are announcements letting you know when to get off and most of the shuttle drivers gave a little description on whether the trail was easy or difficult. We stopped at the visitor center, of course, to watch the video and shop for some souvenirs. We also managed to get a couple songs stuck in our heads because the very clever marketing associates for Bryce Canyon put “Hoo Doo You Love, Doo you Love” on many items and I sang it the entire rest of the day (also singing now after typing it). For those that are unsure of the relation, Bryce Canyon is full of hoodoos, which are just irregular rock formations in a column shape.
Hoodoo You Love?!
After the rush of the visitor center, our excitement to hit the trails kicked in! We stopped at Inspiration Point for the lookout views. This is a great stop to make if you aren’t looking to go hiking or if you don’t have a ton of time to experience the park. The path is paved, short, and an easy trail that leads to an amazing, breath-taking scene. While we were able to enjoy the mid-morning taking pictures and experiencing all the amazing hoodoos, we were excited to start hiking into the park and gain a completely different experience than the one on the “surface”.
One of the most popular trails at Bryce is the Queen’s Garden/Navajo Trail Combination Loop. This is around a 3 mile hike, various elevation changes and slightly uneven. However, on this hike you are able to see Thor’s Hammer, Two Bridges, and Wall Street. You are also completely and utterly surrounded by beautiful hoodoos, and experience the park from a different, unique angle.
It's Different Being Literally IN The Park!
The hike is considered moderate and getting down into the amphitheater is easy. The difficult part is the uneven surface through portions of the hike, as well as some changes in elevation that were slightly difficult. However, if time is allowed, we highly recommend this full hike as it is an experience well worth it! The only warning is to be extra careful around the uneven rocks, as there was a hiker that had to be rescued while we were there due to a broken ankle. We aren’t entirely sure what happened, however after experiencing some close calls with our own ankles, we could make a pretty educated guess as to what occurred to require a rescue squad.
After our longer hike through the park, we came back to our car and visited Old Bryce Town (with ice cream of course). We also decided to drive through the park one last time and experience Rainbow Point, with an elevation of 9,115 ft. We were able to capture some really great photos at this viewpoint and the elevation created a chilling experience. This is a great area to catch the sunset, but bring a jacket because it’s a little chilly way up there!
Copying The Kayla Pose
THE Kayla Pose
We stayed the night in Tropic in an amazing Airbnb. We had such a beautiful view from our back porch. I fell asleep early after a full day of hiking, but Colin stayed up late to try and capture some night shots on his new phone. We truly loved the hoodoos, adventure and sights offered at Bryce Canyon National Park!