Ever since I saw photos of Bryce Canyon and its panoramic views of its hoodoos decades ago, I dreamed of one day going there to create my own images. Who can say no to the world’s largest collection of hoodoos?! Not these intrepid hikers!
Before arriving at Bryce, Amanda and I had picked a few spots that we wanted to hike, but the park was so crowded that we ended up stopping wherever we could find a parking space. I followed Amanda onto a trail, which ended up not being an official trail and I slalomed down the dirt in my hiking boots that no longer had any tread left.
I learned many things on this trip. Buy new hiking boots (at Denali!) before they reach the age of 10 and don’t follow Amanda anywhere unless I see a trail map first.
We left the park to buy some new hiking shoes to prevent future slaloming incidents. After we got back to Bryce, we found what looked like an easy trail called Sheep Creek. We hiked into the woods, which lead us into the wilderness where trails were washed out by recent rain storms and fires. I would be lying if I told you I was not scared at some points. After exploring this park, Amanda and I realized that we should always have a tour guide with us to keep us from going astray. Neither of us has a great sense of direction.
We found some beautiful wildflowers on our wilderness adventure. And then the trail was gone. Amanda and I split up and called out to each other if we thought we found the rest of the trail. Eventually, we got back on track and discovered a marker which let us know we were heading in the right direction.
If Amanda and I were to go back to Bryce we would hike the Navajo Loop Trail. Most Utah travel sites call it one of the most popular hikes at Bryce. In reviews, hikers refer to is as “phenomenal” and say, “if you can only do one trail, this is the one.” It only takes about 1-2 hours to complete. I am sad we missed it, but it gives us another reason to go back out there.
Maybe thousands upon thousands of hoodoos aren’t your cup of tea. If that’s the case, Bryce Canyon also has arches, windows, staircases, walls and narrows to explore. Maybe daytime isn’t your cup of tea either. In that case, the rangers at Bryce will take you on a moonlit guided tour or offer you stargazing opportunities with telescopes. Some say that visiting Bryce is even more special in the wintertime. If you visit during The Winter Bryce Canyon Annual Festival you can take a ski clinic, enjoy people-powered sled races, and go snowshoeing. Area hotels offer other activities like art classes and dance instruction during the festival. I volunteer to go next year if Denali will send me. 😉
Looking back at these photos has me dreaming of another trip to the Southwest. If you’re ever planning to visit Bryce, I recommend that you make time for Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Staircase, and Horseshoe Bend. It is possible to see these places in one week if you hustle.
See you out there on the trails,