Traveling with a group of 11 people is fun, but making decisions can be a bit challenging. While we considered heading to the Kolob Canyon part of Zion, it became clear that most of us wanted to explore beyond Zion, so on Saturday night, before heading to bed, we settled on Bryce Canyon.
When we woke up though, the weather cast doubts on our decision. Bryce’s current temperature was 15 degrees F with a high of 36 to 41 depending on what website you consulted. We reconsidered our options, reconsidering Kolob Canyon and even considering the Grand Canyon. After quite some discussion, we decided to stick to Zion and head to Kolob….until about 2 seconds before our departure when we decided to go to Bryce Canyon anyways.
While I was curious about the less visited Northern part of Zion, I am so glad we decided to head to Bryce!
We didn’t do Bryce on horseback this time, like I did back in the early 90s.
Although I believe the hike we ended up on, may have been the same one (or at least close to the one) I did on horseback so many years ago….doesn’t that look the same?
Unlike my summer visit thirty-some years ago, the day we visited it was cold and at times the wind cut through you like a knife, but snowy Bryce is a whole new experience.
Having missed our group huddle, I thought we’d do the Peek-a-bo/Navajo/Queens Garden Trails, one of the more popular trails, because of all of the hoodoos, but as we started I realized we were on the Fairylands Trail, a less traveled 8-mile loop.
I’m not going to lie…8 miles intimidated me because I wasn’t feeling completely healthy and it included a descent into the canyon and an ascent back out of it that was sure to have me gasping for air. BUT, as soon as I started the hike all of that disappeared. I mean, how could it not:
The orange hoodoos, sometimes covered with snow, surrounded by green trees and with the bluest sky I’ve ever seen, as a backdrop took my breathe away at every turn. We started on the sunny side descending into the canyon with formations all around us. Then we climbed hiked around them sometimes hitting snowy, icy trails, but always surrounded at each turn by some new natural wonder.
At 7000-8000ft of elevation and with almost 1700 ft of climbing, this hike is by no means easy and I definitely had some flashbacks of my Kilimanjaro trip, but it was definitely worth every second.
Right before heading home we stopped at Inspiration Point. At 8100 feet, the view out onto the Canyon is amazing, but the trail to the top was icy and temperatures had started to drop, so we took some quick pictures before getting back in the car and heading to our AirBnB in Kanab.
I wish we’d had more days to explore Bryce and I am tempted to go back in the Fall, because I think the snow made this National Park even more magical than I remembered.
If you love our National Parks as much as I do, please consider donating to the National Park Foundation.