Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bryce Canyon National Park ~ Bryce Canyon ~ Utah

We had  a beautiful drive through Red Canyon in the Dixie National Forest following Scenic Byway 12 onto Hwy 63 for the short distance to Bryce Canyon City.  We set up our RV's in Ruby's RV Campground, (there are campgrounds within the park, but availability depends on the time of year) which is a great place to stay when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park then we soon headed out to visit the much anticipated Bryce Canyon.

a view of the trees and hoodoos from Sunrise Point
Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon
We arrived early afternoon on a beautiful sunny day and our first stop after entering the Bryce Canyon National Park was at Sunrise Point, elevation 2,438 meters ( 8000').  The high elevations make for clean crisp air and a view that goes on for miles.  A cost of $25.00 per vehicle allows 7 days to visit the National park.
The horses and mules take the riders down the trail
Horseback riding into Bryce Canyon
There were many visitors enjoying their adventure in Bryce Canyon on mules or horseback.   The 90 minute rides are led by guides therefore beginners are welcome to enjoy the experience, too.  This would be a great way to get down from the rim's edge and see those hoodoos from a different view.
Afternoon sun shines down to highlight the hoodoos
Beautiful hoodoos from Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park is open year round but there are over 200 days of freezing temperatures so one might want to choose according to your interests.  There are many hiking trails to follow in here during fair weather, like we had but there is also cross country skiing when there is enough snow and I understand the views are always spectacular.
tree roots above ground in Bryce Canyon
Hoodoos amid the trees in Bryce Canyon
The exposed roots of the trees in the canyon tell that the cliffs are retreating about one foot every 60 years.  This tree just appeared to be standing atop the sand but looked healthy in spite of not having the roots buried. The Bristlecone pine best survives the most severe of temperatures and can be seen throughout Bryce Canyon. It is the oldest living single organism and the oldest Bristlecone pine tree is almost 5000 years old.
The grotto shows along the wall of the canyon
Grotto at Bryce Point in Bryce Canyon
The erosion that occurs over the centuries caused cave-like forms that are called a grotto. These all appear in a row across the valley and the Wall of Windows, which began as grottos, stands behind. The caprock preserves the tops of the pinnacles for a while but they will eventually crumble, too.
A single hoodoo stands close to the rim
Agua Point in Bryce Canyon
Agua Point is one of thirteen viewpoints on the route of just over 60 km (38 mi) as you travel the round trip in Bryce Canyon.  It is the smallest National Park at 145 sq. km (56 sq. miles) but every viewpoint offers an incredible view. The Bryce Canyon with its' fascinating geology is part of the Grand Staircase region.
a great example of a natural bridge due to erosion
Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon
This Natural Bridge is at an elevation of 2630 meters (8627') and is a result of erosion over the years, even though it looks like it was man-made.  It is just another example of how nature can create some incredible sights.   
This part of the country has so many amazing sights to see that it is difficult to choose what to share next but Bryce Canyon is one of the most spectacular!  We were able to spend time there for both a sunrise and a sunset and I will share those photos, as well.


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