Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sunrise in Bryce Canyon ~ Bryce Canyon National Park ~ Utah

We rose early so we could be sure to see the sunrise in Bryce Canyon, one of the prettiest times to enjoy a sight like this and to take advantage of great lighting, too.  The viewpoints in Bryce Canyon all face east so they are all great places to be but we chose to go to Sunrise Point on this cool April morning.

watching the sun come up over the horizon in Bryce Canyon
Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon National Park

We were there early enough to see the sun cresting the mountains in the distance.  On a clear day you might see over 180 km (100 miles) from some viewpoints in Bryce Canyon but my only concern on this visit was how the incredible sight in front of us looks while the sun rises. 
the view from Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon
The sun shines on white limestone in Bryce Canyon
 As the sun slowly begins to shine on the hoodoos in the distance, the pure white limestone looks luminous as though it is made of china. Limestone changes color due to the minerals that cause oxidation, but these white hoodoos look beautiful in the early sun.
a close-up of white hoodoos in the distance
White hoodoos in Bryce Canyon
This close-up of the hoodoos shows the details of what resembles the ruins of an old city on the hillside in the distance. A little imagination and you might see wonderful structures in the amphitheaters, many of them have been named according to legends or history.   
The sunrise casts a warm glow on the hoodoos
Bright colors of oxidized hoodoos in Bryce Canyon
The sun is rising quickly now and the shadows and colors are changing so I move on to get as many photos of as I can.  The predominant orange colors are a result of iron oxidizing and gives an incredible bright orange to the hoodoos during the sunrise.  
The sun adds brightness to the orange hoodoos
Hoodoos among the trees in Bryce Canyon
As the sunshine hits these hoodoos, they light up and stand out among the trees.  The elevation at Sunrise Point is 2443 meters (8015’) and patches of snow can still be seen.  We had great weather conditions for our visit but those who arrived one week later were dealing with colder temperatures and fresh snow. 
visitors are having a close up to with the hoodoos
Standing among the Bryce Canyon hoodoos
Many visitors had walked along the path below to get a closer look at the hoodoos as the sun rose.  We were here with many others and their cameras also waiting for the sun to give us her glorious glow on the hoodoos.  We are on the rim of the plateau on the eastern edge of Paunsaugunt Plateau.  This Paiute name means ‘home of the beaver’ 
hoodoos appear to be lit up in the sunrise sunshine
Ever changing colors in the Bryce Canyon sunrise
The Bryce Canyon was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who brought his family here in 1875 to live and harvest the plateau timber.  The locals began calling it Bryce Canyon and the name became official when it first became a National Monument in 1923, the name remained when it was designated a National Park in 1928. 
looking into the amphitheater at Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon
Hoodoos standing tall amid the trees in Bryce Canyon
We did not allow time to enjoy some of the 80 km.(50 miles) of trails that are throughout the Bryce Canyon National Park but if conditions are suitable, I would recommend making time for that.  There are 8 different day hikes ranging from easy to strenuous, many are interconnected and guidebooks are available for trail information. 
The rising sun casts shadows among the hoodoos.
Shadows and highlights from Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon
These hoodoos looked magnificent in the morning sun.  The Paiute history says the animal legend people were bad so the Coyote turned them all into rocks and the Paiute translation for Bryce Canyon is “bowl shaped canyon filled with red rocks standing up like men”.

There are over 1.5 million people visiting the park every year and I feel fortunate that we were among those in 2012, what an amazing sight to see.  Visit more of our Bryce Canyon sights when you click here. 


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