After trekking through the amazing Zion National Park yesterday, we decided to drive to Bryce Canyon National Park today. The park is known for it’s majestic hoodoos; hoodoos are sandstone pillars formed over time from erosion. Bryce Canyon is relatively small, so you are able to see a lot in one day, but there’s enough to do that you could spend 2-3 days there too!
On the drive to the canyon, we took highway 12 which cuts across the northern end of the park, past the visitors center and scenic overlooks. It was pretty exciting getting to drive through all the tunnels! Along the way, you’ll find Native American ruins, a few ghost towns and wild west charm. We highly recommend the drive!
Our first stop on the way to Bryce Canyon National Park was the Natural Bridge. The freezing temperatures tempted us to stay in the warm car, but the view was just way too good to pass up. It’s one of seven natural arches in the park, but the most convenient since you can drive right up to it.
The Natural Bridge perfectly framed the snow dusted forest in the distance. We stared just long enough to grab a few photos then hopped back in the car before our fingers could freeze.
The Bryce Point overlook is one of the most scenic in the whole park. The natural amphitheater of hoodoos is famous for its extraordinary sunrises and sunsets. From here, you can watch the tops of the hoodoos catch the rays of the sun making them glow a magnificent red.
During our visit, it was completely overcast, but beautiful all the same. It created a giant softbox across the canyon perfect for taking landscape photos.
The Farview Point is known for its spectacular views of famous landmarks that make up the Grand Staircase. From north to south you can see: the Aquarious Plateau, the Kaiparowits Plateau and even glimpses of the Kaibab Plateau. On a clear day, you can see as far away as the Black Mesas in Arizona, that’s more than 160 miles! While we were visiting, the snow and wind mad it difficult to see that far.
Paria is a Paiute word meaning water with elk or water with mud. The slot canyons were carved by rapid rates of runoff during spring thaws in the Ice Age. The park rangers said this is an excellent viewpoint for spotting Peregrine Falcons. Although we didn’t see any ourselves, we stood in silence as we soaked in the beauty of the canyons.
To be honest, because of all the snow, it was hard to tell which viewpoint we were actually at. There were signs of course, but many of them were iced over and we didn’t feel compelled to wipe them off. So, we just guessed!
Here are a few other viewpoints that we didn’t have time to get to, but are worth checking out:
- Sunrise Point
- Sunset Point
- Swamp Canyon
- Priacy Point
- Ponderosa Canyon
- Black Birch Canyon
- Yovimpa Point
We plan to purchase the $80 Annual Pass to National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands for our next road trip and will definitely be adding Bryce Canyon National Park to our list of places to go in the winter time.