Our 2nd stop while in Utah took us to Bryce’s namesake park,
Bryce Canyon. This has been on the top of Bryce’s list of places to visit for a long time, so we were glad to finally get there. I’m glad we did – it was absolutely amazing!
Bryce had picked out several hikes that he wanted to do, so after a quick stop at the Visitor Center to get a map, watch the movie, and get oriented, we ventured into the park.
The first hike was supposed to be the Queen’s Garden Trail at Sunrise Point, but somehow we missed the stop and ended up at Sunset Point instead.
From the rim, we could see across the width of the canyon.
I had to get a picture of Bryce posing with his canyon!
From Sunset Point, we could take the Navaho Trail into the canyon and meet up with the Queen’s Garden Trail to come back up. It was a longer hike (3 miles, instead of 2), but we wanted to get into the canyon so we decided to go ahead and try it.
The canyon was so beautiful I found myself constantly wanting to capture it in pictures!
The walk down the trail was pretty easy, but we kept seeing people on the way up, huffing and puffing . . . that was a bad sign!
We kept going, though, knowing that the going back up the Queen’s Garden Trail was going to be easier than coming back up the Navaho Trail.
We continued the hike down, admiring the hoodoos and landscape.
The trail wound back and forth between the walls of the narrow canyon.
There were lots of trees growing in the canyon, many of them in the rock with most of their roots exposed . . . it’s amazing that they stayed standing, let alone continue to grow!
We reached Two Bridges at the bottom of the Navaho Trail,
and had one last opportunity to decide which route to take back up. We decided to continue through the canyon to the Queen’s Garden Trail, and take that one back up to the rim.
The lower areas of the canyon were more wooded, with lots of opportunities for great pictures . . . and even some wildlife!
There weren’t many people making the trek through the canyon, but occasionally we would see somebody and as we got closer to the Queen’s Garden Trail we started to see more people.
The views were still amazing!
We continued our gradual trek up, and the boys had no shortage of rocks to climb on!
Everywhere we looked were hoodoos . . . these columns of soft rock that are being worn away, little by little . . . getting smaller every year.
We eventually reached the hoodoo known as Queen Victoria, signaling the bottom of the Queen’s Garden Trail.
We continued along the Queen’s Garden Trail, as it wound its way up the canyon, getting steeper and steeper.
Tom and I were slowing down a little bit by then, but not Nicolas and Bryce . . . they kept going like it was nothing at all!
Still no shortage of beautiful views!
We reached the switchbacks . . . but they still weren’t as steep as the ones on the Navaho Trail!
At one point, we crossed paths with a group on horseback.
From the top of this trail (which hardly seemed to be getting any closer!) we would still have a 1/2 mile walk along the rim to get back to the car, so we decided to send the boys up ahead to get the car and bring it back to the Sunrise Point parking area. They had plenty of energy, and had no problem walking to the car, bringing it back to this parking area, and meeting us right as we reached the top of the trail . . . good timing!
At the Sunrise Point General Store, we had our lunch before we continued along the 17-mile scenic drive through the park. We stopped at a few of the canyon overlooks, including Natural Bridge,
before reaching the highest point on the canyon – Rainbow Point.
Rainbow Point was the location of one of the other hikes that Bryce had selected for us, and Nicolas liked the idea of hiking in the woods, so we set out on the 1-mile loop, watching for bears!
Fortunately, we didn’t run across any bears, but we did manage to find some patches of snow . . . and boys will be boys!
They just couldn’t resist a snowball fight!
The views from the rim were no less incredible from this vantage point,
and we found the Bristlecone Pines that the trail is named for.
By the time we finished this trail, it was 4pm, and we still had about 2 hours to get back to the RV, so we decided not to attempt the last hike that Bryce had picked out. It would have been a fun one, but we were all pretty tired and ready to get back home for dinner.
It was a great day, and we thoroughly enjoyed our day of hiking at Bryce Canyon . . . definitely a highlight of the year!