The second half of our road trip was in full swing and I was on a Utah high after leaving Moab, home to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Next stop: Bryce Canyon National Park.
During the four hour drive from Moab my dad described the geological phenomenon of hoodoos to me, but I couldn’t picture it. We pulled into the lodge parking lot and I surveyed the scene. It was scenic but nothing unique; it reminded me of central Oregon. “Just wait until we get to the canyon”, my dad said. We geared up with snacks and our hiking shoes and hit the trail before checking into the lodge. As we neared the canyon’s ledge I saw crowds of people taking photos and looking out into the canyon. “Have these people never seen trees?”, I thought to myself. A few more steps and I realized what all the fuss was about.
These odd-shaped pillars of rock are formed by erosion over time and cover the canyon floor. It was the most magnificent rock garden I’ve ever seen.
Although we just had one night at Bryce Canyon it was the perfect amount of time to hike down into the canyon and enjoy the natural beauty of yet another gorgeous Utah park.
That night we slept in our own mini lodge near the canyon’s edge. My dad used to camp and hike a lot before us kids came along, and knew that the combination of our high altitude and absence of city lights would make for awesome stargazing. Sure enough, around 10pm we crept outside in our pajamas and were rewarded with a starry scene I’ll never forget. It was one of the highlights of the whole trip. So, take note! When you visit Bryce Canyon be sure to set your alarm for the middle of the night and take in the starry night sky in all its glory.
Bryce Canyon was so unique and unlike any of the other national parks in scenery. I guess that’s why it’s a national park, because I could say that about all of ’em.
Know Before You Go:
- We stayed in the Bryce Canyon National Park lodge in the park but there are several hotel options just outside the park entrace.
- Similar to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon offers a free shuttle to and from various viewpoints and hiking trailheads.
- Plan your visit on the official park website here.