This park is not only my favorite Utah national park, but has also continued to maintain a spot in my all-time Top Five. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I think every single national park is beautiful in its own way. But man, Bryce Canyon just gives me all the heart eyes.
Bryce Canyon was established as a national park in 1928. This park has the largest concentration of hoodoos (irregular columns of rock) found anywhere on earth. Many of the trails are interconnected and can be easily combined with each other. The trails weave through the hoodoos, trek through the forests, and connect along the amphitheater.
There are so many factors that can play into the experience you have at a park. What time of year did you go? Was there a lot of traffic/congestion? Was it crowded? Do you feel like you had adequate time to explore?
A few reasons as to why this trip was the best:
- It was spontaneous. I literally texted my friend on a Tuesday afternoon, and asked if she wanted to go to Bryce Canyon with me that Friday. Being the like-minded, adventurous girl that she is, she said, “Heck yeah!”
- We went in the middle of winter. This meant that there were basically zero crowds. We saw maybe 5 people on our hike, total.
- Snow + red rocks. This was really the main reason why I wanted to go Bryce in the winter- the white snow and red rock color contrast is hard to beat!
- The amazing night sky we were able to see when we got into town. We were at a high elevation, and finally free from the inversion in the Salt Lake valley.
- The gorgeous sunrise. Despite getting into town late the night before, we rose early, and it was 110% worth it.
- Our hike. The hike we did was about 10 miles long, and the way Monica connected it, I felt like we were able to see such a variety of terrain. The hike we did: we started at Sunset Point prior to sunrise and hiked down the Navajo Loop (which isn’t actually a loop in the winter). After watching the sunrise, we hiked back up the Navajo Loop, connected Sunrise Point to the Fairyland Loop, and then back to the Sunset Point. We were able to see Thor’s Hammer, Two Bridges, Tower Bridge, the Chinese Wall, the Wall of Windows, many tall hoodoos, the Bryce Amphitheater and I’m sure more that I’m forgetting. After this hike we also drove the 18 mile scenic route.
- The company. It was so much fun going with my new friend Monica because even though we had all but just met, we had so many connections. Both in our 20s, both therapists (physical & occupational), both from the Midwest, both love the outdoors, and both can’t say no to spontaneous adventures. She’s probably also the only one who could’ve gotten me to do that long of a hike! 😉
If this trip taught me anything, it’s that you don’t always have to go to parks during their peak season, and honestly, it’s usually better if you don’t. The important thing is that you just get out there and explore when you can!