We arrived at Ruby’s RV Park in Bryce Canyon City mid-day last Sunday and quickly got the Roadhouse set up in our spacious site. It is great to have real grass again after months in the desert. Chores done, pets all situated and there was still time for a trip into Bryce Canyon Park as Ruby’s is just a mile outside the park entrance.
After a quick stop at the Park Visitor’s Center to get the lay of the land we anxiously headed out. I knew Utah was chock full of spectacular red rock scenery and sure, I have seen some pictures of Bryce Canyon but nothing is better than seeing it yourself. The entrance to the park doesn’t reveal its splendors so I was simply awe stuck at the first scenic viewpoint.
Our first few hours in the park was spent just driving the 18 mile road and stopping a each viewpoint to take in the jaw dropping beautiful vistas.
We had hoped to do a short 1 mile hike at Rainbow Point but the snow at the higher elevations was more than our tennis shoe clad feet wanted to traverse.
The Bryce Canyon Lodge sits serenely in the pine forest not far from many hiking and walking trails. Built between 1924 and 1925 using local materials, the lodge is an excellent example of National Park Service Rustic design. It is the only remaining completely original structure of the lodges designed by Underwood for Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The following day, we took the free park shuttle from Ruby’s to Sunset Point where the trailhead for the Navajo loop started. This hike also connects to the Queens Garden trail which is rated easy with less than 700 ft of elevation gain. Easy is a good way to start when you are hiking at 8,000 feet. As usual we did not get a really early start so by 10:30 there were plenty of people on the trails.
That did not take away from the spectacular scenery where you could get close to those massive hoodoos.
Visual overload is what I would call this hike! Four miles of nothing but stunning red rock formations, dotted with green pine trees. At some point, I just had to soak it all in and not worry about taking the perfect picture.
The rocks are sculptured into all sorts of shapes and there really is a formation that looks like the queen on her throne. Can you find her in this next picture?
The last part if the hike was a bit of huffing and puffing as we climbed the 700 feet back up to the canyon rim. Shady switchbacks were a welcome place to stop, gaze at the natural wonder of Bryce Canyon, oh yeah, and catch your breath!