Last summer, when my friends and I visited Zion National Park, we heard about the trails of another park in Utah, and so, this year, when the children had spring break, we decided to go back to Utah, this time to visit Bryce Canyon.
The Canyon has no shortage of fantastic scenery. Viewing the peculiar formations of rock shapes from the canyon rim is a remarkable experience, but to really enjoy this fantasyland, you need to hike down below the rim. Queen’s Garden Trail from Sunrise Point is where your imagination can run wild. You hike alongside bizarre rock shapes known as “hoodoos,” which have been eroded from a thick layer of soft, sedimentary rock deposited over 60 million years ago. From Sunset Point, you can look down to Bryce Amphitheater, where the highest concentrations of hoodoos are found.
For photographers, Bryce Canyon has some of the most beautiful scenes to be found anywhere in the world. The brilliant afternoon sunlight bounces off the rocks’ deep reds, oranges, yellows and browns, and the pure white of the snow, contrasts with the green of the pine trees and the blue of the sky, creating a treat for the eyes. But no photo can do such beauty justice.
While in Bryce, we also had about a two and a half mile hike down to two spectacular slot canyons, Spooky and Peek-a-boo Gulch, about twenty-six miles along on a dirt road called “Hole-in-the-Rock Road,” south of the town of Escalante. Both our kids had the best time hiking in the deep and constantly twisting and turning slots, and the eerie and haunting experience is captured in the canyons’ names. We had to squeeze our way through in some places that were so tight that we had to hold our backpacks and cameras over our heads as we walked through sideways. When we came to some pools, we had to use our hands and feet to get across, all the while surrounded by spectacular lights, shadows, and colors.
After four days in wilderness, we returned to civilization, and came back home to beautiful California. In four weeks, we will go back to Arizona’s Grand Canyon to finish our dream hike: “Rim to River to Rim,” in a single day.