Bryce Canyon, My Favorite Stop - Days 24-2610:39 AM
After our visit to the Grand Canyon, I really though everything else would pale in comparison. Boy, was I wrong. We headed to Bryce Canyon in Utah and the views just driving there were amazing. The weather was just as nice, with highs in the 70's and low 80's and the hoodoos, formations and night sky views we found there were enough to give the Grand Canyon a run for its money. In fact, Bryce Canyon is my favorite stop on our trip so far.
Bryce Canyon has two campgrounds, numerous trails and great amenities, including coin showers, laundry and a well stocked general store. When we first drove into the National Park, I was a little disappointed. Right outside its gates are tons of tourist traps and the whole area is very commercialized, which is way different than most parks we visited. However, once inside, the quite and beauty of the National Park showed through like any other, and even though it was a weekend and the park was very busy, we hardly noticed.
Our first evening we just setup camp, picked up our Junior Ranger books and toured the visitor center exhibits. The second day, we really got into the park. A short drive and then a hike of less than a mile will reward you with a view of Mossy Cave as well as a creek and waterfall. The boys were itching to get in the water, but we were unprepared and made plans to come back the next day. We also took a visit to Fairyland Canyon, where we took a short hike to grab some great photos of the never ending hoodoos in this particular area.
Sometimes, it can be hard to talk the boys into a longer hike. When you say, "Hey, let's go walk for 2-3 hours," it can sometimes be a huge turn off. However, every time I actually get them out there, they love it. This was one of those time. I wanted to walk the Navajo Loop trail and then go through the Queen's Garden. The whole trail was about a 3 mile circle and is supposed to be one of the most amazing hikes in the area. I finally drug the boys out and we were rewarded with great sites and beautiful weather. After a hard hike, I gave in and let the boys play in the creek and waterfall a bit before dinner.
Our visit to Bryce Canyon wouldn't be complete without experiencing their night sky program. The park has a whole band of Dark Rangers who run nighttime programs After the 9pm program about the night sky, we headed out to the visitor's center to view Saturn, a dying star, twin star and other wonders in the night sky through the park's professional level telescopes. It was a real thrill for the boys and we were out until almost midnight marveling about possible worlds far away.
If your headed out to Utah this summer, definitely make Bryce Canyon one of your stop for their lower temperatures, beautiful sites and in-depth Ranger Programs. I promise you won't be disappointed.