With only half a day at Great Basin NP, I took a further detour to southwestern Utah, hoping to take in a brief stay at Bryce Canyon national park before heading straight for eastern LA. During the summer, one could do the national park trifecta: Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Grand Canyon. However, the north rim of Grand Canyon is closed in the winter.
(Warning: lots of photos.)
The welcome sign when you cross the Utah border is somewhat optimistic of the view you get at the border. However, the sign lacks the shotgun holes featured on the sign you’ll see when crossing into Nevada.
|Welcome to Utah||Always tip well in Nevada…||Lush alpine my a…|
As I approached Bryce Canyon from the west, I passed through Red Canyon, a shallow valley surrounded by spectacular orance sandstone. This was taken as the sun was starting to go down, thus the reds are even deeper.
The rocks that look like they’re balancing on the mountain are called “hoodoos.”
I spent the night in Ruby’s Inn, a Best Western located close to the park entrance. I have to admit I wasn’t optimistic from the brochure, but this turned out to be a nice motel. Adjacent to the facility was a general store, restaurant, gas station, and 24 hour photo. Except for the obvious tourist souvenirs (like the Bryce Canyon chocolate, which appears to be standard variety), everything was reasonably priced and the grocery store was well-stocked.
I checked out before sunrise. The temperature outside was somewhere in the teens, and the thick layer of ice on my windshield was impervious to my ice scraper. I bought a bigger one in the store, plus some milk for breakfast later. I scraped off a circle large enough to get moving, and went to the park.
I stopped at Bryce Point, about 5 miles inside the park, and hiked along the rim trail. Elevation was about 8,100′, and according to the trusty windchill calculator, it felt like -2F, which in partical terms, is much colder than I was reasonably dressed for. Withouth gloves or my trusty hiking boots, I lasted about 40 minutes before my fingers got painfully numb and I couldn’t take any more photos.
The views were spectacular, though.
I needed to warm up, so I left the park with the heater running on full blast. Bryce Canyon would definitely be worth coming back to for another photoshoot. The lower rim trails would be spectacular at sunset, and I’ve heard stargazing is great.