August 2016 – We have been fortunate to visit Bryce Canyon National Park three times in the past, and we often refer to it as our favorite of America’s National Parks. But this fourth visit with our RV was sensational.
We overheard a ranger telling a newcomer that the best way to see Bryce Canyon National Park is to drive the 20 miles or so straight to the very far south end of the Park at Rainbow Point and then to turn around and drive back slowly, stopping at all the overlooks on the way back.
If you are into saving the best for last, then this strategy is fine. It’s also great for easing traffic congestion at the main part of the park.
However, we say, “Life is short, so eat dessert first!” and “Go for the gusto!”
Our suggestion is to drive (or take the Park Shuttle) directly to the Inspiration Point parking lot, walk straight out to the rim, and feel the breath get sucked right out of you as you gape in awe at the wondrous landscape laid out in front of you.
Then, just like every other one of the thousands of tourists alongside you, you’ve gotta get a selfie. Of all the backdrops for self-portrait, this has to be one of the best.
The thing that sets Bryce Canyon National Park apart from all other magnificent, world class canyons, including its nearby little sister, Cedar Breaks National Monument is the jaw-dropping symmetry of the red rock formations.
That wind and rain can join forces to carve sandstone into rows and rows of nearly identical pinnacles is extraordinary. There are legions and legions of hoodoos in this red rock army!!
Bryce Canyon National Park is a fantastic area for photography, and we shot five thousand images between us during our stay.
Bryce Canyon National Park is a massive amphitheater of red rock pinnacles and pink and white striped spires. It’s as if the gods were playing on a huge red sand beach and created a million giant dribble castles.
There is a wonderful trail along the rim of the canyon that is wide and smooth and easy to walk on. There are also many hiking trails into the heart of the canyon where you have a view from the base of these towers looking up towards the sky. From Inspiration Point we could spot a few of these trails in the distance.
Some of the hikes are really popular and we could see people starting their hikes on the far side.
Here and there on the rim, a pine tree clung to the edge with a tenacious grip.
Following the Rim Trail up a steep climb past a series of overlooks, the final overlook is on top of the world and has a view across the entire canyon to the mountains, cliffs and valleys beyond. What a place to spot a soaring eagle!
We are morning people, and we love getting out on the trail at dawn. One morning, the sun peaked through storm clouds in dramatic fashion.
The rising sun lit a ponderosa pine in beautiful shades of vivid orange.
Even at this early hour, we were far from alone on the trail. Some people brought cups of coffee and wrapped themselves in blankets to see the sun rise. Others brought fancy cameras and tripods and staked out spots for beautiful photos.
All of us lined up and faced the far side of the Canyon, which is due east, like little birds sitting on a telephone wire.
As I walked along the rim enjoying the glow of the sunrise light, I noticed a camera sitting on a tree branch. It was still displaying the image of a guy holding his hands out towards the rising sun. But the guy was nowhere to be seen!
When the final shades of pink faded to gray and the sun peeked over the horizon, everyone at the rim seemed to let out a collective sigh and begin to chat with each other. There were smiles all around.
The Rim Trail goes both north and south from Inspiration Point, and a walk in each direction is worthwhile, especially when the sky lights up at sunrise.
Of course, Bryce Canyon National Park is all about vivid color, and the oranges, pinks, yellows and whites of the sandstone blending together in mesmerizing patterns. But even when the color is taken away, a black and white image of the Park is alluring.
Heading south a few paces from Inspiration Point one afternoon, we came across a different kind of red rock hoodoo than the precision cut ones seen in the views as you face north. These were more haphazard and jagged and they glowed in the afternoon light.
As the sun lowered in the sky, the craggy rock formations seemed to be lit from within.
In the same way that sunrise casts an angelic glow across Bryce Canyon in the morning, the light in the late afternoon becomes a rich orange, and it lit up the backside of a pine tree perched on the rim.
The sun sets behind the Canyon, that is, it sets behind your back as you face Bryce Canyon’s views. But once it has sunk below the horizon, the eastern sky takes on the unique pink and blue hues of dusk in the desert.
Inspiration Point is truly the most dazzling part of Bryce Canyon National Park, and whether you have three hours or nearly three weeks to explore the Park, as we did, it is a thrilling place to start.
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More info about Bryce Canyon National Park:
- Bryce Canyon National Park Official Website – National Park Service Website
- Maps of Bryce Canyon National Park – National Park Service Maps
- Location of Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
- RV/Tent Campgrounds in Bryce Canyon – Dry camping for small / medium RVs inside the National Park
- Ruby’s Inn RV Park – Full hookups and Big Rig Friendly in nearby Bryce Canyon City
- Red Canyon Campground – Beautiful dry camping with 6-8 campsites big enough for our 36′ fifth wheel trailer. Several were available during our stay.
More blog posts from our RV trips to Bryce Canyon
- Spring in Sarasota FL + Bryce Canyon’s Night Skies – in Trailer Life 04/04/17
- Bryce Canyon’s Rainbow Point – Bristlecone Pines and Sweeping Vistas 11/01/16
- The Waterfall at Bryce Canyon National Park – “Mossy Cave” 10/18/16
- Red Canyon Utah and the Bryce Canyon Bike Trail! 10/13/16
- Bryce Canyon Gone Wild – Tempests, Rainbows & Wildlife 10/09/16
- Fairyland Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park – A Beautiful Hike! 10/02/16
- Bryce Canyon – Hiking The Rim & Navajo Loop + A Tourist Time-lapse! 09/29/16
- Bryce Canyon, UT – Fairyland of Pink Turrets 08/25/08
Related posts from our RV travels:
- Our RV travels in Southwestern Utah – Bryce, Zion and Capitol Reef area
- Our RV travels in Southeastern Utah – Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands area
- Our RV travels to Sedona Arizona – Red Rock Country in AZ
- Our travels to North America’s National Parks – National Parks and World Heritage Sites in the US, Canada and Mexico
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