September 2016 – Our stay in Bryce Canyon National Park had been a wonderful immersion in orange and pink spires along the Rim Trail and on the new bike path that runs between Red Canyon and Inspiration Point. We’d even found a waterfall at Mossy Cave.
At the far south end of the Bryce Canyon National Park, we hiked the Bristlecone Loop around Rainbow Point. We didn’t see a rainbow over the canyon, as we had at Fairyland Point, but the views were sensational.
This end of Bryce Canyon is the highest point in the whole National Park, about 9,100 feet in elevation, and it is just the kind of wind blown, rocky place that ancient bristlecone pines love to make home.
As we walked out on a bluff, we came across a large stand of bristlecone pine trees that had finally given up the ghost. Unlike the living 1,600 year old bristlecone pine we’d seen a month earlier at Cedar Breaks National Monument whose gnarled branches were vibrantly alive and covered with soft pine needles and pine cones tucked into its craggy skeleton, these trees were totally bare.
They stood together, as if continuing an ageless conversation that had begun long ago, and their wood was bleached by the sun.
When I touched their branches and knocked on the trunks with my knuckles, their wood was as hard as rock and felt very dense.’
The stand of bristlecone pines numbers just a few dozen trees, but each raised its branches to the heavens in its own graceful way.
At our feet, the trees cast beautiful shadows across the ground.
The trees stand near the edge of a sheer cliff, and as we walked along the rim and looked back, we got an eye-popping view of the scale of people standing on the cliff, the tree skeletons, and the huge drop down.
The National Park Service wisely warns people not to go too close to the edge, but it’s hard to resist…
Back near the start of the trail we came across a group of people staring intently into the woods, their cameras and cell phones held high.
Tip-toeing over to join them and see what they were looking at, we saw a beautiful buck nibbling on leaves in the bushes. He paused to stare at us all and then went back to munching the tender leaves.
We wrapped up our hike around the Bristlecone Loop and began to say our sad goodbyes to Bryce Canyon National Park.
We’d had an extraordinary visit this year, and we’d had a chance to take in some of the most beautiful spots in the Park. But we still haven’t seen it all, and we’ve made notes of the places we want to visit next time…
If you are planning an RV trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, there is an awful lot to see and experience. Below are some links to help you plan your adventure:
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Here are some more links for planning a visit to Bryce Canyon National Park and doing the Mossy Cave hike:
- Bristlecone Hike at Rainbow Point – NPS Official Website
- Bryce Canyon National Park General Info – National Park Service Website
- 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.
- Location of Rainbow Point in Bryce Canyon National Park – Interactive Google Maps
More blog posts from our RV trips to Bryce Canyon
- 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 National Park, Utah – Inspiration Point – OMG! 09/27/16
- 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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