UTAH NATIONAL PARKS - BRYCE CANYON & ZION

During the time of Covid19 we concluded that international travel was out, but how about a short hop to Utah? We decided that the one-hour trip flying Southwest Airlines - with middle seats empty and masks mandatory - was safe, so off we went!

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BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK

Bryce Canyon in an insanely photogenic place. In person the endless infinitely varied formations and views never cease to be mesmerizing.  A camera really cannot capture the majesty of this place.  Here is a taste, but you just have to visit.

We started at the at the top rim looking down into the canyon.  

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We then began our hike down into the Canyon on the Queen’s Garden trail.  We were here in October, the peak season, so there were lots of visitors.  But this did not detract from our immense enjoyment of this magic place.

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As you all may know, these things pictured below are hoodoos.  But do you know why? Back when the Paiute Indians lived here they knew that the people before them had a powerful god who turned wicked people to stone and put them in this Canyon.  They would look at these things and say “who do you think that was?” and this was shortened to “hoodoo”.  And from the looks of this canyon, there were a LOT of wicked people back then.

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The hike involved many interesting “doors” and “windows”. And multicolored vistas.

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The Queen’s Garden trail we hiked connects with the Navajo Loop which ended with a dramatic a hike through a slot canyon called “Wall Street” and then a demanding climb on many switchbacks up to the Rim.

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Here is a panorama from Inspiration point - the highest point on the rim, looking back down into this majestic canyon.

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There are many very nice places to stay near Bryce Canyon National Park. For example, the Stone Canyon Inn has lovely accommodations, excellent dining and is close to the back entrance to the Park, so you can hike right in without the long drive to the main entrance followed by a long bus ride to the rim.   

ZION NATIONAL PARK

 

Introduction to the park

We stayed in Springdale, adjacent to the Park, and took the shuttle into the park to our first hiking adventure.  During Covid19, no private cars were allowed in the park.  On the way in we were introduced to its majestic vistas.

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The Narrows

A unique experience at Zion is hiking the Narrows – which is a hike in the riverbed of  a river running through a narrow rocky canyon.  We had never done anything like that before and it was FUN!  At some spots we were waist deep in a very narrow slot, but mostly shallow.

Angel's Landing

The next morning we did the other signature hike – climbing up the Angel’s Landing hike.  A 1500 foot elevation rise.  Chris knew he could not do this whole hike – too much climbing – so after an initial ascent together Sarah shot ahead while he just plugged along as far as he could.  The views of the valley and the mountains as you climb were awesome.

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Leaving Zion

The drive out of the park on our way to Bryce Canyon the next morning offered more spectacular sights.

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There are many nice places to stay in Springdale. We stayed at a lovely resort, the Desert Pearl Inn.  And we experienced excellent dining at restaurants in town, such as The Switchback Grille and the Spotted Dog Cafe.

 

I'd love to help plan your trip to these fabulous parks!