We decided to go to Bryce Canyon today. We knew that we’d split the week between Bryce and Zion, and everyone told us that we’d want to spend the majority of time in Zion – so we figured that spending the first day in Bryce would let us know if we needed to go back again. The park was incredibly beautiful, but I feel content with spending the one day.
The majority of people that visit Bryce Canyon National Park stay in the northern area near the entrance, which is why there are shuttles that pick up outside the park and runs through that area every 10 minutes. If we were going to stay in that area, the shuttle would have been smart – parking was a hassle. Since we were going all the way into the park, we drove – and there weren’t really any crowds.
We started by driving the 17 mile scenic drive to the final stop, Rainbow Point. There, we took a short hike through the Bristle Cone Pine Loop. As you can see from the video, the vista is amazing, but what really drew me to this hike are the Bristle Cone Pine trees. These trees are uniquely suited to the harsh winds and regular fires. The ones here can be as old as 1,700 years old, and in California there are ones that are almost 5,000 years old – that makes them the oldest species on the planet.
The scenic drive out was punctuated by numerous stops at a variety of scenic views. It’s amazing how different the same area can look from different angles and elevations. I’ve included a couple of pictures and videos, but will have to put together more of a slideshow later. Even after leaving the park, the views were wonderful. It’s hard to imagine that this is just the drive back and forth. As we got closer to where we’re staying, we saw deer right on the side of the road. We could never have guessed their reaction, but it’s too funny to not post here.