Well, summer vacation has come and gone. I’m always so excited for this time of year but it goes by too quickly. We still have months of camping left but our annual summer road trip is officially in the books.
We love Utah and have visited Zion National Park several times, so for our summer vacation we decided to visit several more Utah national parks. Our plan was Bryce Canyon, Arches & Canyonlands National Parks. Our trip didn’t work out exactly as planned but we still had a great time and we learned more of what we like and dislike. All good things to know!Bryce Canyon National Park was our first stop and is absolutely amazing. I’ve always thought pictures of Bryce are gorgeous but nothing pales in comparison to the live version. I highly recommend adding Bryce to your bucket list. I could not get enough of the hoodoos. Since I mentioned hoodoos, let’s clear this up. Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon. Canyons are carved by water and it was not. It is a grouping of hoodoos that were formed by weathering and erosion. Bryce experiences approximately 200 days of freeze-thaw each year. Water gets in the cracks during the day and freezes over night. Over time this process chips away at the formations and creates the hoodoos. Nature is so cool.
We attended the geology ranger talk and learned so much about the geology of the entire Southern Utah/Northern Arizona region. I love the ranger led programs and highly suggest attending one in each park you visit.
Bryce has the second darkest sky of all the national parks and we timed our trip around new moon so that we could experience a really awesome night sky. Bryce even has dark sky rangers and special astronomy programs complete with night sky viewing. Unfortunately we had clouds every night we were there so we didn’t get to see what we had hoped. 🙁 My favorite hike in Bryce was the Moss Cave trail. It was really short, only .8 miles, and follows a river. You have to leave the park to get to this trail and we did not see a sign on the road marking the trail. Once you are in the parking lot there is a sign though. The entire walk was beautiful and is a great trail for kids. The trail itself goes to an area where you can view the waterfall but you can also walk up the river to get to the waterfall. We chose the river option and had a blast playing in the river.
We did not do as much hiking as I would have liked because I have been struggling with foot issues and long distance hiking was not in the cards. I would love to have hiked into the hoodoos and will definitely come back to do that. We stopped at many of the view points and each offered a different perspective of Bryce. There is a trail that goes along the rim and we walked along that for a while. Similar to the Grand Canyon, we saw so many people stepping over railings to get a better picture or walking out on crazy ledges, also usually for a picture. Please be careful, friends. Those railings are there for our safety. You can get just as good of a picture from a few feet back. It’s not worth risking your life.
We stayed in the North Campground and were very happy. The bathrooms were incredibly clean, as was the campground. Even the sites were really clean. I was rather impressed. We were in Loop A, site 13. Our site was not terribly far from the entrance to the park and was next to the campground path that led to the visitor center. People occasionally walked by our campsite but it was not intrusive. The sites on the outer edge of Loop A seemed to be the best campsites in this loop as they had the most privacy. I highly recommend Bryce Canyon. Of all the parks we have visited this is one that is at the top of my list and one I would love to return to.
SUMMER ROAD TRIP 2015
This post is one of several from our summer road trip. Visit these other links to read about the rest of our travels.