As we left Heber City and the striking Wasach Range behind, we embarked on a new adventure further south towards the magnificent Bryce Canyon National Park. Awe-inspiring views awaited us, and we decided to settle at the Rubys Inn RV Park for several days, which proved to be a great choice.
The journey to Bryce on Scenic Byway 12, known as one of the most beautiful drives in the United States, allowed us to get a taste of what was to come. The road wound through vibrant and diverse landscapes, from red rock cliffs to dense forests and wide-open valleys.
Bryce Canyon National Park has a rich and interesting history, and we learned all about it at the visitor center. We were fascinated to learn that the park wasn’t a canyon at all, but rather a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved by erosion over millions of years. It was also home to an array of unique wildlife, including mountain lions, pronghorns, and elk.
Our first full day at the park was dedicated to exploring the wonders of the Bryce Amphitheater. We started by taking the 15-mile Southern Scenic Drive, which winds its way through the park, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Each lookout offered a different perspective, and we stopped at each one to take it all in. We particularly enjoyed Natural Bridge,a massive formation which spans 85 feet and is sculpted from sedimentary red rock, rich in iron oxide, of the Claron Formation.
The Rainbow Point lookout was another highlight, where we hiked along the rim to the southernmost lookout at Yovimpa Point. The stunning vistas at each lookout were truly unforgettable, and we couldn’t get enough of the natural beauty surrounding us. Click on thumbnail to view image
Southern Rim Scenic Drive
After a full day of exploring, we headed back to the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge, a charming lodge constructed in the 1920s, The lodge’s rustic architecture and cozy atmosphere transported us back in time,
Video Tour of Scenic Byway 12 and Bryce Canyon Southern Rim
Queen Garden Hike
After a restful night’s sleep, we were ready for a day of adventure. Our next excursion was the Queens Garden Hike, one of the most popular and scenic trails in Bryce Canyon National Park.
The hike took us deep into the Amphitheater, a natural wonderland of striking geological formations known as hoodoos. These magnificent pillars of rock were formed over millions of years by a process called frost wedging. Water seeps into cracks in the rock and then freezes, expanding and causing the rock to break apart. Over time, this process created the stunning hoodoos that we were now surrounded by.
The Queens Garden Hike was a moderate hike that started at Sunrise Point and wound its way down into the Amphitheater, passing by hoodoos in a range of colors and shapes. As we descended deeper into the canyon, we felt like we were entering another world. The quiet and serene atmosphere of the park engulfed us, and we were in awe of the sheer beauty that surrounded us.
At the bottom of the canyon, we reached the Queen’s Garden, an area filled with hoodoos one of which resembles Queen Victoria. The sights were truly incredible, and we spent hours exploring the area and marveling at the geological wonders that surrounded us.
The hike back up to Sunset Point was a bit of a challenge, but the breathtaking views along the way made it all worthwhile. The hoodoos seemed to change colors and shapes as the sun rose higher in the sky, casting shadows and creating an otherworldly ambiance. Click on thumbnail to view image
Driving Scenic Route12 to Escalante
After completing our hike we decided to drive the 50 miles into Escalante Utah for dinner and to see more of historic Route 12 Scenic Byway. Route 12 is a National Scenic Byway that stretches over 120 miles through Utah’s picturesque landscape. It was designated as an “All-American Road” by the US Department of Transportation, which is the highest recognition possible for a scenic byway in the United States.
The route was initially used by indigenous peoples, such as the Paiute and Anasazi, as a trade and migration route for thousands of years. Later, the area was explored by Spanish explorers and then utilized by Mormon pioneers in the mid-1800s. The construction of the road started in the 1930s as a way to improve the access to remote towns and mining operations in the area.
Escalante is a small town in Garfield County, Utah, with a rich history that dates back to the late 1800s. Originally settled by Mormon pioneers, the town was named after the Spanish Franciscan missionary, Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante, who explored the region in the 18th century. Escalante is known for its delicious food and warm hospitality. As we made our way to the Escalante Outfitters, we were struck by the unique and eclectic vibe of the town. Stepping into the rustic eatery, we were greeted by the smell of freshly baked pizza. The pizza itself was nothing short of divine. Click on thumbnail to view image
As we made our way back to our car, the sun was beginning to set, casting a warm glow over the surrounding mountains. The light danced across the landscape, highlighting the stunning natural beauty of the area. In the distance, we could see the magnificent Barney Top, an iconic landmark that has stood tall for millions of years. What a great end to a great day and the end of our stay at Bryce Canyon.