We stayed at Kodachrome Basin State Park campground for our visit to the mesmerizing Bryce Canyon National State Park. There were no cell phone services nor Internet in the basin. It was a forty-minute drive to Bryce Canyon from our campground. But campgrounds at Bryce Canyon are usually booked up months ahead and we were lucky to be able to reserve a site for two nights just days ahead.
We were so excited to visit Bryce Canyon, a unique place with world’s largest collection of hoodoos. The first three miles of the park has the most breathtaking views of the spectacular Bryce Amphitheater. Bryce Amphitheater is located on the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Weathering and erosion etched the pink Claron limestone of the amphitheaters and created this surreal landscape.
The Visitor Center of Bryce Canyon has public Wi-Fi. Cell phone services are available at Bryce Canyon. From April through October, there are free shuttle buses before the park entrance running every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., taking tourists to the most popular viewpoints.
It was late in the afternoon, so we headed to Sunset Point first. Walked to the overlook deck, a forest of pink and salmon colored hoodoos, columns, pinnacles, buttresses, and walls of red rocks unfolded in the valley. The color of the rock formations was not the best in the late afternoon because the amphitheaters face east. Sunrise Point has similar scenery as that of Sunset Point. We went back to Sunset Point to watch the sunset. As the sun was sinking on the west, the colors of the hoodoos were fading, but a smear of golden hues were painted on the tallest rim of the canyon and the distant mountains.
The next morning, we arrived at Bryce Point of Bryce Canyon at about 8 a.m. The colors of the hoodoos reach their best 30 to 40 minutes after sunrise. Hoodoos glowed with gold and orange hues. Some of the hoodoos, fins and walls glowed as if they were on fire. The vista at Inspiration Point was even better. I climbed up the steep slope and to the highest overlook point. The sweeping view of the Bryce Amphitheater was the best in the park. On the left is a forest of hoodoos called Silent City. Lines of hoodoos with similar shapes congregate together. The conformity of the grooves on each hoodoo of this group demonstrate the delft skills of our mother nature. On the right is the prominent Wall of Windows riding high in the canyon. There are two holes almost at the same height on the wall of rocks. Here you will find a kaleidoscope of rock formations. Some of the spires look like Cathedrals. Columns of rocks form castles. A single tree grow proudly in a wall of castle below. The white cap of some rock formations look like snow. Bryce Amphitheater is truly a masterpiece of nature.
The Sunset Point was not crowded early in the morning and we were able to find a parking spot. The bouncing light among the rock formations near “Thor’s Hammer” made that group aglow like a golden palace. The tall walls of “Wall Street” was orange hot. Next to the Wall Street is a yellow colored rock formation where a little green tree stood high and proud on top of the ridge.
Drove 18 miles to the southern end of the park, we were at Rainbow Point/Yovimpa Point area. The Bristlecone Loop Trail was closed due to the fire caused by lightning. This is the highest point of the park at an elevation of 9,115 feet. Here you could see landscape 200 miles away. On our return trip we stopped at Agua Canyon and Natural Bridge. The balanced rocks at Agua Canyon were picturesque. Yellow leaves of a couple of quacking aspen were dancing in the morning breeze near the Natural Bridge. It is technically a giant arch spanning across the hill side.
We returned to Sunset Point again to hike part of the Navajo Loop Trail. The parking lot was packed. I took the winding trail down to the Wall Street section. The vertical rock walls rose high like skyscrapers. The golden color of the rock walls burned my eyes. Deep down there, a gap exists between two vertical walls. I supposed the trail goes through that gap. I returned after half way down to Wall Street. Then I hiked to the section where the Thor’s Hammer is. There is another rock formations with two windows along the trail. I don’t know why that balanced rock is called Thor’s Hammer. To me, it looks like a standing person. I wonder if these frozen rock formations would become alive at midnight when nobody present. An evening walk among the hoodoos might be a different experience. Maybe you could hear the sounds from the rocks. What a surreal place Bryce Canyon is!