Bryce Canyon National Park (Map) and its expansive collection of fiery orange “hoodoos” (also called fairy chimney or earth pyramid) looks like it’s straight out of a Martian movie. The snow-capped hoodoo rock spirals, all clustered together like huddles of penguins that seem to coordinate their dips and undulations, is quite ethereal.
BUT FIRST… Quick tip TO DRIVING THROUGH CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK
We allocated an extra day just for the drive from Canyonlands to Bryce, passing through Capitol Reef National Park, and the famed number 12 Scenic Highway that takes you up incredible altitudes to once again, see the snow covered trees and mountains below you. Capitol Reef is DEFINITELY an underrated national park. Whilst there are multi-day hikes for those intense climbers, our quick hike through the Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge trails were stunning!
BRYCE NATIONAL PARK ONE DAY ITINERARY
Bryce Amphitheatre: Start your day with the grandest, most epic views are over Bryce Amphitheatre, where the biggest expanse of the hoodoos are. Stop over at Bryce Point and Inspiration Point for sunrise and sunset, and watch the hoodoos change colour in sync with the sky (funnily enough it’s NOT Sunrise or Sunset Point!).
Rainbow Point Road: We then quickly made our way up the road to Rainbow Point (the highest point of the point at 2778m) having been warned that it might close later in the day due to snowy weather. The altitude climbs quickly, and it’s easy to stop at each of the dozens of viewpoints for a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LANDSCAPE and rocky phenomenon e.g. Natural Bridge, Ponderosa Canyon and Yovimpa Point. Mother Nature never runs out of surprises!
Queen’s Garden/Navajo Combination Loop: This is the most popular trail in the park, with multiple versions of varying lengths – and the combination takes you through the best points over 5km. Having seen the hoodoos from above, then being able to walk amongst them is INCREDIBLE. It’s only when you’re looping through the base, you realise just how tall, how uniquely shaped and coloured each one of them is. Rocks shaped like the Queen’s head, Thor’s Hammer, and my personal favourite, Two Bridges (rock stretched across hoodoos like a bridge), are some of the fascinating shapes along the way.
Our trek through the snow doubled the 2 – 3 hour hike into more like 4 hours and I got jealous of seeing those equipped with snow boots and ice-grips walking through the snow as if it was normal ground at double our speed 😦 The relatively minimal snow cover and slopes down to the base of the hoodoos meant the footpaths were all super icy and difficult for us – but all of the incredibly unique rocks, coupled with snowing during our hike just made it one of my most memorable hikes EVER!
After this intense Winter hike, we felt pretty accomplished and exhausted – ready for a bowl of steaming hot 2 minute noodles back in our Hurricane Airbnb because the famed, Zion National Park is just around the corner for tomorrow 😀
READ ABOUT MY ZION NATIONAL PARK TRIP HERE!