This was to be our only hike down into the Bryce Canyon National Park, as we only had one time for a one night stop.
The trail is rated as moderate hike and it was certainly okay for me, who sits behind a desk for the most part of the year. All you need to do is to remember to take with you plenty of water, some nuts, wear some decent hiking boots and realise that you will be walking down at the beginning and therefore will be climbing (I use climbing in its loosest term) back up at the end.
The trail will give you a great insight into the wonders that the park has to offer. Plenty of arches, caves and beautiful hoodoos.
Because of the high elevation of the park and the fact that it's so far away from "civilization," there are some great stargazing opportunities in this area. The National Park Service offers some stargazing programs at the visitor's center and moonlit guided hikes but but we were lucky enough to be in the area on a cold moonless November night and just stargazed by ourselves. We drove about a mile away from Bryce Canyon City towards the park and parked our car a parking lot by the entrance to the park. We were the only ones out there. After shutting off all the lights from the car and giving our eyes about 10 minutes to adjust, it was amazing to see how many stars we could see. Living in the city, I have never seen so many stars! We definitely wanted to stay longer but it was 29 degrees outside and we were freezing. Plus it was so eerie to be in a place that was so quiet. There were no cars, no wind, no animals.....it was an experience in itself to be somewhere that was practically noiseless!
From Sunset Point, the Navajo Loop, now Navajo Trail, leads down into the main bowl of Bryce Canyon. It was once a loop, spliting just below the Sunset Point Overlook. Because of a rock fall in the October or November 2006, the loop is now closed. To see what you missed, check out my General Tip on 'Wall Street'
The Silent City, which looks so imposing in the summer, is barely visible in the winter due to the thick blanket of snow that covers its walls. Unfortunately, the thick snow also covered the trail, making it difficult to follow. Add some winds and postholing to the journey and it made me rethink the whole hiking below the rim idea for this trip.
Several people braved the conditions and headed down into Fairyland Canyon. A few did it on skis, which seemed like a good idea. With the right clothing and right gear, hiking below the rim is difficult but not impossible.
The dramatic visual effects of Bryce in the winter are overwhelming. The difference in between the golden landscape of summer, lush in some areas and toasy brown in all respects and the still white winter scene six months later, many trees devoid of leaves and brown mixed with powder white snow, is simply amazing. I'd highly recommend visiting Bryce in both seasons, but if you have to choose only one, go with winter.
I absolutely Love these hoodoos! Rough hewed, pink and orange limestone pillars standing side-by-side and marching off into the distance. I really wanted to get down within them!!! Unfortunately we arrived during a time when they had had very little snowfall, but it started to snow soon after we arrived and continued all night and the next day. Because of this the trails were slippery and it was warned that hiking was a dangerous activity. Also, many of the trails had been closed, which you will find is common in the winter months. There are about 50 miles of trails in the park. These trails will take you down below the rim for a closer view of these colorful formations. Don’t forget that this park is at a high altitude, so take your time and adjust to it. Also, remember that these trails are steep, and your return trip will be uphill. Summer hiking can be very hot, be sure to carry plenty of drinking water and wear sturdy hiking boots any time you venture into the Hoodoos. If you own a hiking stick, you will find that it is very useful while hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park. You will be able to pick up maps and information about the various trails at the visitor center. The web page listed below is a wonderful resource that will allow you to chose the level and length of hiking trails you are interested in, then will give you information about the trails, their length, etc.
Bryce Canyon National Park's number one, two, and third thing to do, is gaze upon the hundreds of "hoodoos", the white to pink to red stone pinnacles that rise from the floor of the canyon to the rim. These natural wind, rain, and time structured stone wonderment will amaze you. There are view turnouts to park your vehicle and walk around the rim or down trails to view these oddities of nature. Early morning or just before sunset is a great time to visit to see the shadow effects on the stone. Make sure you stop by the Visitors Center to get the canyon information.
There still are ranchers around here, and they have open grazing rights. These are some of those cabins they stay in, or have in the past. The little one is a rebuilt cabin of Ebenezer Bryce, the founder of the area in 1875. He grazed cattle in Bryce park and had a darn hard time finding them at times.
The rides through Ruby's resort area are for 1 1/2 hours, 1/2 day and full day. They go into Bryce, or Escalante Grand Staircase. Ruby's wants you to call to get rates. They say they take you back to where the cowboys roamed, and outlaws hide out from getting caught.
I did find rates on the site, and winter rates of Cot-April 1st are 1 hour is $45; 1/2 day (3 hours) is $75, and full day (5 hours). They take you to Red Canyon mostly.
The sad part is when I was there, I wanted to let the horses loose out of the corral they were penned up in. There were about 25 horses, and you could tell from having to stand up and not able to walk or graze, they are "stir crazy" They also have to reside in their own excrement. It is a sad matter. Maybe some animal protection group should look into a better way to keep the horses sane; like Best Friends Animal Sanctuary?
This is a part of the park that is outside the park and on Hwy 12. It is about 4 miles east from junction Hwy 163 going into the park, and between mile marker 17/18. The stop is well worth it. There is really a cave and a water pool and a cave. The hike is in two parts. The first gets you up to a bridge. Then next does a steep climb to the cave and water area. The hike is about 1 1/4 miles round trip. It is relatively easy, but some loose gravel and steep climbs are prominent. You cross foot bridges to the junction to the water falls.. One is a wide mossy overhang. The waer fall frop is 15 feet and a nice picture moment
This was built in 1930's and has not changed a bit; well maybe upgrade of electrical and water and sewer system. Either way it is like going back in time to enjoy the quality and elegance of the old times. There is a restaurant inside and it serves all meals and packs lunches for trail hiking.
This is a relatively easy hike through the fir and Douglas pines to the edge of the cliffs and overlook the valley. It is one mile hike, and at Rainbow Point at the end of the park road; 18 miles. The hike is worth a short visit to see the different views.
This hike is off the Navajo Loop trail hike and it is more rigorous than some others. The hike is best taken form the Navajo loop. Otherwise you would start at Sunrise Point, or Bryce Point and hike the full 5 miles on a tough trail I went in to the trail about one mile to try and find the hat shops hoodoo's. I did not see any by then, so turned around, tired and ready to go home. The hike was about 2 miles from Navajo junction.
ON the Navajo loop trail of the 5 miles is this wonder. You take the trail from Queens Garden area and it connect to Navajo on a loop. Make the wide swing to the Wall Street slot. After the sites, you walk up a bunch of steps in the rock walls and it has a lot of switchbacks. A bit fatiguing. This is the most interesting part of the hikes I did in the park, just for the absolute steep drop to the slot, and then the slot itself.
This is a 5 miles hike, and some of it challenging to maneuver to and through. I got it done, though. I never could swear I saw the Queen Victoria, but maybe in the rocks somewhere. I did go through where is it located by the arch. Some areas on the trail are steep drop offs, and somewhat intimidating if you have that vertigo; like me.