Explore the beauty of Bryce


(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

One of the most interesting and sought-after national parks in the United States is Bryce Canyon. Nothing else comes close to the beauty of the red rock — especially in the autumn. Tourists come from all around the world just to look at the naturally forming hoodoos and cliff faces, and I suggest you spend your Fall Break doing the same.

Bryce Canyon National Park is a little more than a four-hour drive south of Salt Lake City. Fill up with gas in Beaver — it’s the last chance for a while, and it’s a little more expensive once you reach Panguitch.

The most exciting land feature you’ll see before arriving at the park is the Red Arch Tunnel, which you can drive through. Once you arrive at Bryce Canyon, you’ll have to pay an entrance fee. After that, there are two campgrounds inside the park at which you should be able to reserve a spot prior to leaving on your trip.

If you arrive in the evening, the best time to view the entire amphitheatre will be at either sunset or sunrise, because the shadows from every hoodoo will enhance the scene.

The first overlook you’ll come to is Sunrise Point. When the first light of the day hits the spot, the hills sing. The colors come alive. You can hike into this natural amphitheatre by following the Queens Garden Trail. Hoodoos tower above you as you walk. But don’t get too distracted by the rock formations — it’s a long way down to the bottom if you slip and fall.

Once you finish the Queens Garden loop you’ll meet a junction — you can either head back to the top of Sunset Point or continue doing another hike called Peek-A-Boo Loop. Follow the latter, if you have the time. It’s a blast walking in and out of the strange land formations. Be sure to bring a lot of water with you on the trail because there aren’t any filling-up stations until you get back to the top.

Once you get back to your car, stick around for the sunset. While you’re waiting, practice a special trick with ponderosa pine trees. Put your nose to the tree and take a whiff. There should be a slight sent of vanilla. If so, then you’ve correctly identified a ponderosa.

At your campsite, cook up some dinner and wait for the stars. Since Bryce is so far away from any major metropolitan areas, there is little light pollution to get in your way of viewing the Milky Way. But don’t stay out stargazing too late because you have one more destination to see the next day before you head home to Salt Lake City: Bryce Point.

This location allows you to view the entire landscape that Bryce Canyon has to offer all at once. Take it in and enjoy the beauty around you this Fall Break.

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