Bryce Canyon National Park

June 10th ~ Bryce Canyon National Park

Tim and Joanne at Bryce Point

The gusty wind seems to have calmed a smidgen, so we loaded into our tow vehicle, Jethro and headed toward the nearby town of Canyonville to gas up and pick up a couple of items from the local store. While there, we stopped in to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) Visitors Center to inquire about local hikes. 

I had envisioned that there was a real “staircase”, perhaps out of stone to check out. I was surprised to learn that the “staircase” is actually the stepping down of the terrain starting at Bryce National Park, through Zion NP and working all the way down to the Grand Canyon, one geological zone at a time. The 100 mile long Grand Staircase records 525 million years worth of earths history through the layers of stone.

Map showing the different geological levels making up the Grand Staircase

Starting from the Colorado Plateau and Paunsaugunt Plateau where Bryce sits and exposes the Pink Cliffs. Below that are the Gray and then White Cliffs, much of this seen at Zion. Next layer is the Vermilion Cliffs which we passed by a few days earlier and tried to spot the endangered California Condors. Below that are the Chocolate Cliffs, Paria Plateau and Kaibab Plateau which rims the Grand Canyon.

We had two different hikes recommended to us that would give us a bit of experience from GSENM. They were both rated easy and good for photography, Willows Creek and Cottonwood Narrows. But for the moments, we had the information we needed and continued on our way for todays adventure:


Entrance sign to Bryce National Park

Bryce is all about the pillars of stone called Hoodoos. Weather and erosion have created these shapes unlike all but a few places anywhere else on Earth. We visited Cappadocia, Turkey in 2014 and they too have Hoodoos. There are also some found in China and Western Australia.

But here the proliferation and coloring make for spectacular viewing.

We first stopped at the Visitors Center to get our National Park Passport stamped. Do you know about the passports? You can purchase one for $9.99 at any US National Park. It resembles the blue US Passport we use to travel internationally, but this one is simply to be used as a reference guide for our parks and a fun way to keep track of which parks and when you have visited.

After purchasing your passport, you can then stamp it in each of the parks you visit as a souvenir of your visit. We started one years ago, but have since packed it away when we sold our home, so needed to pick up a new one. Below is an example of what the book and a stamp looks like.

Depending upon how much time you have, you can see a little or a lot, (I’m thinking that is rather a silly statement). If you have 1/2 a day and want to concentrate on the overlooks, it was advised to drive the 18 miles along the rim all the way through the park to the end of the line where you will find both Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point. Park once, look twice, as both view points are located from the same parking lot and offer up different landscapes in opposite directions.

Yovimpa Point – Elevation 9115

From there, you can work you way back toward the Visitors Center area, one viewpoint at a time. They will all be on the right hand side of the road on the return, making it much easier to pull in/off the roadway.

Some of the views are better than others of course, but I did not want to miss a thing, even though I had made this same journey years ago. Below are a few snaps I took at some of the viewpoints.

Ponderosa Point – The raven looked at us with indifference

Agua Canyon

Agua Canyon

Natural Bridge

Sad to see much of the forest along the rim has been destroyed by fire

Once you get closer to the Visitors Center the real WOW moments occur. My favorite vistas were Bryce Point, Inspiration Point and Sunset Point. If your time is limited, I would recommend going straight for those vistas. There are also many, many excellent trails into the canyon where you can get much closer and completely different photos.

Here are a few from the Amphitheater lookouts:

Bryce Point – Overlooking the Amphitheater

Gus at Inspiration Point

Tim hugging a tree at Inspiration Point

There are two things that I did not get to on this visit and kicked myself for.  We somehow missed the turnoff for Fairyland Point where I remember seeing an incredible Bristlecone Pine with roots extended up on point, clinging to the edge. We chose not to stop at Mossy Cave because it was getting late and we were both tired and hungry. But please, if you have the time, do not miss this great stop. It was our favorite last time here (other than seeing the Amphitheater).

Tim brought his big Nikon today with a long lens and took some quite different shots than what I was able to get. Here is a slide show of some of his photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I spotted a small herd of Pronghorn deer, but was too slow with my camera to capture a shot.

The RV park is sold out, but we wanted to extend our stay. We are slowly learning the ropes, and found out that they keep a few spaces for walk-in guests. These spots are on a first-come, first served basis starting at 9:00 a.m. The helpful ranger advised us to stop in early and they moved us to spot H1, one of the host sites where we can stay for up to 14 nights.

Love the new spot, but %^$#%% we can no longer get the Internet!!! Even MacGyver was unable to work his magic. So, in the meantime, I sort through my photos, crop as needed, and try to narrow down my keepers, then do a bit of writing about the day and will attempt to be patient to upload each days post when we next have service.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: We have been on the road for just one week now and I am already in awe of the natural beauty we have seen. I hold my breath in anticipation of the wonders to come…

Editors note, Sunday, 6/11: Tim drove me 20 miles into town so I could get some Internet to get this scheduled to post. What a guy!

Thank you one and all who take the time to follow along with us on our road trip. We are so glad to have your company! We invite you to share to your hearts content and subscribe below if you have not already done so.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
This entry was posted in National Parks, Photography, RV Life, United States, Utah and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Bryce Canyon National Park

  1. Thank you for a wonderful post! We are considering doing this trip in the fall on our way south again. I am so enjoying getting inspiration for the trip!


  2. joliesattic says:

    I just love it out there. Great scenery.


  3. Alice Gratias says:

    Hi: My daughter & husband are doing this same trip. They have truck & trailer. Names Craig & Judy Smith. Thanks for info for my friend. He found the part for the Chrysler
    Alice Gratias


  4. lulu says:

    I’m enjoying being on the road with you.


  5. Glenn Lamb says:

    Bryce Canyon is one of my most favourite natural wonders of the world. Doing a horse/mule trip down and through it is a great experience if you have the time. Thoroughly recommend.


    • Glenn, we are signed up for a two hour horse ride tomorrow morning through Kodachrome Basin which is just down the road from Bryce. I did not know that they had the horse/mule trip in Bryce. Hmmm, we will see how tomorrow goes…


  6. Christie Brown says:

    I am enjoying following along … this area of the country is one that I want to spend some time in …. but will have to wait for retirement. So I’ll be rereading this in the future as I follow in your footsteps (and then some, for the places you mention that you missed but I’ll want to catch!) Such amazing natural beauty.


    • Hi Christie, so glad you have joined us. There are so many amazing things to see, and each place we stop, we realize that we could spend weeks in each park and not get bored. By the way, retirement is fabulous – highly recommend it. Hugs to all (especially that adorable Frankie).


  7. Terry says:

    What a guy Tim keeping her online. Joanne, don’t worry about getting things out everyday, It is understandable about connection problems in the wilderness. Great photos from both of you, TIm really nicely done. May I ask what Nikon and lens TIm used for these shots?
    Keep up the fantastic adventure.


    • Terry, Tim says it is easier to keep me “on-line” than “in line”, lol. The Nikon he used for those shots is his D2XS with a AF-S VE-Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G lens. That is the one he used in Africa to get the wonderful animal shots. I know it may not be possible to post every day, but since this is primarily my memory tool, it helps me keep it up. If I don’t write about things ASAP, I find I lose a lot of the details. Hence, lots of pictures, and probably longer than needed write-ups.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sheilsm says:

    I remember my first visit…more than twenty years ago! I had never seen anything like it! About three years ago, my husband and I visited in May, and there was still snow in the area, which gave Bryce Canyon a whole different flavor! I have always done at least one hike down into the HooDoos….and have enjoyed looking up! So glad you are experiencing our National Parks and that you are sharing your trip with this blog! I have had a NP Passport since forever, but when I retired in 2011, I bought the larger version…and started filling it park by park! Can’t wait for your next stop! Thanks for sharing!


  9. Camie says:

    We love Bryce Canyon and visit whenever we can. Wonderful photos as always.


  10. We only drove by it on our way to Yellowstone, we didn’t visit it. We are making plan for road trips. This is a wonderful park to visit. My daughter and son-in-law went Mt Zion for canyoning last year. They took a rock climbing class before going.
    Anyway, I have a new site link:


  11. Widdershins says:

    Crows are never indifferent. It was just pretending while it checked you both out. 🙂


  12. We just visited both Bryce and Zion only a couple days ago – I’m sure my next post will look a lot like yours in terms of photos! lol
    The scenery of Bryce is phenomenal and I love the fact that the canyon is actually very accessible. My other half and I were discussing how the Grand Canyon seems to get all of the attention in this part of the country, but that actually in terms of colour, structure and hiking, we think Bryce is a far better choice to visit.
    Enjoy your travels and good luck finding camping spots on your way! 🙂


    • Thank you for the good wishes regarding finding camping spots. We are hoping for the best. I have found enormous beauty in each of our National Parks. Each has its own distinct quality that makes it unique. But yes, the accessibility of both Zion and Bryce is appreciated. I’ll look forward to checking out your photos!


  13. tippysmom2 says:

    WOW! So pretty. Loved the pictures of the amphitheater. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.


  14. Anabel Marsh says:

    This must be one of the most amazing places on earth. We stayed maybe three nights on our trip and my clearest memory is of the Fairyland Loop which was a wonderful hike and very quiet – we left the crowds behind.


  15. curvyroads says:

    Beautiful photos! We loved Bryce and chose it to take a 3 hour horseback ride down into the Canyon. It was simply incredible! Then we went back another day to enjoy the overlooks and do some hiking. I got so frustrated with lack of WiFi or cell service about two weeks into our trip that I decided to post once we get home…good for you that you are persistent!


  16. Pingback: Month of June Travels in our National Parks ~ Highlight Moments in Pictures | A Note From Abroad

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