Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon sits at the top of the Grand Staircase inside the Colorado Plateau. Inside the park are unique geological formations called Hoodoos. They sound like something from Dr. Seuss, and kinda look like it too. Like Zion, Bryce Canyon has a free shuttle through the park. There is also an excellent mix use trail (great for bikes!) through the Bryce Amphitheater that will take you to all the main attractions. 

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Campsites                                                                                  

I stayed inside the park at the Sunset Campgrounds ($20 and night). This campground had just undergone renovations when I visited, so their restrooms were excellent and the roads were well paved. There is another campground near the entrance and a lodge with a restaurant inside the park. If camping, be aware they are stringent about campground rules such as where you place your tent and park your car. This is probably not the park to try and sneak in extra campers or cars to your site.

Hikes I Hiked

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The Figure 8 Combination - 6.4 miles - This is the ultimate, I-only-have-one-day-and-want-to-see-it-all, hike. It combines three of the most popular hikes in the amphitheater (Queens Garden, Peekaboo Loop, and Navajo Loop) into one 6+ mile hike. It took me a bit longer and a few more miles because about halfway though I had already drank close to a gallon of water and needed to climb out of the canyon to pee. If you have a stronger bladder and hike at a good pace you can finish up in under 5 hours and 6.5miles. Due to the steep grades and numerous elevation changes it is labeled "strenuous". Otherwise it is fairly even land and there is no rock clambering, climbing or crawling involved. Below I've broken down this hike by the hikes within it. 

Peekaboo Loop - 5.5 miles - I began at Bryce Point and descended over 1,000 feet into Bryce Canyon. I choose this as the starting point as opposed to Sunrise or Sunset Point because I originally did not plan to do the whole Figure 8 but knew I wanted to do this loop. (Shout out to the trail friends who I meet and pushed me to be better!) From Bryce you can just do this loop or combine it with any other trail in the amphitheater. Also if you make it to the other side and feel too tired to hike back, just hop on the shuttle and ride back to your car or campsite! Along this trail you will see amazing rock formations like, the Wall of Windows, The Cathedral, and my favorite, Tunnel View. They are basically what they sound like but when you walk by them the feeling and view are nothing like what you imagined. 

Queens Garden - 1.8 miles - A short and sweet trail. This trail dips down into the Canyon but you experience less than 400 feet in elevation change. This hike is also super cool because you hit a part of the park with trees and greenery at is unexpected in a desert canyon. While I hiked I kept waiting to see a deer pop out as if I were walking through the forest. Not that deer don't live here (I saw a few around my campsite) but it was just a stark contrast to the other hikes in this area. At this point in the figure 8 you are about half way. If you need a restroom, water, or food you can climb out of the canyon to Sunrise Point and freshen up.

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Navajo Loop - 1.3 miles - Home of Thor's Hammer, Wall Street and Two Bridges. These are some of the big "must sees" of the park, though I am more partial to the formations along the Peekaboo Trail. Thor's Hammer is a Hoodoo that has a big hammer shaped formation at the top. Two Bridges is two natural bridges. And Wall Street is a "wall" of switchbacks up and down a steep grade that otherwise not really be passable. Note: I had no idea that Wall Street was or looked like. So as we were nearing the end of the loop I asked my trail friend what it was because everyone kept talking about it and I didn't wasn't to miss it. He rolled is eyes, laughed and told me we had just finished walking down it. I turned back to look at it, and I was not as impressed and I probably should have been. Oh well.  

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Sites I Saw

I listed a lot of the sites above, there are a lot more hoodoos and formations on the hikes, many unnamed.

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Inspiration Point - Go for the view. This spot got it's name for good reason, and photographs fail to replicate the view. You can also start the Rim trail here and hike to Bryce point or along a paved trail to Sunset Point.

Fairlyland Point - This spot is tucked away from the main attractions of the park so it can be a nice get away during peak seasons. From here you can see a different view of the park on the eight mile Fairyland Loop Trail. Also along this trail is the only view of Tower Bridge and the Fairyland Canyon.