Road trip, Travel

Fallin’ for Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

“There’s no other place like this on earth.”

Those are the words I managed to utter after seeing the unique rock formations in front of me. Every time I travel, I can’t help but be in awe of God’s creations. This trip to Bryce Canyon is no exception. Despite lacking the grandiosity of it’s nearby counterpart, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon managed to amaze me in it’s own special way. Comprised of odd-shaped pillars called Hoodoos, these rock formations were formed by forces of erosion. Despite its name, it is not a canyon but rather a collection of natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Now, I’ve seen my fair share of unique rock formations but nothing like this. Pictures don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself!

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Last weekend, my husband and I spontaneously went on a 30-hour excursion to one of Utah’s Mighty 5. Our drive was scenic and surprisingly manageable. I think after driving to Florida we became immune to long drives that we consider a 4 1/2 hour drive a piece of cake! I enjoyed the car ride so much that I didn’t even notice that we have arrived at our destination. At the entrance, the ranger handed us a map and brochure so we could plan our trip but that didn’t pan out well because after seeing a deer, we missed our first viewpoint. Yep, were a sucker for wildlife! Since we arrived past 2 pm, we decided to do the overlooks till sunset and hike to the core of the hoodoo amphitheaters the next day.

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Mid point to our drive through the 20-something-mile scenic road, I noticed that most of the viewpoints were on the left side as we drove South. To make it easier, it is recommended to drive all the way to the end of the 20-something-mile scenic road towards Rainbow point and stop at the viewpoints on your way back to the entrance. I know its not easy to just pass by the viewpoints, which we couldn’t help but do..but it will be a smoother ride I promise you. We stopped by several viewpoints (Swamp Canyon, Natural Bridge, Black Birch Canyon) along the way and the closer we got to the end of the scenic drive, the colder it got. With an elevation of 8,000-9,000 feet, its definitely colder as it sits higher than Zion National Park. Rainbow point is the highest part of the park at 9, 105 feet. This viewpoint provides unobstructed views of the Kaibab Plateau where the north rim of the Grand Canyon lies.

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We made our way back just in time to catch the sunset at Inspiration Point. A lot of people beat us to it but I like how no matter where you position yourself, you still get panoramic views of the hoodoos. I fell in love with the sight of  the pink and purple haze that served as a beautiful backdrop to the towering rock formations.

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The next day, we immersed ourselves further into the park’s beautiful geography by hiking two trails: the Rim trail and the Navajo Loop trail. The Rim trail was nice and had stunning views but our main goal was to see the hoodoos up close and the best way to do that is to hike the Navajo Loop Trail. You can start either at the Sunrise Point or the Sunset Point. We chose to start at Sunrise Point to see Queen’s Garden. Beautiful Ponderosa pines and Douglas fir trees surrounded us as we descended towards the canyons. It easily became one of my favorite hikes despite the intense heat because I got to see the 200-feet rock spires in all its glory! The trail was steep (bring lots of water) and had several switchbacks but overall I think we managed okay. We finished the 2.5 mile hike in 2 1/2 hours, including water breaks, photo ops and of course to soak in the landscape. What a truly unique experience and I can’t wait to do it again!

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Tips:

  • The best viewpoints that you don’t want to miss are: Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, Bryce Point and Inspiration Point.
  • Don’t leave without hiking the Navajo Loop Trail! It’s the most popular trail in the park so be prepared to go early to avoid a crowd.
  • You can drive your car inside the park but to prevent congestion, it is advised to take the shuttle bus.
  • Bring lots of water and protect yourself from the sun if you decide to hike the trails.
  • Bundle up come night time. Bryce Canyon has an elevation of 8,000-9,000 feet. It can get cold pretty quick!
  • Put your phone/camera down and just enjoy the view! 🙂

Thanks to my husband for the video!

36 Comments

  1. Carmelisse

    September 30, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Amazing pictures Janna! And good job James on the video! Did you guys really stay in a tipi? Because that would be awesome.

    I probably would miss a lot of the viewpoints, because you know me, I freak out when I see bunnies or cats even. Haha. Rex and I were supposed to go here on our way back from Colorado, but we were sooo tired and ran out of time. Next time tho!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      September 30, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks Carmelisse! And James says thank you too. 🙂 Nope we didn’t stay there but I wish we did. We didn’t really know about till we drove up to Bryce because it was right at the entrance. It was so cheap too. $20 per person. They have this cute fire pit outside and a picnic table. Maybe next time we go, we’ll sleep there. We stayed at the grand lodge in brian head, ut.

      Hahaha yes I can imagine you freaking out about the wildlife. Maybe sometime soon, we can all go to Yellowstone! You’ll reach a new level of freaking out when you go there. 😀

  2. Samiya selim

    November 24, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Such stunning pictures of Bryce Canyon! Would love to visit and hopefully will when we do our North American campervan trip. Thanks for the useful tips as well 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      November 24, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      Hello Samiya! Thank you so much. So kind of you. 🙂 Yes, you guys should definitely visit Bryce Canyon. And also, there’s so much to see in Utah. Let me know when you visit and I’ll fill you in. No problem, I’m glad you found it helpful!

  3. mark

    November 27, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Wow every time I see national parks like these in America all I can think of is old western movies. Billy the kid might pop up somewhere. Great pictures I would love to go to zion and canyonlands. 4-10-hour drives are the norm for us in Australia as well
    cheers
    mark

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      November 28, 2015 at 12:37 am

      Thanks Mark! Utah and Arizona definitely reminds me of the old western movies. Zion is stunning, you should def visit and I have yet to go to Canyonlands but I heard its beautiful there as well.

      I do want to visit Australia someday. I’ve heard many good things. 🙂

  4. Megan | Traveling Nine to Fiver

    November 27, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    I had no idea what a Hoodoo was. Thanks for sharing. I’ve heard a lot about Zion but not here before. Will have to add it to my list of places to see.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      November 28, 2015 at 12:39 am

      No problem Megan! 🙂 Yes, Zion is pretty popular & Bryce Canyon can be overlooked sometimes. It’s much smaller than Zion but nonetheless, breathtaking.

  5. Alyssa | Adjust Your Focus™

    November 28, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I visited lots of national parks this year, but haven’t made it to Bryce Canyon yet. Lovely images! Can’t wait to see it in person myself.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      November 30, 2015 at 12:20 am

      Hello Alyssa! You should definitely try to make it out there. It’s not too far from Zion so maybe you can include it in your itinerary when you take a trip to Utah. 🙂

  6. travelling chingrita

    November 29, 2015 at 8:51 am

    What incredibly beautiful captures; I’ve heard Bryce is absolutely stunning in the fall as you can look over to see the leaves change.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      November 30, 2015 at 12:19 am

      Thank you so much! 🙂 I heard that as well! I’m also dying to go during Winter time because I’ve seen some gorgeous pics of the hoodoos covered in snow!

  7. BonBon

    November 29, 2015 at 9:32 am

    AWESOME!!! Gorgeous Pictures… Happy travels… xoxo

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      November 30, 2015 at 12:18 am

      Thank you so much! 🙂

  8. Florence

    June 14, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Your pictures are stunning! It’s such a beautiful place, I love these colors!
    Wonderful post 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 14, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you Florence! It really is such a beautiful place. Utah’s hues always gets me! Appreciate you stopping by and liking the post! 🙂

  9. Megan Indoe

    June 15, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    OMG these photos are absolutely breathtaking! Excellent job! I really can’t wait to roadtrip through the US, we have contemplated skipping out on another year abroad to do that! This is starting to convince me it’s a good idea! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      Thank you so much Megan! Oh you have to! There’s so much places to see here in the US and the best way to do it is by going on a road trip. No problem, glad you like the post!

  10. Amanda Williams

    June 16, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Fantastic pictures of some pretty stunning scenery. The colours are amazing. I really hope I get to visit one day and the option of staying in a tipi is awesome!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      Thank you Amanda! I know right? I’m sad that we missed out on staying in a teepee but there’s always next time.

  11. The Toronto Seoulcialite

    June 16, 2016 at 1:14 am

    The Hoodoos in Alberta were NOTHING like this! What breathtaking photos! I can’t imagine hiking up to that point – I’d be taking photos the whole time even though on hikes I’m all about hustling up hills. Thanks so much for sharing. Yet another one to add to my ever-growing list!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      I didn’t know they have hoodoos in Alberta! I just checked it out and they look pretty cool too! Hah, I did the same thing actually. It took us longer to finish the trail because I had to stop several times to take pictures of the hoodoos. Worth every second though!

  12. Voyager

    June 16, 2016 at 1:31 am

    The rock structures are indeed out of the world and one can only stare at them in awe and wonder about the beauty of God’s creation. Many times I wonder, whatever Man does, he cannot reproduce the beauty and grandeur of nature, like these rock formations, or a sunrise or sunset!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      You’re absolutely right about that. God’s creation can never be duplicated. The only thing we can do is to admire it and be thankful that we can experience it for ourselves.

  13. Kerri

    June 16, 2016 at 1:59 am

    I am just so amazed by the national parks in the US. They are simply beautiful and I haven’t realised until this year just how many there are! I have seen a few articles on Bryce Canyon, so I recognised it instantly from your first photo. It is stunning!!!! I have just mentioned to my husband that this (and some of the others) need to be on our list when we next get back to the US.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      I believe there are 58 national parks in the US! Crazy right? That’s not including the state parks. We need to get to it Kerri and start visiting these national parks soon! 🙂

  14. Sally

    June 16, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Wow how gorgeous are those photos!!! It looks amazing. I wish I lived in the US to road trip to these amazing places.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 11:04 pm

      Thanks so much Sally! 🙂

  15. Patricia

    June 16, 2016 at 7:06 am

    Utah has really caught my attention, and you captured perfectly why Bryce Canyon is at the top of my “must see” list. Those views are just spectacular, and I can’t believe how close you got to the deer! Now I just need a plane ticket and to get a little bit stronger at hiking so that I can take the Navajo Loop Trail.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      Utah’s pretty rad! I’ve been there several times and I’m still not sick of it coz there’s so much to do and see. The Navajo Loop Trail isn’t a strenuous hike Patricia. I’m sure you can do it!

  16. Daniela N

    June 16, 2016 at 7:56 am

    I`ve always dreamed of visiting a canyon when I would visit the States, but 2 years ago I just didn`t have the opportunity. Your photos are quite compelling, so I have to go back and see it for myself!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Thank you Daniela! I hope you get to experience it for yourself too!

  17. Ivy

    June 16, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Ive come across quite a few posts about Zion but not enough about Bryce. Thanks for sharing! We really have to get ourselves to Utah one day, the formations and views are breathtaking. Such gorgeous photos too!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      Not a problem at all Ivy! Glad you like the photos! Hope you get to visit Utah someday.

  18. Meg Jerrard

    June 17, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Beautiful photos – it brings back such wonderful memories! We did a drive through Bryce while we were visiting Utah recently though didn’t have a great deal of time to explore the trails. Would love to head back and potentially camp 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      June 17, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Thank you Meg! You guys should def head back and do the Navajo trail! I wish we had thought of camping there as well. They actually have these cute teepees just outside of Bryce. We might try that out next time we visit. Here’s a link if you want to check it out http://www.brycecanyoncampgrounds.com/bryce-canyon-cabins/. 🙂

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