On the 4th day of my whirlwind National Park themed vacation, I traveled with H-, B- and their two fellow ACMNP peoples, R- and C-, an hour and a half to Bryce Canyon National Park. None of us had been to Bryce before, so the boys read up on the canyon in the back seat during the drive and we stopped at the gift shop/museum before heading out.
Our first stop was Sunset Point and we got our first look at the gorgeous view of the Canyon and the unique hoodoo formations. For anyone who doesn’t know (and that would have included me before this trip), hoodoos are tall, skinny rock spires formed by erosion. As we gazed down, we noticed there were people walking down around the hoodoos. Of course, our first reaction was “How cool! How do we go about getting down there?!”.
From Sunset Point, we took the Navajo Trail down in to the Canyon, which required a lot of switchbacks, aka mis enemigos mortales. On the switchbacks, I really started to feel where I had fallen on my ankle the day before, so it took a little longer for me to make it down than the guys. However, I couldn’t be too upset by my ankle because the views were just too spectacular. We stopped to take photos along the way and I acted as the ACMNP camerawoman.
We followed the Navajo Trail down and down until we reached a split in the trail. Instead of continuing on the Navajo Loop which would have led right back up to Sunset Point, we decided to take Queens Garden Trail which would lead to Sunrise Point instead. Queens Garden Trail then followed the bottom of the canyon for a little while before starting back up to the top.
The climb, quite honestly, was rough for me. I don’t do steep well and there was steep + high elevation + switchbacks. I’ve been hiking in the Organ and Franklin Mountains for months now trying desperately not to be the weakest link on this trip and although I was definitely the one trailing behind, it was so much better than if I hadn’t prepared at all. So much better than my trip to Yellowstone in 2009 where my little brother had to somewhat push me up the trail at one point. What I really appreciated about hiking with H- and the boys was they didn’t slow down for me or ask me if I was ok. They kept going, occasionally looking back, instilling me with more and more confidence with every step. I did have to stop once to catch my breath, but then I made the last push to the top.
Once we arrived at Sunrise Point, we stopped to take in the sights and take more pictures, and then we walked a paved path back to Sunset Point and the car. According to a Bryce Canyon hiking website , the whole trip was 4.9 miles, which, to me at least, seems a bit off to me – I didn’t think we hiked that long. A different hiking website said it was more like 3 miles, which seems more like it to me, but what do I know? It was pretty crazy amazing no matter the distance.