Bryce Canyon - canyon country blitz
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Okay, I'll confess. We didn't actually spend 24 hours IN the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. But we stayed just steps away from them, and we definitely did a bit of hiking through them. It seems to be the sort of place you could get lost in for days (just pack lots and lots of water)! Bryce ranked as one of my favorite days during our two-week blitz through six national parks.
We drove to Bryce via the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument. That is one GI-NOR-MOUS monument. Having just camped 2 nights in Capitol Reef, we drove the winding, breath-taking Utah Scenic Byway (Route 12) through the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument. A whopping 1.7 million acres makes up the entire monument, making it a popular playground for serious outdoor enthusiasts. Along the way, we stopped for a picnic at the Calf Creek Recreation Area. What a sweet place to rest or play.
As we drove into Bryce Canyon, we saw great-looking campsites nestled among the pines. The lodge itself opened in 1924 and is steeped in history. In celebration of my 40th birthday, we enjoyed a special treat with a family dinner at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon Restaurant. Our cabin was just steps from the rim of the canyon's amphitheater, so we were able look out over the hoodoos as we took a sunset stroll along the rim from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point.
The hoodoos — quickly nicknamed “Coke Bottle Canyon” by my husband — consist of hundreds of spires shooting skyward. So cool and just plain fun to look at, and even more fun to trek through. Cool adventures by day and magnificent star-gazing by night.
The next morning, we enjoyed a sweet hike to Queen’s Garden. I loved it. Ooh and ahhs at every turn. I mean, look at that view!
For our one night stay in Bryce, we splurged and slept in a sweet, clean, rustic-classy Western Cabin. Complete with all of the modern amenities, this is one of the great options offered by Bryce Canyon Lodge. After two nights of primitive camping (read no showers) in Capitol Reef, a long, hot shower was the only birthday gift I needed. Sidenote: a pipe started leaking in our bathroom after dinner, and even though they kindly offered to help move our family to another cabin, we asked for a complimentary breakfast buffet instead for our entire family. They were very happy to oblige. A full, hot, scrumptious breakfast was a real treat for a family who lives and travels on a budget.
On our drive out of the park, we quickly stopped at the Bryce Canyon Visitor’s Center to buy park stickers (cheap souvenirs for kids!) for our water bottles before heading on to Zion National Park.
For more great tips about Bryce Canyon, or any of the 38 national parks of the western United States, check out the Fodor's Complete Guidebook to National Parks of the West. This book is loaded with family friendly tips. It's packed with maps and all sorts of lodging and restaurant recommendations. This was our family's go-to guide when we spent 2 weeks exploring Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon national parks.
Have fun getting lost in the hoodoos!
Have you been to Bryce Canyon National Park? Or, is it currently on your bucket list? We'd love to go back, so if you have any favorite hikes or spots, please share them in the comments below.