Bryce Canyon National Park

Scenic view of Upper Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon national park, Utah, USA

Photo: Looking towards viewing platform at Upper Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon national park, Utah

 

Originally Bryce Canyon wasn’t on the list of places to visit, but it’s lucky we went as it turned out to be my favorite place on the trip.  I’ve seen tons of pics and generally knew what it looked like, but I didn’t know much else.  Such as it’s at an elevation of 8,000 – 9,000 ft, and there’s lots of snow.  And mostly that it’s just so cool looking in real life, way better than any photo I can take, even when it’s -10˚ C at sunrise.

After leaving the Grand Canyon, to road took us east to Monument Valley, which I’ve never been before.  To me the place was sort of anticlimactic.  I’m glad I went and saw it, but its not any place that I’m itchin’ to get back to.  I don’t really know why.  Perhaps it’s because any possible photo has already been taken 10,000 times, or because of the regulations where you’re not supposed to walk around and explore on your own, or just the ‘tourist farm’ feel of the whole place.

After a night at the campground it was time to head back west, roughly towards Zion np.  We first stopped at Coral Pink sand dunes state park in southern Utah, which was pretty cool looking, especially as there was snow on the dunes.  But the day was young, the sky overcast, and I got a little bored.  On the way to the dunes I saw the sign that said Bryce was 74 miles away.  Ah, what the hell, I thought to myself.  I’m this close already, gas is $1/gal. cheaper in Utah than California, might as well go check it out.

queens garden trail bryce canyon

Photo: Hiking among Hoodoo rock formations of the Queens Garden Trail, Bryce Canyon national park, Utah

Arrived in Bryce Canyon around noon, or was it 1pm, as I never changed my watch for Utah time, don’t even know what they use in Arizona.  Doesn’t matter anyways for a landscape photographer, the sun doesn’t care what time zone you’re in.  The sky was still somewhat hazy so we spent the afternoon getting familiar with the park and trying to decide good sunset/sunrise locations.

The main area of the park, known as the ‘Amphitheater’ is where the most Hoodoo rock formations are.  Not to get into a geological essay here, the Hoodoos are left over sea sediment, eroded my water and freeze/thaw cycles over the years.  What this creates is something amazingly cool and almost surreal to look at.

Dawn on the second day arrived cold, bitterly cold.  Clouds blocked the eastern sky and the day looked like it would remain overcast again.  But luckily by around 8:30am or so, the sky began to clear into a brilliant blue with some nice puffy clouds.  We took a nice morning hike down the short and muddy Queens Garden trail, which travels down in to the amphitheater and wanders among the hoodoos.  It would have been nice to do some other hikes, but a lot of the trails were closed due to the snow or rockfall danger.

In the afternoon, we mostly hung out in the area of Inspiration point.  It was one of those days where I know the light is going to get better later on, but I keep taking photos anyhow because it’s so cool looking.  But Bryce is definitely a better sunrise location, at least the amphitheater area, as it faces east.  In the late afternoon, the sun falls behind the forested slopes on the western side of the amphitheater and the hoodoos are in the shade before the golden hour arrives.  Though once the sun has set, I saw some potential for some nice twilight conditions.

The second morning arrived even colder, and windy this time.  But the sky was somewhat clear towards the east, so there where some brief moments of golden sunlight on the Hoodoos.  Leaving me glad to have stayed another night and thinking about when I can come back again; autumn seems like it would be a nice time…

CLICK HERE: To view more Bryce Canyon images in my photo gallery.

queens garden trail bryce canyon

Photo: Tunnel along Queens Garden Trail, Bryce Canyon national park, Utah

queens garden trail bryce canyon

Photo: Hiking among Hoodoo rock formations of the Queens Garden Trail, Bryce Canyon national park, Utah

Bryce Canyon Hoodoos

Photo: Hoodoo rock formations of the Amphitheater, Bryce Canyon national park, Utah

Bryce Canyon Hoodos and snow

Photo: Hoodoos at sunrise from Sunrise Point, Bryce Canyon national park, Utah

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