21: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

We only had time for a quick stop in Bryce Canyon this time around, but since we were so close (within a couple of hours’ drive), we wanted to at least stop by and take a quick peek.

I know, I know, that is the totally wrong approach to National Park visits. The LAST thing you want to do is drive to a vista point, jump out of the car, take a picture, and be gone. We really, really tried not to do that.

We had about half a day to spare between our visit at Zion National Park and our next overnight-stop in Page, Arizona, so we decided to take a little detour. Bryce Canyon National Park is about 1.5 hours north of Kanab and I knew we wouldn’t regret stopping by there, if only for a few hours. I had been to Bryce Canyon before, but B hadn’t seen it on his previous visits and I thought it was definitely something worth seeing for both B + M.

On our way, we passed a German bakery, Bäckerei Forscher, pretty much in the middle of nowehere along Highway 89. Random!
We made a quick stop, just to check out what kind of goodies they offered, but it was relatively expensive and since we had already had breakfast, we left without buying anything.


We arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park around noon. After a quick stop at the Visitor’s Center, we drove on to Sunset Point Overlook. We parked at Bryce Canyon Lodge and first walked along the rim to Sunrise Point with a beautiful view of the main amphitheater.

Sunrise Point





You can see the ‘Sinking ship’ behind us in the background (middle).



We walked back along the rim over to Sunset Point.



‘Sinking ship’ right above my head and ‘Boat Mesa’ to the left.



Sunset Point

At 8,000 feet, Sunset Point offers dramatic views of Bryce Canyon’s main amphitheater and vistas of some of the most famous and breathtaking hoodoos ( this is what you call the spires of rock that have easily eroded columns and more resistant caps that you see in Bryce Canyon). They’re also often called tent rocks or fairy chimneys. They are commonly found scattered around the areas of the the High Plateaus region of the Colorado Plateau and in the Badlands regions of the Northern Great Plains, but nowhere in the world are they as abundant as in the northern section of Bryce Canyon National Park.

I mean, for this view alone the detour was worth it, don’t you think?

We didn’t just want to drive up, get out of the car, take pictures, and leave, but were hoping for a little bit more of a close up experience with the hoodoos while we were there. Luckily, there are quite a few shorter hiking trails that you can take advantage of when you’re pressed for time. We decided on a short hike – 1.3 miles round-trip – on the Navajo Loop Trail.


Navajo Loop Trail

The Navajo Loop Trail begins at Sunset point in a rapid descent along a series of long and short switchbacks down to the canyon floor. At the bottom of the switchbacks, the trail straightens out and makes a gradual descent through Wall Street, where two towering Douglas firs have been growing in the depths of the rift for more than 750 years.





Wall Street


Eventually large hoodoo formations flank both sides of the path. It was just really cool to see the rock formations from a different perspective; not just from the top looking down, but now from the bottom looking up!



Balancing rock



The last half mile of the path ascends in a series of switchbacks to return to the rim. Along the way you get more beautiful views of the hoodoos towering around you.



Thor’s Hammer






The hike took us a bout an hour. While the trail is fairly wide and built out, it’s considered a moderate hike as it has steep grades with “down and back” elevation changes of 550 ft/ 167 m.

On our way out of the park, we decided to make a quick stop at Bryce Canyon Coffee Company for some caffeine-to-go, but to our disappointment, the coffeeshop was closed on a Saturday afternoon. What the hell? Make sure to check online or call if you want to stop by there, because it seems like the opening hours vary by season and weekday.


Without a caffeine-fix – and a little grumpy – we got back on the road to Page, Arizona. We would have loved to spend more time at Bryce Canyon National Park, but I am so glad we were able to at least spend a few precious hours!

Have you been to Bryce Canyon before? You should definitely go.


  1. These VIEWS!!! They are amazing! I have never been to any of the National Parks before and I really want to do so one of these days! Adding this one to my list for sure! Your photos are just amazing!

    1. Thank you, it really is a pretty neat place. You gotta go sometime!

  2. I have been to Bryce but that was many many moons ago. As far as I remember we didn’t do any hikes, I believe we were the kind of tourists that jumped out of the car, took a picture and drove to the next view point. Too bad! But one of these days I will be back!
    Thanks for sharing these awesome pictures!

    1. Thanks friend. Bryce is definitely worth another visit!

  3. The photos you took are absolutely stunning. I’d love a chance to head out there one day and see it in person. It looks unbelievable on screen and I cannot imagine what it would look like in real life.

    1. Thank you :) I agree, the photos almost look surreal and it’s even more surreal when you’re standing on the edge of these canyons!

  4. Bryce Canyon was one of the most beautiful place I’ve been to. Glad you got to enjoy it.

    The Fitness Bro

    1. Yes, it is most beautiful. I agree.

  5. These pictures are so stunning! What a beautiful National Park. I am definitely sold on going to Utah for a future hiking vacation – we might just need to save it until we can do a getaway without the baby as I really want to do Angel’s Landing but I don’t think I’d want us to do it with a baby on one of our back’s!

    1. Yes, Utah should definitely on a hiker’s bucket list… there are so many beautiful parks to explore!

  6. 1. You make me miss Out West! There’s no place like it. Beautiful. And what photography. Well done.

    2. Remember the scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation? That was you guys, like Clark Griswold at the Grand Canyon!

    3. I’d be grumpy, too, without some caffeine. It might have made me climb one of those douglas firs!

    1. Thanks, Eli. The photography is only as good as the subject you’re capturing, am I right? ;)

      Haha, I love National Lampoon’s Vacation :)

  7. Another blogger I read has been writing about & sharing photos of Utah, too, & I just… had NO idea it was so gorgeous!


  8. Yes, I’ve been there but for some reason I can’t remember and seems really unlike my family we were not hiking here only driving around the park and walking on the plateau. Wonder why that was. I remember that I found this one somewhat boring though. But seeing your photos from below I am a bit sad not getting that view. Have a good day, Tobia

  9. I think Utah needs to go on our short list for vacations!

  10. Those are some gorgeous views. Love all the rich tones and you seemed to have had a beautiful day to be out for a hike. :)

  11. I’ve definitely done the drive-by visit before, too. It’s not my favorite way to see a park, but if I’ve only got a few hours to spare, I’d rather see at least part of it than to miss it completely. I just think of it as reconnaissance that makes me better prepared for the *next* visit. :)

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