May 27 – June 2, 2020.
Bryce Canyon National Park is full of interesting birds, beautiful flowers, adorable critters, and oh yeah – lotsa amazing rocks!
Although we have been to Utah many times we had never visited Bryce since the park is at such a high elevation it has alway been cold in the spring. In the past, we had to rush back to the southeast every early to mid-May for house sitting and painting jobs. But this May we didn’t point east, we headed north, arriving in Bryce at the end of the month. It ended up being the absolute best time to visit the canyon.
The weather was perfect (two blanket nights, and shorts and short sleeves days). And since the park had recently just opened back up (being closed due to the pandemic), visitation was way down meaning we didn’t have to deal with the big crowds that normally descend on the park this time of year. To top everything off, we had no problem finding a good free camping spot in the nearby Dixie National Forest.
The canyon at Bryce stretches north to south. A road running along the west side of the colorful chasm is dotted with overlooks revealing the amazing rock formations below. I’m not sure Greg was all that interested in visiting this park. We have been to many National Parks in Utah (unfortunately many of them were during our first season of land travel and we never had a chance to write about them), and besides we had just spent the previous two weeks camped in the shadow of the Red Rock-secret Mountain Wilderness in Sedona. But once we stopped at a couple of overlooks and saw the stunning red spires rising up in the canyon it was obvious that Bryce was pretty special.
But the real treat of Bryce was hiking down into the canyon among the eroding towers of rock.
We spent our last few days in the area exploring a couple of spots in the forest. There was a lake nearby so, of course, we kayaked it. And on our last morning, we hiked in the Dixie National Forest’s Red Canyon, before heading on down the road looking for more birds, flowers, and critters and saying goodbye to all the stunning red rocks of the southwest for a while.