Bryce Canyon and It’s Hoodoos Utah Trip Part III

Hoodoo: A natural geological pillar formed by wind and rain erosion

bryce sign

The last leg of the journey led us to Bryce Canyon National Park – 52 square miles of strange rock formations and other worldly views.

My fellow adventurers and I had packed up our belongings in Zion and headed to Bryce. It took about two hours of straight road, nothing complicated – after trying to find a spot in Zion, we wanted to be super early with the hope of not fighting for a site. Much to our surprise we had the campground to ourselves. After settling in at Sunset Campground ($30/ night) – food was a priority. As it was our fourth day of camping perishables were starting to run low – so our options were slim. In town before the entrance to the park were some shops, tourist traps, a gas station, and some food options. NOTE: the only diner is in fact not a diner, but a re-purposed Burger King that now sells pizza, burgers, and hot dogs. I would not recommend this place unless you were desperate – I would have opted to visit the camp store for hot dogs. Overall food options were slim – maybe we should have saved our perishable for here instead of Zion.

bryce n

bryce natural arch

Anywho, now for the reason to visit to Bryce! There are a plethora of activities to do in Bryce –hiking, horseback riding, sightseeing, and even Snowshoeing in the winter. The landscape is a Ponderosa Pine forest, however when the canyon starts the forest literally goes away and becomes desert. This is actually how the terrain of the southwest works. We walked the rim for quite some time given that there was so much to absorb. The hike chosen was the Tower Bridge considered a moderate three mile hike through the hoodoos. The Tower Bridge takes you downhill the entire way down and uphill the complete way back, nevertheless there was so much in one hike!  You could view the Queen’s Garden overhead; you could walk along the China wall and after that the Tower Bridge at the bottom of the canyon.

My mom pretty much in awe.

The China Wall was my favorite despite having to walk down hill for 2.5 miles then, back up 2.5. My big toe sported a nice bruise at the end of the day. That section of the hike that was just that a long, looming wall with sheer drops on both sides.

tower bridge


That night temperatures plummeted to 34°F which we all knew was a possibility, but somehow we just neglected to believe it. We had the clothes and the heavy, heavy sleeping bags, but our tents were not meant for late fall/winter camping. Ooops. The best part of the campsite – the heated bathrooms –  ah, in the morning it was heaven. If you have ever sat on a freezing toilet seat, then you know the relief of a heated bathroom.

We finished our tour of Bryce by driving the fire eaten seventeen mile road to the highest point on the rim. At a staggering elevation of 9,110 Rainbow Point was breathtaking. My other favorite pull off was the Bryce Canyon Arch – erosion and wind blew a gaping hole right through the wall of the canyon.

rainbow pointrainbow point 2

Overall Bryce has much additional sights to appreciate and do without a permit and is less crowded than Zion. The park is much smaller and feels intimate. The campsites have a larger space and did I mention heated bathrooms?

pano bryce canyon

Your Cobweb Clearer, Kate

Want to see more Utah? Check out day one: Barefoot in the Paria Utah Trip Part I and two: Zion the Goliath Utah Trip Part II

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16 thoughts on “Bryce Canyon and It’s Hoodoos Utah Trip Part III

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  1. I was literally just there two weeks ago!!! Totally wish I’d camped like you guys did but we only had 2 hours there and felt so rushed ughhhhh. Looking at your photos and reading about your journey just makes me miss this beautiful place so much and wanna go back and do it all over again!


  2. Utah has such unique and varied landscapes. I’ve seen parts of Bryce Canyon, or at least an area that looks like it, from viewpoints in Brianhead. Absolutely stunning. But I have yet to hike it.


  3. Bryce is such an amazing place, I couldn’t stop looking at the hoodoos and can’t wait to go back one day and explore it further. Thanks for taking me back to here for the duration of my read 🙂


  4. It looks like a fantastic area to go hiking! And i can totally relate to what happens when the temperatures drop dramatically overnight. Lucky you had those heated bathrooms to fall back to!


  5. Bryce Canyon looks so wildly beautiful. I am enamoured by the landscapes which seem out of the world. What a great place to indulge in adventure and experience the thrills of a lifetime. I have always been in awe of the natural beauty of Utah which is something so unique.


  6. Epic landscapes these are! I’ve seen them before but did not know the term hoodoo so a good addition to my travel vocabulary. Loved your perspective in some of these pictures. I need to camp here some day.


  7. I would love to make it to Bryce Canyon National Park, truly is such a phenomenal landscape. What an opportunity to camp there overnight, even if it was quite chilly – always happens overnight in the desert!! Definitely digging the idea though of heated bathrooms – they must know!!


  8. Bryce Canyon looks so amazing! We love Utah and all the amazing nature it has to offer. We’ve been to Arches and Zion, but didn’t have enough time to fit Bryce Canyon in as well. Next time for sure! The China Wall looks amazing–I can see why it was your favorite!


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