Monday, February 15, 2016

Bryce Canyon Driving Tour

(Continuing the recap of my mid-October trip to southern Utah and Northern Arizona...)

My hubby and I had a great time exploring the Queen's Garden and Navajo Loop Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park.  But with the other park trails deemed impassible due to rockfall or quicksand-like mud, we were left trying to figure out what else to see.

Hoodoos in a line!

When in doubt, consult the guide!  Our handy-dandy Bryce Canyon newspaper mentioned a scenic drive south of the main park area.  A winding road took visitors 18 miles past seven overlooks, the highest over 9000 feet in elevation.  After hiking for three hours, a driving tour was sounding good.

Looks like a huge melted candle

So into the car and off we went!  The first stop wasn't too far away.  We probably could've hiked to Bryce Point, but by then my hubby and I were ready to let our car do the traveling.

The line between white and red

Bryce Point was breathtaking!  Another great panorama of red-striped hills and hoodoos.  Also, a side canyon had interesting formations that appeared to be more eroded than we'd seen in Queen's Canyon.

Knobby hoodoos

The rock was more of a cream color, and contrasted sharply with the predominantly red hues seen everywhere else. 

These look like old castles

Wind and water had sculpted this soft, light-colored rock into fantastic formations.  They reminded me of ancient castle towers.

Bryce Point

Looking down into the canyon, I saw paths worn into the red dirt.  Due to the lack of hikers, I assumed it was one of the many trails closed by wet weather (insert frowny face).

Looking down on hiking trails (that we couldn't visit!)

After soaking in the views at Bryce Point, it was back to the car and off to the next attraction.  We stopped briefly at Swamp Canyon, and then on to Whiteman Bench.

Roger admires the view

These overlooks were more of the same - red layered canyons, more cool hoodoo formations.  (Ho-hum, more fantastic scenery.....)

Hole in the wall

Don't get me wrong - the views were fabulous.  But it began to feel like I was taking photos of the same stuff over and over again.

Friendly raven

The next pullout, Natural Bridge was different.  It provided a great view of an eroded archway.  Something different from the endless hoodoos!  Not only was this fun to photograph, we were also visited by a friendly raven (I'm not good with birds, but I think that's what it was) who was more than willing to model for my camera.

Natural Bridge

The next stop, Agua Canyon, had a large rock balancing on top of a tall column.

Balanced rock at Agua Canyon

Again, I was happy to have something different to photograph!

Another view of Agua Canyon

It was funny, at every stop we encountered the same cars in the small parking lots, and the same people crowded each overlook.  With limited hiking options, it appeared everyone had the same idea.

Striped canyon wall

The higher we climbed in elevation, the colder the temperatures became, and the stronger the wind.  By the time we'd reached Rainbow Point, elevation 9,115 feet, conditions were hovering near freezing.

The highest overlook

By then, I was suffering from scenery overload.  All the canyon viewpoints, hoodoos, striped rocks, and eroded cliffs were beginning to look the same.

Rainbow Point overlook

Still, Roger and I rolled out of our car, bundled up against the cold wind, and made another trek to check out this final viewpoint.

Wonderful panorama at Rainbow Point

The sky was overcast.  Thickening clouds seemed to indicate another rainstorm wasn't far away.  But I was glad we hadn't bypassed this final panorama.

Hoodoo overview

Perched high on the canyon's edge, I felt on top of the world.  And boy, did the views stretch for miles!  As I looked towards the darkening clouds, I spied a faint rainbow hanging in the air.  Although my attempts at photography failed, it was a wonderful ending to a scenery-packed afternoon.

Cold, windy, and wonderful

Despite closed trails, we'd made the most of our first day in Bryce Canyon National Park.  Heading back down the steep canyon road, it was time to check into our camper cabin (at 8000 feet in elevation, there would be no tent camping tonight!) and get some supper. 

But I'd noticed a viewpoint called "Sunset Point" along the main canyon rim.  Of course I wasn't going to miss a chance at capturing a sunset here!  I'll share what I found in my next post.

Sharing with:  Through My Lens and Our World Tuesday


  1. What a glorious trip you had and marvelous photography besides!

    Happy Week to you ~ ^_^

  2. More hoodoos, ho hum! You crack me up! I do know what you mean though...I'm a sucker for variety too! ;-)

  3. amazing rock formations!! i love the raven too! we used to vacation in utah every summer when i was a kid :)

  4. What an incredible place - scenery overload indeed!

  5. We've been there twice - isn't it beautiful? Next time we'll have to go when it's not over 100+ degrees F.! The Rainbow arch is so dazzling, I had to make a plein air from that arch. The right choice (since it's stunning all over the canon as well as Zion), because I heard that with time that arch will deteriorate and eventually fall off. Your pics are pleasant memories!

  6. What wonderful photos of your trip. The colors are incredible. We have nothing like that here. Have a wonderful day.

  7. You are in my neck of the woods! Love seeing these spectacular places through your lens!

  8. Awesome, almost unreal. This is on my bucket list.

  9. Oh, you poor lady, suffering from scenery overload!

  10. Love the raven! Smart birds.

  11. Bryce Canyon is such a beautiful place. Last time we visited, it was mid-May and the park was full of snow (and we drove our MX-5 Miata through a blizzard between Zion and Bryce). So no hiking for us on that trip; all the trails were closed. Just goes to show you never know what weather you'll find at 8000 ft. Glad you made the best of it, and enjoyed your visit.

  12. Fabulous rock formations!

  13. I'm so jelous you see such amazingly awesome places. I love the photos of the Hoodoos they remind me of lots of people stood petrified in the rock and the one balencing looks like a grinning fox. The raven well he has a little glint in his eye.

  14. Amazing images of an amazing place.
    Great post!

  15. Hello Linda,
    Amazing pictures. So great to see this fantastic area.

    Many greetings,

  16. So much orange of which I can never get enough. This is a land like no other.

  17. Good morning, gorgeous views of Bryce Canyon! I love all hoodoos, I like the window and and natural bridge views too. Fantastic photos and post. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  18. Hi! Your tour is lasting. All of scenery photos are breathtakingly wonderful. Especially I like the
    Natural Bridge photo very much. Thanks for sharing.

  19. So beautiful place and photos too!

  20. Bryce is such a fantastic place - the scenery is unlike any other place I've visited. It looks like your Raven was sharing a special thought with you.

  21. I went on a horseback ride through the hoodoos. I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if I wasn't scared of heights. - Margy

  22. I wonder if the first pioneers thought "ho hum, more stunning scenery"? I've never heard of a hoodoo before...

  23. I well understand your feelings towards the 'same views.' You just wanted to be down hiking amongst them, where they wouldn't look the same.Still you've shared wonderful images with us. I love the raven shot.

  24. The natural bridge shot is a standout. Surprising the power of wind and rain to create that effect.

  25. I hope to see all of this in the summer, Linda. Beautiful views and photos. I never tire of scenery that is unlike any I've seen.

  26. WOW 9115 feet, that's almost twice as high as the highest peak in New York State. What wondrous views, thanks for the tour.

  27. They are remarkable formations. One day!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  28. How awesome that you got to see parts o the Park that people don't normally visit. I really love that Natural Bridge. Great photos!

  29. Excelente trabalho e belas fotografias destas magnificas paisagens.
    Um abraço e bom fim de semana.

  30. The trouble with taking a lot of similar photos as it seems to the photographer to be ho-hum. BUT to the viewer it's still magical!!

  31. I could look at these all day Linda! What unusual formations, they almost look like humans that have worn away through time. The raven would have had me jumping off the edge - a nasty experience in the Tower of London with a sandwich when I was five - don't want to talk about it! :D xx

  32. Thought I had already commented - these are beautiful

  33. Wow! I haven't been there, it looks spectacular!

  34. These are some fabulous scenes! I know what you mean thinking it all looks the same even if it's still gorgeous :)

  35. Stunning is exactly the word I'd use. Just beautiful. The arch photo is my favorite.

  36. What beautiful views you captured! :) Hope you are busy skiing!! :)

  37. such a wonderful trip dear ,really glad you shared it because i have never seen such place ,i wish i can visit there looks so calm and beautiful ,but what if some one lost his way in this puzzling spot ,little scary too

  38. I've never been to Bryce Canyon but I did visit Arches National Park. I think I can understand the "scenic view overload" feeling you had. The rock formations are amazing though and wow the views here were stunning.

  39. These are really amazing rock formations, and great captures!!

  40. Spectacular views! The formations and colours are incredible. Mother Nature is a great artist!


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