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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bryce Canyon // The Next Best Place

"There is no certainty, only adventure." -Robert Assagioli
As I mentioned, Bryce Canyon was easily the highlight of this fun roadtrip (read more about Zion and St. George here). We already cannot wait to go back and Under-the-Rim trail. For now, this day trip to Bryce was the perfect intro to this absolutely stunning national park. We were lucky because it was another day of perfect blue skies. 

Bryce Canyon is such a unique mix of forest, red rock, and Hoodoos. Hoodoos (don't worry, I did not know before our trip either) are "odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from forces of erosion." There is such a stark, stunning contrast between the red rock, blue skies and deep blue mountains in the background and in the winter, the snow caressing the red cliffs. I remember thinking Bryce Canyon was even more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, which is absolutely spectacular but there is something so unique about this pretty little park. This place is a hidden little gem with a few less visitors than other parks like Zion as it is a little further off the beaten path.

We loved going during the winter but did not realize we would be going up to 9,000+ feet in elevation. The snow was lovely but it was definitely very chilly in the park - don't let the pictures fool you! There was a slight chill in the air and it was difficult to stay warm unless we were in the direct sun. If you go in the wintertime, bring lots of warm clothing and expect a "winter" getaway and you will be pleasantly surprised. 
I woke up early to watch the sunrise in Bryce :) So worth it!
Love this panorama of balanced rock ^

We started with a drive from the start to end of the park. I highly recommend driving the 18 miles to the end at Rainbow Point without stopping and then working your way back to the entrance while stopping at each viewpoint. At Rainbow Point, stop and hike the Bristlecone Loop Trail (about a mile). This trail has the most incredible vistas and is removed from the main traffic of the park. It is so peaceful. During the winter, it is covered in snow and there was some ice so be careful and bring good shoes. 

These photos are all from Bristlecone Loop Trail: 

This picture is for Braden's mom ^ She hates cliffs and knows how crazy and adventurous we are so she is constantly telling us to be careful. Don't worry, we weren't too high up here ;)

These crazy boys...stay away from dangerous cliffs! They had so much fun though. The best adventures are with best friends!

...and back to the road! This drive through the park is unbelievable. From the road, you do not see a lot of the red cliffs but more the large evergreens surrounding you on both sides with patches of red cliffs smiling through the trees.
Love this last minute shot of this little cliff ^ that sky!
The crows were stalking us in the park. Courtney's face in this photo is priceless as the bird stopped and refused to move until Braden chased him down.

Natural Bridge ^

We ended our drive through the park with a stop at Sunrise point to hike the Queens Garden Trail. This was my favorite spot in the park. This trail also made the list for 10 Life-Changing Trails in Utah

One of my very favorite photos from this trip :) ^
I dream of this day often and cannot wait to go back soon. So grateful it is only a 3-4 hour drive from us in the Salty city!

One our way home from Southern Utah on President's Day, we made a quick stop at Cove Fort. I loved this sunset photo with an american flag. I am proud to be an American! 

Such an amazing weekend filled with yummy food, good music, lots of laughter, and best of all, the best of best friends. So grateful to have these two in our lives and grateful for our adventures together!

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