Imagine waking up in a tranquil woody campsite, cooking and eating in the fresh open air and then spending the warm, sunny day hiking up, down, and through hoodoos. Well that’s just what you can do whilst staying at Bryce Canyon, Utah.
Bryce Canyon Campgrounds
Jacob and I were lucky enough to arrive at the campgrounds whilst they were relatively empty, meaning we got to pick from many available spaces. This was great as it meant we could find the perfect spot for our time there, however, this took a while as there were too many to choose from.
We found a beautiful spot in the North Campgrounds. There were beautiful trees sheltering us and wildlife passing through our camp to investigate the new arrivals. It was the ideal place to relax and re-energise.
Mossy Cave Trail
After arriving and pitching our tent, we only had a short amount of time before the darkness started creeping in, so we decided to do a relatively short and easy hike. We read about the Mossy Cave Trail, which allows you to see the Hoodoos, a waterfall and a cave up close and with relative ease.
The hike was beautiful. It follows along a river with the unique hoodoos on either side. We were there at golden hour, so the sun setting on rocks was incredible.
We explored the cave first, it was interesting, but during the winter when there are ice stalactites hanging from the roof, it would be worth a visit. We soon headed to the waterfall where we spent a lot of time. My favourite part of the hike was hanging out behind the water. It was so loud you couldn’t hear anything else, and it was so chaotic that you couldn’t think of anything but the beauty of the water falling. Despite the loudness and power, it was strangely relaxing.
A full day of hiking in Bryce Canyon
The next morning we couldn’t wait to get going and explore the National Park more. We looked at a map and decided to combine a few of the trails to make a full day of exploring.
We started at Sunrise point and took the Queens Garden Trail. This was a relatively easy trail to start off with that headed mainly downhill giving stunning views of the hoodoos both alongside you and below. There is one point of this trail where one of the Hoodoos is said to look like Queen Elizabeth. At first I couldn’t see it, but after some squinting and using my imagination she came into view.
This trail then reaches the start of the Peek-a-Boo Trail which is 5.5 miles round trip. It is a relatively strenuous hike with a lot of elevation gain and descents. It is well worth the effort as you get stunning panoramic views. It is also a relatively quiet trail, so we got a bit of time away from the crowds to enjoy the national park to ourselves.
Finally we joined onto one of the most popular trails in the park – the Navajo Trail. We only did the second half of this loop because that is where the Peek-A-Boo trail ended, but we chose the bit that climbed up through the middle of a canyon like structure. It was very very steep but an incredible experience, Jacob and I couldn’t stop talking about it after.
We then joined back on the Rim Trail at Sunset point and headed back to Sunrise Point.
Here is a map to plan your visit to the Park.
These are the defining feature of Bryce Canyon and are so fascinating. Whilst walking around we were discussing them a lot. At times, they looked almost animal/human like, sometimes they looked like rows of soldiers ready for battle and others magnificent grand stone structures.
Whilst hiking around, we looked at some of the information boards and read something interesting about how the Native American’s described/explained these Hoodoos which really resonated with the conversations Jacob and I had whilst hiking.
“Before there were humans, the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. There were many of them. They were of many kinds – birds, animals, lizards and such things, but they looked like people. They were not people. They had power to make themselves look that way. For some reason the Legend People in that place were bad; they did something that was not good, perhaps a fight, perhaps some stole something….the tale is not clear at this point. Because they were bad, Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them in that place now all turned into rocks; some standing in rows, some sitting down, some holding onto others. You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks. The name of that place is Angka-ku-wass-a-wits (red painted faces). This is the story the people tell.” – Paiute elder who lived on the Kaibab Reservation: