Best Spots in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce, home of the HOODOOS. What a funny word right? If you're like me, you initially had no idea what the heck hoodoos are either. Hoodoos are a geology term in reference to the "tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland" (according to Wikipedia). These unique shaped rocks draw many people near and far and prove to be quite mesmerizing. We visited Bryce Canyon National Park just for a day, but managed to squeeze in three different viewpoints/hikes along the way! We paid $30 per vehicle (which was only one car for us) to get into the national park and the pass is actually valid for 7 days! Listed below are the three spots we visited:

Sunset Point (Navajo Trail)

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This particular hike was my absolute FAVORITE. I probably started to annoy my friends when I could not stop saying that I wanted to  walk down into and in between all of the hoodoos. I'm pretty sure that within the day I mentioned it at least 7 times. I just wanted to explore man! This particular hike was actually unplanned, and we were initially driving to another viewpoint, which ended up being closed off for unknown reasons. We debated on just giving up on the spot, but instead we spontaneously picked a nearby spot on the map and chose this spot merely because it was named the "Sunset Point" and it was almost time to watch the sunset. Spontaneous decisions are often the best ones, because then my wish to hike down into the rock formations finally came true! I found the pinkish-orange tint of the sand and rocks to be extremely alluring, and I had wished we found this trail sooner so we could have explored the path even more deeply! Spend the next few seconds scrolling through the following photos, gawking in admiration at the colors of this gorgeous hike with me.

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This Navajo Loop Trail is only a 1.3 mile roundtrip hike, with 550 feet (or 167 meter) elevation gain. It was pretty easy on our feet and burned our thighs quite a bit on the hike back up, but it is overall pretty relaxing! It was visually a very intriguing hike. The hike featured beautiful high-up views of hoodoos and trees, a gorgeous switch-back section, and some cute little hole-like rock formations that Harry thought it would be cozy to take a nap in.  Our group never made it all the way around the loops since we were losing sunlight very quickly, but I encourage everyone to finish the entire hike!  It begins at Sunset Point, not far from the parking lot, and goes all the way down to the main amphitheater. For more information regarding the trail itself, click here.

 Hello to the Hella Handsome Harry

Hello to the Hella Handsome Harry

Inspiration Point

If you are looking for the iconic, well-known, picturesque view of Bryce National Park, this is probably the spot for you. Inspiration Point is again marked by the tall orange tinted hoodoos, a trail-way to walk that extends along the mountainside, and a tall cliff which you see me standing on in the photo pictured below. I obviously was not brave enough to go all the way to the edge but hey, good enough right? I promise, it's taller than it looks! I really loved this particular viewpoint because it provides a varied collection of views of the amphitheater. You can climb up to the top of the hill to look down in awe of the vastness of it all, or walk down the path a little bit and get a little bit closer to the hoodoos, where you can see a gorgeous lateral view of the natural structures. I love the warm orangey-pink tones of the canyon and could honestly see myself sitting, sipping some boba (sadly I had no boba with me at the time, sigh), looking at this view for hours on end. When we visited this particular viewpoint, it was not too crowded, which made the experience much more enjoyable! It was a vast, peaceful scene that really reminded me of how magnificent and big God made nature to be, and made me so thankful to be able to be a part of it.

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 Shot on Iphone

Shot on Iphone

Bryce Point

Bryce Point was expansive! It was one of the more crowded viewpoints we visited since it is definitely more well-known. From the parking lot, the trail led to a fenced-off viewpoint at the edge of a cliff, providing close to a 360 degree view of the canyons. I thought the weaving greenery of the trees between the warm tones of the many rocky hoodoos made this particular site especially beautiful. A branch of the trail was closed off, so I believe it opens up to the public later on in the year during the warmer months, but I was itching to explore! This viewpoint was a bit cold and windy, even in the end of March, so make sure to bring layers, hats, gloves, etc. Our fingers were freezing trying to take photos! I've heard that the sunrises are Bryce Point are mind-blowing. I can only imagine the intertwining reds, oranges, and yellows that result when the sunbeams hit the tall hoodoo tops. Our group didn't quite make it for sunrise since we traveled to Bryce National Park early morning from a further location, but it is on my bucket list to come back and see a proper Bryce sunrise. One day (:

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For a general overview of the itinerary we took for our 5 day roadtrip through Utah and Arizona, visited this page. Bryce is higher up in elevation though, so it proved to be much colder than the other spots in Arizona and Utah we visited during our roadtrip. Bring layers! Fallin' in love with the desert more and more every day I spend here.. EEP! 

Hiking in Zion National Park

After flying into Las Vegas, Nevada, we drove straight to Zion National Park in Utah, which was only really about 2 hours 40ish minutes (or 160 miles).  We also revisited Zion on our last day of the road trip loop, right before we were to head back to Las Vegas for our flight. Since the national park tickets were good for 7 days (per vehicle), we didn't have to pay extra! Yay! I wish we had more time though, I feel as though we merely scratched the surface of what Zion had to offer in our short two days there. Stinkin' short spring break! In our time at Zion, we were able to hit two BEAUTIFUL hikes. Both with unbelievably stunning views, but one with a short pay off and one where you really had to work for it. The two hikes we did are Canyon Overlook Trail (shorter, easier, great for kids) and Angel's Landing (thrilling, not for those with fear of heights). 

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Canyon Overlook Trail

Since our entire group all had to get up fairly early the first day and were also extremely tired from multiple prior events (concerts, Vegas shenanigans, early flights, etc) we decided to go with an easier hike for our first day at Zion. This hike is a relatively short,  1 mile round trip, walk. Elevation gain is only about 100 feet, with a bit of a steep walk in the initial park of the hike, but not really too bad at all. The trail consists of beautiful all around views of the thousand foot tall sandstone mountains. Our favorite parks included walking across a suspended bridge walkway and the large overhanging rock that came right after it. This overhang rock is shaped almost like a large open mouth, frozen in time. Since it is spring time the greenery was plentiful, scattered all over the trail and surrounding mountains. We couldn't help ourselves but to stop and continue to snap photos of these freakin' photogenic rocks! We saw many many small children, both walking independently and also on these daddy-backpack carriers (who knew those were so popular?!) throughout this hike! If those little cuties can hike this whole thing, you definitely can too!

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After having reached the top, the view was quite beautiful, with the winding paths, tiny moving cars, and bushels of green peacefully surrounded by majestic stone mountains. It feels easy to sit on the edge, soak in nature's glory, and forget about life's pending responsibilities and stresses. I wanted to sit there for longer, forgetting about my to-do list waiting for me at home. It's funny how nature can be so entrancing at times. It's beautiful and complexity of the details make it hard to not believe there is a higher power, a God who's creative brain crafted these nature masterpieces. We had a lot of fun just climbing a couple of the mountains, finding quieter parks of the viewpoint to sit. The weather was a lot warmer than we had expected! So bring layers for sure.

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Angel's Landing

Before heading to Angel's Landing, the two things I heard the most from people were:

1.  "It's an absolute MUST DO"

2. "People have died falling off those cliffs on that hike."

I always look at 'em like... thanks friend. Mixed feelings. The hike is 4.8 miles (7.8km) round trip, with about a 1500 feet (or 460 m) elevation gain. The hike starts off at the trailhead named "The Grotto", then leads to a steep path of switchbacks, and ends with the crazy and exhilarating trek up and down the narrow spine of the mountain with crazy drops on both sides of you, clinging onto chains and guard rails for security, all the while leading to a breathtaking view of the mountains at the top. During certain months of the year (usually early April to end of October, aka when we went), private cars are not allowed up to Angel's Landing. So we parked at one of the early stops (Stop 2) and took the bus up to the trailhead, which should be Stop 6! When we went, the bus came every 5-10 minutes, very frequently! Make sure to do your research and check the bus schedule though because it changes depending on the time of year.  Pro-tip, during busy/popular months, park at an earlier shuttle stop, because otherwise the shuttle gets full way too fast and it'll take forever to wait for one where you can maybe squeeze on. We went in late March and it was already extremely busy (it was full a couple stops in from the first stop and we saw a lot of people get turned away), so I can only imagine what it is like during the summer months.

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I think I was so mentally prepared for the strenuous nature of the last part (I mean crazy drops on BOTH sides of you how can you not be slightly nervous), that I didn't realize how steep the first section of switchbacks were going to be. I admit, the high elevation plus my post-finals hermit-like studying-all-day sleep-deprived body got winded much earlier than I expected.  There are many areas on the sides to just turn around and enjoy the view while taking a rest-stop/breather. No shame! Let your body rest! Right before the final part of the hike, we took a lunch break on this large flat surface where the rest of the hikers were chillin' too! Many people decide to stop at this part and turn around to go back, which is totally fine! We used this time to rest up and hydrate before lining up to get started on the most exhilarating part of the hike. Pheebs and I sandwiched ourselves between the two boys (just felt safer I guess) and after waiting for a bit, we got started! Because the pathway is so narrow, hikers going to and coming back from the end had to take turns when crossing certain sections of the hike. It was extremely important for hikers going both directions to be in constant communication and to be courteous since every has to take turns passing each other. I thought that once I got to the point where I was with thousand  foot drops on either side of me, I would be squirming inside, but it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be! The metal chains are very secure and provided a sense of security throughout the hike. It's also perspective I guess. You could think either "I could die if I fell off either side of this mountain right now" or "there is less mountain in the way now of this increasingly gorgeous view". Perspective!

 These narrow rock formations are what we hiked up, down, and across holding onto nothing but a few chains!

These narrow rock formations are what we hiked up, down, and across holding onto nothing but a few chains!

 Shot on Iphone

Shot on Iphone

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The view from the top was amazing. It was a completely different view from one edge of the mountain than when you did a 180 and looks over the opposite edge. The top wasn't as crowded as I expected it to be, so it gave us a nice room to take a breather. The trek back was so much easier because it was all downhill from there on, but seriously guys, SO WORTH IT. 

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 We ended the day after the hike with a hearty, delicious meal at  Lonny Boy's Barbecue  in Hurricane, Utah. They have multiple locations but our Airbnb happened to be in Hurricane, so this was beyond perfect.  We were all starving and in need of sustenance, so a perfect post-crazy hike meal! Shout out to our Airbnb host to feeding us a homemade breakfast the morning after as well! We ate good after this hike guys. Heart, body, and soul are soooo full.   Shot on iPhone.

We ended the day after the hike with a hearty, delicious meal at Lonny Boy's Barbecue in Hurricane, Utah. They have multiple locations but our Airbnb happened to be in Hurricane, so this was beyond perfect.  We were all starving and in need of sustenance, so a perfect post-crazy hike meal! Shout out to our Airbnb host to feeding us a homemade breakfast the morning after as well! We ate good after this hike guys. Heart, body, and soul are soooo full. 

Shot on iPhone.

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 Thank you Utah for an amazing trip! Missing you and your orange-ness already!!

 Shot on Iphone

Shot on Iphone