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March 17, 2013 / mws

2013 Bryce Canyon National Park March

March 16  2013

This was a driving day to transition from Sedona to Bryce.  We drove north on 89A through Flagstaff.

AZ Route 89 road damage

AZ Route 89 road damage

Whenever you travel, you need to be aware of conditions beyond your control and be ready for a Plan B.  We encountered the need for Plan B on this driving day.  On Arizona Route 89 just south of Page, AZ there was a geological event that caused MAJOR road hazards.  All traffic had to detour! We were planning on taking AZ Rt 89 to Kanab, but instead, we chose (aptly named) Alternate 89 through Marble Canyon, Jacob Lake and then north to Utah. Along this route we passed the Cliff Dwellers area.  This is a fascinating place with very unusual rock formations, a restaurant, and lodging. Also in the same area are the picturesque Vermillion Cliffs.  From our previous trips to the southwest, we knew that a stop at Jacob Lake was necessary for their well-known bakery…cookies!  So our Plan B turned out just fine!

We arrived in Bryce Canyon City around 5PM  and settled in to plan our time here.

March 17 2013

Bryce Hoodoos

Bryce Hoodoos

Bryce Canyon is a series of large natural amphitheaters with thousands of multi-colored rock pinnacles called hoodoos.  Visitors may drive through the 18 mile long park and stop at scenic viewpoints, or hike or take horseback rides along trails into the canyon.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Some of the majestic scenery in Bryce Canyon National Park can be seen by driving with no hiking needed. You can enjoy all of the park’s major overlooks if you get out of your car and take a short stroll.  This is what we did today since the temp was 34 degrees and windchill was 20 degrees. However, it was a gorgeous sunny day and we were thrilled to see snow on the hoodoos.  Rainbow Point is located at the farthest end of the drive.  We stopped there for views and photos and then stopped at every vista and viewpoint on the way back to the entrance.

Trail to Queens Garden from Sunset Point

Trail to Queens Garden from Sunset Point

Each viewpoint offered another spectacular landscape and we hardly knew how to capture the scene in a photo. Centuries of erosion have formed these magnificent hoodoos in multi orange arrays of color. The contrast of the orange formations and the vibrant blue sky is truly amazing. On the way back to Route 12, we made many stops and gazed in awe at the beautiful canyon.

March 18 2013

I

The Icicles in Mossy Cave

We started the day by driving a few miles east on Route 12 to find Mossy Cave Trail.

Mossy Cave Trail

Windows in the Rock Formations

Hwy 12 cuts across the scenic northeast portion of  Bryce Canyon National Park. There is a marked pullout along Hwy 12 where visitors can find the Mossy Cave Trail.  Here, hikers can see hoodoos with a natural forest backdrop. Located up the left fork of the trail is Mossy Cave itself. The cave is a spectacular rock overhang fed by an underground spring. In summer the cave is cool, with water dripping from hanging gardens. During winter the cave is filled with large hanging icicles. There is also a large rock formation with windows about half way to the cave.

Shakespeare Arch

After our trek to Mossy Cave, we drove east on Hwy 12 to Kodachrome Park.  We did the short hike to Shakespeare Arch and the Grand Prarie Trail which takes you right up to the rock wall.

Kodachrome Park

The scenery in Kodachrome Park is unusual, dominated by 67 monolithic stone spires called sedimentary pipes. They accentuate multi-hued sandstone layers revealing 180 million years of geologic time. The color and beauty found here prompted a 1948 National Geographic Society expedition to name the area Kodachrome after Kodak color film.

This park is particularly popular during spring and fall, when temperatures are moderate. We had a lovely sunny day with 50 degree temps, a great day to be in the park. A concessionaire offers horseback rides and other activities and services in the area.  There is a small visitors center and gift shop at the entrance.

To see more photos of our trip to Bryce Canyon, click here

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2 Comments

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  1. Abi Jones (@AbiJones5) / Apr 1 2013 3:56 pm

    I just got back from tours at Bryce Canyon with http://brycecanyonextreme.com/ and it’s an amazing place to visit. This was my first time visiting Bryce Canyon. It was so pretty and adventurous!

    • mws / Apr 12 2013 9:24 am

      Abi, I share your enthusiam about Bryce. It is an amazing place!

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