Bryce Canyon is about a 5-hour drive from Vegas. Before leaving Vegas, we hit Costco to stock up on water, bread, and cold cuts for the hikes. The drive along the way was initially uninspiring, but as we got closer to the town of St. George (home of the St. George Marathon), the scenery started to garner more enthusiasm.
We got to Bryce Canyon Resort (a misnomer given that it was really motel caliber) at around 5PM. We quickly dumped our belongings and headed to do the 18-mile scenic drive through Bryce Canyon National park.
Given that all the vistas are located to the left as we were driving in, it was recommended that we drive all the way to the end of the park at Rainbow Point, and then stop off at the individual vistas on our way back. Each stop off had it’s own unique view of the canyon.
Bryce Canyon is much loved by photographers (professional and amateurs alike). Which means sunrise and sunset are when you see all the photographers staked out with their equipment. Since it was overcast (scattered thunderstorms were forecasted to ruin our hikes), and sunset seemed to be at the wrong position, I decided that we’d wait for sunrise the next morning.
Sunrise – 6:12AM
Woke up at 5:30AM in order to give all 4 of us time to get ready with only 1 bathroom available. S didn’t sleep a wink, but he still hit the trails with us. We got to Sunset Point (instead of Sunrise Point because one of the reviews had suggested that it was a better vantage point, but in hind sight I think Sunrise Point would have been a better location) at 6:10AM, and people had already set up their tripods.
After being satisfied with the photos we took, we set off on the Navajo trail a half hour later. The plan was to do the Figure 8, which is to go down the Navajo trail through Wall Street, and pick up the Peek-a-boo loop and return via the Queens Garden trail. A total distance of 6.5 miles.
All in all, it took us about 5-6 hours to hike the entire length. Had it not been for stopping every few feet for photo ops, we would have been able to finish it much faster. But the whole point of this hike was to marvel at the beauty of this place. As luck would have it, the thunderstorm that threatened our hike never materialized.
After dinner at Bryce Canyon Pines with their wonderful cream pies and overcooked steaks (according to J & B), we decided to head to Inspiration point as we wanted to maximize our stay at Bryce Canyon since we were leaving the next morning.
To be continued…