Welcome to Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon City, UT

Sunday was moving day for us, as we come to the end of our visit to Torrey and nearby Capitol Reef NP.  So about 10:30 AM we said our good-byes to our neighbors, Howard and Linda of RV-Dreams, and headed out.  We may see them again somewhere down the road in the near future, but will definitely spend some time together in December on a cruise out of Miami.

There are two ways to get to Bryce Canyon from Torrey.  One is over Rte. 12, the more scenic of the two routes, but one that can be a bit stressful in a large vehicle.  The other way is to go west to Rte. 62, then south to Rte. 89, and finally east on Rte. 12 to Bryce.  This way is less scenic but a great deal less stressful.  This is the path Howard and Linda took coming from Bryce to Torrey last week and they looked very relaxed upon their arrival.  We opted for the “H & L Route” and enjoyed a stress free journey.

One of two short tunnels along Rte. 12 approaching Bryce

We are now parked at Ruby’s Inn RV and Campground in their new open section in the back of the campground.  It is basically a gravel area with new pine trees between each site.  But it has just what we value in a site: good power, good water, open sky for the satellite dish, and good WiFi.

Bryce is at an altitude of about 8,000 feet and is just beginning to warm up.  The tourist season is just beginning so the park is fairly empty.

Once things in the motorhome were set up, we jumped into the jeep and drove the short distance into Bryce Canyon NP.  After a stop at the visitors’ center, we drove south on the park road to Rainbow Point.  Bryce is not really a canyon, but a narrow plateau running from north to south.  At Rainbow Point you are at the most southerly part of the park and are at its highest altitude.

The views from the point are beautiful despite the lack of sunshine.

The day was cold and windy so we opted to only take a short hike.  The Bristlecone Loop Trail is about a mile in length and loops around the very tip of Rainbow Point.  At the tip of the point there are a number of Bristlecone Pine Trees.  Bristlecone pines grow in isolated groves just below the tree line, between 5,600 and 11,200 ft elevation.  Because of cold temperatures, dry soils, high winds, and short growing seasons, the trees grow very slowly.  The bristlecone pines are the oldest single living organisms known.  The oldest bristlecone pines are single plants that have been alive for a little less than 5,000 years.

The tree’s needles, which grow in bunches of five, can remain on the tree for forty years, which gives the tree’s terminal branches the unique appearance of a long bottle brush.

The main road in the park runs along the plateau rim for about 18 miles, with numerous overlooks to view the beautiful scenes below.  We stopped at a few to check out the views.

Mule deer are plentiful in the many meadows on the plateau.  The little guy pictured below didn’t seem to care about us as he enjoyed a snack along the road.

We plan to be in Bryce for a week, which should be plenty of time to enjoy the best hikes in the park.  But the weather prediction has a chance of thundershowers every day of our stay, so a slight alteration in our timetable may be in order.

More on that later . . .

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11 Responses to Welcome to Bryce Canyon

  1. Cool tunnels!
    Those are beautiful views. That rock is so red!!!
    Don’t bother to pick any of needles from those trees up. They are too short for me to use. But I do like the looks of the trees. Neat information about the needles.
    Hope the rain stays away. That is such a lovely area. We actually have been to that area. This was many years ago when the girls were little. I do remember the girls loved the hiking. Hope you get to experience all the trails.

  2. That is so neat about the bristlecone pine trees. We are hunkered down here…not quite as daring as you two with all the iffy weather so we haven’t been in the NP yet. Already you have seen and done so much!

    • placestheygo says:

      We were down by your park this morning. We got in a visit to Kodachrome Basin SP before the rain. We even managed to hike the 1/2 mile to the Shakespeare Arch before it dripped on us. We still need to get out to the big arch but the Cottonwood Trail was a long drive and not good when wet and it was raining. We hit some sun at Mossy Cave and Fall. Got it in and finished just before the hail started.

  3. Pam says:

    Bryce is so beautiful. Hope the weather behaves and you get to do some of the best hikes. It’s great that you are there before the crowds.

  4. Allison says:

    Hail! Ack. Lone Pine has finally reverted to decent weather. I’m feeling much better about things. When we went to Escalante we drove over 12. In one direction there was a 12% grade, in the other there was a 14% grade. We were towing a 5th wheel at the time with no exhaust brake. It was unnerving to say the least. Your route was better.

  5. Erin says:

    Didin’t know that about the bristlecone pine … thanks for sharing. You sure don’t let any grass grow under your feet, getting out and about after settling into your site. But when the weather is iffy, you’ve got to make hay when you can.

  6. Janna says:

    I loved Bryce, maybe more so than Zion–the place is just special! Enjoy your stay!

  7. LuAnn says:

    Finally a place in Utah we have been! I am looking forward to more hikes and beautiful photos. 🙂

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