The Grand Circle
In October of 2011, Sam and I set off on an RV road trip adventure through the national parks of Utah and Arizona, also known as the Grand Circle. We purchased the America the Beautiful Pass for $80 which would give us access to ALL of National Parks. During our 8-day RV Road Trip we visited Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capital Reef National Park, Grand Staircase Escalate National Monument, Horseshoe Bend State Park, Arches National Park, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon.
Following our visit to Zion National Park, our journey continues in…
Bryce Canyon National Park
As we drove the 2 hours from Zion National Park, the 89 North Scenic Byway provided stunning views of snow-capped mountains. Eating Twizzlers (a road trip tradition) while listening to the road trip playlist we created including artists like Tom Petty and Jack Johnson, I gazed out the window at the buffalo along the roadside. We booked a site at Bryce Canyon Pines RV Campground, which was located a little bit before the actual entrance of the park. We stopped by just to check-in and scope out the facilities, but we were eager to see the hoodoos in the park, so we were quickly on our way.
Exploring Bryce Canyon
After passing through the impressive red rocks that made up Red Canyon, our first stop in the park was Bryce Point (8300 ft elevation). The formation of the hoodoos is mesmerizing. They are colorful and vast and are like nothing either one of us had ever seen before!
Due to the time of year and high elevation, it was pretty chilly! The occasional strong gust of wind didn’t help, but if we kept moving we were fine. We had the option to hike the Navajo Loop Trail (1.3 miles round trip), which is supposedly hands down the greatest way to see the hoodoos from the canyon floor, but instead we set off on Rim Trail and walked along the perimeter of the canyon.
We passed Inspiration Point and walked all the way to Sunset Point.
I highly recommend this trail as it was an easy walk and provided stunning views of the nearby canyon of colorful hoodoos and unique rock formations.
Once we arrived at Sunset Point, we spotted the famous Thor’s Hammer formation.
Bryce Canyon Scenic Loop
We hopped on the Bryce Canyon Shuttle to head back to where we left our RV, so we could drive the 38-mile scenic loop. We drove to the end of the road and then worked our way back down. The first (technically last) stop on the scenic drive was Rainbow Point (9115 ft elevation). Wowee, we were not prepared for the cold! Due to the elevation, there was an ample amount of snow on the ground.
We got out, looked around, took a few pictures then got back into the nicely heated RV! The next stop was Black Birch Canyon (8750 ft elevation). There was a ton of snow on the ground and we didn’t go much further than the parking lot, since we weren’t too far from our previous stop and assumed the view would be much the same.
We did, however, enjoy the view at the next stop of our scenic tour, Ponderosa Point (8904 ft elevation) because the tops of the hoodoos were simply dusted with a small layer of snow, which complemented the already spectacular view.
Not far down the road was Agua Canyon (8800 ft elevation). More of the same, stunning red rocks covered in snow… though we never got tired of the view!
Natural Bridge (8627 ft elevation) was our final stop along the scenic 38-mile drive. Besides the incredible hoodoos, this was one of the most impressive geological formations we saw during our time in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce Canyon is known around the globe as having some of the darkest skies around. We were really looking forward to star gazing at night, as we had seen some incredible pictures of the Milky Way over the hoodoos. Unfortunately, nature was not on our side that night, and the sky was almost completely covered in clouds. While back at our campsite, I awoke in the middle of the night, hoping the clouds had cleared, but sadly they had not. Oh well! I guess we’ll just have to go back someday!