‘Otherworldly’ is an apt description for Bryce’s haven of hoodoos.
For those of you who don’t hike, Bryce Canyon’s beauty can also be feasted upon right from the Rim Trail, which offers a grand buffet of brilliant hues and views of hoodoos. Bryce Canyon’s colors are like looking into a bowl full of orange and vanilla sherbet on a hot summer day.
Navajo/Peekaboo Loop Combo
To get the most bang for our buck, we hiked down the Navajo Loop from Sunset Point and quickly passed the famous Thor’s Hammer rock formation and continued on through the Peekaboo trail (do yourself a favor and tackle it clockwise). Completing this loop is just under 6 miles, and in our opinion well worth the effort. Bryce’s grand collection of spires, rocky fins, and windowed walls are neatly piled throughout the canyon, and stand in faint reminiscence of childhood moon sand sculptures. Although you guarantee yourself a steep ascent at the end, back up switchback after switchback from whence you came, getting truly ‘in it’ is worth the haul.
Tower Bridge via Fairyland Loop
We began this hike at the Sunrise Point trailhead, where we quickly picked up the Fairyland loop. Despite being named “loop”, this was a regular out-and-back trek for us since our final destination was the Tower Bridge. This trail was much less traveled than the Navajo loop trail, but just as breathtaking. Some of the notable geologic features viewable along this trail are the China Wall, Sinking Ship, and Tower Bridge. Hiking the entire Fairyland loop is 8 miles, but to get to the Tower Bridge takes just under 2 miles of trekking.
Kodachrome Basin is a nice, well-kept state park and campground near Bryce canyon, with reasonable rates ($$). There is a laundromat, full hookups, and recently renovated (free) showers on-site. For two people on the road, a good hot lengthy shower is just darn delightful. And these ones heat up past tepid and straight into ecstatic sear-your-backside heat. The rangers who checked us in talked them up, and boy they were not wrong. These babies will make you melt like cold butter on piping hot toast.
The Kodachrome Basin has a history that involves a 1948 NatGeo expedition, who decided the colors popped much like the Kodak color film Kodachrome. The colors are pretty, but let’s just say maybe they’re more impressive after a good rain and it’s difficult to compete with the dashing looks of neighbor Bryce.
We stayed here while visiting Bryce Canyon, and took both the Panorama and Angel’s Palace trails accessible on-site. Our 12-year old Sandy loved Angel’s Palace, and bounded about like a joyful puppy in the afternoon light.
There are many overlooks on this trail, but watch your step. Many are a single path out on a limb of the plateau with steep drops on either side.
The Panorama trail, on the other hand, keeps you much closer to the ground. This is a 3 to 6 mile hike that takes you out to some interesting spots such as the Ballerina spire, the ‘hat shop’, and the ‘cool cave’. It is a nice, ambling trail without much elevation change.