Our fall 2012 vacation was a return trip to Utah. Last year, we visited Zion National Park. We knew Bryce Canyon National Park was suppose to be awesome too; and even though the two parks are near each other, we wanted to have enough time to truly explore each of them. Zion National Park in 2011. Bryce Canyon National Park in 2012.
I've tried to include a lot of web links in case you want to read more about the places we visited.
Our drive to BCNP included an overnight stop in Grand Junction, CO. They have a winding Main Street with trees and little park spaces.
There are a handful of fountains including this one which changes patterns. You're never sure how the water will spray.
There is a lot of art tucked in along the street.
On Sunday, we arrived at our main destination. BCNP was breathtaking!!!
The canyon is filled with interesting rock formations. The colors include orange, white, pink, purple and red with the green of the pine trees. There are a lot of overlooks. You can drive along the rim and stop at each one. They are all beautiful.
On Monday, we hiked into BCNP. They call the rock formations hoodoos. We were hikin' in the hoodoos. We took part of the Navaho Loop Trail to Peekaboo Loop Trail and then returned on part of the Queen's Garden Trail.
Here's the queen.
The colors would change through the day as the sunlight hit the rocks from different angles. It didn't matter which way you looked, every direction was interesting.
On Tuesday, it rained. Not a problem. We donned ponchos and hiked half a mile to Mossy Cave where a spring keeps the moss growing.
Near the cave is a waterfall which was made more spectacular with all the rain.
I used my "flowing water" settings on the camera to get the silky look.
We then returned to the road along the rim in BCNP to see more of the overlooks we hadn't gotten to yet.
It was interesting to see water run down the rock formations in the canyon.
Even in the rain, the colors are great.
We did find it ironic that we went to the Desert Southwest to see a real rain.
Tuesday afternoon, the clouds broke apart and we got in a bike ride.
There is a paved bike trail along Scenic Highway 12 just west of BCNP in Dixie National Forest. My wonderful husband recorded this video of me biking the trail. You'll notice the highway and red rock formations on the right. There is a wash where water flows on the left. I was amazed he got this steady of a video while biking.
We went west on the trail first which was mostly downhill. We had a bit of a workout coming back east. We just stopped often to rest and take photos of the amazing scenery.
I took these photos at the hotel where we stayed just to show all my blogging friends that this tree is loved.
They built the roof edge and gutter around the tree trunk.
On Wednesday, we took another hike into the canyon. The Fairyland Trail Loop.
Tower bridge was one of the featured stops on this hike.
We also returned to Dixie National Forest and hiked a short and very vertical trail to see these red rock formations including several arches. These are west of the bike trail we took Tuesday and up a gravel road a little ways.
On the day we left BCNP, we made a stop at Kodachrome Basin State Park where they believe sand deposits filled in former geyser vents. Today, the softer rock around the vents is gone leaving these spires.
We also stopped at Natural Bridges National Monument where three large bridges have formed as the rivers cut through the rocks.
We found a place to stay for Thursday night and then took a road trip across northern New Mexico with our last night's stay in Cimarron, NM. This is the St. James Hotel. There are many tales of gunfights here (they have the bullet holes in the old dining room ceiling still). Famous "old west" people stayed here and it is said to be haunted.
Our room was in the annex south of the main hotel which is a standard hotel because all the historic rooms were booked. The hotel has a modern restaurant with a patio/entertainment area out back. Since it was Friday, there was a live band. The town has a lot of history and we walked around town reading about its interesting past.
Our last day of vacation included checking out the many Santa Fe Trail ruts which can be seen near Cimarron. Picture wagons coming over this hill.
Then, we got off the main road at Clayton, NM to see the dinosaur tracks at Clayton State Park.
After that, we made tracks home.
It was a great adventure. So glad we returned to Utah this year.
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