Yen's Blog

Lens, Wheels, Skates, Keyboard

Bryce Canyon National Park

Garden of the gods

It would be hard to imagine that such a mind-boggling, alien, exotic, singularly beautiful place can exist on earth. Delicate spires, towering ramparts, majestic temples, mythical castles are some of the sights that will come to your mind when you visit Bryce. Even more amazing is the knowledge that these fantastic sculptures were shaped by none other than the most primitive force of nature and the relentless march of time. This remarkable landscape, just a few hours’ drive away from the big city, will transport your imagination to a place far beyond this world.

Cluster of hoodoos. The scenery is so amazing it numbs the senses.

The rock formation resembles a crouching lion. If you look closely you can see the trail leading diagonally to the base of the rock.

Fortress Bryce

You may be bedazzled by the amphitheater at Sunrise Point that you forget to look on the other side. The sloping cliff face and jutting rock formations remind me of a fortress wall with towers and battlements.

The Amphitheater at Sunrise

The best known Bryce landmark is the Amphitheater. True to its name, the Amphitheater is a semi-circular area carved into the cliff wall and filled with spectacular sandstone formations. The amphitheater faces east, so to best experience the amphitheater, you should see it in the soft and warm morning light.

The best place to see the amphitheater is probably Sunset Point, while Bryce Point gives you a more panoramic view.

We were there in March, when snow still clung to the ground. We decided to get up at 5:30am (sunrise was about 6) and lugged ourselves (and equipment) in the biting morning air, through knee-deep snow, to get to the trailhead at Sunrise Point. My friend got up to the lookout, took a few pictures, then trudged back through the snow to the car and resumed sleeping. Typical tourists :)

Bryce Visitor’s Map

The main road through Bryce isn’t very long, but it’ll be one of the most memorable drive you’ll take.

Take frequent pit stops

On the way to Bryce, you’ll drive by Red Canyon. This isn’t as spectacular as Bryce itself, but you can just pull over and enjoy roadside scenery such as this.

Blue Sky and Orange Earth

The landscape is astonishing everywhere you look. And the weather here is perpetually sunny with blue sky. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Keep your camera loaded

A tripod is useful for sunrise and sunset shots. Panoramic views are nice, but zoom in close for some spectacular shots of the hoodoos. Some of the formations when illuminated by soft light can appear almost translucent. You may not want to use a warming filter or a polarizer on a sunny day; the landscape is already deeply saturated! The weather here is almost always sunny with a gorgeous blue sky!

Last visit: March 2001 Pros: Out of this world landscape; proximity to large cities Cons: Pity Bryce isn’t larger In a nutshell: Pictures do not do it justice