Bryce Canyon Journals

On the Plateau, Part VI: Bryce Canyon

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A June 2006 trip to Bryce Canyon by callen60

Bryce Canyon National Park Photo, Bryce Canyon, Utah More Photos
Quote: Continuing our circle across Arizona and Utah, we headed to colorful, charming Bryce Canyon. For some in our party, it was saving the best for last; for everyone, it was a terrific 3-day visit along the rim and among the hoodoos.

On the Plateau, Part VI: Bryce Canyon

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Overview

Bryce Canyon National Park Photo, Bryce Canyon, Utah
Quote:
It surprised me at first that so many people name Bryce as their favorite site in the Southwest. Having waited decades to visit the Grand Canyon, I couldn’t imagine how that awesome wonder could be second to Bryce’s smaller, more easily comprehended rock sculpture. After visiting both, I understand. Where the Grand Canyon is magisterial, sublime, and intimidating, Bryce is intimate and playful. The Grand Canyon’s scope and formation proves nearly impossible for the eye and mind to grasp; at Bryce, erosion appears to be at work on a daily basis, having briefly stepped away from the rocks for a lunch break. ...Read More

Bryce Canyon Lodge

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Hotel

Bryce Canyon Lodge Photo, Bryce Canyon, Utah
Quote:
I’m awfully fond of staying in the park when it’s possible. The older the lodging, the more interested I am in making that the center for exploring the surroundings. The classic park lodges of Gilbert Stanley Underwood at Grand Canyon and Bryce were tops on my list when laying out this trip. His plan always involved a central lodge housing the dining room, lounges, and other places for guests to congregate, with clusters of cabins providing sleeping space for park visitors. When I learned that Bryce’s beautiful Western Cabins top out at four people (no rollaways allowed), that meant that the newer, Mission-60-era motel-style units would be our only in-park choice. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 27, 2007

Bryce Canyon Lodge
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon, Utah 84764
(435) 834-5361

Bryce Canyon Lodge Dining Hall

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Restaurant | "Bryce Canyon Lodge Dining Room"

Bryce Canyon Lodge Dining Hall Photo, Bryce Canyon, Utah
Quote:
Dining options at Bryce are surprisingly limited, given the park’s popularity. Outside the boundary, Ruby’s Inn dominates the market for both lodging and dining, with a restaurant, snack bar, and cafeteria to accompany their nearly 400 rooms. A few other motel/restaurant combinations lie along Utah 23, the spur that heads south from Utah 12 into the park.But once inside the boundary, the dining room at Bryce Canyon Lodge is your only caloric option. That’s a little surprising, given that Zion and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim each have lower-end snack bars in addition to their upscale restaurants. Xanterra, the concessionaire at all three parks, allows reservations several months out, so we...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 27, 2007

Bryce Canyon Lodge Dining Hall
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon, Utah 84764
(435) 834-5361

Quote:
Several guidebooks tout this family-run restaurant as a good, basic dining option at Bryce. I’d agree with the ‘basic’ characterization, but no one in our family was willing to go past ‘OK’ if they even went that far. Located just east of the junction between Highway 12 and the spur into Bryce Canyon, the restaurant is part of a small complex of motel units and unappealing prefab construction offering pretty inexpensive lodging. There’s also a supermarket and bakery—in a lot of ways, it’s a lower budget, smaller scale version of Ruby’s Inn, the Best Western affiliated mega-complex that dominates most of the outside-the-park commerce. We were starting to feel the weight of 8 days' accumula...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 27, 2007

Foster's Family Steakhouse
1150 Highway 12
Bryce Canyon, Utah 84759
(435) 834-5227

Bryce Canyon National Park

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Attraction | "Mossy Cave"

Bryce Canyon National Park Photo, Bryce Canyon, Utah
Quote:
It was a perfect day as we approached Bryce Canyon from the east, heading down Utah 12 under beautiful blue skies. Given its proximity to Zion, further to the west, this route to Bryce is definitely the road less traveled. On Mossy Cave TrailMossy Cave sits on Bryce’s far northeastern side, near the bottom of the amphitheatre. It’s the one road-accessible park site that’s not on the Scenic Drive, which keeps crowds down. This short hike serves as a great warm-up for Bryce Canyon, and is easiest done if you’re following our route into the park; if you’re already in-pa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 27, 2007

Bryce Canyon National Park
Southwestern Utah
Bryce, UT 84717
(435) 834-5322

Bryce Canyon National Park Photo, Bryce Canyon, Utah
Quote:
This is probably the most sought-after activity in Bryce. The Moonlight Hike takes place only 2 nights a month, on days near the full moon, and word has obviously gotten out about this evening expedition (a list of scheduled dates is at the NPS Bryce website). Getting tickets is no easy matter—the hike is limited to either 30 or 60 people (depending on the night’s itinerary), and tickets are only available on the day of the hike. They go fast, too—we arrived at the Visitor Center well in advance of the 8am opening, and found a substantial number of folks already in line for tickets. I’m sure some of those who showed up at 8 or even ...Read More
Bryce Canyon National Park Photo, Bryce Canyon, Utah
Quote:
When I asked my kids if mule rides and horse rides should be part of our Southwestern swing, they wondered why I bothered to ask at all. After settling the anxiety about descending into the Grand Canyon (everyone remembered reading Brighty of the Grand Canyon), the chance to mount up at Bryce and the North Rim quickly became the most anticipated part of the trip. The same company—Canyon Trail Rides—runs the stables at Zion, Bryce, and the North Rim, and one January phone call set up both our hour-long rim-top ride at the Grand Canyon and our 2-hour descent to the floor of Bryce.We arranged for a 2pm ride on our second afternoon in the park. ...Read More
Bryce Canyon National Park Photo, Bryce Canyon, Utah
Quote:
This is one of Bryce’s most popular highlights, so you’ll have to plan accordingly to avoid the crowds. The Queen in her Garden is indeed a must-see destination, but the hike’s real beauty is the intimate experience it provides among Bryce’s hoodoos, where it often feels like you have landed on another planet. Shortly after leaving Sunset Point, this connector descends a very steep hillside down a lengthy series of switchba...Read More
Bryce Canyon National Park Photo, Bryce Canyon, Utah
Quote:
It’s 20 miles down Utah 63—the park road—from its junction with Utah 12 to the end at Rainbow Point. The first 3 miles lie outside the park, and another mile takes you to the central amphitheatre, where the great majority of visitors cluster, and where the easiest access to the canyon lies. A mile past Sunset Point is a spur to three overlooks, of which the first Inspiration Point, where a set of three overlooks are built progressively south along the Rim Trail. Further down the road is a fork in the road whose northern side leads to Bryce Point, which looks into the amphitheatre from its southernmost point; the south heads to Paria View, the first overlook into the rest of the park. ...Read More