Summer Moments Road Trip: Bryce Canyon National Park
After spending 24 fun-filled hours in Las Vegas, it was time to hit the road and make my way north to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.
LAS VEGAS TO BRYCE CANYON
Today’s drive would be the second longest leg of the Summer Moments Road Trip at 261 miles. While that’s normally a more than decent amount of of driving for one person in one day, let me tell you that it didn’t feel like it took long at all. The time flew by as I gazed out my windows in absolute awe.
On my way to Bryce Canyon, I criss-crossed my way over the border from Nevada to Arizona and pulled over once I reached the Welcome to Arizona sign. My original plans were to “Pause The Moment” in front of the Welcome to Arizona sign.
After capturing my jump I thought, “I should totally try to bust out a human flag on the Arizona State Line sign”.
It wasn’t long after crossing the border from Nevada into Arizona that I crossed the border into southern Utah.
WELCOME TO UTAH!
One hundred and fifty miles of spectacular scenery later and I had arrived at the Best Western Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon City, UT.
Since the Best Western Ruby’s Inn is one of just a small handful of hotels in the area, they pretty much have you at their mercy.
As far as value goes, for $137.60/night, I received a very decent corner unit room on the ground floor. Was it the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in? Of course not. Then again, it’s the Best Western and they’re not known to be luxurious by any means. At the end of the night I just want a clean place to lay my head and that’s exactly what I got.
The location of the Best Western Ruby’s Inn is where you really hit the jackpot. The entrance of Bryce Canyon National Park is just 2.5 miles from the door of my hotel room. I seriously could not have chosen a better location to spend the night.
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
After checking in, I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon taking in the scenery of Bryce Canyon National Park. Once I arrived at the entrance, I paid $25 for a 7-day access pass to the National Park. Did I need a 7-day pass? No, but I’ll explain the National Park ticket options below for those of you that are headed to any of the US National Parks in the near future.
- 7-Day National Park Pass: $25.00
- Annual Pass: $80.00
As you can see, it only makes sense to purchase the annual pass if you’re planning on visiting at least four US National Parks this year. If not, you might as well go for the single pass like I did.
In saying that, having the ability to purchase an annual pass that covers entrance fees at all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation for a measly $80.00 is such an incredible deal that it was hard for me to pass it up.
Seriously, how great would it be to add “Visit all 58 US National Parks” to your bucket list? That is certainly something I would love to accomplish at some point in my life.
On my way into the park, I stopped to ask a park ranger which Bryce Canyon hikes would be doable within 2-3 hours. He recommended that I park over at Sunrise Point and start there. Well, Sunrise Point it is!
After parking the car, I stuffed my backpack with all of my camera gear and hit the trail towards Sunrise Point. At the end of the trail I was met with my first official glimpse at Bryce Canyon National Park.
I’m not sure I can explain my thoughts at the time of taking this photo shown above. I guess if I could sum up my feelings in one word it would be “WOW.”
At this point my camera was firing off in rapid succession. I simply couldn’t get enough of Sunrise Point. After the adrenaline wore off, I walked a half of a mile over to Sunset Point.
I couldn’t believe how much the terrain had changed in just a half of a mile from Sunrise to Sunset Point. Just take a look at how jagged the red rock is at Sunset Point.
After getting a look at the incredible rock formations at Sunset Point, I knew I had to make my way down into the canyon to get a closer look.
Those who are interested in making their way down into the canyon can do so by taking the 1.3 mile Navajo Trail which begins at Sunset Point and travels down into the main amphitheater of Bryce Canyon.
Note: You can also combine the Navajo Trail with the Queens Garden Trail and make a half day of it if you’re looking for something a little longer.
Since it was getting later in the afternoon, I decided to stick with the Navajo Trail. I zig-zagged my way down into the canyon while snapping photos left and right of everything in sight.
Overall, the hike took about an hour and a half after making all my photo/video stops along the way. If I was to rate the Navajo Trail’s difficulty, I would say it’s Moderate.
The only part that I think some people might have issues with is climbing the switch backs back up to Sunset Point at the end of the hike. See photo below.
Once I reached the top of Sunset Point, I headed down the rim trail towards Inspiration Point. Sure, there were signs telling me to stay on the trail but you know I couldn’t resist Pausing the Moment on the edge of this cliff!
After making it about half way to Inspiration Point the sun started to set and I decided to call it a day. I had an amazing first day in Bryce Canyon to say the least.
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK (DAY 2)
The following morning I packed up all of my gear, loaded up the car and made one last visit to Bryce Canyon National Park before making my way south to Zion National Park. I decided that I would drive the entire main park road of Bryce Canyon (18 miles) from start to finish stopping at many of the view points along the way.
I would have loved to get a photo of myself standing on top of the bridge but there are signs that line the edge of the view point that say $100 fine for those who hop the fence. Understood!
After looking back on my time spent at Bryce Canyon National Park, I wish I would have spent at least one more night there so that I could get another hike or two under my belt. Hiking Navajo Trail was good and all but I would have enjoyed doing a longer and more strenuous hike into the canyon.
If you’re planning on heading to Bryce Canyon in the near future, do yourself a favor and stay at least two nights if you want to really explore all the park has to offer.
*DON’T MISS: 17 Spectacular Photos from Bryce Canyon National Park*
Next up… Zion National Park!
Have you ever visited Bryce Canyon National Park? If so, leave a comment below with your most memorable experience at Bryce.