Despite the late night laundry session, I still got up before Dawn and Tyler. We were all a little sore from the long hike through the Narrows in Zion the day before, so I let them sleep in while I explored the campground. I decided to take advantage of the facilities, since the pool was open, I did a few laps to wake up. Then I sat in the hot tub for awhile....ahh! The hot water jets felt great on my back...I think the long stretches of driving were taking a bigger toll on us than all the hiking we were doing! I stayed in as long as I could stand it, then I walked over to the general store to get us some coffees. Dawn can be a bear until she gets her caffeine! By the time I made it back to camp, Dawn and Ty were up and almost completely packed up.
After loading the truck, we drove over to the camp office, where the showers were. Dawn said that in the ladies room, there was a whole family occupying one shower together! (mom, grandma, and 3 little girls) kind of odd, but to each their own! At least the bathrooms (and shower stalls!) were fairly large. Overall, this was a nice little campground/store/ hotel complex, and a good place to serve as "home base" on any visit to Bryce Canyon!
We made our way into the park, and we were amazed by the colors we saw! The dunes, walls, and eroded "hoodoos" were all reddish-orange, and the view was spectacular! There were several trailheads to choose from, and interesting formations such as "Thor's Hammer".
Thor's Hammer formation
Dawn and Ty were not up for a longer hike like we had done the last two days, so I was outvoted and we opted for the shorter Navajo Loop trail. The trail looped down and around to a slot canyon at the bottom. I had seen pictures of this canyon in travel magazines, including the large Douglas Fir trees growing in it at the bottom, but we couldn't get that far. A recent avalanche had closed the trail at the bottom. We took some pictures and headed back up! One portion of the trail, we had to duck down to pass through a hole in the trail wall. It was a short, fairly easy hike with numerous switchbacks to handle the elevation change.
After the Navajo Trail, we walked around the viewpoints, and continued on to each overlook, seeing sights such as Rainbow Point and Paria View, Far View Point and Black Birch Canyon.
nice view from the slot canyon floor
Like the Grand Canyon, each viewpoint offered something new. It's just incredible what time and erosion can do to a landscape! Caves, walls, canyons, spires, arches, and of course, hoodoos, can all be found at Bryce. Tyler would eventually say this was his favorite National Park. Utah, overall, was my favorite state to visit on this trip...just so much to see! Bryce is not a huge park, but it certainly has a lot to offer! If I have one regret, it's that we didn't do more hiking here...but we still have four more parks to see in Utah before we are done, and we are getting closer to when Tyler has to be home for school. Starting to feel a little rushed, but don't want to miss anything! Next stop, Capitol Reef National Park!