Deep in the heart of Utah lies a surrealist dreamland sprung to life. If Salvador Dalí painted the Grand Canyon full of drippy peach candlestick mountains all melting in the desert sun while Indiana Jones hosted an archaeological dig for extraterrestrial life at the center of it all…that pretty much sums up what Bryce Canyon National Park feels like. At once awe-inspiring, mind-blowing and really pretty trippy.
We took a one-day excursion out to Bryce in the middle of our Zion adventure week to take in some new scenery and hit some new trails. An easy 2-hour drive east of Zion, Bryce is definitely the wild child amongst its sleeker Utah and Arizona canyon cousins. If the Grand Canyon is Mozart, Bryce Canyon is Bowie. Nothing to see here but mind-bending intergalactic rock ‘n roll mountainsides incarnate in nature.
Upon arrival, we decided to take in the lay of the land as our first endeavor. The road into Bryce is laid out in a loop where you can pull over and hop out along the way to check out all of its epic views. And the views here are indeed EPIC. The rocks in Bryce have formed amphitheaters full of “hoodoos”—drippy spindly geological formations that gradually change color from orange, peach and white like a giant tie-dyed t-shirt.
After mapping out the domain, we hit the trails of the main event taking the Navajo Loop Trail directly into Bryce Amphitheater. A “moderate hike” that takes you down into electric nectarine slot canyons dotted with neon green fir trees before opening out into the sweeping amphitheater, the Navajo Trail delivers all the best of Bryce in just about two hours. We meandered through walls of tall crumbly hoodoos that made us feel like both a band of ancient archeologists and intergalactic futuristic explorers on an excavation mission all at the same time. We even met the “natives”—friendly chipmunks who love to come visit and have a chat to showcase their local way of life.
The day we went was sweltering. Aside from the slot canyon, most of the Navajo hike is in direct sunlight—so hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and tons of water are an absolute necessity. But the rewards for trudging through the sun here are enormous. You will never see anything like this landscape anywhere else on Planet Earth, guaranteed. Its beauty is overwhelming—it will stun you into silence, fill you with awe and absolutely take your breath away.
The final payoff at the end of the steep incline back up to the top is the lookout point waiting for you above. Take a moment to soak in the great accomplishment of completing your hike and enjoy your reward—an epic vista view of the entire Bryce Amphitheater laid out before you. Standing here on top of it all, you can’t help but marvel at the astounding beauty of Nature. How just when you think you have seen it all, your entire world can get rocked by the new and mysterious Great Unknown. An important reminder that there is so much more to explore, so much more to discover on this beautiful planet of ours if we just stay open, stay curious and remember that life is meant to be an adventure.
Happy Trails! xoxo Sirens & Scoundrels
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