My friend, Sarah, was visiting me in Utah from Tennessee. I wanted to show her as much of the state as possible (and Utah is one diverse state!) so after a few days in the Wasatch Front, we headed down to southern Utah. I had never been to Bryce before, and by the time we made it to the park, sunset was nearing. Here's how to enjoy a mere one hour inside Bryce!
We started off in SLC. Plans of leaving early were quickly overtaken by the desire to shower at my apartment. We had just spent the last three days camping the Wasatch and Bonneville Shoreline. We finally left around 1pm, but we were squeaky clean!
I-15 is the quickest way to get to Bryce from SLC. 4 hours of beautiful nothingness, as I like to call it. Be sure to top off your tank when you see a gas station as they are few and far between once you've left the valley.
Right outside the entrance to Bryce (seriously RIGHT outside), we passed an RV park with a row of tipis out front. We for sure wanted to sleep in a tipi as opposed to the tent in freezing temps. Best. $40. Ever. If you are looking for a unique experience, I highly recommend Ruby's Campground. Complete with picnic table and firepit, all we needed was to drag our camping gear inside the spacious tipi!
After getting some bombAF accommodations, we decided to hurry to get a spot in Bryce for the sunset. Funny enough, there is a perfect spot for this, Sunset Point. We got lucky on the parking (everybody that is visiting Bryce will most likely be in the one particular place at sunset). Hoards of people later, we were looking at the most awe-inspiring view. Boohoos of hoodoos are far as the eye could see.
We decided to hike the Navajo Loop which takes you from above the hoodoos to the canyon floor and back up again. Traveling down switchbacks until you reach the bottom is pretty awesome until you start thinking about all the switchbacks you'll have to climb back up. We were pretty much completely alone once we reached the bottom. Around each corner is a different perspective on the canyon, most lined with bristlecone pines. Something that surprised me was how quiet the canyon floor was. Aside from the occasional chipmunk, we were the only living being making noise.
What felt like a million years, but was in reality only half a mile, of uphill switchbacks later, we had made it back to Sunset Point for none other than the sunset. The moon was shining amidst a sunset that filled the entire sky. All in all, from parking the car to hiking the Najavo Loop we had only spent an hour in Bryce Canyon. Unfortunately the visitor center had already closed so it is the only National Park I don't have a commemorative postcard, sticker, and magnet from. All the more reason to visit again!
Bryce Canyon for sure deserves more than an hour. However, if you are short on time (we were trying to visit Cedar Breaks the next day PLUS be back in time for Sarah's return flight home) Bryce in a hour is definitely possible! What's the shortest amount of time you've ever spent in a National Park?