On our day at Bryce Canyon, we got up at sunrise, grabbed a coffee and donut at the general store at Ruby’s Inn, and entered Bryce Canyon National Park. The first stop is the visitor center, a good place to find information, fill your water bottle if necessary, buy souvenirs, use the free wifi, and then slowly make your way up the scenic drive in the park.
We opted to go to the farthest point first, which turned out to be a good plan, although it was rather cold (-2°C). We did make a short stop at Sunset Point, though, for our first impressions of the park. On the very top, at Rainbow Point, only a handful of cars joined us. Almost freezing in the icy wind, we mounted the tripod to take a panoramic shot of the surroundings (the photo above). The snow from the day before had left some icing on the mountains on the horizon as well as on some of the hoodoos and along the street.
Bryce Canyon is simply stunning, and if you have the time, plan hiking a trail or two (the usual national park permit policies apply, so check with the rangers first if you don’t hike a public trail). If you just want to do a drive-by, stopping at most of the viewpoints, half a day or a day is ample time to enjoy the park.
Must-have stops in my optinion are the natural bridge, and Farview Point as well as Rainbow Point. Most guides will tell you to go to Inspiration Point as the last stop, which is convenient, but I disagree.
The amphitheater and the army of hoodoo people there are stunning, but in my opinion, Bryce Point is the most breathtaking option, so do this as the final stop. We were lucky – we stopped there around lunchtime, and of course in the off-season (even in freezing October the area around the general store was filled at noon), so when we strolled down the short trail to the viewpoint, we met only a handful of people along the way. In the end, we had the whole arena almost to ourselves (last picture – a click on the image opens it in a larger view). What an experience!