Colorado Plateau Photo Odyssey 3: Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon SP13-271

I arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park at 4 PM Mountain Time. After checking into one of the motels, I headed off to explore the park. Bryce Canyon is a long narrow park stretching north to south:

The above map only shows one section of it, stretching from the Bryce Amphitheater to Natural Bridge, which are only portions of the park I had time to visit during my brief stay. I commenced by heading for Natural Bridge. When I arrived there around 5 PM the light was not great. The sunshine was still bright and the shadows were approaching the bridge. I took a few snaps regardless, starting with pic of the overlook, and then the following two of the bridge:

From Natural Bridge I turned back and made a brief stop at Swamp Canyon. Not terribly good light here, either:

Then I proceeded to the main attraction of Bryce Canyon, the actual “canyon,” or, as it is more accurately described, the Bryce Amphitheater. I went first to Bryce Point, which is on the south end of the amphitheater. This is the highest point from which this section of the park can be viewed:

But the highest point isn’t necessarily the best point. The east side of the amphitheater has some of the most famous views; and better yet, trails that allow you to walk down among the hoodoos. There are two principle trails: Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden. That evening I stuck around the Navajo Loop trail, which begins at Sunset Point. The southern part of the loop was closed due to dangerous, “icy” conditions. This was in late April, and the weather was actually quite mild and pleasant: no ice anywhere in sight. But it can get quite cold that time of year at night. I kept to northern section of the Navajo Loop trail, near Thor’s Hammer. The map below shows the trails and the location of Thor’s Hammer:

This section of the trail yields some nice shots in the evening:

That evening there was a full moon. The clouds somewhat shrouded the moon, limiting how many shots I could get with it:

In the morning I shifted over to the Queen’s Garden Trail and attempted to get what I could from this section of the amphitheater. The temperatures started out frigid: 22º. But for inexplicable reasons, about fifteen minutes before sunrise it warmed up considerably — so much so in fact that I was able to thaw out my hands, which were stinging with the cold. Colors are wonderful at sunrise and sunset at Bryce Canyon; and they can change rapidly with changes in light:

As it grew sunnier, the light became less attractive. It was time to move on!