by Jake Wilhelmsen
The Gothic Grandeur of Bryce Canyon
In 5 Essential Stops
If the erosion of Southern Utah had a gothic period, Bryce Canyon National Park would be Notre-Dame. Sandstone arches, columns, buttresses and pinnacles foreshadowed the great European cathedrals at a grander scale.
Here are 5 things you’ve gotta see on your trip to Bryce. It’s creepily beautiful (and it costs a fraction of the airfare to France). Plan your trip now.
5. Highway 12 Scenic Byway
Bryce Canyon is the southwestern origin of this two-lane ribbon through the yellows, whites, greens, oranges and reds of Southern Utah. Click through to explore a list of too many things to see on the way from Bryce to Capitol Reef.
4. Twin Bridges/Navajo Loop Trail
Hike in, on and through the precipitous hoodoos, and pray it doesn’t rain too hard or you’ll wash down the canyon. Great exercise as you climb and descend the switchbacks over its 3 miles.
3. Snowy Hoodoos
At 8500 feet above sea level, Bryce stays cooler than most of the state (average temps in July: 83˚F; in January: 9˚F). But if you can handle the chill, the amphitheaters that make up the park are stunning in winter, with snow highlighting red tones saturated by snowmelt.
2. Fairyland Point and Loop Trail
You lose and regain 950 feet on the Fairlyland Loop Trail. Take the short spur trail at the halfway point to Tower Bridge. You’ll be glad you did. And if you only have 30 seconds to spend at Bryce Canyon, you want to spend them at Fairlyand Point…
1. Watch the sun set in the park
…and you want them to be at sunset. Or sunrise. Literally anywhere in the park (which is open 24 hours). Take or retake your wedding photos there.
Taking in this much beauty is exhausting. Find a room and explore Bryce Canyon comfortably.