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Editor’s Note:  Due to a broken computer and getting back to life upon the return of the trip blog posts for Leg 4 of our YLA are about 5 – 6 weeks behind reality.

We left Zion National Park and headed east toward Bryce Canyon National Park.  The two hour drive between the parks has some incredible scenery.  We arrived at Bryce Canyon City after dark and were fortunate to find a place to stay without having reservations.  There are only a couple of hotels in town, and our first choice had no vacancies.  Advance reservations would probably be a good idea if you are planning to stay in Bryce Canyon City.  The Best Western Ruby Inn met our needs perfectly.

The next morning, we awoke to 37 degree temperatures and snow flurries – on May 17!  Thankfully Mom thought to pack our cold weather clothes on this leg of our Year Long Adventure.  We got bundled up, gassed up the van, and headed off in search of the mysterious hoodoos.

The NPS website for Bryce Canyon National Park describes it as follows: “Bryce Canyon is, in the strictest sense of the word, UNIQUE – nowhere is anything else even similar!”  This is very accurate.  We did not know much about Bryce Canyon before visiting other than the fact that it was famous for hoodoos.  Hoodoos are rock spire formations that look similar to the stalagmites that are normally found in caves.  What we found was breathtaking, and unfortunately, our pictures cannot do justice to the actual views.  The drives between the canyon lookouts take you through heavily wooded areas that are home to many different species of wildlife.  We saw many deer on our drive through the park.

During our time in the park, we learned how erosion changes the rock to form fins, windows, arches, and hoodoos.  For a simple explanation of the process and the differences between the formations, check here.

Fins

Window

We made stops at many of the canyon lookout areas and were amazed at the incredible landscape.  The park road is an 18 mile one-way trip out to Rainbow Point.  At Rainbow Point, the temperatures had dropped below freezing due to the higher elevation.  Seeing hoodoos dusted with snow was something we did not expect to see in May.

Snow-dusted hoodoos

Our trip to Bryce Canyon was short, but spectacular.  We would highly recommend a visit here, especially in warmer temperatures, as hiking trails and camping sites are available.

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