A couple of years ago, I needed to get out of dodge. Spring fever. Bad. I wanted to escape my life and work and all the stressful things going on so I asked for recommendations. I needed somewhere only a few hours away and I NEEDED to be outside.
Somebody suggested Bryce Canyon and I was shocked to find that not only had I never been there, but it was only a 4-hour drive. How sad is that?
It's now one of my favorite destinations. And people come from all over the country to visit this magical place even though it is sometimes dwarfed by other top destinations like Moab or Zion's. Bryce is pretty great. Plus it appeals to my inner desire to be a little different. I like telling people I hiked the hoodoos in fairyland.
It has the charming appeal of a smaller area to explore, a smaller crowd to fight and some really cool hiking. Check out 5 ways to get the most out of this fun little canyon.
1. Venture Past the Main Amphitheater
Seriously. There's more to Bryce than the main amphitheater and you'll miss out on some breathtaking views. Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point (that's fun to say) are at the end of the road, but well worth the drive. It feels like you are looking out to the ends of the earth. Short trails take you on fun little excursions to explore the area even more.
2. Go in the Off-Season
I'm not going to lie. I really, really hate the busy season pretty much anywhere. The great part about going in the off-season is fewer people (duh) and a totally different experience. The contrast of the white snow against the red dirt is simply spectacular.
And you don't roast in the heat of the summer sun.
3. Get Off Your Backside and Go on the Long Hikes
It's great to get out of the car, snap a pic or two for Insta and go on your merry way...
But you will miss out on SO much.
Fairyland Loop is an 8-mile hike (we clocked 9 because we counted from the car and back) that is quite simply spectacular. You hike down into the amphitheater and see the hoodoos up close. (Don't know what a hoodooo is? Check it out.) The trail also leads you up to some amazingly high viewpoints.
And some pretty awesome views of the valley floor.
4. Take the Right Gear
In the spring, be prepared for some muddy spots. The snow is melting and parts of the trails are mushy. But a little mud never hurt anybody! (It's possible I lamented slightly over how dirty my pretty new hiking boots were after we finished the hike.) Always hike with water (love my Camelback), some snacks for the long hikes, and maybe even hiking poles for the steep parts. We only used our poles about half the time on the Fairyland Loop.
A local mentioned that if you do this hike in the summer you need to leave super early in the morning. There's not much shade for most of the hike and the heat can get pretty gnarly.
5. Don't Be Afraid of Local Cuisine
Ok, so be a little afraid. Some of the popular places just outside the park aren't great, but there are some pretty awesome little restaurants close by. And if nothing looks appealing, Panguitch is a short drive and offers more options.
We ate at the cutest little diner run by a local family called Bryce Canyon Pines restaurant. The food was good home-cookin', and the pies were made from scratch. I could have just eaten pie for dinner. It was quite simply Ah-maze-ing.
It's a fun little getaway. Perfect for a weekend trip if you live locally, or a day trip if you are in the neighborhood.
Where's your next adventure?
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