Our Vantage Points
Bryce Canyon

This is the place . . . Bryce Canyon!
In the minds of most people who know anything about Utah, this is the most delightful place in Utah, especially Southern Utah.   The second is Zion National Park.   I must agree.

However, the full delight of Bryce Canyon does not completely register with visitors who drop by this place in a hurry to be somewhere else.   it's usually in the heat of summer, and the crowds are stifling.   They don't remember the ambiance of the pines and the freshness of the cool nights.   It really helps to be here in the early part or the late part of the tourist season.

The two photos above are classic views of Bryce Canyon.   Yet you will notice that there is an interesting difference between them.   It's not just that they overlook the canyon from opposite sides.   The difference is the lighting.   The second view shows a strange luminescence.   Some postcards like to exaggerate this by the way the photo is processed.

I was puzzled by this luminescence until I realized that it comes from light reflected by other canyon objects.   This second photo (above) looks at the sun-shaded side of these formations.   The nearer formations get reflected sun-light from bright canyon walls.

But the really unique thing about Bryce Canyon is the fascinating formation of rock "statues" that literally fill this canyon to the brim.   These "statues" are known as hoodoos.   In a way they are spookey, but in another, they are delightful.   Look at them and you can almost hear them speak.

Put your imagination to work and you see them as ballroom dancers, preachers, brides and grooms, horses, dogs, cathedrals, angels, sleeping bums or whatever...

Take the entertaining "Rorschach Test" and share your thoughts with us.   (Use the Guest Book button at the bottom)

Now, put your imagination to work again.   Bryce is not just about hoodoos.   Take a look at the next photo and what does your imagination do?

Okay, time's up.   What did you see?

This is not about you being right or me being wrong (or vise versa)...   But do you see a hill?   What hill is it?   Did you see a city?   What City?
WOW!   That's correct!

There is a hill and the city is Jerusalem.   There's the city wall surrounding the buildings!   And just behind the city is the temple mount!   And then in the distance is the Jordan Valley.   Wow!   Aren't "we" good!

Yes, Mr.   Rorschach, I see so many Biblical things here.   I see Moses, I see the high priest and I see the 3 wise men too.   Guess I'm just a Christian nut-case.  

.   .   .   .   They're coming to take me away away!   They're coming to take me away!

Yes, Bryce Canyon is a place where the imagination is set free.

But one thing needs to be straightened out.   It makes me feel terrible to be the one to break this to you....

Bryce Canyon is not really a canyon.

It feels like a canyon...   sort of.   When you look down, you indeed see all the hoodoos standing two or three hundred feet below.   But if you lift your eyes and look east past this fantasy land, it's all generally downhile from here.   Here on the rim, the elevation is 8000 feet.   Most of the terrain four miles and beyond averages about 6500 feet elevation.   That elevation is maintained until you reach one of the few isolated mountain groups or high plateaus...   or a real canyon.

The photo above clearly illustrates that Bryce Canyon is actually an 18-mile long east-facing escarpment.   It's a fabulous place that should be called Bryce Escarpment National Park.   Oh well...   "Bryce Canyon" is easier to say.   It's not the worst problem in the English language.

To get around at this escarpment, there are several options.
  • You can drive the 17-mile road and stop at the dozen or so points of interest.   But you have to leave your trailer at a drop-off near the entrance if you are not camping.

  • You can hike using an extensive system of trails below the rim

  • From May to September, you can park at the Visitor Center and take the frequent shuttle buses to any or all points of interest.

  • Or you can take an air tour.

  • Trails into the canyon

    Along the Jericho Road

    Friendly Hoodoos in the Marketplace

    To Beyond Bryce >>    
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