Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah – The elegant stone chaos in orange and white

Utah’s stone wonder don’t come to an end and look differently on each corner, and in each park. Weather erosion created a bizarre world full of spires, pillars, pinnacles and towers in Bryce Canyon National Park. Most of them have an apricot coloured plinth and shade into white to the top. Approaching the hoodoos one realizes all shades of yellow, red, and purple. This becomes possible through iron-containing sediments. The name Bryce canyon however is misleading. Bryce was the family name of a Mormon pioneer couple that owned a ranch here for some years. And the park is actually not a canyon as well. The 40 km long strip of odd sandstone remnants is located between Paunsaugunt Plateau’s brim and Tropic Valley east of it some hundreds of metres deeper.

Many view points on the 18 km long scenic drive on wintry-cold 2500 to 2800 m elevation allow colourful pictures into a fairytale valley. But the ranger advises us to bring the hike forward as long as ice and snow on the trails are frozen. Slush will make the paths even more slippery. We choose a route from Sunset Point along the rim to Sunrise Point, and then to the combined Queens Garden and Navajo Loop. One can connect to the Pee-A-Boo Loop what doubles the 5-km-hike. We can’t complete the Navajo Loop due to rock fall and have to return to Queens Garden to climb up again. The view to the hoodoos from the hike is completely different than only from the view points – an experience not to be missed.

Arriving at Sunset Point the clouds accumulate and it starts to snow. We fail doing good photos due to very bad visibility. We leave Bryce Canyon and descend some metres hoping for milder night temperatures.

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