Zion & Bryce National Parks - Weird & Wonderful

Trip Start Jul 31, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

After a great few days at the GC we continued our USA national park journey north into Utah to visit some nearby canyons/National Parks. The drive itself was spectacular, sweeping plains, dense forests, steep rock covered mountains and everything in between. We spent 2 nights camping in Zion and then drove 2hrs further for 2 days at Bryce. Geographically the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce are all within 400kms, however all are completely different and consist of different rock forms, were created by entirely different processes and have different wildlife, climates and scenery. Their views and size are breathtaking and like nothing we'd ever seen before.

We loved every minute of hiking and exploring these places.

Zion National Park

  • Zion is a long canyon with huge rocky sandstone walls of varying colours. At the bottom of the canyon is the Virgin river, with narrow banks overgrown with lush vegetation. An eco tourist and rock-climbers paradise.
  • Hiking – Hidden Canyon, Weeping Rock, Emerald Pools, and a Bus tour of the Zion canyon
  • Sheer cliffs, Soaring peaks, steep canyon walls, majestic waterfalls and the peaceful Virgin river (a raging flow during spring time)
  • Animals: Turkey vultures, a snake, wild turkeys, a tarantula, frogs, chipmunks, a bumble bee, as well as lots of beautiful flowers
  • Camping: Lots of wasps, but a good camp ground in the canyon. Very windy and was hard to sleep.
Bryce Canyon Nation Park

  • An obscure red, orange and white canyon filled with strange shaped 'hoodoos’: strange limestone rock forms shaped over millions of years in very unique circumstances. We Hiked the entire main Bryce Canyon/Amphitheatre in a tiring 12km hike. The altitude was higher than GC so hiking out of the canyon was very slow and difficult.
  • The landscape is very bizarre and looks like somewhere from a different planet!
  • Animals: Pronghorn, Deer, Eagles, Chipmunks
Final Notes

There weren’t as many tourists at these parks as Grand Canyon, and we spent most of our days hiking so managed to escape the tourist paparazzi. We were very intrigued by the geological history of the canyons and learnt lots of interesting crap. Bryce commonly get black bears in the park and campgrounds though we weren’t lucky to see any. One night however we had pronghorn or mule deer eating around our tent early in the morning...scared the crap out of Laura who awoke to it.

Next main stop: Yellowstone NP
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