We spent the entire day in Bryce Canyon National Park today! We hit as many of the viewpoints as we could and experienced clear skies with a warm strong sun as well as some rather cold and wet snow! Quite a day!
We started out by bypassing the area near the lodge and made our first stop at the Swamp Canyon overlook, more or less half way to the end of the park road. The sun was shining bright and sunscreen was applied.
Our second stop was Farview Point. A name that could be given to any of the viewpoints in along the park road!
Next up was Natural Bridge. One of the signs explained that this feature is poorly named as it is actual an arch. The difference between an arch and a bridge is that a bridge is formed by water, such as a river, flowing through it while an arch is not. Still a rather spectacular sight to see here!
Unnamed Viewpoint 1
Not all the places along the road are named. This particular one was perhaps just intended as a turnout but did have a nice view.
It’s not clear why this place is named Agua Canyon. There certainly isn’t any water!
The Ponderosa Canyon viewpoint is quite spectacular! The NPS page for this spot explains that the Ponderosa Pines that this place is named after are not actually visible from above!
Unnamed Viewpoint 2
Another small spot to pull over that unfortunately has no name.
Black Birch Canyon
The NPS page for Black Birch Canyon offers an interesting explanation for the name of this spot. They believe that likely whoever named this place confused Quaking Aspen for Black Birch as Black Birch only grow in the east! Despite the poor naming, the view is quite nice!
Unnamed Viewpoint 3
Another little spot with no name!
Yovimpa Point is at the end very end of the park road along with Rainbow Point. Unlike the other viewpoints that we had visited up previously, Yovimpa Point is at the end of a short mostly flat trail. It was here that we first noticed some storm clouds and rain in the distance.
Rainbow Point consists of a large viewing area next to the parking lot. The high elevation allows for expansive views of the surrounding area!
After reaching the end of the road, we backtracked to Inspiration Point. This spot consists of a short path that heads steeply up a hill with three viewing areas. This beautiful scene is from the lowest spot.
A somewhat similar scene but from further up!
It was a bit steeper to reach the highest viewing area! Perhaps not the greatest idea to walk up with an injured knee but I was fine! While we were enjoying the spectacular views, we started hearing thunder in the distance. Not really a place to be during a thunderstorm but it wasn’t too close to us.
A panorama from the top! What a view! Definitely worth the walk up! This area is quite dense with all sorts of natural formations and is quite different from the southern portion of the park that we drove up from.
On the way down, we noticed the rain getting a bit closer!
We tried to visit Bryce Point prior to Inspiration Point but the parking lot was completely full. We returned afterwards and managed to snag a spot! It started to rain as we walked towards the viewing platform. It was quite cold and windy! As we walked to the end of the platform, it started to snow! It was a very wet snow that melted almost immediately upon contact but it was snow!
Although there was no visible accumulation, we did notice a bit of snow in shady areas near the side of the road as we were driving south from the park. It must have snowed harder in a few localized spots!
After getting lunch at the lodge, we drove over to Sunset Point. We could have walked instead but driving is preferable to walking with an injured knee! The sky was mostly overcast but the view was still spectacular.
Next, we drove over to Sunrise Point. We didn’t quite go to the actual named location but ended up nearby. We walked up a short but steep path to get these views. From this spot, we saw a number of people on a mule tour riding up to the rim.
We ended our day at Fairyland Point, just outside of the fee area of the park. The scenery here is similar but different! A nice spot to end the day!