Bryce Canyon, Paria Canyon, Queen's Garden Trail, Red Canyon Campground, Thor's Hammer, Toadstool Trailhead, Utah, White House Trail Head
As some of you know, not only were we home (Maryland) for almost a month, we’re now on the road again, New York and as of yesterday Vermont, heading for Canada. Even so, Utah is just so magnificently beautiful and Ed’s photographic eye captures it so well, I still want to share our adventure and lots of pictures with you… sooooo…
Leaving Wapatki Monument we headed north on US 89 toward Page and Lake Powell which we wrote about back in May of 2017. We spent the night at the Page Lake Powell Campground where we’ve stayed before and tried to ignore the first really hot day we’d had pretty much this whole trip.
Utah’s Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument begins just outside of Page and we had heard good things about the White House Trailhead Campground about 30 miles on up US 89. Stopping in at the Paria Contact Station, the nice BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lady said we might have a little trouble with the last dip in the dirt road but there was a spot about 1 ¾ miles back where we could camp. She doesn’t know us 🙂 We went the full 2 miles with no problem and being there early in the day had our choice of 4 of the 6 small sites; (there are also 5 walk-in tent sites beyond these sites).
After our lovely 2 days at White House, we popped back south on US 89 a mile and a half to the Toadstools Trailhead where we did the short and easy hike back to see these fun rock formations.
Bryce Canyon National Park was on our list back in the fall of 2016, but at 8,000 to 9,000 feet it was too cold when we were “in the neighborhood” so it was front and center on this Spring’s Utah adventure list. As navigator, I directed Ed to continue on north along US 89 to Johnson Canyon Road which was supposed to be very pretty. The filming set for the old TV show “Gunsmoke” was also supposed to be on this road.
Once out of the awfulness of the end of Johnson Canyon 89 is pretty and unlike the last time we were here the Sevier River had a lot of water in it. Just shy of four miles down the righthand turn onto Rt 12 we were happy to find a not quite level spot at the first come, first served, Red Canyon Campground in the Dixie National Forest where with our America the Beautiful Senior Pass the price is $9 a night. We ended up staying 4 nights. 🙂
NOTE: These America the Beautiful LIFETIME passes were only $10 when we bought ours a few years ago. They have since gone up to $80 but even at that price if you do a lot of national parks, monuments and sites (a handful of states also recognize them) these passes are worth every cent. Generally, they cut the price of admission either in half or FREE!
Bryce Point at the furthest point on the road in the park is the start of a nice walk on the Bristlecone Pine Loop trail. There are shuttle buses that do a partial loop in the park. In an RV when the shuttle is running you cannot stop at those spots so you need to take the shuttle. However, there are many more viewpoints, including this one where you can park and get out to see the view or hike.
Just a couple of words about Bryce and then I will let Ed’s photographs and our comments tell the rest of the story. First ~ Put this on your MVL (Must Visit List) but DO IT OFF SEASON! It actually wasn’t too bad but we strongly suggest you start each day early to get a jump on the crowd. We had a nice chat with one of the shuttle bus drivers when no one else was on board and he said in the last couple of years Utah is making a BIG push to attract tourists. They are pushing extra hard in Asia and Europe and judging from the myriad of languages we heard here (and in 2016 at Zion), they’re getting a huge response. He also said their visitor numbers are doubling every year lately! Second ~ Stop at every overlook and look 🙂 . Third ~ Hike, a little or a lot, get out and walk at least some of the rim trail and down into the canyon. Some folks claim it’s all the same but from subtle to radical it’s really all different! Fourth ~ watch for the Violet-green Swallows. They are beautiful. Ed tried to get a photo but they are too fast! Mostly JUST GO!! 🙂