Monday, April 25, 2011
2011 Zion National Park Day 4
The plan for the day is to head to Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce is about a two hour drive northeast of Zion. After a quick breakfast buffet at the Spotted Dog Cafe, we headed out of town. To get to Bryce, you climb out of Zion Canyon via a series of switchbacks to the mile long tunnel towards the south gate of the park. Given my love of heights, Sharon drove this section...
While Zion Canyon is mostly enjoyed from the valley floor, Bryce Canyon is meant to be seen from the rim of the canyon. After stopping at the visitor's center to get our bearings, we stopped at Bryce Point and Inspiration Point. Afterwards, we had lunch at the lodge (bison burgers again!).
The ranger at the visitor center recommended the Queen's Garden Trail as the best way to get into the valley. After lunch, we went to Sunrise Point and started down the trail. Sharon described the hike as an extremely unique experience. The rock formations have to be seen to be believed. We hiked down to the Queens Garden and continued on to the trail junction with the Navajo Loop Trail before turning back. The Navajo Loop Trail was closed. In total, we covered about 3.6 miles in an hour and 45 minutes. Sharon probably took 100 pictures...
As an aside, I was amazed at the number of foreigners. We heard Spanish, German and French being spoken. A Swedish couple stopped me to ask directions. It felt like Americans were a minority on the Queens Garden Trail. Sharon and I often talk about how Europeans travel the world, while American's stay much closer to home.
On the way home, we stopped in the Butch Cassidy Draw in Red Canyon for a couple of pictures. By the time we got back to the hotel in Zion, it was after 7:30 p.m.
We had a late dinner of pizza at The Flying Monkey. Sharon and Jack got the Will Ferrel movie Blades of Glory DVD from the front desk of the hotel. By the time we finished watching the movie it was a long day.