USA // Blazing sunrise at Bryce Canyon National Park
Last year we did a road trip across the USA, covering the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Arizona. We started our trip visiting the magnificent Yellowstone National Park. You can read all about it by following this link, but stick around here first ;) !
One of the highlights of our big tour was without a doubt Bryce Canyon National Park, located in Utah. I would have to think really hard to come up with a more stunning sunrise than the one we witnessed (open-mouthed) over there!
Watching amazing sunrises implies getting up really early… Not exactly a strong point of mine. So when the alarm clock went off at 4 AM, I almost rescheduled to watch the sunset instead. But then I remembered that Bryce Canyon is famous for its fabulous sunrises… so I rolled out off bed and into the car, with my camera loaded and ready for spectacularness!
There is something quite thrilling about exploring a new area in complete and silent darkness. All your senses are fired up, and you suddenly hear clearer and smell finer than a moment before in the comfort of your brightly lit motel room. I love this sensation…
We parked our car and wandered along the dark path through the forest towards the suitably named Sunrise viewpoint. To my surprise there were only 3 other people there. Apparently I wasn’t the only one having troubles crawling out of my warm and comfy bed and into the cold night air :)
Okay, time to address the elephant in the room: Bryce Canyon National Park is AMAZING!
We watched the giant ochre amphitheatres light up, turning the pastel colors of early morning into vibrant shades of red and orange. The many thousands of hoodoos create a stunning shadow play across the valley, changing the view every minute while the sun arises. These distinctive geological features (also named Fairy Chimneys) were formed by years and years of erosion, and are an important part of the spectacular vistas of Bryce Canyon.
After temperatures jumped a couple of degrees (read: winter to summer in a few hours) we got ready for our hike. We chose the Navajo Trail as it’s supposed to be one of the best ones there, and takes about 2-3 hours to complete. The hike was beautiful, amid towering orange pinnacles and bright green bushes and trees, color blocking perfectly with their surroundings.
Nature provided a welcome and cooling break about halfway through when a massive thunderstorm drenched everything for about 15 minutes. We were happy to find ourselves in a natural and wide tunnel at the time, because 15 minutes of heavy rain in those narrow alleyways can cause large mud streams – so beware ;)