Vegas to Bryce to Zion
Hike Bryce and Zion: A 3 Day Adventure Vacation
Part I: Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park
Hiking national parks takes some planning and I love to plan. Honestly, I wouldn't take a trip without reading reviews, researching blogs, and creating schedules. This year I even played with Google slides and used websites to plot out my own travel routes which was fun and easy. If you'd like to create your own travel map with your route from Points A to B to C , etc. I suggest using Roadtrippers https://roadtrippers.com/destinations/
The adventure we planned took my husband and I from Las Vegas to Bryce and then to Zion. I know most people will tell you that you have to PASS Zion to get to Bryce so go to Zion first. So, why did I plan on hiking Bryce first? I do not like spending time in the car so part of my reasoning is simply that I wanted to get the most driving out of the way. In addition, it worked out for us given that we already had our lodging in place for Zion. The last reason I would give for this order of events is timing. Zion is hot. Zion, in fact, is considerably hotter than Bryce. When we visited Bryce it was around 80 degrees and in Zion it was high 90's and forecasting 100.
This is why I plan. We had just flown on a 5 1/2 hour flight from Boston. We were going to be on the Las Vegas strip for the day and night before leaving to hike for a few days. I wanted to enjoy Vegas and not worry about leaving early.
I knew my husband and I were not going to jump out of bed at 3am that first morning so we could start hiking at 6 in Zion before the heat was too much to bare. We wanted to enjoy each moment, but not to the point of exhaustion. Besides, what car rental company is open at 3am? Nope, not even in Vegas. But we could leave Vegas around 9am and still get to Bryce in time for a nice 80 degree afternoon hike. We would even have time to stop for breakfast and a water break. Decision made. That was easy.
Hiking in the heat, whether it's 80 or 100, requires planning. Before leaving home, check the weather reports and the national park websites. If you want to hike Bryce Canyon and The Narrows in Zion, like we did, be sure to check the weather page and the forecast for flash floods. This is not something to take lightly when hiking in slot canyons and if you don't believe me ask anyone who lives locally in those areas. Start your research on the government site nps.gov and from there you can find links for the weather and other important information. I also suggest reading blogs, searching websites, and joining social media groups; there are even a few Facebook groups dedicated to the Southwest that were immensely helpful in planning this trip. I should also give a shout out to Cactus Atlas. I don't know this person at all, but my husband and I watched his youtube videos on Bryce and we learned so much from these I have to recommend him. Who knows, maybe someone who reads this will let him know we say thank you! https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCactusAtlas
Ok, back to our adventure. We left Vegas on a Thursday morning. If you leave Las Vegas at 9am, there's no traffic. We left the strip with a plan to eat after putting a little bit of the driving behind us. I am gluten free and therefore I researched a few places to eat on the way from Nevada to Utah and I wanted to find a Walmart or grocery store where we could purchase a cooler and some snacks, water, etc. for the weekend. Since we were traveling during Covid19 and I have a restricted diet, I wanted to be sure to stock up on some items in case we couldn't find a restaurant open. I would have done this even if there wasn't businesses closed, but that's me.
There's a town called Cedar City on the way from Las Vegas to Bryce that has shops, restaurants, and a Walmart. This was 2 hours and 40 minutes into our drive. If you are gluten free like me, I suggest stopping here. We picked a small Irish place that had sandwiches and breakfast items.
Back on the road after a quick bite and our stop at Walmart (remember, you need water!), we had just about 1 hour and 35 minutes to go.
When you enter Bryce, there's a small fee. We paid and then found Sunset Point parking close to the entrance of the park. Our initial plan was to park at Sunrise, but we saw Sunset and were so excited about starting our adventure we just went there. Across from the parking is a public restroom and these old gas station pumps.
To start the hike, we walked to the other side of the parking lot and then walked behind the horse corral. We had to ask someone there where the trail started. I didn't think it was marked well from the parking lot so if you can't find it either, walk towards the corral and then walk behind. Watch your step. This is where the horseback riding begins.
Our plan was to walk the figure 8 starting with Queen's Garden. I liked this way since by the time we got to Peek A Boo the sun was starting to go down and it was beautiful! What great pictures! The Queen's Garden begins with a few simple switch backs as you begin to descend into the canyon.
From the very beginning, there's so much to look at and just take in from all directions!
As we travelled through these loops, there was a lot of hiking up and down so we took our time taking some pictures and a minute of breathing and drinking our water and just looking around us. Don't be in a rush.
From Queen's Garden, you'll start Navajo Loop. While on this trail, you'll see a sign for Peek A Boo. We saw a lot of people skip this and continued the hike on Navajo. While that's always an option, I thought Peek A Boo was the BEST part of this hike so don't skip it.
See the "windows"? Peek A Boo!
When we took this picture, we are looking down onto the trail that we just walked up.
After Peek A Boo you'll get back on to the Navajo Loop which takes you to the wall. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting with "the wall", but I don't think it's really possible to explain. Hopefully the pictures help.
This is the beginning of wall street
And then you walk up, up, up switching back and forth. We stopped to take this photo of the people behind us to try and get an idea of how much we had just climbed up out of the canyon.
I know I look tired. But hey, who wouldn't be tired? I am also amazed, excited, and thrilled to be there.
The views when you get to the top! And the satisfaction of knowing -you did it! I cannot recommend enough hiking this figure 8 loop at Bryce.
Once we reached the top and took some pictures, we walked along the paved path where there are benches and a parking lot for anyone who wants to take in the views but not venture through the hikes. We also saw a lot of kids at the end and we assume that maybe the families parked at this point and let the kids run around and see the wall. I honestly cannot imagine a 5 year old doing this entire hike, but certainly parts of it would be doable depending on the kids.
I don't have any pictures of post-hike, but after hiking we were starving! We found Ruby's which is a Best Western and a restaurant. On a whim (which is crazy for a planner like me), we went into the gift shop, spent some time checking things out and buying all kind of things, and then asked about a restaurant. To our delight, the restaurant was still open for 15 minutes. They were willing to serve us without any complaint or rushing us through. There were a lot of people still there enjoying their food. We are so thankful to be seated and they have gluten free food! Yeah! Amazing. I had the gluten free chicken bbq pizza, my husband had one of the best steaks we'e ever had, and there was a salad bar. Hmm.. seems weird during a time of a virus, but they had gloves and everything was clean and you could tell they were doing their best to keep everything sanitary. Anyway, here's the link. I suggest you go! I think we might even give the hotel a try next time.
I hope you enjoyed these pictures. I have so many more. We had an amazing time on this hike. Please let me know if you've done this before, any suggestions, or questions are always welcome.
Remember, these thoughts, ideas, words, and pictures are my own.
Take care and enjoy your next adventure!
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