Bryce Canyon is one of Utah's five National Parks. I had already hiked in Arches and Zion parks, so in April of 1999 Allen and I made an early spring trip down to Cedar City to do a hike in Bryce Canyon.
It was snowing most of the drive down to Cedar City, and with Bryce being at a fairly high elevation we wondered if this would present a problem for hiking. We had a nice dinner in Cedar City (one of my favorite Utah towns) and rested up for the next day's adventure.
We arose early and drove towards the park. Along the way we were passing Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brianhead Ski Resort. Snow packed much of the road and signs advised against driving it unless of having four wheel drive or chains. We proceeded anyways, and it wasn't too bad. Once we got past the upper elevations the drive was fine and soon we were in Bryce Canyon National Park. Our goal was the "Rim Trail", a hike that wanders for a few miles atop the park offering great views down into the canyon.
We started from Sunrise Point, which is sort of in the middle of the Rim Trail. Our goal was to first hike north along the rim to Fairyland Point, then return to Sunrise Point, and hike south to Bryce Point, and finally to return to the car at Sunrise Point. We could tell early on that the snow had made the trail either snowy or muddy in most spots. Nevertheless we hiked fairly quickly along the fairly gentle trail to Fairyland Point. The views were good in many spots of the unique spires (called "hoodoos"). The return was a little tedious through the snow and mud. From here we hiked south to Sunset Point, but we could tell much of the trail to Bryce Point had not been in the sun yet, and was going to be very wet, so we went back to the car and just drove to Bryce Point.
A short walk up a paved walkway led to Bryce Point, which I think had surely the best view of any we had seen all day. The views back to the north and east across the valley filled with hoodoos was most impressive and I'd say now that I'd rank Bryce second to Zioin as my favorite National Park in Utah. We returned to Cedar City to change out of our mud-laden clothes and clean up for dinner.
The trip to Bryce Canyon was outstanding. Besides the pretty scenery from the Rim, the trail offered many spots where you could hike down into the canyon and get a different perspective of the park. Of course, there are numerous different hikes within the park. With it's high elevation Bryce is a better summer destination than Zion or Arches, but in spring you can expect much colder and wetter conditions than you would experience in those parks.