We left Torrey and Capitol Reef National Park and headed to Panguitch, Utah which is about 30 minutes from Bryce National Park. Panguitch is a small town, population 1,500. Butch Cassidy and his gang was photographed here.
As expected we were directed to a site with absolutely no shade but we had excellent satellite reception and good WiFi and Verizon coverage. Since this area is cooler than Moab we were not too concerned about the heat.
Just when I think it couldn’t get any more beautiful, we go to a new park and we are awe struck by its beauty. The same was true for Bryce Canyon which really isn’t a canyon but a plateau with a series of horseshoe shaped amphitheaters carved in the edges of the eroding plateau. Bryce Canyon was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850’s and is named for Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon settler who homesteaded the area in 1874. It became a national park in 1928.
To get to Bryce Canyon we drove once more on Highway 12, The All American Road, passing through Red Canyon with its beautiful red sandstone and limestone formations and through two tunnels. Once inside the park we stopped by the Visitors Center to see a movie about Bryce Canyon. We then drove an 18 mile one way scenic drive through the park with 14 viewpoints with views down into the amphitheater. Some of the stops had overlooks alongside the road while others involved short hikes along paved trails. The views at all the overlooks were amazing. We saw many “hoodoos” which are towering rock formations sculptured over time by ice freezing and thawing, some as much as ten stories tall. There are approximately 200 days of freezing/thawing at Bryce Canyon each year. It was fun to let our imaginations run loose and imagine faces or figures in the formations. The Paiutes, original inhabitants of the area, believed that the rock figures were people turned to stone by angry gods. If you look closely you can also see fairy tale castle formations. Iron oxide gives red, yellow and brown tints to the limestone.
Here is a video for you: https://youtu.be/bA-UUBM0rXc