Monday, February 22, 2010

Bryce Canyon in the Snow

This past weekend Kenny, Kathy and I were in Bryce Canyon snowshoeing. I have wanted to visit Bryce Canyon during the winter and take photos for years and this was the time to do it.

As you can see from the photos Bryce was covered in snow. It was snowing and dreary as we started Saturday morning. We followed skiers on the Rim Trail for awhile. This part of the trail traveled through the woods and was not very scenic.

We left the  Rim Trail and headed for the canyon rim. The sky was still cloudy as we peered down into the canyon and I began to wonder if we would get any good photos. We saw a high point, Sunrise Point and headed for it.

Just as we got on the ridge the sun broke through the clouds and illuminated the hoodoos and spires in the canyon below. We couldn't have asked for better timing!

We all took several photos and then headed back to our fantastic hotel room at Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand. This is a brand new hotel (6 months old) and comes with a free breakfast buffet, not a continental breakfast.

On Sunday we got an early start and drove to the trailhead for Queen's Complex, a short, but very scenic hike in the heart of Bryce Canyon. The road to the trailhead was plowed. They actually like hikers at Bryce Canyon!

It was a fun hike and much more challenging with snowshoes verses hiking boots and no snow. I was at Bryce during the summer about eight years ago. We made our way to the bottom of the canyon where the trail ends (0.8 mile). Although there are several options to extend the hike, we wanted to get back to Vegas at a decent hour. I did learn that snowshoe are much more versatile than cross country skis.  I don't think we could have followed the trail on skis.

The drive back to Vegas proved to be the most dangerous part of the trip. With snow on many of the two lane roads, it was slow going. Even I-15 had its moments, but we made it back in one piece! Bryce Canyon is very scenic at time of the year.  Members can download three of the best hikes from Bryce.