Click a picture to see a larger view.
We spent a week in Utah, using a Brian Head condo as our base. We made several visits to both Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park during the time we were there. The sun set around 4:30 PM each day and it was dark [really dark !] by 5:30 PM. Most days we drove back [cautiously] in the dark, successfully avoiding any sudden meetings with the plentiful mule deer or elk, who were also out after dark.
Cedar Breaks is literally just a few miles south of Brian Head. The view points look rather ordinary until you walk out to the edge and look down. The colors of the rock and varies of the formations was amazing. We were there just before the snows. One of the access roads closes down once the snow falls and is reserved to snowmobiles.
The natural beauty of Zion is beyond words. We visited on three different days, hiking various trails to get a fuller appreciation of the enormity of the rock formations. We entered from the eastern entrance and made our way to the visitor center each day. That meant driving thru the two tunnels and switchbacks, but the scenery was so beautiful that we did not mind. We stayed until the sun went down, saw the moonrise, and drove back to our condo in the dark.
Michael enjoys an occasional challenge. When I read about this hike [also described as a photographer's dream] and saw this video, I knew it was something I wanted to do. Having hiked in Sedona and the Grand Canyon last year and Alaska this summer I was up for the challenge -- 5.4 miles round trip, 1,488 feet change in elevation, summit @ 5, 785 feet, and not for anyone with fear of heights!
I completed the hike in just over 5 hours, with plenty of stops for pictures, a.k.a. pausing to rest. I've included two pictures that I did not take, that have the trail 'traced' on them. The detail page for the first of the two also has a great video that will provide you with a nice 'virtual hike'.
The road to Bryce from Brian Head travels along Utah scenic by-way #12. Passing thru the Red Canyon it is definitely scenic and just a tease of the beauty to come in Bryce Canyon. Bryce is famous for its hoodoo rock formations. We drave the length of the park road to take in as many as we could. One big highlight of our time there, was hiking 'below the rim' on two of the many trails -- Navajo and Queens Garden trails.
We managed to squeeze in a few additional sightseeing side trips. It was a very busy week, with lots of miles on the rental car. .
We saw this Lava Flow sign one morning on our way to Bryce. We just had to stop to investigate. Fortunately didn't need to use our 4WD capability, but the road to the lava flow was none-the-less bumpy. It would have been great to see the aspen in color against the black lava.
We saw only a very small portion of this very large park.
Technically part of Zion National Park, there is no direct access from the main part of the park we had visited earlier. It was, however, a convenient stop off of I-15, as we headed back to Las vegas for our flight back home.
I could not believe the sea of humanity walking up and down the streets! We spent time inside the Venetian and the Bellagio and the walk in between them.