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A photoblog sharing our discoveries as we explore America on the open road!

Beyond Bryce Canyon

Beyond Bryce Canyon
The beauty that surrounds Bryce Canyon sits quietly taking a backseat to the infamous iconic travel destination for millions of visitors each year. But as you travel towards Bryce Canyon, many scenic opportunities await. As we traveled down Highway 89, we came to the little town of Panguitch (Native American for Big Fish) Utah. This quaint town boasts of wild-west history and many things to do besides being only 23 miles from Bryce Canyon and an hour from Zion National Park. We only passed thru but it definitely would be a place to spend some time at.

We turned east on Scenic Byway 12 which is 124 miles long and beautiful every mile of the way! From ancient sea beds to green forests and painted mountains, there is much for the eye to behold. The first which is Red Canyon with two colorful red tunnels to pass thru. Red hoodoos arose above as we drove thru what is also part of the Dixie National Forest, which stretches nearly two million acres and is Utah’s biggest national forest.

 

We turned onto Utah 63 leading to Bryce City, the gateway to Bryce Canyon National Park. Ruby’s RV Park was pretty full but they found a spot in their back lot which had a view of the colorful Escalante Mountain Plateau. The Bryce Canyon Rodeo was just a good walk away, and we were able to watch from a rim above it without paying the $12.00 fee. The ladies “turned and burned” around the barrels but my favorite event is the bull riding so that’s what you will mostly see in these galleries.

One day we were in need of something from the hardware store. The closest one was located in Tropic which was 10 miles away. I headed out to Scenic Byway 12 and found this little town. I also went to the general store which had a piano for anyone to play on its front porch. There was a young girl with her family trying it out and she was quite good. I left to continue to find Kodachrome Basin State Park which I heard was aptly named by a National Geographic Society expedition for the colorful film. I turned off Route 12 in Cannonville to Main St/Kodachrome Rd and that was even a scenic drive with a rustic barn and cabin to photograph against the stunning mountains. It was also a free range area and a few cows decided to block my path. I waited for them to cross and drove on. When I got to the entrance, there was a fee of $8 and a friendly ranger gave me a map. With 67

monolithic stone spires rising from the valley or sandstone, the views were fantastic! The sedentary pipes where all unique, as well as Shakespeare Arch on the Sentinel trail. It was a moderate 1 mile loop walk to the arch that also gave a magnificent view of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument which surrounds the park. The sky was such a beautiful blue and I noticed some smoke on the horizon on one side of the trail, and beautiful clouds on the other. Some of the formations looked like human figures, animals, or maybe even an angel. That was all the walking I could do that day but I so enjoyed the drive and stopping to photograph whatever caught my eye. I nearly got a photo of a scrub jay, but he was too fast and hid deep in the brush. I really enjoyed this place and wished Jerry could have been there but he was working.

“Nature is the art of God” –Dante Alighieri

Tropic and Bryce Valley

Driving back towards route 12, I saw a herd of beautiful horses grazing in the valley. A gorgeous red dun colt walked close to its mother. The backdrop of the mountains, again, was lovely. There was a pull off to my left with many vehicles parked so I decided to investigate. Boy I’m glad I did! I had no idea this little gem of a place was on my way home to Bryce City. Apparently it was the site of Mossy Cave, a part of Bryce Canyon but known as the Water Canyon. On the short and easy trail I saw beautiful hoodoos, windows (openings that eroded in the rocks), and the Tropic Ditch. After crossing a nice little bridge, I took the path till it came to a fork. The left side of the fork led to Mossy Cave. You could not get inside the cave as it had a fence in front of it, but you could still view the deep green moss inside. The cave was formed by an underground spring making it a grotto. In fall, it can form long icicles. You could also walk to a small overlook to view a beautiful waterfall. That is where the right trail of the fork would have led me too, had I wanted to get closer or even go underneath the falls for a cool shower in the heat of the day. A few people were doing just that. I was greeted along the path by a cute, chunky Golden-mantled ground squirrel who didn’t mind posing for me. He looked like a large, fat chipmunk and was adorable.

 

 

In conclusion, if you are ever visiting Bryce Canyon and have time to spare, don’t miss out on the surrounding captivating scenery that neighbors this great National Park. Here are even more scenic side adventures!

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