Utah’s Mighty Five are incredible National Parks, but Utah doesn’t quit there! There are also plenty of state parks to enjoy! On our way to Bryce Canyon National Park, we spent some time in Red Canyon State Park, which you can see on the map below. We visited the area the day after the flash foods in Zion, but there were still plenty of storms plaguing us; and it rained most of the time we were in Bryce. Red Canyon remained on the outside of the storm, so we were able to do some sunny weather hiking there. We were still camped in Mt. Carmel Junction, so we just did a day trip up Rte. 89 and across Rte. 12.
Red Canyon: Two Great Short Hikes
If you visit Red Canyon, stop at the visitor center. They have a great interpretive trail that gives you a little bit of information about the different types of rock formations, and even helps you to identify different flora and fauna that you will encounter all over southern Utah. The trail highlights the typical scenery that you will explore on hikes, and the red color is intense in this area. Don’t miss this hike! A lot of times Chris and I are more interested in finding hikes that are a little more remote to allow for quiet and a chance to see wildlife; but this trail’s information made it very valuable, and you can’t go wrong with the red rocks and bright blue sky! So, grab your guide and let’s explore these hoodoos!
Our second little hike was Arches Trail. Check at the visitor center for directions to this trailhead, as you have to take a dirt road for access. This trail is a remote loop featuring several arches/windows and breathtaking views. It is a primitive, at times steep trail with so many special features that it is a blast to hike. Another trail not to miss!
Bryce Canyon: Incredible Vistas
Bryce is one of Utah’s Mighty Five, and you are about to see why. In contrast to Zion, where much of the driving is on the canyon floor; Bryce’s drive follows the upper rim of the canyon. In fact, we were struck by the flat, level wooded drive. It was like driving through a flat forest. We thought the canyon must not be as deep, until we pulled off to one of the first viewpoints, and then it all made sense. The sheer drop in elevation is unbelievable and hard to capture in photos, but we tried our best. Since we entered in to the storm in Bryce and the viewpoints are at such a high elevation; it was rainy and very cold – in the low 50s. What a contrast from 100 degrees in Zion! The weather kept us from any hiking, but their trails look awesome – we will be back.