Kanab is such a great, central little town if you want to visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, not to mention Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Kodachrome State Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument and numerous other sites of monumental beauty.
Bryce Canyon is about 70 miles from Kanab, past several cute little mormon communities (with more rock hound shops than you can imagine) and dozens of farms with animals like bison, elk and miniature horses, you eventually enter Dixie National Forest. As soon as you see the forest service sign you are immediately greeted by colorful Hoodoo’s and ancient looking trees. We stopped and had a picnic after a short hike across the road from the national forest sign then continued onward to Bruce for our planned hike down into the canyon – and the hardest part, back out again.
Once you weave back and forth down the steep, constantly jack-knifing Wall Street Trail you can continue onto Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail, about 3.5 miles total. The hike features a terror on your knees at the beginning, all kinds of fun in the middle and lots of climbing out of the canyon at the end. Remember to take lots of water. Even though this trail had more shade than most the trails we’ve hiked this summer we still drank a lot, especially on the way out. We were surprised by how many people didn’t have any water with them at all, although some were just doing the Queens Garden trail, the climbing can really take it out of you. I, as usual, had trouble breathing on the way out but absolutely refused to let this one old couple pass us, so really pushed myself. No matter how much we hike my lungs never seem to improve but my tolerance for the pain of it has at least.
Once we got out of the canyon the views were amazing. We had pretty much headed straight for the trail and the drive through the park was to be the easy part of the trip. Every lookout along the drive offered amazing rock formations and a vast forest at the bottom of the canyon. A long trail goes through the middle of the canyon but we couldn’t see any campers on it. The skies must be amazing at a campsite like that.
The “natural bridge” in Bryce Canyon is actually an arch (not sure what the significant difference is) and was one of the coolest roadside scenes, after Rainbow Point at the very end of course. Take your time, hike and love this National Park!