Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Located in south central Utah and situated in the southern portion of the San Rafael Swell desert, or as the locals here would call it below or the south side of I-70.

View from the parking lot/observation point.

This State park features some pretty spectacular natural formations that the first settlers of this area named “goblins”. There’s no argument there, they’re spooky and I can only imagine what these formations look like at night with a clear sky and a full moon to light them up. The State Park day use fee is $15 and the park is open year round. Be sure to grab a brochure when you pay your fee at the entrance gate, and go inside for more info about the geology of this area as well as a little gift shop to look around in.

Where is the Park located

From Green River, Utah on I-70, take exit 149 to get on Hwy 24 and follow all the signs to the park from there as it is well signed. 


What to do here
  • Hiking – The park offers several hikes at various difficulty levels or you can just do what most people like to do for the first visit or two and explore the Valley of the Goblins.
  • Canyoneering – With a permit and all the required gear needed for your canyoneering fun, you can attempt The Goblin’s Lair!
  • Camping – The park offers 22 total designated campsites. Two yurts – $100 per night, twelve standard sites for campers or motorhomes – $30 per night, seven tent only sites for $30 per night, and one big group site for $100 per night. All of which can be reserved at 

http://www.reserveamerica.com/

  • Disc golf – I didn’t know about this activity until after visiting the park for the second time. You can get more info on this from the park rangers at the entrance gate. It sounds like it could be a lot of fun!
  • Mountain biking – There are 5 loop trails to explore around the park. The brochure they give you at the gate doesn’t explain these so you might want to ask for more info if interested.
What’s close by
  • Green River, Utah is about an hour away – There’s decent lodging, restaurants, gas stations, truck stops and KOA campgrounds and RV parks sprinkled throughout this small town. Plus The Green River runs right alongside and offers river related activities with that feature as well.
  • Hanksville, Utah is about 45 minutes away – This is an even smaller town but there are a few choices in lodging and a few places to eat. There’s also a pretty cool convenience store built into the sandstone rock called Hollow Mountain.
  • Capital Reef National Park – This National Park is only about an hour away as well so you might even be able to loop down around and get a visit in on one of Utah’s many beautiful National Parks too.
Thoughts

I have been to Goblin Valley before several years back and this second visit was in mid February. We just had a decent snow storm where I live so I was hoping for snow on the hoodoos. As you can see from the pictures, there wasn’t any snow on this side of the swell at all. What a great adventure and opportunity to re-connect with the outdoors in the middle of February. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t know about the disc golf until after my visit. I would’ve loved that and definitely want to participate next time. Check out my video at the end of the page for more of my adventures here!



I wonder what it’s like to camp here and go explore the park in the dark. What do you think? Comment below please!

CORONA ARCH AND BOWTIE ARCH

Here’s a hike to a couple arches you can do in a short amount of time if needed.

Corona Arch
Bowtie Arch…and me!

Head to Moab, UT and get this hike done if you don’t wan’t to deal with Arches or Canyonlands National Parks. 

Getting there

Head northbound out of Moab on Hwy 191 and after the bridge a mile or so there is a road to the left marked Potash road. This is Scenic Byway 279 and worth a drive up even if you don’t want to hike. The trailhead is right off the road on the right and clearly signed.

The arches are at the end of this 1.5 ish mile hike and they are pretty much right by each other. You have to pass by Bowtie to get to Corona. 

Right away at the trailhead, you go up, up, up and then cross the train tracks, and through the fences on each side. It may not look like you have a way through the fences but you do. Follow the cairns and you’ll be fine.

What the hike features

This hike features a whole lot of slick rock hiking, which I personally love, a short ladder and some cable sections to get through. 

If you get lost, which I think would be easy to do on this hike, look around for green paint on the rock.

I don’t know if it was just particularly windy that day. When we got right up by Bowtie Arch, you could hear and feel the wind a whole lot more!



Bowtie kind of looks like an eye from this point of view.

Definitely a popular hike in Moab. We got to the arches just in time to have a little alone time with them.

I hope you enjoyed my pics and videos on this hike.

Happy Hiking!

Fisher Towers Hike

A wonderful hike that isn’t in Arches or Canyonlands National Parks.
So far my fave in Moab, Ut. Come join in on the fun that is a true Moab hike!

Fisher Towers, Moab Ut in February

This hike wow! All the things a hike should be really! Eye candy as far as your eyeballs can see! Twists and turns, equal sunny and shady parts throughout the hike, towering cliffs that make you feel as big as a itty bitty pida (spider). I must admit, this hike challenged me as far as my fear of heights go. But I did the damn thing, and I’m proud of myself. Say I did attempt this hike 5 to 10 years ago, I would have turned back at the ladder part and said, “nope, not doing this!”

Just a hair out of my comfort zone for sure but very rewarding.

There are sections that don’t see as much sun and therefore were snowy/icy/muddy in February. But yet again didn’t have to get my crampons out. 

People like to climb the towers/spires here and I can see why. They would be fun to climb.

But like I said before I’m not a heights person so we won’t be doing that anytime soon I’m sure.

The Titan

This cliff or spire supposedly marks the halfway point where you go around it. It seemed a lot longer after that but that may be because there’s more scrambling and slow going icy parts after it. 

The side of the Titan

the ladder section….scare me!

The end of the trail – the overlook

It seemed like my husband and I was looking for the end of this trail for quite a while before getting to the overlook. Once you get there, you can see for miles and even the parking lot at the trailhead. 

What a great experience! I noticed a campground somewhere near the trailhead. I wonder what it’s like camping here.

Kauai, Hawaii

If you’re visiting one of the many Hawaiian Islands for the first time, I highly recommend going to Kauai first. It is the quintessential Hawaiian getaway!

When I decided I had the funds to pull off a trip to Hawaii, I was so excited and grateful, nothing stood in my way! It was the longest flight I had ever been on too. So, lots of excitement and nervousness on that first trip there. I thought, “what is all the fuss about?” 

Well I found out, and it definitely lives up to all the hype!

We arrive at the Lihue airport and it’s dark. Tired but still so excited, I have all the energy I need to get to the car rental place and wait for what seems like forever. I just want to get my Hawaii on man! Finally getting squared away with the car we are going to be driving all over this island, I still haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it in the daylight yet. The carload is me, my husband, and a couple that’s been our longtime friends, several suitcases and bags (I definitely overpacked) with my new iPhone in hand, guiding us to our beach bungalow we booked several months back. 

We arrive all in one piece, dragging my heavy ass overpacked suitcase up a flight stairs to our temporary digs on this tropical island so far away from home. I loved it!

We stayed at the Kiahuna Plantation & Beach Bungalows in Poipu. It was like a little apartment with all the cute island decor, ceiling fans and louvers on almost all the walls to let the winds blow through to cool you. I was in no way used to the humidity in Kauai and I became thankful for the ventilation strategy.

Fast forward to morning. I’m finally struck with the lush beauty of this place. They don’t call it the garden island for nothing. Yep totally worth all the hype. Let’s get our Hawaii on!

What you must do in Kauai

Go chill on a beach – Duh! Our beach was Poipu Beach. Which was wonderful, with calm shores and warm waters. Plus our accommodations included a spot in a chair or on the nice grass if you just want to admire the ocean without the sand. Check out Glass Beach as well It’s in Eleele.

Poipu Beach
a seal on our beach!
Glass Beach

Spouting Horn – You have to go see the Spouting Horn shoot water into the air. This whole section is fenced off so you can’t get down to it, and for good reason once you see it.

Allerton Garden – This is a can’t miss seriously! These botanical gardens are one-of-a-kind.

It’s like an art gallery in a secluded tropical garden. Take the tour and learn so much about the island. You even get to sample some peculiar fruit.

These trees were used in the first Jurassic Park film!
Breadfruit

ATV rides – Right up my alley! We booked ours with Kipu Ranch Adventures and it was awesome! You can pay to drive your own choice of ATV or ride with the guide. Your group travels together all over the ranch property with the guide and learn more about the area and the Hawaiian culture in general. Our guide was fun and the best damn panoramic picture taker I’ve ever seen!

Pretty bamboo on one of our hikes during the ride

Waimea Canyon – Drive up this windy spectacular canyon and discover at the look-off a great view of the famous Jurassic Park waterfall featured in the first film. 

The air on top was a little more like home with the higher altitude and cooler temperatures.

They call it “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.

Jurassic falls!

Luau – You have to do the Luau, I’m telling ya. There are a few to choose from but we went to the Smith Family Luau. It was a great first Luau to go to. They have their very own botanical garden in which you will ride around in a trolly to marvel all the glorious lushness that is Kauai

Drive around the island – I know it seems like a lot but you can get around pretty quickly as it is not very big or densely populated. Even if the speed limit never gets above 50 MPH. Go to the northern shore if you’re not already staying there. Specifically Kalihiwai Beach at sunset is amazing!

Kalihiwai Beach – northern shore
farmland
Trees lining a road like this means it leads to royalty.

Poipu Shopping Village – Check out the shopping and dining here.

  • Anuenue Cafe – Has the best breakfast and their own coffee brewmaster. Eat out side in the covered patio and watch the chickens fight over dropped crumbs.
  • Puka Dog – You must try the Puka Dog. It’s unique twist on a hot dog & bun with several choices of Hawaiian sauces.

I’d love to go back to Kauai someday, it’s the perfect Hawaiian Island. 

Maybe I will after I’ve been to a couple of the other islands.

Reasons to visit Escalante

There’s no shortage of cool things to do and see in and near Escalante, UT.

Lizard statue at the visitor’s center in Escalante, UT

I have just recently fallen in love with Escalante, UT. I was there in 2017, and it was a wonderful visit, but I didn’t really get to see all there is to offer in this southern part of Utah. 

On some researching I’ve recently been doing on what, where, and how, I’ve discovered some pretty damn cool things to do and see down in this Southern Utah gem. 

It’s a nice little town

Escalante doesn’t look like much when you’re driving through on Scenic Highway 12. The population is only around 800 residents, but they seem to have it going on with all the tourists that come here. Whether it’s for the national parks or just the many beautiful features that Utah nature has to offer, it’s a great place that caters to the tourists that come to wonder. I can’t help but feel slightly jealous as I do come from a small town myself. What is it that makes this small town such a great staple in your trip to visit?

They got the Grand Staircase!

Yeah, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument yo! Huge and spread out with all kinds of stuff to see in any way you wish. Driving, hiking, biking, horseback riding, canyoneering, spelunking, all of the ways we as humans love to appreciate and explore nature. 

The Petrified Forest State Park and Wide Hollow Reservoir 

This is the biggest wood of them all. Almost a full tree!

This is a great place to go hike around all the petrified wood and to learn more about the area.

You can also rent camp spots, kayaks, paddle boards, fish and engage in water sports and such at the reservoir of course.

Calf Creek Falls

Calf Creek falls are nearby

This is a popular hike to some fantastic and refreshing waterfalls about fourteenish miles from Escalante. It’s about 3 miles in, 3 miles out and mostly flat, but it is in the sun most of the time so be prepared for that. The falls put off a nice misty spray and acts as a natural air conditioner for ya after all the heat. Just don’t go in the middle of the summer and I think you’ll be fine. Read more about this hike in my post here.

Hole-In-The-Rock Road

This road is pretty cool in itself. It’s like sixty-something miles and dead ends at Lake Powell on the West side. What?! I know, crazy, but thats what those pioneers did back then, crazy shit.

Anyway, I was only able to check out Devils Garden when I went because we took our car and not the truck. If only I had the truck, I could have went to Dance Hall Rock, Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Gulch slot canyons, Hole-In-The-Rock Arch and of course the end of the road, Hole-In-The-Rock.

Devil’s Garden offers parking, pit toilets, and picnic sites for your stay here. There’s no fee to pay and they do not allow camping here.

Devils Garden is very picturesque

There’s some really cool places to stay

This is where I start to get really excited because I feel your lodging has a lot to do with your experience when vacationing or adventuring. 

  • Slot Canyon Inn B&B – This place looks nice with some canyons and streams you can explore while you’re there. www.slotcanyonsinn.com
  • Canyon Country Lodge – A really nice hotel right in town. www.canyoncountrylodge.com
  • Canyons Bed & Breakfast – Right there in town equipped with way cute rooms with a farmhouse/cottage feel to them. www.canyonsbnb.com
  • Entrada Inn – This is where I stayed. The desert vibe to everything is cool and they’ve applied a waste reduction strategy with built-in bulk pumps for toiletries and a power saving feature that comes into play in case you leave your lights and TV on after leaving the room for a while. www.entradaescalante.com 
  • Escalante Outfitters cabins and campgrounds – These guys have it all. Lodging consists of little cabins and tent sites. They have a restaurant called Esca-Latte (clever), a gear store, and guided fly-fishing and natural history tours. www.escalanteoutfitters.com
  • Escalante Yurts – Oh yes please! This is what I’m thinking about for my next trip to Escalante. These yurts are gorgeously decorated! They have five – three that will sleep 4 and 2 that will sleep up to 8 people. And you get a bathroom! No walking to a communal bath house or pit toilets. www.escalanteyurts.com
  • Unique Air B&B’s – There’s unique and fun homes out in the desert landscape that welcome you back to relax after a long day of hiking and exploring. www.airbnb.com
  • Shooting Star RV Resort – You can camp or stay in one of their Airstream RV’s and also watch a movie at the Drive-In style theater in a 1960’s classic car. www.shootingstar-rvresort.com
Entrada outside our room. Still pretty new in 2017. I loved the rusty corrugated metal roof!

So many attractions nearby seriously!

Not only do you have all the attractions I already mentioned but there’s also Kodachrome Basin State Park, and Anasazi Indian Village nearby. Plus Escalante is a great place to stop in between visiting Bryce Canyon and Capital Reef National Parks.

It’s warmer there

If you’re a Northern or even central resident of Utah and want to go someplace awesome for outdoor fun but warmer than your current living temperatures, it’s pretty perfect down here during the day most times of the year. It still gets pretty cold at night though – that’s the desert for ya!

What have you discovered in or near Escalante? Please comment below and share!

Capital Reef Resort

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to sleep in a teepee, compete with a view of red desert cliffs, have I got the read for you!

YAASSS! Teepees!

Capital Reef Resort is right there on your way to Capital Reef National Park in Torrey, Utah.

The accommodations this place has to offer can keep you busy exploring the national park in so many ways. Or you can stay here and go explore the majesticness of the park yourself.

Capital Reef National Park

Choose your relaxing night stay in:

  • Teepees – 250 square foot teepees with a big fluffy king bed. Way big actually, I had a hard time climbing into it! Each one also has desks and chairs and a big screen TV (I never turned ours on) and a space heater/air conditioner to keep the temperature nice while you’re inside. 
  • Cabins – There are a few of these nice little cabins in a single room, loft style, or a 2 bedroom cabin, all dressed in elegant yet rustic style. 
  • Wagons – These babies can sleep up to 6 people! All in a wagon circle with a fire pit right in the middle! 
  • Hotel rooms – The rooms look comfy and cozy as well. Some come with a patio, or a private balcony to sit out on and take in the grand red cliffs beyond.

Note: The teepees and wagons do not have their own bathroom. But you get your own private full bathroom complete with tub, shower, toilet, lots of sink space and a Keurig coffee maker! 

You just have to walk a few hundred feet or so to it. It’s not too bad, I promise! Availability on these are subject to the weather as well. The website lists them available only June through September, but I went in May with my husband for our anniversary in 2017, and stayed in one of the teepees.

Adventure bookings with the resort

  • Horseback riding 
  • Guided hikes with pack llamas 
  • Jeep tours

You can choose from several different tour types with any of these and customize your experience to whatever turns you on. By the hour, day, half day, or overnight tours.

That sounds way fun! I just want to go hiking with the funny llamas.

Llamas!

Amenities

  • Outdoor pool and hot tub – The pool is seasonal and the hot tub is open year round.
  • Restaurant – Called The Pioneer Kitchen serving breakfast and dinner only.
  • Fire pits – There are several man made fire pits scattered throughout the property for guests to enjoy. (No wood required) Our group of teepees had two, complete with big stationary chairs encircling each pit. They didn’t emit a fuel smell of any kind if you’re wondering. You can join any fire pit circle and meet some interesting people from all over.

Looking back on it…

The property is a fairly good size with lots to offer and it’s obviously popular, but they only have one pool and one hot tub for the entire resort. It kind gets cramped in there.

But really, if you want adventure in this part of Utah, this is the place and a great way to do it.

Just be prepared to fork out a little extra dough!

I didn’t do any hikes in Capital Reef National Park during my stay at the resort. We had been hiking a lot previously and we were really over it.

If you’ve stayed here and took advantage of the tours they have to offer, I’d love to hear about your experience, as I’d love to go back someday.

Mystic Hot Springs

Head to Monroe, UT for a relaxing mineral soak in some hot springs at a hippie inspired little resort.

With a name like Mystic Hot Springs, how can you not be intrigued. 

Some of you may not know exactly what a hot spring is. Basically it’s groundwater that rises to the surface that has been heated geothermally and can vary in temperatures.

The water at Mystic Hot Springs comes out at 168 degrees and is then cooled down for safe soaking by channels they’ve dug in the ground, flowing down the hills above, into bathtubs and pools. They have 8 bathtubs, a shallow pool, (about knee hight at standing) and a deep pool that is quite a bit hotter. The mounds around some of the tubs and extending into the shallow pool, are the result of calcium carbonate deposits that have formed over time. It doesn’t seem to take long though. There’s no sulfur present and even though the water looks kinda icky, it has no smell. 

I visited in January, hence the snow and gloominess.
You can spend the night

It’s nice to be able to come here, stay the night and soak whenever you want. The springs are open to overnight guests 24/7.

  • Buses – They offer several buses, varying in size and accommodations.
  • Cabins – Small and reconstructed of old cabins, an original pioneer cabin and materials found. 
  • Campground – They offer a small campground for tent camping complete with grass!
  • RV spots – There are a few spots to hook up an RV to sewer, water, and electricity. Available April – October.
  • Mars Hotel Guesthouse – Book a 3 bedroom trailer, or just one of the rooms and share the experience with other guests.
The Other One bus – Equipped with a super comfy heated king bed and soft pillows, blankets and linens. The space heater couldn’t keep up with the cold wee hours of a January morning though.
Our comfy king bed
The view from the bed.
Yes that is a small bus on top of a big bus!
Some of the cabins they have to offer.
Offerings
  • Concerts – That’s right! Live performances! More so in the warmer months I’m sure. But they have an outdoor stage and a small indoor stage to get your groove on!
  • Get a massage – You can book massages with one of their on-site massage therapists.
  • Check out the gift store – A lot of hand made items. Jewelry, clothes, rocks, crystals, statues, massage oils and incense. 
There’s the outdoor concert stage!
I know, it looks gross, but it’s not I promise….just chill.
Afterthoughts

Mystic Hot Springs is a lovely and unique place, and I am anxious to go back. Although it was pretty chilly going in January, I think it’s probably best to stick to the cooler months when planning a visit here. I don’t know how hot it gets in Monroe Utah in the summertime, but I would think soaking in the springs would be a little too unbearable for me at that time. 

The owners could do a little more to improve things overall, like for instance, sealing up the buses better against the cold, and maybe paving and some concrete work would help cut down on all the mud build-up. The entire time my husband and I were there we were making plans on what could be done to make it better, and what could be done to expand and make it more lucrative. I also understand wanting to keep it small and more intimate too. 

I fully plan on going back this year, and hopefully spending a night or two in one of those cabins. I miss the relaxing feeling of a good soak already!

They fashioned a channel out of some fabric to have it form an arch one day. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

Have you been to Mystic Hot Springs? How is the concert scene there? Please share, I’d love to know!


Calf Creek Falls Hike

Yet another outstanding hike in Utah, in the desert, to a spectacular waterfall.

There’s an upper and lower falls associated with this adventure. The lower falls are more popular as it is easier to hike to and navigate, but a longer one. Someday I would love to go back and check out the upper falls because I feel it might be a little more adventurey and definitely less populated.

Head out of Escalante Eastbound on Highway 12 for about 15 to 16 miles, take a left turn for the parking lot. Pay your fee, and hopefully you went early enough and there’s enough parking left. Or you could camp in their campground to make it super easy.

This hike will take half the day if you really want to enjoy it.

Just a pretty view along the hike.
What a gorgeous desert landscape, and look at that blue sky!

Things to know for this hike

  • The hike is 3 miles in and 3 miles back out the same way.
  • There’s hardly any shade – so slather on the sunblock and bring extra as well as a hat.
  • The terrain is mostly flat with a lot of sandy parts.
  • There are a couple geocaches hidden nearby the falls. So bring your GPS device if you’re into that.
  • There are some points of interest a long the way which you will see, and get to learn more if you grab a pamphlet at the trail head.
  • The waterfall acts as an air conditioner once you get there, so you can cool off just by standing near the pool or jump in for a pretty freezing cold dip!
  • There’s nowhere to sit at the falls except for a log and a rock or two, so bring a small blanket if you don’t want to sit in the muddy dirt.
  • Bring some easy lunch to have while you’re sitting enjoying the beauty of the waterfall.
  • Take lots of pics!
It’s exciting when you can hear it the closer you get. Then you see it peeking out of the trees!

This is such a nice place to sit and admire the small wonders nature provides. Has anyone had the pleasure of visiting the upper falls? I’d love to hear about it!

Snow Canyon State Park, UT

Here’s an idea for a great State Park to visit near St. George Utah.

Here’s one of Utah’s many desert landscape gems, situated in the southern part of the state near St. George. I’ve been eyeballing this park for a while in hopes of exploring it when visiting my cousins. When I made this trip, my intentions were to go back to Zions for another visit and also to get some more use out of my National Park pass. Unbeknownst to me and my traveling companions, it was free to get in because it was Veterans Day and it just so happens that landed on a Saturday that year. Silly me thinking I would be able to explore the park freely. Let alone find a place to park. Nope. Didn’t find a place to park anywhere and the road up that canyon was under construction, so we ended up waiting in that for a least an hour. We decided to check out Snow Canyon State Park instead and I’m glad we did.

You have 7,400 acres to hike, camp, bike, and ride horses around in. Not to mention it’s a photographers dream. It’s generally pretty hot in the summer but early spring, fall, and winter are quite pleasant. This place is perfect for kids to explore around here. The park is North of Ivins, UT, so you could pop in there or shop in St. George for some picnic food, snacks and drinks and spend as much of the day here. I wish I did but as you read in the last paragraph I spent a good portion of my day in traffic.

A few hikes and spots of interest

These are in no specific order except I listed what I was able to do and then what I wish I could’ve done and what you should do too.

Pioneer Names – This is a short walk from the road on a dirt trail to some red cliffs with a lot of desert varnish and then a wall with a bunch of Pioneers names written in axle grease. Around this area are some great places to get pics so wander around and snap away.

Petrified Dunes & Butterfly trail – These trails connect but you can do either or.

The name says it all, they really look like petrified sand dunes or huge piles of red cow shit however you want to look at it.

White Rock Amphitheater – Less than a mile hike to view this awesomeness. There’s white sand to play in that’s a lot of fun too. Looks like elephant skin to me.

See…. elephant skin!
Beautiful white sand!

Lava Tube trail – Lava tubes that apparently you can go in? What no way! I didn’t get to check this one out but it looks and sounds cool.

Jennys Canyon – This is a slot canyon hike and a little less than a mile. Slot canyons are cool. 

Johnson Canyon – I believe this one is closed a lot and/or you need a permit to hike in. That might need a phone call to clarify that one. But it sounds like you get to see a pretty cool arch.

Snow Canyon Overlook – This is a must do. I did not however, but the hike is 4.7 miles roundtrip and it’s an overlook of all of Snow Canyon and more. This would be a perfect beginning or end to your trip here.

You can camp in Snow Canyon State Park campground with the usual congestion that comes with those pay sites. They offer 14 RV sites and 17 Multi-use campsites with all the amenities. Check out utahstateparks.reserveamerica.com for deets and bookings.

So there’s my impromptu trip to Snow Canyon. What are your experiences here?

How to visit Bryce Canyon National Park And beat the crowds

Want to beat the crowds and still enjoy one of Utah’s natural wonders? Read on how to do it at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon is what I like to call sensory overload. There is literally too much to look at. It hurts your eyes to try. 

This park is probably one of the most organized National Parks I’ve been to, with a comprehensive listing of all things to see and do on the National Park Service website. So I’m not going to write a whole lot on the specifics on this place.

What I will tell you, and this is important, you. must. go. early! 

Especially if you don’t want to take the shuttle service. Otherwise there will be no parking for your vehicle. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m all about beating the crowds and I’m usually pretty good at it. I just feel like it’s more of my own experience and a way better one if I can be alone. Or maybe with a few people around, but that’s it! Plus they get in the way of your fantastic photos!

A panoramic view with an awesome mix of green and orange

Driving up Bryce Canyon in your own car is so much more relaxing too. 

First things first, secure your room at Bryce Canyon Pines Motel. They are out of the way a little on HWY 12, but way more affordable than staying in anything closer or in Bryce Canyon. Plus there’s not a bunch of people around. Beating the crowds already! I stayed in a nice updated and comfy cottage room. But you’ll have your choice of 3 of those, family suites, or a regular motel room. It’s up to you. You must to get on HWY 12 from the West so you can start taking in the scenic  highway properly. 

Below I have a great two day itinerary that includes a full days worth of retina straining beauty.

Here’s that very familiar road arch signifying you’re getting close to Bryce.

Read on if you have a park pass or are willing to buy one and if you want to beat the crowds!

  • After checking into your room head to Bryce Canyon, stop at the fee area and get your park pass if you already don’t have one. Now go to the visitor’s center and get your park info and maps.
  • If you need water, snacks, a quick sandwich or any supplies you forgot like sunblock or a hat, head back down the canyon and stop in at Ruby’s Inn General Store.
  • Got everything you think you might need for tomorrow? Good! Now go eat dinner at Bryce Canyon Pines Restaurant right where you’ll be staying. How convenient! They serve up good home cooked meals and yummy pies.
  • Next morning. Head out and up Bryce Canyon early. As early as you can. Around 10 AM is when I noticed it getting busy. 
  • Drive to Bryce Amphitheater and stop at all four view points.  Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce Point. Get this done first because this is where the camp sites and the Bryce Lodge is. It gets incredibly congested here later in the day.
Bryce Amphitheater. I told you it’s sensory overload!
  • Now head up the canyon to Rainbow Point. After you get your fill there, head back down and stop at Natural Bridge.
Natural Bridge
  • If you want to get a great somewhat easy and gorgeous hike in, head back down to Sunrise Point and do the Queens Garden trail at least, or do the Navajo Loop. Allow yourself one to two hours for those. You can also combine those two in the Queen’s/Navajo combo loop. You’ll need 2 to 3 hours to complete the combo loop, plus time for stopping to take photos. These I think are great hikes to really see the beauty of Bryce Amphitheater up close.
Along the Queens Garden hike
Queens Garden
  • Go eat again. I’m sure if you hiked at all, you undoubtedly worked up an appetite. There are a pretty decent amount of restaurants around to choose from, but anywhere you go, especially if it’s close to a time when everyone else decides they’re hungry, it is going to be packed. So it’s up to you. But I ate at the Ruby’s Inn Buffet and it was surprisingly delicious and diverse in food choices. (I’m not a fan of buffets)

Well there you have it. Go early, beat the crowds, and spend what is left of your day however you choose. But enjoy it!