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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Explore Bryce Canyon's Gardens of Stone

Kristin Jackson wrote this article for the Seattle Times, describing a November trip where she "escaped to the red rock and blue skies of the Southwest."

She toured Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks. Below are excerpts from her narrative.

Each (park) was stunning in scenery and geology. But it was at Bryce, the more remote and less visited of the three parks, that I found the best cure for my rain-sodden mind and body in its peaceful sun-drenched gardens of stone and star-spangled nights.

Geology has run riot in Bryce, creating one of the world's unique landscapes in the southern Utah wilderness. Soft, colorful limestone has eroded into a maze of rock fins; a handful of slot canyons just a few yards wide; and hundreds of fantastically shaped rock spires called hoodoos.

Some hoodoos tower 150 feet tall, slender totem-like spires that thrust into the sky. Shorter hoodoos, some just the height of a person, bulge and curve. Some are named after the images they evoke, from Queen Victoria to the Chessmen and Thor's Hammer.

If you can hike only one trail, make it the three-mile route that combines the Navajo and Queens Garden trails. It twists through a slot canyon whose sheer rock walls glow in the sun and among hundreds of hoodoos in otherworldly gardens of stone.

No matter how cold it got, I wasn't going to miss Bryce's star show. The park is renowned for stargazing, thanks to its natural darkness in a remote area hundreds of miles from a big city. It's one of the least light-polluted areas in the continental United States.

On clear and moonless nights, about 7,500 stars can be seen from Bryce, say park officials — more than three times what can be seen in many U.S. rural areas. The park's "dark rangers" take visitors stargazing in the evenings, with astronomy talks and telescopes.

Read the entire article.


  • At 3:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Amazing as always


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