Ruby's is the only private campground in the area and luckily it is a good one with ample pull thru sites, has laundry and stores, and there is a shuttle to Bryce Canyon National Park.
That's a wide open sky for stargazing too!
On our tour of Utah's big 5 national parks, we wisely chose Bryce first due to it's high elevation (8,000 to 9,100 feet above sea level ), and propensity to get freezing temperatures by late September. The average high and low temps for September are 69.8F/41.8F and for October are 58.2F/32F.
In fact, I developed our schedule based on getting here and to the North rim of the Grand Canyon before too late in the season. As it turns out we did well. The temps at Bryce ranged from daytime highs in the high 70's to high 50's. Night time temps dropped 30 degrees every night! So while a daytime hike would be hot in t-shirts and shorts, we had snowflakes on one of the last days here, and we had to put on winter wear at night to take in the stars - one of the designated dark sky sites in the country.
Bryce Canyon National Park
To download the park map:
Sandcastle like hoodoos and beautiful colors combine to make Bryce special
This was taken in poor light when the colors didn't pop. At twilight this would be much brighter. Still colorful though.
The tops of the trails were busy with tourists not intending to actually hike
The switchbacks leading to Wall Street in the shadows below - where the walls close in on the trail.
At least these people are walking. This is considered a moderate trail. A good deal of elevation change, but an easy graded walk.
The good and the bad of Bryce is simple. The views from the rim are truly some of the most unusual and colorful formations you can see anywhere. For brief times of sunrise and sunset the colors intensify making Bryce some peoples favorite view in the country. My pleasure was tempered by the massive crowds posing for selfies on the named viewpoints. Other parks like Zion and Arches may have comparable visitor attendance, but the crowds thin out in the larger parks with more hiking options. At Bryce most people are at the viewpoints.
Of particular annoyance were the buses expelling a crawling mass of foreign tourists who crammed overlooks and access to trails taking photos that HAD to include their friends and family in one of a handful of poses designed to showcase their excitement of the views they were blocking. At first I thought nothing of it granting everyone the right to enjoy the park. But, when they rudely filled up trailheads where my “excuse me” pleads did no good and I was forced to shoulder my way onto and off the hiking trails, I became very disgruntled.
We did find that you could avoid crowds by being on the rims before 9AM or after 5PM. At one busy overlook, the small parking lot had several buses, we found that shortly after 5 the crowds disappeared and the buses were gone.
Finally got some shots at twilight
Shortly after Sunrise at Bryce Point
I only hiked one trail at Bryce, because it was too steep for Sandy and I restrict myself to one solo hike a week. I chose the Queen's Garden / Navajo Loop (the most popular), because it seemed to offer the most named sights for the effort. A 2.9 mile loop, I found it very easy because most of the way down and up the canyon wall was on graded switchbacks and not knee tugging steps.
Due to the number of photos, I am breaking this camping area into sections.
See upcoming post for Red Canyon, Kodachrome SP, Grosvenor Arch, and Cedar Breaks.
To be continued...