Today was original supposed to be Zion National Park, at least a couple small trails on Zion Scenic Canyon Drive.. but with the crowds and shuttle waits they are having, it just didnt make sense to us, so we decided to take the 3 hour drive up and around the canyon over to Bryce Canyon. We know we have to come back to hike Angels Landing and The Narrows at some point in the future, so we didn’t feel like we were missing something we’ll never see. I’m sure its gorgeous, or else everyone wouldn’t be cramming into hot buses and waiting hours for the pleasure to do so!

It was a very pretty drive, just along the interstate… we passed some ghost town looking tourist trap. No idea what it is but it photographed well.

There are way fewer photos today because I was driving since its the weekend and no one is emailing me for work asking me to do things all day long or I don’t have to be calling into zoom meetings randomly on drives. Kegan has to be told “hey- get a photo of that!” ha it just doesn’t click for him to photograph things, he just enjoys them… and that fine. But, the blog looks a little different when he drives 🙂

We had a choice to continue on the interstate up and around the canyon- or cut over a mountain pass that was twisty highway and just a couple minutes longer- so we elected the mountain pass on the way there and the interstate on the way home.

The scenery changed drastically as we climbed in elevation. We entered Dixie National Forest for most of the drive.

There were tons of fields full of nothing but this black rockiness. Old lava flow fields. Thats all hardened lava that is breaking apart into chunks as it erodes.

We saw a sign for Aspen Mirror Lake… so off we went to see what that was all about!

It was a really pretty, nice and cool walk through the trees since at this point we were at 9910 feet elevation at the summit. We arrived at the lake and while it was pretty- it wasn’t a mirror and there were no Aspens around it. But a pretty mountain lake none the less.

We continued on down the other side and eventually came to our first glimpse of Bryce Canyon looking landscape- Red Canyon- part of Dixie National Forest.

Near this little rock tunnel were signed for Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. Right near here there is Butch Cassidy trail that winds though a mini-Bryce canyon where the Wild Bunch used to hide out after stealing horses or other thievery. Butch Cassidy grew up less than an hour from Bryce, so these canyons were their stomping grounds for getting away from the law.

The best photo I could get of the sign with people climbing all over it to get the perfect Instagram shot to prove they came today. ha I don’t understand the pile up of cars at every entrance and exit sign waiting! Maybe it’s just me and I’m the odd one! Apparently a trip to Bryce Canyon is more meaningful and dream fulfilling that it is to me…oh well. Let people enjoy things, Erin 🙂

Our first stop was Inspiration Point for the best views of the canyon right off the bat! The Bryce Ampitheater. The largest collection of Hoodoos (rock formations) found anywhere on Earth.

This trail you see toward the top is hikeable if you want to go down in the canyon. We were lazy because we were seeing the canyon so well without hiking! so we didn’t head out there.

We continued on down about 20 miles of canyon to various pull offs and short hikes to viewpoints.

Norah was hungry for lunch when she saw the Dawg House food truck in one parking lot. So she had mini corn dogs and curly fries.
This is a view from Yovimpa Point where you can see the Grand Escalante Staircase, which really just means you can look out and see different color layers very far out since we were about 8000 ft elevation. The Vermillion Cliffs are the deep red, the White Cliffs are a different layer, there is a chocolate layer, etc… It’s just a high point that you can see the different bedrock layer, but a really nice view.
Obligatory National Park selfie!

It was time to turn is around and head back to our Zion hotel. I had tried to book us in a different town closer to Moab and Monument Valley where we head tomorrow, but they didnt have any free nights, so we elected for a 2nd night in Zion which mesnt we didnt have to pack up our stuff this morning which was so nice! but it also means an extra 2 hours of driving tomorrow to get to our destination.

Because we were passing right by a flag I marked on Google Maps, we veered off for Parowan Gap Petroglyphs. A totally “worth it” detour! There were TONS of petroglyphs everywhere in this natural pass. They think some of these are from 500 AD.

Looks like someone died here in 1939.
I was impressed we could walk right up to so many of the rocks. Because if you can access it, someone will destroy it- human law.

We headed towards Kanarraville to hike to a waterfall, but Kegan actually read on Google you needed to be a nimble hiker and there were ropes and tree ladders to get you there. Yeah…thats not me..or Norah. ha So maybe a future trip.

We completed our drive back to the town of Springdale, UT

We chose a restaurant called Bit and Spur across the street from the hotel that was pretty good!

Stuffed Jalepenos
Grilled shishito peppers
Beef Satay skewers
Kegan had sweet potato tamales with pork and mushrooms.
A couple prickly pear margaritas were the special drink of the night- Kegan has to order prickly pear anything that is available. We currently have prickly pear gummy bears in the console of the car. ha

Finished dinner and back to our room for showers and packing up. Norah took a bath and then asked if we could go get her hair straightened sometime again soon. Kegan’s cousin Christy has a salon that I go to and she straightened Norah’s hair once and she hasn’t stopped talking about it since. ha So… we discussed and I thought, well- if it will ever stray straight, the desert is the place to do it, so we had impromptu hair day and I blowdried and straightened those gorgeous curls.

She was thrilled. Couldn’t stop looking at herself in the mirror and posing. She said now she was like one of those Instragram girls! (I dont know which girls…but basically the imitation part of growing up has apparently begun) So, if you see Norah, make sure you tell her how beautiful her curls are. ha This straightening thing is way too much effort and time for her to think this looks better. ha But, I was happy to make her so happy. Its a nice treat for her to have something special that makes her obviously feel beautiful.

Tomorrow, we’re backtracking to Lake Powell area early in the morning and then headed for Monument Valley, ending in Moab, UT.