#3 Bryce Canyon: Galaxy's Amphitheater
The mercury dropped below freezing and I was underdressed. But I was too mesmerized to feel anything else...
I exactly remember when I first heard of Bryce Canyon National Park. It was during my drive to the Grand Canyon in 2013. On highway 89-A toward North Rim, there is this pull out that looks out onto Pasture Canyon where I stopped to check the view out. I met this couple who told me they had plans to visit Bryce Canyon further up North in Utah - not too far from North Rim.
A few months later in 2014, I made plans to explore more of the area that included Bryce Canyon. If you read Part III of an earlier blog I posted about my first solo travel, titled "Star Studded" - I go into details of the Bryce experience from a journey perspective.
The area of the National Park is small and there is a main park road that threads through the viewpoints. End-to-end takes about 30 minutes (without stopping). Unless you plan to hike through the hoodoos (Under The Rim trail), you need half-a-day for Bryce Canyon. Afternoon to sunset is a good time to visit. The afternoon lights makes for some nice canyon shots as well.
The chief attraction is the Bryce Amphitheater. Well, it is unmissable, really, as it is a big fish in a small pond. You could pick a spot in the Amphitheater and stare into the distance or absorb the bird's-eye panorama from Rainbow Point (the highest point of the park). Once the sun dips, the temperature does drop. But do not let that deter you from the most rewarding experience of Bryce Canyon: the night sky.
Stellar. Standing at Bryce Point is like being inside a planetarium on a reclined seat - except better. Much, much better - and real. Every inch of the sky is lit with a celestial object. The mercury dropped below freezing and I was underdressed. But I was too mesmerized to feel anything else.
I want to visit Bryce again - just for that surreal, astro experience. If you have plans for Zion or some of the canyons in Northern Arizona, do try to visit Bryce on a clear night! Totally worth it.