Today we headed west to Bryce Canyon NP. This park is not the biggest park but it sure packs it in. There were about a dozen overlooks, all excellently marked and detailed with views out onto the plateau and rock formations that are so different to everywhere else we have been. They kinda look like kids have been having a lot of fun with drip sand castles – remember making them at the beach as kids letting the sand drip through your hands to see who could make the tallest before it toppled – well thats what these look like except they are big (obviously) and multi coloured to – they call them sentinals standing guard.
From Byrce we headed back towards Kanab to Zion NP, which gets quite a lot of tourist marketing time. The park became famous after a big landslide kept it on the news for aout 60 days straight, now from 1 million visitors in 75 yrs it receives 2 million a year with an expectation of 3 million this year ! Cars are not allowed in the main part of the park shuttle buses move the hordes up and down the mountain.
The road into Zion is pretty cool. You drive through a tunnel that must be a mile long maybe longer, then once through the tunnel you descend a little and thats where the shuttel starts. The rock formations here are like checkerboards then like waves and then groves, the changes are quite dramatic.
Zion is mountaineers paradise, and serious hiker/rock climber terriority, so with this in mind we were a little disappointed. The other parks have had overlooks and small trails, this one you are at ground level trying to look up which really isnt that special – though still very nice – but to really see the Zion NP that you seen in books mags postcards you have to go up and up and up some more. The trails are quite long and strenuous and some are pretty hairy. So that was alittle disappointing as we could have reversed the order and maybe fitted in one of the river/pools trails. Oh well still pretty nice and we got to see some animals close up.