Bledsoe 2012 Western Tour travel blog

Kodachrome spires

Kodachrome basin

Roosevelt Arch

Hoodoos along Queen's Garden trail


Queen Victoria rock

Queen's Garden trail

We awoke to another brisk morning of 32 degree weather, a result of the clear skies overnight. Bryce Canyon is the second most "dark" place in America; no light pollution at all. We thought we would see another unbelievable night sky, but forgot to take into account the near full moon that you could honestly read a newspaper by. Oh, well.

After breakfast we took the Vue downhill a bit (well, around 3000 feet in elevation) over to Kodachrome Basin State Park.

The scenery is unusual here, dominated by monolithic stone spires called sedimentary pipes. They accentuate multi-hued sandstone layers revealing 180 million years of geologic time. The color and beauty found here prompted a 1948 National Geographic Society expedition to name the area Kodachrome after the popular color film.

We drove out a couple of dirt and gravel roads a few miles to the trailhead for Roosevelt Arch. This easy one mile walk past red and gray sandstone cliffs led us to a really pretty arch up high on the cliff.

You look around you here and realize the "bowl" you're in. You're surrounded by Bryce Canyon cliffs at 8000 ft and the Escalante plateau nearly 10,000 feet high.

We left Kodachrome and returned to Bryce Canyon to end our visit here with a little hike through the hoodoos. We chose the Queen's Garden trail, a short one mile down ending at Queen's Rock and then hiking back out by the same route.

It's certainly different looking at the hoodoo's and stone spires from below.

The trail is mostly dirt with many switchbacks. You go down 320 feet in elevation but have to hike that back coming out!

The Queen Victoria rock. Use your imagination.

As the sun chases across the sky the colors change almost before your eyes. In late afternoon some of these formations take on a ghostly effect.

After finally returning to the summit of the trail we returned to our car by shuttle then drove out of the park for the last time to return to Ruby's. It was a truly inspirational visit to this marvelous place.

Tomorrow is a transit day, climbing in and out of mountains to get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

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