There are so many places to see in Utah, but I wanted to limit myself to a few areas and not drive all over the state. Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Goosenecks State Park would have been interesting, but were over on the east side of the state. I decided to go as far east as Capitol Reef National Park, then west to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.
So, again I was southbound on I-15, heading to Salt Lake City. I was going to meet Mary, who I worked with at Dell but had never met because she worked remotely from Sandy, just past SLC. We planned to have lunch, and I could catchup on Dell news. It’s always fun to meet the folks you work with from across the country/world. Then I headed to Nephi to camp in the Uinta National Forest. There are some dispersed campsites up Salt Creek Canyon Road. The next day we drove down to Torrey and Capitol Reef National Park. The huge rock faces run for miles to the south and are just stunning. There is a nice campground in the park, but was full. I ended up at a commercial campground in nearby Torrey.
From Torrey I took the Highway 12 scenic drive that connects to Bryce Canyon National Park. The road immediately climbs high into the Dixie National Forest and has an overlook above Capitol Reef.
Along the way the road passes through some very interesting rock formations. At one point the road is on a thin spine, called “The Hogback”, with the road dropping off of on both sides.
Back in Wheatland, WY, Alan (the Englishman I had met) told me about a nice camping spot across the highway from Bryce. It was a good spot to disperse camp for a night. The next morning I drove into Bryce Canyon very early and was able to get a good campsite at Sunset Campground. Found a nice shady site. That way I could leave Riley in the rig for a few hours without it getting too hot in there while I hiked. Dogs aren’t allowed on most hiking trails in the National parks anymore. Usually there is one trail in each park that allows dogs. Generally it is some paved trail from the campground to the visitor center, or something like that. In Bryce the trail from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point is dog friendly. So we did that first thing. It was pretty crowded and lots of folks wanted to stop and pet Riley. He is always happy to meet people that want to pet him!
Early the next morning we drove to the end of the canyon (Rainbow Point) and drove back, stopping at all of the view points along the way. I decided to stay another night and took the shuttle to Bryce Point and Inspiration Point. At about sunset I took the Navajo loop down into the hoodoos. On the way back up the skies were really stormy looking. I probably took about 400 photos of Bryce Canyon. It’s just gorgeous and changes all day long as the light changes. So glad we stopped there.
Here is a gallery of photos. For some reason WordPress isn’t allowing me to create a slideshow. But, you can click on the first photo and it will open into a slideshow.
After Bryce Canyon we visited Zion National Park and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. I’ll write about those in Part 2.