We'd been lucky enough to get a reservation on the campground inside the Park and found our pitch with no trouble, once we'd got through the interrogation at the park entrance. The problem is that the park straddles a public highway with a low, narrow tunnel and if we'd wanted to take our RV through the tunnel (we didn't) we need to arrange for the tunnel to be closed to other traffic and for us to have an escort. As we were within inches of the overall limits, we decided to take the longer route on the next leg, avoiding the tunnel.
|Looking across from our pitch|
|Still looks green, but everything was tinder dry, hence the fire ban.|
There is a shuttle bus system within the park with a wait of around 45 minutes to board the busses due to the sheer number of people visiting. We took the bus through the narrowing canyon to the end and then walked the trail to the end, at whihc point to get any further, it is necessary to walk *in* the water. In the heat and at the altitude, it is hard going.
|The canyon was carved by the Virgin River. Very different to the Grand Canyon as we are now at the bottom of the canyon looking up|
|This was quite far enough for us. To go further requires walking in the river|
We thought that a short hike up to a waterfall for the afternoon was a "good idea". The trail is only a mile, round trip according to the signs and the map. It might be a mile as the crow flies, but to us, it seemed more like a mile each way and a climb of several hundred feet. we made it to the lower waterfall and that was enough...
|The waterfall at Lower Emerald Pool|
Next day, we just did a simple hike to Weeping Rock - just a short trek to another waterfall and hanging garden.
So that was Zion and then off to Bryce Canyon via a bit of a roundabout route to avoid the tunnel mentioned above. Zion to Bryce
After leaving Cedar City, the route became very interesting through Dixie National Forest and climbing several thousand feet (as if we weren't high enough already!!)
|Looking out from Dixie Forest, overlooking Zion Canyon in the distance. The "staircase effect" in the rocks is very obvious.|
Before arriving at Bryce, we passed through Red Canyon - an area of bright red rocks, followed by a warning sign for two low tunnels each just 13 feet high. we had been told our RV needed a clearance of 13 feet, so it was going to be a tight fit!
It wasn't! There was plenty of space. This brought us to Bryce, or "Ruby's" as it should be called. The settlement was established by Reuben "Ruby" Syrett, a rancher who saw the tourism potential in the area and established a lodge that has now grown into a hotel, RV park, restaurant, gift shops, entertainment, etc.
We had two days in the National Park It is absolutely mind blowing and for me, the best National Park that we visited. It is all rock formations and views, but incredible views.
We had two evenings entertainment; first was a rodeo, perhaps a little stage managed, but entertaining and with animals that looked to be well looked after
And the second night was a Western themed evening complete with band. I found this video of the entertainment on YouTube here
Moving on took us to Monument Valley after a stop in Page, Arizona for a visit to a slot Canyon. That will follow next...