Southern Utah is filled with a network of spectacular canyons and rock formations that make up a number of national parks. On this short trip then we took in May in the early 2000’s, we spent a week exploring just a few highlights of the region, including Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Kodachrome Basin State Park.
Bryce is a giant amphitheater where erosion has carved colorful limestone rock into thousands of fantastic spires and pinnacles called “hoodoos”. From sunrise to sunset, the ever-changing colors and shadows provide vivid panoramas and dramatic photo opportunities. We spent three wonderful days hiking here, following trails that took us in search of hoodoos with creative names like Poodle, Three Wise Men, and Sinking Ship.
We then spent two days exploring Zion, the oldest national park in the US. Hiking through its spectacular labyrinth of cliffs and canyons, surrounded by soaring mountains,we were rewarded with waterfalls and rushing streams, lush gardens of flowers and ferns, and diverse desert and canyon landscapes.
Kodachrome Basin State Park boasts the world’s only collection of “sand pipes” or “chimney rocks”. These are oddly shaped rock pillars and formations whose origin is not known. We visited this small park on a whim, and were rewarded with some of the most amazing and memorable landscapes we have ever experienced.
May turned out to be a beautiful month to visit this area. Most of the rains had passed, the temperature was in the upper 70’s, waterfalls were still full and wild flowers were still in bloom. We both were in awe of the unique and varied beauty we found in all three of these parks, and look forward to returning to Southern Utah to continue our explorations of this region.
Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park
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