Louis and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary in December in Southern Utah. We fell in love with Southern Utah during our winter road trip from Zion to Arches National Park five years ago. The landscape we saw at these national parks was nothing like anything we’ve ever seen before. Since then, we have made many trips east but never made it back as far as Bryce Canyon National Park. The dramatic images of the Bryce hoodoos was what drawn us back to this National Park.
The total drive time from Southern California to Bryce in good weather condition is approximately 7.5 hours. The last stretch on the state and county highway can get tricky during winter storms. 4 wheel drive and snow tires are definitely recommended when visiting Southern Utah in the winter time due to unpredictable weather. We drove our Honda Accord with all-season tires and had a difficult time driving in snowy weather conditions during the last couple days of our stay. Thankfully the car and us made it back in one piece, we will definitely be renting a car if we do this drive in the winter again.
We stayed at Ruby’s Inn Best Western, the hotel is located just a couple of miles outside the national park. Winter is their off-season, which makes it a very affordable place to stay. The next day, we headed to the national park, ready for a full day of hiking.
Our first hike was the Fairy Land trail. The loop is 8 hours round trip and it took us about 4 hours to finish at a leisure pace.
After grabbing a sandwich at a nearby Subway for lunch, we had time for another short hike. We opted for the Queen’s Garden trail, which is 3 miles roundtrip. This is probably the most popular hike inside the park, foot traffic was especially heavy during sunset hours. The hike is a loop, with starting and ending points at either Sunset or Sunrise points. We chose our starting point at Sunset Point but felt going the other way starting at Sunrise and ending at Sunset was a more beautiful and challenging hike.
The total mileage at Bryce Canyon National Park was 11 miles. Not bad considering we took a 2 hour lunch break.