In 2017 I was living in Salt Lake City, Utah. I moved there in 2015 from Oklahoma. I was committed to seeing as much of Utah as possible. I saw all 5 national parks while I lived there but the only one I saw in the snow was Bryce Canyon. We went in January around the Chinese New Year. My ex knew I wanted to see it so he planned a 2-night road trip down there. He booked and planned everything ... which meant not a whole lot was planned but we made the most of it and had fun.
Lodging is really limited around Bryce Canyon. The nicest thing he could find available was a Best Western right near the park. We left Salt Lake City after we both left work on Friday so we pulled into the area in the evening. It's a 4 hour drive from SLC. We knew not to expect much of the motel considering it was a motel and it was like a 2 star. We decided to make the best of it.
Then we walked in the room. We were both laughing and joking about all of the drugs, murders and who knows what had happened in that room. It was ROUGH. When we finally were ready to lay down in the bed we were both pretty grossed out. He literally laid his 6'4" self on top of my 5'3" self because he said he didn't want to touch the sheets haha.
We went to sleep and then woke up early to get into the park. Let me remind you that my ex "planned" this trip which meant there wasn't much planning... which I'm fine with but it meant we had a bit of a learning curve. When we got into the park we attempted to just find a trail and head through the park. We quickly realized the snowdrifts were up to my waist. There's no way we were going to be able to hike. I had on 2 layers of thermal pants, a hoodie, ski jacket and snow boots but we wouldn't be able to walk through the drifts. We got back in the car and drove around for a bit. We found a person renting snowshoes and rented some for the day. That made all of the difference.
If you've never used snowshoes, they are basically like tennis rackets you fasten to your boots. It allows you to step into the snowdrifts without sinking all the way down through the drift so you can easily maneuver and get through.
We explored and hiked all morning and afternoon. The juxtaposition of the striking red rock covered in gorgeous white snow with a bright blue sky as a backdrop was jaw-dropping. I remember repeatedly thinking this looked otherworldly. As we walked through the park, I remember gazing up at the rocks and thinking about how small and insignificant I was in comparison. The hoodos, random rock formations and sandstone pillars are unlike any terrain I've seen, even in southern Utah.
Bryce Canyon is very compact so realistically, you don't need more than say a day to explore it. We didn't know that so we planned on staying for 2 nights but we were able to wrap up our trip and head back to Salt Lake City after a day of exploring. We were both eager to sleep in our bed & not get the creepy-crawly vibes.
Bryce Canyon is full of hoodoos. Hoodoos can be described as witchcraft, voodoo, and folk magic usually in the deep south of the United States. Hoodoos can also be described as thin, tall spires of rock protruding from the bottom of an arid drainage basin. Geologically, hoodoos are all around the world but they occur in highest abundance in Bryce Canyon. There are thousands here.
When you walk through areas like Bryce Canyon it's crazy to think about the weathering processes that took place over hundreds or thousands of years to produce that unique landscape. Once again, it makes you realize just how short and insignificant your life is in the grand scheme of the world. We are merely a speck in the history of the world but it's such an incredible feeling to walk through a space that has been developed and shaped for hundreds or thousands of years. These places bring about such wonderment and awe.
When you arrive park in the parking area by Sunset Point. Spend a moment taking in the view. From here you can easily walk to Sunrise Point with rivaling views. After you take in those grand views, you're ready to hike. The Queens Garden/Navajo Trail is the one we chose. This path descends into the valley amidst a garden of hoodoos and rock formations. It's a relatively easy hike but if you're there during snowy seasons it will be a little more difficult.
After your hike is over, hop in the car and drive over to Inspiration Point to take in an incredible view of numerous hoodoos.
I want to go back and experience the park in another season but I don't know if it will ever seem quite as magical as it did with a dusting of snow. I recommend seeing all of the 5 Utah National Parks. They are incredible.