Travels in the American Southwest

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

I did Bryce Canyon in '96 and stayed at Ruby's Inn (it's a Best Western) for two of my three nights away from Las Vegas. (Stayed at the Tropic Inn the first night - NOT a reflection on Tropic Inn which is clean if spartan and provides breath-taking views of spectacular vistas, but Ruby's Inn offers so much more).

Ruby's Inn - Very Nice Place - 350+ rooms with the usual (TV, AC etc.) Some have a whirlpool (mine did, felt great after hiking).

Ruby's has everything a vacationer would want. From laundromat to swimming pool, including a liquor store, ATM, post office and grocery store. This is one well planned vacation spot.

In the past, they had a rodeo during the summer (Monday thru Saturday) which I didn't see (I was there in October), but I did take the 2 hour rim trail horse ride. Led by a real cowboy, who probably lives in nearby Tropic, the ride is great. Ask your guide about the local holiday called, "The Day the Water Came". It's why farms can exist in the dry climate. Bring your horse a carrot - I swear that's why I didn't roll off mine!

Ruby's offers a family-type "Chuckwagon Dinner and Hoedown" which I did not do (too late in the season), but the ad says they feed you and dance you and, I suspect, basically tucker you out! Memorial Day thru Labor Day.

Airplane rides, van tours and ATV rides are also available.

There's a hoaky "old west town" and a petting zoo, too.

Information for all of the above can be obtained at Ruby's Inn lobby. As with most places I seem to visit, advanced reservation are suggested. (435) 834-5341.

Night Life - Bryce is about 270 miles from Las Vegas. You may never see a night-time sky like you will at Bryce. If you get the chance, once it gets dark, drive out of the park (route 63), cross route 12 and travel about five miles. On the right will be a graveyard. Pull into the driveway (the cemetery is about 50 yards off the road), kill the lights and engine, let your eyes get used to the dark and prepare for a celestial sight. Ever seen the Milky Way? You will! You'll also see meteors, a satellite or two zipping across the sky and about a bazillion stars!

Now about Bryce Canyon National Park (435) 834-5322:


Golden colored spires called hoodoos make this place a photographer's dream. The eroded hoodoos (which means "Rock that Look like Standing Man") reflect different shades of color depending on the time of day. Sunrise and sunset are particularly magnificent and offer quite different perspectives of the same scenes.

hoodoo? Do what?  Remind me of a man..

Many points of interest lie along route 63 which runs from route 12 to Rainbow Point. Each stop giving the visitor a different perspective of the park. Many trails (of varying degrees of difficulty) crisscross the park. The "Under the Rim" trail is a favorite easy hike affording views of the hoodoos from a perspective other than a parking area at one of the many overlooks. Many other trails start (and connect) at the various overlooks and a short hike down any of these trails will reward you with magnificent views. Just remember that if you descend into the canyon, you'll have to hike back up (giving the old  cardio-vascular system a good workout!).

Since I had plenty of time to explore, I headed east on route 12 passing through the towns of Tropic and Cannonville. My destination, Kodachrome Basin State Park.

I mention this here because the ride on route 12 is spectacular. Due to the layers of earth laid down through sedimentation over the millennia followed by a subsequent thrusting uplift about 10 million years ago (coupled with the  ever-present forces of erosion), the Grand Staircase was formed. This "staircase" exhibits distinctive colors. There are Pink Cliffs (which can be seen from Bryce Canyon), Grey, White, Vermilion and "Chocolate Cliffs". The Pink, Grey and White Cliffs can be seen off to the left as you head east on this section of route 12.

Bryce Canyon

If you're planning on hiking, bring a bottle of water (just in case), an apple or orange and lots of film - You'll be taking lots of pictures.

More Information
National Park Service-Bryce

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