In Love with Bryce

With the weather being fickle, we decided to pay for two nights at a RV Park giving us the flexibility to rearrange our plans on a whim.  When the weather improved, our two-night stop to visit Bryce Canyon Country quickly turned into six nights.  And oh my gosh…. amazing!Bryce Canyon

I assure you, six nights was not enough to savor this breathtaking scenery.  If it hadn’t been for our workamp obligation in Idaho, we would’ve stayed another week.  For some reason, I just couldn’t get enough of those perplexing hoodoos or the layers of texture and colors.  Simply mesmerizing!

Where to camp?
With snow and freezing overnight temps in the forecast, we knew we wanted a site with hook-ups and chose the Red Canyon Village RV Park. It was an ok place to stay and even offers cabins as well as campsites. (restroom shown in the photo below)

Red Canyon RV Park, Panguitch, Utah

Red Canyon RV Park, Panguitch, Utah

The park is located along highway 12 just east of highway 89 and road noise can be expected.  We paid $31 a night for a full hook-up site which included cable TV. The property is owned and managed by the same company that runs the Bryce Canyon Lodge, Forever Resorts.  The location worked fine for us.  It took a Bryce Canyon national parklittle less than thirty minutes to drive to the Bryce Canyon National Park visitor center and about 10 minutes to get to the town of Panguitch, Utah.  Just a couple of minutes away was Red Canyon with some lovely hiking trails that shouldn’t be missed.

Red Canyon is also home to a national forest campground: Red Canyon Campground.  It’s basic dry camping in a wooded setting.  Although some of the sites would accommodate our size RV, we’re not fans of trees and low-lying branches, and thus this campground is not an option we personally would consider.

As we continue along highway 12 toward Bryce Canyon NP, you’ll find the Bryce Canyon Pines RV Park.  We didn’t stop in, but drove by several times.  From a distance the park looked ok nestled in the pines with dirt/gravel roads and sites.  We noticed RV’s of all sizes parked there.

Bryce CanyonRuby’s RV Park seems to be the most popular spot with its close proximity to the hoodoos, but definitely the most expensive.  This RV park is located just outside the national park boundaries which means it offers location, full amenities, and is big rig friendly.

Want to camp even closer to the hoodoos?  Bryce Canyon National Park offers two campgrounds, both with no hook-ups, dry camping only.  The majority of the sites look sloped and mounded.  There were one or two sites at the Northern Campground we liked that we would consider if available.  Sunset and Northern Campgrounds appear to be best for tents, small Class C motorhomes, pop-ups, and small travel trailers.Bryce Canyon

Boondocking – There are a bunch of places off highway 12 east of highway 63 to boondock (boondocking means dry camping on public lands – no campground or facilities).  The land is located within the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument and a free permit is required for any overnight stay.  Along highway 12 from Red Canyon to the town of Torrey, there are six visitor centers to assist you, provide permits, maps, and answer any questions.

There is also a fair amount of national forest land in the area with boondocking options and no permit needed.  Here’s a helpful post on dispersed camping.Bryce Canyon National ParkDuring those times when Al and I do boondock, after about a week we like to refresh and find a RV park with full hook-ups.  From a budgetary point of view the Paradise RV Park might be the perfect place to refresh. This somewhat basic and rustic park offers full hook-ups for $15 a night.  It’s located a few miles north of the town of Panguitch and about 30 miles from the Bryce Canyon Visitor center,  We actually did our laundry there since the Red Canyon RV Park offered one staked washer/dryer on the outside of a building.  Not ideal, especially in 32 degree weather.

Joe's MarketGroceries?
Since we were staying in the Red Canyon area, the town of Panguitch was an easy ten minute drive away.  Joe’s Market in Panguitch, Utah, is a great place to resupply.  We were impressed with the quality of fresh meats, veggies, and eggs that were reasonably priced.  Other items were a tad pricy though.

sour dough breadAcross the street from Joe’s Market is a Chevron Gas Station with a fast food place inside.  We don’t eat deep-fried fast food so I can’t help you there, but with the oven availability, the owners of the gas station bake fresh bread and rolls daily.

Our first stop at the Chevron was late one afternoon.  We filled up with gas and when we stepped inside, we noticed the hand written sign on the window noting fresh-baked sour dough bread.  When we asked about the bread, we were informed they were all sold out, but the gal behind the counter was quick to suggest placing our name on a loaf of sour dough bread for the next morning.   Yes!  It was still warm when we picked it up and perfect for our picnic lunch.  I wouldn’t normally recommend buying bread at a gas station, but this is small town America and it’s similar to enjoying a loaf of bread your mom made.

bakeryAnother place we tried was a bakery on highway 12 just east of highway 63.  The groceries and baked goods seemed a little pricy in my opinion, but we still ended up buying some fresh-baked baguettes for our sandwiches which were delicious.  And of course, hubby had to sample a blueberry turnover which received a two thumbs up as well.

One of our favorite little stops after hiking amongst the hoodoos, was stopping in at the General Store located within the national park just around the corner from the Bryce Canyon Lodge (btw – the restaurant in the lodge had a menu that was tempting, but our sandwiches made with fresh-baked bread won out).  This General Store along with a lovely picnic area is within walking distance to the Sunrise overlook and trailhead to the Queens Stewart'sGarden Trail.  After a somewhat steep hike back out of the canyon, we managed to work up a thirst.

We try to keep our soft drink intact to a minimum, but when we discovered the General Store stocks Stewart’s….. well…. there was no resisting the cream soda and orange cream.

We enjoyed this little splurge so much that when we received an impromptu email from some fellow full-time RVer’s letting us know they were in the area, I knew exactly where to meet up.  We hadn’t seen this couple in nearly two years and certainly had plenty to talk about.

Enjoying a picnic with friends at the general store was perfect.  It was awesome reconnecting, catching up, and sharing some of our favorite Bryce Canyon sites with this delightful couple.

me and Al enjoying our sodas while our friends prefer to stay behind the camera ;-)

me and Al enjoying our sodas while our friends prefer to stay behind the camera 😉

Cheers to friendships, breath-taking scenery, amazing hikes, and cold beverages.  It’s official, I’m in love with Bryce Canyon National Park and am already scheming my next visit.

Bryce loves me back. Can you see the rock heart in the center of the photo?

Bryce loves me back. Can you see the rock heart in the center of the photo?



85 thoughts on “In Love with Bryce

  1. Beautiful captures, Ingrid! I am maneuvering our trip to include Bryce Canyon next month, so your information on the campgrounds is most appreciated! I’ve had so many people tell me to make sure to include Bryce Canyon as it never disappoints. I hope I find your ‘heart’ so Bryce Canyon can love me back too! 🙂

  2. Great post Ingrid. We’ll be going to Bryce Canyon next month with our granddaughter. Staying in Hatch, UT. Little farther away but we found a nice park there(good reviews). Looking forward to falling in love with Bryce as you have. We looked at the campgrounds you mentioned but decided to stay further out. Maybe next time we’ll try out one of those. Have fun and enjoy your soda. Great photos too.

    • Thanks Curt. You’ll love the hiking. My next post covers some of the trails that’ll be perfect for Glenda and your granddaughter. Utah is an amazing state that needs to be explored leisurely. Enjoy!

  3. So nice the weather worked out for you:) Bryce is magical and so very unique. Cedar Break, not far up the road, has the same formation with some very awesome hiking and a great Bristlecone area at the end of one of the hikes. Beautiful photos:)

    • Twenty some years ago we tent camped with the kids at Cedar Breaks NM and loved it. Thus I was really hoping to do a day trip over there for a little reminiscing. Not to be, too much snow and still closed on the day we planned on visiting. Oh well another time. I’m at least thrilled the weather at Bryce improved for us to really enjoy its beauty.

  4. We love Bryce, too! Have been there in stunning weather, snow, and wildfire smoke…. each a different “mood.” As always, gorgeous photos! I especially appreciated your rundown on local RV parking/camping options. We’ve always stayed at Ruby’s, mostly for convenience, but often think of finding a different spot.

    • Ruby’s is definitely a convenient location to the park. I didn’t mind the drive from Red Canyon. It gave me the opportunity to hike Red Canyon a couple of times, which offers beauty and solitude. I am very happy I saw Bryce with snow and without. Stunning! Glade we didn’t have to deal with smoke… never pleasant.

  5. Oh how I enjoyed this trip to Bryce, Ingrid. Your photos of the hoodoos are simply fantastic. I like the ones with the trees in them too, for perspective. And the heart in the center of the last one is fun, too. What a marvelous place in the world, thanks for sharing it~~

    • You welcome! Bryce Canyon NP is definitely in its own class and sometimes words and photos do not do it justice. I feel the character of the park is as much about the trees as it is about the hoodoos. Together, they make for one fascinating place.

    • The first time this Illinois gal drove through Utah, I think my mouth stayed open in awe the entire trip (thirty years ago – nothing like dating myself 😉 ) If you haven’t been to Utah, I highly recommend.

  6. What do you know, we are nearby Bryce now! It’s funny that before we came here we checked out if there are any grocery store in the area, did not see anything so we stocked before leaving Capitol Reef. Will be at Ruby’s next week for we are checking out GSENM this week.
    Great Photos!

    • I stopped in at the visitor center in Cannonville. I wanted to check out Kodachrome SP and Grosvenor Arch, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Thus, I will rely on you to share the sights. You and Steve will love the hiking in Bryce Canyon NP. I’m hoping you hike the Peek-a-boo trail and Fairyland trail so you can report back to me. Al and I did the Navajo/Queens trail twice and I hiked Mosey Cave and Red Canyon (easy hikes both outside of the NP). Six days exploring the area was not enough…. enjoy. So jealous you’ll be running into Faye and Dave.

  7. Ingrid the photos are astounding. I appreciate all of the information for a future road trip. Seriously hard to believe we have never been!

    • Thank you Sue. The Bryce Canyon Lodge looks like a great place to stay; nestled among the pines with their scent wafting through the air, the hoodoos are mere steps away. There is a paved bike trail that starts outside of the national park and meanders throughout the entire park. The hiking is like no other. I don’t think you would be disappointed visiting Bryce Canyon NP for a romantic get away filled with just the right amount of adventure.

    • We always enjoy stumbling upon these fun finds. We’re workamping this summer (first time) at a RV Park with a small restaurant in a small town and the food thus far has been delicious. So far, week one has gone well 🙂

  8. We met a couple from Utah and they said we HAVE to visit Bryce. Seeing how our youngest grandson is named Bryce, we hope to bring him with us when we finally get to Utah.
    Great pics and overview.

  9. So many places available to camp there, thanks for the overview. We too don’t care of the trees and low hanging branches, after all it interferes with the satellite signal! We will probably opt for the boondocking when we make it to the area, nothing like camping out in the desert with no one else around. Great photos!

    • Those darn trees can do some major damage. At Devils Lake SP in WI last summer we ended up with a cracked sky light compliments of those beautiful trees. Love trees, but not near the RV. We’re hoping to revisit Bryce when we feel comfortable boondocking. We experienced lots of rain, snow, and cold during our visit and that dirt can present a challenge when wet.

    • Thanks Cindy and it’s not all that far from your home. I’ve been talking to my kids about joining us there in the fall.

  10. Great post! We are headed to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons this summer and, hopefully, will be hitting the parks in Utah next year. Looking forward to following along with your travels!

    • We’re actually workamping this summer for the first time and our park is located only three hours from the Tetons and Yellowstone. Thus, we too are hoping to visit those parks this summer. Can’t wait!

  11. It’s hard to imagine a better place on the planet to be wandering around with a camera. I’m getting that you agoized over which photos to post, as I’m such you had already a couple hundred to choose from!

    Great post.

    • Haha…. you know me. Yes, I have a ton of photos which lends me to thinking I need to do one more post on Bryce. I loved the hiking I did there and hope to do even more on a future visit.

    • We have officially seen all the National Parks in Utah, but over the years. There’s a couple parks I’d love to revisit but it’ll have to wait. We are parked in Idaho for the summer giving workamping a try for the first time. So far, so good 🙂

    • Most definitely God’s country… a work of art. I think this is my favorite NP, but then again, how can one really pick a fave?

  12. Great photos, as usual. You reminded me of my trip there two years ago. Red Canyon was the first hike I took Jagger on, very remote and never passed a sole on a mile hike. I stayed in Panguitch for a few days and moved to Bauer’s Ranch RV Park in Glendale, Ut. Good times.

    • I’ll need to check out Glendale, Utah on the map. I loved hiking Red Canyon. So few people, I practically had those gorgeous hoodoos and pink/red rocks to myself.

  13. I too love it there. We camped there a few years back in the park. I think it was sunrise campground but I don’t remember anymore. What I do remember was that it was ten degrees and it was COLD. We hikes through the park with all of our clothes on because it never got over thirty degrees during the day. Glorious place though. I see Thor’s hammer was looking good for your visit. Looked like you had glorious weather too. I wonder was it busy? It wasn’t too busy when we were there because it was so cold.

    • Burrrrr….. you are heartier than me. Although I do recall hubby and I pitching a tent at Lake Tahoe in freezing rain and waking up to a sagging tent due to the weight of snow when we were younger. These days, I much prefer the comfort and warmth of the RV. The upside to the cold is it keeps other visitors away. We noticed as the weather improved, so did the traffic at the national park. Thor’s hammer poised beautifully!

      • Well, to be entirely truthful we had no idea it was going to be that cold or we would never have gone. We were in our little trailer too and there were icicles on the inside when we woke up!

          • Totally. If I had known I would never have agreed to go. We probably would have seen more of the Arches area or something which is not a bad alternative. But, I would have missed Thor’s Hammer and all the rest and that would have been a crying shame.

    • We’d like to boondock on our next visit. And I too can’t wait to hit up some of those other trails. That scenery is too spectacular not to savor.

  14. Very nice report on Bryce, Ingrid!

    If any of your readers are interested in a little more information on boondocking in the Bryce area I wrote fairly extensively on a beautiful area I boondocked in the Dixie National Forest, maybe 20 minutes drive from Bryce. Here’s the link:

  15. Bryce is an awesome place. We’ve gone there several times with the family, and even went there for part of our honeymoon. I love all of Southern Utah with the colors and crazy shaped formations.

    • Totally agree – it’s awesome, but then again most of Utah is pretty darn special. Yesterday, I enjoyed a day of shopping in your neck of the woods. The drive from Arco to Idaho Falls is a lonely one, but I think I’ll enjoy my summer in this part of the country.

  16. After seeing the aftermath of the storm in Leelanau last year, I feel uneasy camping near tall trees too, Ingrid.

    Beautiful photos! My mom loved Bryce. 🙂

    • Thanks Jim. Our RV received some roof damage during our Wisconsin excursion last summer and that didn’t even entail a bad storm. So we avoid trees.
      Bryce Canyon is worth a visit. It’s lovely and perplexing all at the same time.

  17. After all the bad weather you had getting there I’m glad you finally had enough time there to get to know the area. The fresh baked bread was a great find! Don’t you just love discovering things like that in a new place?

    Yes, I found the heart!

    • I know, crazy buying delicious bread at a gas station, but this is small town America. Love stumbling upon these great finds. We were definitely happy we didn’t allow a little weather to get in our way.

    • I think that was our challenge…. going from 90 degrees in the desert immediately to 40 degrees, but we adjusted and so glad we spent six days exploring this amazing sight. The rain and snow on the dirt back roads was the deterrent to us boondocking (and a rangers warning) 😉

  18. Such a gorgeous place. Looks like you had perfect sunshine the whole time! Lovely shots.


    • Oh, I wish we had had perfect sunshine. It was a mixed bag of weather – rain, snow, cold, sunny, cloudy, and of course always lots of wind, but I loved every minute. Can’t wait to go back!

  19. Headed that way tomorrow and who do you suppose is staying in the same park as we will be…MonaLiza and Steve. I think the only shopping in the GSENM area is local small town stores. Looked ahead to see if there were in Walmarts or such in the vicinity…nope. Can’t wait to hike Bryce, think we’ll stop at Red Canyon Visitor Center on our way through, we have a few hours to kill before checkin time. Thanks for the info on their campground, wondered about it when I saw it come up.

    • Will you be staying at Ruby’s? So jealous – wish I could go hiking with all you guys. I really wanted to do part of the Fairyland trail. The hoodoos there look awesome. Peek-a-boo trail sounded like a lot more up and down than what I was ready for. Definitely stop at the Red Canyon visitor center and hike all around there. You’ll love it. Enjoy…. hugs to y’all.

      • Wish you could be here to, what fun we always seem to have when all of us get together, you’ll be missed. We both happen to have reservations for the KOA in Cannonville, pure coincidence. We plan to stop at the RCVC on our way there since we have to leave here by 11 and check in isn’t until 2pm. I’ll keep Fairyland trail in mind when we head over to Bryce.

        • Look forward to seeing you guys up here in Idaho. So far, week one of workamping has gone well. We still need to get out and explore. We did a quick drive through at Craters and found it more interesting than we thought we would. Flowers are just now starting to show up. Hopefully I’ll get back over to Crater and explore lots more so I can be your tour guide 🙂

  20. This is such a great round-up of the amenities close to Bryce! It’s one of our favorite National Parks, as well. We’ll be there for a short visit later this month, and I know we’ll be wanting to extend our stay once we’re there. I agree, there’s something about those beautiful hoodoos…..

    • I used to think I was giving ourselves enough time at various stops, but have come to realize in some places, there won’t ever be enough time lol. Hope you get in some great hiking on those less popular trails… enjoy!

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