Dan and Hannah Hike Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah

Kanab, Utah is a Western town you will come to love for its slow pace and easy access to national parks.  It is a mere 80 miles to Bryce Canyon National Park and just 40 to Zion National Park.  Our morning walk before breakfast is through quiet streets of single story homes in neighborhoods where it seems like everyone would know your name.

At the Kanab High School track, a promising young athlete works with her coach before the heat of the day.  Kanab is known as “Little Hollywood” with such television shows filmed here as Gunsmoke and the Lone Ranger.  We breakfast by the pool at the Red Rock Country Inn with biscuits, coffee, and Special K.  And believe it or not, you can get the USA Today at 7A in Kanab!

Driving through the spectacular Red Rock Canyon just prior to Bryce Canyon, Hannah and I smile to ourselves as we revisit a national park that we once took our three children to.  One memorable trip to Bryce was when our family hiked hike with our dear Arizona friends, the Turleys.  Nostalgia rocks (Danny is quite the punster!).  Even though it is called a canyon, Bryce is really a giant amphitheater of brilliantly colored stone formations created by erosion.   At the first stage of erosion, these “fins” weave through the park floor like exposed dorsal shark fins.

At Sunset Point, with salty snacks, water, a sun protecting hat, and sunscreen, we descend on the switchbacks of the Navajo Loop on the way to the Peekaboo Trail.  Once there, the canyon walls bracket us as the trail is sandy smooth and often wide enough for Hannah and me to walk side by side.

Descending on the Navajo Loop Trail

Steep cliffs of the narrow Navajo Trail

With many foreign and homegrown visitors, Bryce gives us many opportunities to engage others in conversation.  We actively seek out others and learn of preferred hikes at Zion National Park and adventures of sleeping in cars because campgrounds are full.  Germans Michael and Anja willingly respond to our opening and tell us, Americans are most welcoming.  This would not be the case if hiking in Germany.  We exchange email addresses and invite them to stay with us in Maine when they visit Acadia National Park.

Peekaboo Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park

Rated strenuous, the Peekaboo Trail rises and falls easily as brilliant vistas showcase “windows” that are created in the fins (second stage of erosion).  They appear around many turns in the trail as if to say “Peekaboo.”

The Bryce guide cautions that mild exertion can cause light-headedness and even nausea.  The Sixth Commandment of the Trail – Know thyself and thy limits. Thy is not as young as thy once was.

A narrow spur trail where we step carefully, but not fearfully, ascends to the canyon rim at 8300-foot Bryce Point.  Our breathing is harder but not taxing.  Whereas all our other days of hiking were sun filled, postcard blue skies, today we have the clouds, and what a blessed relief they are.  As we retrace our steps from Bryce Point back down into the amphitheater to Sunset Point, we stand in awe of the towering soft orange/pink hoodoos, pinnacles of stone formed by wind, water, and ice, the final stage of limestone erosion.

Hoodoo of Bryce Canyon National Park

Let me now underscore the importance of a picnic table at the end of the hike for an afternoon snack.  Without a can opener for our Rolling Rocks (the appropriate brewski for this national park), we seek out the nearest RV and hit “can opener pay dirt.”  We celebrate in this rocking part of the world (the final pun).

Our Peekaboo Trail rating is excellent.   As always when hiking in Bryce Canyon, know thyself, thy limits, and the conditions.  Be prepared.

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