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Two things come to mind when I think of Bryce Canyon National Park – High altitude pine forests and red rock hoodoo formations. The Bristlecone Pine Loop incorporates both. Starting at over 9000 ft elevation, the trail winds through ancient forests of pine and spruce trees to beautiful overlook areas where hoodoos can be seen for several miles.
Big E didn’t want to go on a hike, he wanted to have a picnic. Instead of coercing him, it just took us more than a mile to find the picnic area. Luckily, Big E was interested in pine cones, chipmunks and hoodoos enough that he wasn’t constantly asking where the picnic tables were. Little g fell asleep in the car and Mountain Dad soon snoozed off with her.
Bristlecone Pine Loop trailhead is located at the Rainbow Point Parking Area in Bryce Canyon National Park, literally the last stop on the road. I chose the hike after reading the book 50 Best Short Hikes in Utah’s National Parks by Ron Adkison. In general the book has great short hike suggestions and trail info, but the author using ‘we’ verbs throughout the descriptions really got on my nerves. WE will not be returning via the right fork, Ron. I will be returning with my son.
The hike was easy, fun, and beautiful, plus it’s part of the Parks’ Hike the Hoodoos program, where Junior Rangers can get a special prize for hiking up to three miles within the park. Just bring photos or rubbings of three different sign medallions to the visitor center.
Bristlecone Pine Loop
Distance: 1 mile round trip
Time: one hour
Difficulty: Easy, relatively flat terrain. Interpretive signs gave Big E and me plenty of things to think about along the way.
Tips: Big E found the picnic area on the east side of the parking lot, just south of the trail head.