Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most visually stunning places I’ve ever been. It’s beautiful red rock hoodoos mix with high altitude pines on the canyon rim, as if it can’t decide if it’s in the desert or mountains.
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The drawback of visiting Bryce Canyon National Park is its remote location. With no large cities nearby for lodging and food, Mountain Dad and I chose to stay at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, located on the east side of Zion National Park because it was fifteen minutes away from Zion and an hour and a half away from Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Canyon National Park has a beautiful 18 mile one-way scenic drive, where pull outs allow visitors to view amazing rock formations for miles in every direction. Mountain Dad and I decided that in addition to the drive we would hike, eat at Bryce Canyon Lodge and take in the views at overlook places.
Now, I’m a frequent national parks visitor so I was surprised by two new aspects of our visit. The first, dinner at Bryce Canyon Lodge introduced me to the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative. The idea is to highlight how the National Parks can contribute to a healthier population and planet.
As part of the initiative, Forever Resorts, the concessioners in charge of the Lodge and its restaurant, made a point to offer low-fat, vegetarian and gluten-free options, with meat procured from local sources. The Lodge at Bryce Canyon Restaurant is Green Restaurant Certified but what surprised me the most was this line from their children’s menu:
“Our menu reflects healthy choices and cooking procedures for our junior rangers, eliminating fried and processed food.” Cool.
The other great thing about Bryce Canyon National Park’s commitment to Healthy Parks, Healthy People was the Hike the Hoodoos program, which Big E and I discovered on the Bristlecone Loop Trail. There are nine interpretive signs with special medallions scattered throughout the trails of the park.
To participate in Hike the Hoodoos, hikers must make a rubbing or take a photo of themselves with at least three of the signs in order to receive a special reward from the rangers at the Visitors Center. Three signs requires a minimum of three miles of hiking, but makes the hike more fun by turning it into a scavenger hunt.
I was impressed with the new developments at Bryce Canyon National Park and loved seeing the beautiful rock formations as Big E and I explored the place. I can’t wait to go back and delve more into the hoodoos. Maybe next time we can go on snowshoes.