January 28-30 - Bryce Canyon and ZionNational Parks. This is a repeat from several years ago. Bryce Canyon National Park at 8000 feet is extremely cold, usually below zero, but the clean, white snow on the orange hoodoos is magnificent. Zion National Park on the other hand is in Dixie and could have anything from snow to 70 degree weather. The last winter trip treated us to a rare snow covered Zion valley. We got some beautiful picture. As usual, rooms are cheap and the crowds are gone.
For those going early Friday, sunset is at 5:49 at Bryce. There are a couple of places to stay near the park. Fosters is cheaper and acceptable. The Best Western Ruby's Inn is nicer, a little closer and has an indoor pool. I would estimate about $40-$50 at Ruby's while Fosters is probably $30-$40.
We will shoot sunrise (7:36AM) at Bryce Point if the roads are clear otherwise Sunset Point. If you have never seen sunrise at Bryce you have missed one of the most beautiful sights. It is spectacular but you need to be there before the sun breaks the horizon. Then, after a quick breakfast, we'll head off to Zion National Park. We will take our time exploring the east side (before the tunnel) where there are many interesting rock formations such as Checkerboard Mesa. There are also some petroglyphs in the area.
After finding a room we will tour Zion Canyon. Rooms will run from the $30's and up. We will pick a sunset spot when we get there. It will probably be somewhere along the Virgin River so we can get a reflection. The Watchman taken from the bridge is a popular shot. Sunset is at 5:53PM.
Sunday's sunrise (7:37AM) pictures will also depend on the weather conditions. The view from a 1/2 mile trail on the east side of the tunnel is great but could be slippery. We may end up shooting the sunrise from under the bridge on the road that climbs to the tunnel. It is an arch and can form a circle with the reflection in the water (if it is not frozen). We may want to hike to the emerald pools before heading home.