One of my few goals for 2021 was to start exploring Utah. So many bucket list destinations and not too far of a drive. Zion has been experiencing ridiculous crowds, and while it’s still high up on my list of places to visit, Bryce, which is just down the road, was also on my list.
One of the few benefits of my co-parenting schedule allows me to plan for some multi-day excursions. Memorial Day weekend was in my sights, and with taking an extra day off, I was good for at least 4 days to go get lost somewhere on a trail.
Zion was the first choice, but I really didn’t want to fight those crowds over a holiday weekend. Besides, if I go to Zion I’d want to do Angel’s Landing, and that would be a nightmare over the holiday weekend. So I opted for Bryce instead.
Still working remotely, I got done with work at 5pm on Friday, dropped my daughter off at her mother’s house, and was on the road – gassed up, large sandwich riding shotgun, and a ridiculous amount of caffeinated beverages.
Driving like a bat outta hell, I literally pulled into Bryce Canyon National Park at 1 am. (2 am Utah time.) The first-come first serve campsites in the park were all full (of course) and so I went back out of the park and found Ruby’s Campground right outside the park. I pulled up to the front check in area, and obviously it was all closed, but they had a sign posted to the wall. They had some sites still available!
So I proceeded to find a site, get my truck tent set up and crack open a beer.
I’m finally here.
The next morning I took one of the first shuttles into the park to try and get a permit to hike part of the Under the Rim trail. Amazingly, there were sites available on a Saturday morning of a major holiday weekend. I easily booked two nights that would take me at least 6+ miles out.
Note about the Bryce Canyon NP backcountry permitting process:
You must obtain permits in person only at the visitor center, and they may be obtained only 48 hours in advance. When I asked why it was that way and not reservable online, they said it’s because too many people are no-shows. This seemingly makes sense now and largely is the reason I was able to get permits for a few nights Under the Rim. Worse case scenario: you end up camping just outside the park and daytrip some of the main hikes.
At some point I may finish up the video I started of my 3 days on the Under the Rim Trail, but for now here’s a short video of my hike around the Queens Garden Loop and Wall Street.