For several reason, instead of going to Bryce, I decided that we would do some hikes in the Red Canyon Area of Dixie National Forest, that we had passed through driving I yesterday.
The reason are:
- It is Saturday so I thought a less crowded place might be better but I am not sure that weekdays in the park are any less busy.
- It was supposed to be hot today with a high of 28C but the rest of the week was forecast to have highs in the low 20s. I would rather be in cooler temps to climb those hills out of Bryce.
- Red Canyon has a bunch of short to medium trails that ended downhill.
- I was worried that we might be spoiled if we went to Red Canyon after Bryce.
We drove to the Red Canyon Visitor’s Center to get some info on the best trails to try. We decided to do the 3 km Bird’s Eye Trail in the morning and the 4 km Golden Wall / Castle Bridge Trail in the afternoon.
We first passed by the two tall hoodoos that overlook the visitor’s center.
The Bird’s Eye trail winds it’s way part up up the wall of hoodoos that parallel the highway.
Some interesting dead trees.
We came up against this huge wall.
There was a sign telling us that this was a camel.
Up to now it had been fairly clear and quite warm but the clouds were starting to build up.
We found a nice shady spot and had lunch. We walked back to the visitor’s center using part of the the very long bike path that parallels the highway.
Then we headed out on the Golden Wall trail. This trail eventually does a wide loop back to the highway. We just went part way up and then followed the Castle Bridge trail to loop back towards our trailhead and the car.
On the trail this morning we met one couple near the end. On this trail we saw no one.
By now the sky had gotten very cloudy and a bit dark. It made the hiking cooler but destroyed most of the contrast in the pictures.
We first had to cross a wide wash next to the highway.
Then we we did a slow but steady climb next to a much smaller wash. From the highway to the top of the Castle Bridge trail was a climb of about 600 feet.
The scenery along this part of the trail was OK but nothing amazing. We are so jaded.
Jennie thought that this was a Viking ship prow.
I was worried that we were going to have to climb to the top of that plateau to do the loop back.
We did have a short fairly steep climb once we turned on to the Castle Bridge but it was to a saddle that was only part way up to the very top.
An Easter Island head surveying it’s domain.
The top of the saddle was a wide sandy/rocky area.
The trail down, initially, was not too bad. Notice the tiny Jennie in the picture below.
And tiny Stuart in the center of the picture below.
We hiked down opposite a huge wall of hoodoos.
The trail got very steep, narrow and because of the rocks very slippery. I was glad we were going down though.
As we neared the end of the Castle Bridge loop we kept wondering where the bridge was. We saw something way up near the top.
It turns out that the dark horizontal bar between the two hoodoos is Castle Bridge. I would guess that it was no more than 10 feet long.
We couldn’t believe that they would name a trail after something so small so we went back to the visitor’s center to confirm it. That was it. I guess the bridges are unusual.