East Zion and Bryce Canyon

Leaving Zion, we head East through a branch canyon, then north to Bryce Canyon National Park. After Bryce, we drive Northeast along routes 12 and 24 through Escalante and Capitol Reef National Parks, enroute to Moab, Utah, and Arches National Park.

John on the rocks

The main canyon at Zion runs roughly north - south. There is a branch canyon running east, accessible through a long tunnel built in the 1930s. This country is much drier, but the sandstone strata are more pronounced.

Below are more views from the road leaving east Zion.

east Zion more east Zion
Bryce view

Bryce canyon is much higher in altitude, so ice becomes a large factor in eroding the landscape. Water tends to percolate down through the sandstone, pooling in the cracks created by faulting. Then during the 9-month winters here, it freezes and cracks the rock into vertical slices and pillars.

panhandling turkeys

Wild turkeys in northern California are generally very people-shy. But in the campground at Bryce, they come around at sunset to beg for handouts from the campers. This tom was accompanied by three hens ... but hey, this is Mormon Utah after all.

Alison and John along Route 12

Alison and John at a roadside rest stop just outside of Bryce. A very helpful German tourist took this picture, and we returned the favor often. European tourists easily outnumbered Americans: French, British, but most of all, Germans. Signs in shops are often bilingual English / German. Temperature and distance are signed in both English and metric.

view North from Route 12

Another view North from Route 12, a scenic highway in Utah that links Zion and Bryce with Escalante National Park. Thanks to a very poor guidebook, we didn't plan any stays at Escalante, or Capitol Reef National Park further North.

Capitol Reef

A piece of canyon wall in Capitol Reef, with fruit trees along the Fremont River in the foreground. There are some very old petroglyphs here, done by the Native Americans who farmed here centuries ago.