Fog can be a good thing: Bryce Canyon National Park

A lone tree at the rim -- Bryce Canyon National Park.

A lone tree at the rim — Bryce Canyon National Park.

Sometimes getting your hopes up while traveling can only lead to a let-down.  From Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, we drove west along Utah Highway 12 hoping to arrive at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon before sundown to catch a glimpse of hoodoos at dusk.

At the lodge, we didn’t unload the car or check in.  Instead, we darted through the lobby and out the back door, following the short pathway to the rim to see something — anything — at the “golden hour” of sundown.  Friends on social media had called it “Jaw-dropping. Gotta get to Sundown Point in time to see the last light of day.”

But not that day.  Bryce Canyon with all its pinkish, whitish, glorious formations was socked in.

We rose before sunrise the next morning, threw on our clothes, and headed to Sunrise Point — on the other side of the horseshoe-shaped “amphitheatre” behind The Lodge.

But again, no view.  Only fog.

We stood with tourists from Japan, Germany, and the UK. People took pictures, shrugging their shoulders at the site where nothing, at least for that moment, was happening.

Early morning peek at Bryce Canyon

Early morning peek at Bryce Canyon

And then something magical happened.  Little by little, we could make out formations.  Slowly at first, but at least something.  Bundled up and expectant, we began pointing.  “Look there,” we said. “Over here, too,” said someone else.  “I can make out a head,” yelled one guy.

Fog lifting over Bryce Canyon

Fog lifting over Bryce Canyon

Sure enough, outlines appeared.  We could make out the spikes of the hoodoos. And jagged rocks.  And walking paths where photographers had set up.  The fog (hated by all at first) had become a rising curtain showing off nature’s stage.

Looming large, structures take shape as visibility improves at Bryce.

Looming large, structures take shape as visibility improves at Bryce.

A lone photographer prepares for morning shots at Bryce.

Standing out at a distance: structures of Bryce Canyon

Standing out at a distance: the various colors of Bryce Canyon

A morning reveal at Bryce Canyon

Another morning reveal at Bryce.

And before we knew it — maybe only about 30 minutes later, all told — we could see clearly.  There they were:  the colors, striations, and forms of Bryce.

The view behind The Lodge at Bryce Canyon

The view behind The Lodge at Bryce Canyon

Fog, as it turns out, can be a good thing.

The view past the tree at Bryce Canyon.

The view past the tree at Bryce Canyon

If you go:

Book ahead at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon.  Since it’s the only accommodation in the park, it fills up quickly.

For those with mobility concerns, the many paved pathways and sturdy viewing stations allow all to enjoy the natural beauty of Bryce.  And there are benches throughout where sitting and contemplating are welcome!

Bryce Canyon National Park is open 24/7.  Click here for Visitor Center hours and holidays.

Check out our series entitled “We Saw Utah” with posts on several of the National Parks. And, as always, thanks for traveling with us!

19 thoughts on “Fog can be a good thing: Bryce Canyon National Park

  1. nationalparkswitht

    Fog does make for some dramatic photos! Nice ones! We’ve had this happen to us at the Grand Canyon, San Francisco and Acadia. The fog did eventually lift in all but Acadia…my family still doesn’t believe me that there are mountains on Jordan Pond that look like boobs, lol.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      You are so funny! We saw those boobs at Jordan Pond — and a pretty scene below! You’ll have to return for a better look and to keep up your reputation with family. You’re lucky to have been to all three places. We have as well — and I loved each one for different reasons. Thanks for taking a look.

  2. Joel Henry

    Wow. I’ve been to Bryce many times and you certainly got a unique view of it. We had the same thing happen to us at Canyonlands. Ended up driving many miles to get back there the next day so we could see it cleared up. Thanks for sharing.

  3. kzmcb

    They are breathtaking shots. I never thought I’d plan to go to America but you have convinced me. What, pray tell, is a hoodoo?

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      So hope that you can come to the states and see some of our national parks. All are amazingly beautiful, and most have no parallel anywhere else. I’ll be writing about hoodoos in my next post, so stay tuned!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We were surprised, too, and a disappointed at first. There’s total fog and then there’s that mysterious partial fog. Fortunately we got both. Good to hear from you. Hope summer 2017 has been good for you two.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Judy, a friend of mine who is an expert photographer said those very words to me, “The fog has a beauty of its own.” We go to the beach every summer during the same week, and if it has rained the night before, he’s out early, hoping for fog. Result? absolutely gorgeous, mysterious photos! Glad to hear from you!

  4. Green Global Trek

    These photographs of the fog lifting are absolutely spectacular!! You have captured some magical moments. Love the progression in the photos. Simply beautiful. I can only begin to imagine how breathtaking it must have been to be there, watching it all unfold in front of you!


    1. Oh, the Places We See

      It was sort of a cold chills kind of experience. We just stood there looking left and right and pointing out different forms that were revealed one by one. An outstanding morning, and one we won’t soon forget.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much for the compliment. We weren’t sure what to expect from Bryce. We had seen photos in brochures, but the up-close, personal views put those to shame. The formations are remarkable, and we can’t say enough about the park service. The park is accessible, well-marked, and expansive.

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