We continue our Panguitch, Utah, visit with more of Bryce Canyon National Park and hikes in Red Canyon State Park.
Kevin and Bailey found the Bryce Canyon to Red Canyon Bike Trail a perfect road for trying out their new foldable bicycles. We dropped them off at Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon and picked them up at Thunder Mountain Trailhead in Red Canyon State Park.
While Kevin and Bailey navigated the peaks and valleys of the trail on their bikes, Jon and I enjoyed the views at Inspiration Point. What impressed me the most at the point was the overlook that jutted out into the canyon.
I had the feeling I was walking on a jetty with views of hoodoos to the right of me and more hoodoos to the left of me.
On our way out of the park, we stopped at a few of the overlooks and went in the store at Ruby’s Inn to wander around the gift shop.
On Scenic Byway SR-12, we had seen the turnout with information signs that had a splendid view of a meadow and Bryce Canyon Airport. We stopped to see what we could learn from the signs. The airport doesn’t look like much from the road, but it is a valuable asset to the community.
The airport, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, comprises the Great Depression Era hangar built of native ponderosa pine in 1936 through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. Eleven years later, on October 24, 1947, flames erupted on a DC-6. Flight 608 didn’t make it to the landing strip during its emergency landing. Instead, it crashed in Bryce National Park 1.3 miles away, killing all on board. To determine the cause of this aviation disaster, investigators reconstructed the charred remains. A process used for the first time and ever since.
Today thousands of tourists arrive by air each year to visit Bryce Canyon National Park and the surrounding area. The airport also serves as critical emergency support for the area, a staging area for search and rescue operations, and fire monitoring and management during fire events. After reading the information signs, I felt safer knowing that if I was hurt or became ill, help was only a short helicopter or plane ride away.
Bryce Canyon Pines Restaurant enticed us with their sign advertising fresh pies and ice cream. While we shared a sandwich and a slice of cherry pie with ice cream, we watched for the bicyclists to pass by but never saw them.
We continued on and checked out a few more overlooks on our way to Thunder Mountain Trailhead where we had arranged to meet.
So, how was Kevin and Bailey’s bicycle ride? They enjoyed the 18.6-mile ride that took them through the forest at certain points and alongside the scenic SR-12, SR-63, and US-89 roads. Although, they almost gave up after fighting against a steep grade and seeing the truck parked outside of Bryce Canyon Pines. The trail was mostly downhill after that, so they kept going.
We visited Red Canyon State Park more than once. The Pink Ledges Trail is an interpretive hike with numbered posts that correspond to a guide available at the Visitor Center. We followed it along to the Hoodoo Trail and then back to the parking lot.
These hoodoos reminded me of sentries standing guard outside of the castle walls.
The Tunnel Trail was a steep climb with switchbacks, one of which seemed carved into the slope of the mountain and would be quite difficult for anyone with vertigo to navigate. The view from the top was well worth the hike.
For the Birdseye Trail, we parked at a turnout west of the Visitor Center and crossed the street. This is a well-used trail with Ys and Ws that branch off the main trail and led us off in the wrong direction a few times.
Check out the spirals on this tree. Is it a sign the tree has adapted to the environment? Causes of the spirals might include poorly drained or uneven soil, windy conditions, or a heavy or uneven canopy. The spiral pattern may occur to allow sap and food to more efficiently distribute to all the roots and branches.
Next up in part six, we continue our Panguitch visit by hiking the Arches Trail in Lossee Canyon and drive out to Kodachrome State Park.
Until then, stay safe.