~ Bryce Canyon National Park - The Rim ~

Bryce Canyon National Park is moving. Just as erosion causes Niagara Falls to move westward each year, the same effects of erosion are moving the cliffs of Byrce westward and northward. There were places along the rim where I stood, that will not be there years from now. The roots of trees exposed along the rim show this effect as the trees cling to the edge before eventually falling off. As the Paria River Valley expands northward, it's tributaries gnaw back into the face of the plateau. The face of our planet is in a state of constant change.

The rim of Bryce Canyon is a Drainage Divide. Precipitation that falls to the west flows through the East Fork of the Sevier River toward the Great Basin, where it evaporates, because the Great Basin has no outlet to a sea. All rain or snow that falls over the rim washes into nearby streams including Bryce Creek. From there runoff enters the Paria River, the Colorado River and eventually the Gulf of California.

Bryce Creek is usually dry, as it was when I was there, but after a storm water can be heard trickling downslope. Below the faint roar of muddy water in Bryce Creek can be heard as it rushes toward the Pacific Ocean.

Sunset Point

Inspiration Point

Bryce Canyon Amphitheater Legend

"Before there were any Indians, the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. There were many of them. They were of many kinds -- birds, animals, lizards and such things -- but they looked like people... For some reason, the Legend People in that place were bad. Because they were bad, Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them in that place now; all turned into rocks; some standing, some sitting down, some holding on to others. You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks..." -- Paiute Indian Legend

On the right of the photo on the left the Navajo Trail can be seen running along Bryce Creek
A simply amazing place

Stone people

The photo on the right shows two windows and a center window that collapsed
A closer look at the windows

I figured you would be wondering when I showed up again

The Amphitheater

Farview Point

Farview Point is aptly named

Another arch

On a clear day, you can see over 100 miles here

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge is misnamed; this "bridge" is technically an arch. Natural bridges are carved by rushing streams and rivers, whereas subtler forms of weather have sculpted this opening. Although Natural Bridge appears solid and enduring, weather is constantly chipping away at the opening. This stone arch may last hundreds or thousands of years, but appearance gives no clue to longevity.

Agua Canyon

Water Canyon

Ponderosa Point

The ravens at Ponderosa Point showed no fear of humans allowing these closeups

Rainbow Point

This shot from Rainbow Point as as much of Bryce Canyon as I could get in one shot

The Paunsaugunt Plateau at the rim of Bryce Canyon was once connected to the Aquarius Plateau 30 miles across the valley. When the entire Rocky Mountain region began rising 16 million years ago, north-south faults split this vast tableland into seven separate plateaus. At this southern end of the park the Paunsaugunt Plateau is 9105 feet above sea level, almost 2,000 feet lower than the Aquarius.

At right is The Poodle

Bristlecone Loop Trail

One of the things I really wanted to see at Great Basin National Park were the Bristlecone pines there. Unfortunately, road restrictions prevented my viewing them. So I was very excited to learn these trees also grow at Bryce Canyon.
To identify bristlecone pines, look for dark green needles clustered along the branch like a fox tail. The cones have bristle-like prickles. Red growths near the branch tips are male cones.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep

Bristlecone Pine Trail

Most trees at this elevation are white fir and Douglas fir. In contrast to open groves of ponderosa pine on the lower plateau, trees here grow in dense stands and deep shade. Their shadows prolong moisture-giving snow banks and steal sunlight from competing species on the forest floor.


The clutter of downed trees, dead limbs and needles would not have accumulated if fire had swept through this area. Frequent lightning-caused fires usually consume fallen litter without destroying the whole forest. Without fire, dead wood, needles and other debris builds up, providing fuel for large and hotter fires, which can damage or kill a forest. Evidence indicates natural fires have not burned here for decades.

At several places along the trail the canyon was visible

The distinctive "fox tail" branch of the Bristlecone pine

Bristlecone pines thrive where few other plants can grow. At the windiest point of the trail, on bare rocky ground, the bristlecone in the left photo has survived more than 1,600 years.
Bristlecones can survive prolonged drought. When branches and portions of the trunk appear dead, other limbs may function as the main trunk. The bristlecone's (left photo) trunk has been dead for a long time, while a surviving branch has become a new tree. These remarkable, tenacious trees can slow their growth during years when conditions are unfavorable. Sort of like "tree hibernation." They are believed to be among the oldest living organisms on Earth. They can live to be near 5,000 years old. This oldest at Bryce (left photo) is near 1,700 years of age.

While on the trail, it began to drizzle, so I hurried back to Arvie and the rain stopped

Fairyland Point

The second morning found me at Fairlyland Point for a last look at Bryce and another sunrise

Two early morning hikers in the right photo

Another look at the sunrise and I caught a group of students at the entrance sign

Music is "Photographs and Memories"

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