Ascent of Sunset Point on 2015-10-19

Climber: Joseph Esparza

Date:Monday, October 19, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sunset Point
    Elevation:7999 ft / 2438 m

Ascent Trip Report

Etched along the central rim of the Colorado Plateau, is Bryce Canyon National Park; a land littered with natural arches, tall and unique hoodoos, and cliffs of orange and yellowish hues. Each feature tells the the tale of a time much different from ours; a time when lakes filled the Southwestern Desert and strange creatures roamed the land. Carved by wind, water, and ice, Bryce Canyon National Park, specifically the Bryce Amphitheater contains some of the most fascinating geologic formations found on the planet. The red iron-enriched soil, the sheer sedimentary escarpments, and twisted vegetation throughout this primordial landscape also entreats the hiker to an outdoor experience like none other. By taking the trip on Navajo and Peak-A-Boo trails, one is able to travel almost entirely through the sublime Bryce Amphitheater in a matter of hours; but they will be hours that will sketch themselves into your soul for a lifetime.

Category: Moderate
Miles: 6
Elevation Gain: 1700'
Location: Bryce Canyon National Park
Directions: HERE

The Trail: Starting at Sunset Point (8,000'), your trek will commence amidst the chaos of mad tourists dashing here and there for selfies over the great wall of Bryce Canyon. Ignoring the mundane concerns of others, take the Navajo Trail down below the rim towards the great orange amphitheater below. In a matter of minutes, you will find a new world between the fantastic canyon walls, and in 0.9 miles you will find yourself at the heart of the canyon, near laughing Bryce Creek, rushing towards the Colorado River miles downstream. At a four-way trail split, take the trail towards the "Peak-A-Boo Loop Trail".
The path crosses the fore-mentioned brook to where the Peak-A-Boo Loop begins; you can take this loop either right or left first, either way it ends back here and it 3 miles long. I took this loop right first, and began climbing moderately up in a semi-covered forest of Ponderosa and Pinion Pine. Along this loop are tunnels cut through the solid rock by trail crews, which make for amusing photos. Further along is the extraordinary Wall of Windows, a series of natural arches and hoodoos hundreds of feet high along a great ridgeline running from the canyon's rim to bottom. After passing by some bathrooms, there is a spur trail to Bryce Point, a mile away. The trail continually gains and looses elevation, so patience is mandatory. As you near the end of the Peak-A-Boo Loop, twisted and deformed Ponderosa Pines are scattered along the trail; a true abnormality of nature.
Back at the Peak-A-Boo loop end, take the trail back towards the Navajo Trail, and the four-way divide you were at earlier, but this time back the Queen's Garden Trail from the split though a rich standing of pine and juniper. The trail climbs gradually back towards the rim, passing on route more tunnels, slot canyons, and astonishing natural structures. After a steep final climb to Sunrise Point and the amphitheater's rim, take the 0.5 miles trail back to Sunset Point and the trailhead. May your being be as renewed and amazed as mine was after your journey through the cliffs of time. Mountains and hills bless the Lord! All my being praise His holy name!

Hiked 10/19/2015. Garfield County, UT. NPS Entrance Fee Required: $30 FOR 7/DAYS
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