Cedar Breaks to Kodachrome SP
We started our day by driving up to Brian Head Peak – elevation 11307 feet. The road is reported to be satisfactory for “most cars.” That was true until we reached a plateau where there is disbursed camping and a trail head. From there the road, because it was steeper, was a bit rougher than we would have liked. But we prevailed, and enjoyed the view from the top while we ate breakfast and even sent up the drone.
After descending from the peak we headed east on Utah 143 and made numerous stops along the way to take pictures and send up the drone. In many places the aspen have already started to turn golden yellow. In others we could see how the spruce are recovering from the onslaught of a tiny bark beetle. A few years ago, the beetle nearly wiped out the spruce in this area, but when most of the trees died so did the beetle — lack of food. Now the spruce are returning, but the cycle will continue in time.
One stop along 143 was a dirt road marked Birch Spring Knoll. The relatively smooth road, recently graded, took us through high lava fields. The road curved among the rock mountains and was edged by aspen and some spruce. When we reached a rough hill, we pulled over and walked for a while. There are numerous dispersed camping sites in this section of the Dixie National Forest .
After reaching Panguitch we made a quick stop at Joe’s Grocery for some produce, then we headed south on 89 and east on 12. Route 12 is considered the most scenic road in the US. We first entered Red Canyon where we walked for a short way among the hoodoos and spires, and also sent up the drone.
From there we entered the top of Bryce Canyon and hiked up to the Mossy Cave and a waterfall. The history of this waterway is fascinating in that Mormon settlers in the 1800s dug a 10 mile ditch to divert a water source to their fields. That water source is still running today and used for irrigation in the valley we drove through.
A few miles past Bryce we headed south to Kodachrome State Park where we are camping and hiking for a few days. The park is quite amazing nestled in among an amphitheater of high red and white rock. There are two campgrounds, the Bryce View and Basin campground. There are some sites with electric and even full hook ups, but we have a primitive site with a gorgeous view of the cliffs. There are showers and flush toilets and the local Boy Scouts sell wood for fires. The sites are well shielded from each other by trees and space.