On this trip another photographer suggested that trying to get sunset photos at a place like Bryce Canyon wouldn't be easy. The lookouts all face east, he said. I took his advice and decide that I would try my luck at shooting a sunrise. Ironically I found the ideal spot to be from Sunrise Point.
Following my first day at Bryce with a hike of 8 miles on the Fairyland Loop Trail (really), I woke up early from the Best Western at 4:00 am and made my way a few miles by car to Sunrise Point. A different photographer from the day before said the place would be crowded, and suggested walking a few yards down to try a spot that is just as nice. He was right about all the early-risers, so I quickly clicked a few shots just before sunrise, then hiked about 10 minutes to Sunset Point.
I actually preferred Sunset Point for sunrise photography. The tall, thin spires of rock known as hoodoos were backlit by the sun and were closer here than from Sunrise Point. Bryce Canyon is a beautiful place anywhere, but it's funny how the brochure is never as advertised. Who would have thought sunrise was better at Sunset Point? Sunset Point still works for late afternoon photography. During that time the spires at the so-called Silent City glow with with reflected light bouncing off the hoodoos.
I was able to get a few nice shots hiking the previous day, and I only saw about 10 other hikers on the Fairyland Trail. Navajo Trail looked to be an intriguing hike with it's winding descent into the canyon. But there is only so much time one has, and I needed to see all of the lookout vistas.
The lookout locations really do offer ideal places to see Bryce. Be sure to stop at the Natural Bridge overlook, where you may want to use a wide-angle lens since it's so close. If you drive all the way to the end of the road to Rainbow Point, there is a panoramic view looking north where you can see at least a hundred miles to the higher mountains in Utah. Even though it was June, I did see snow in the distance, and even near the parking area for Rainbow Point which is at 9,115 feet.
When you're done seeing all of the rocks in this beautiful, natural amphitheatre, make your way to Bryce Canyon City to the rock shop. They have some really cool items including handmade carvings from sandstone, marble and flourite an much of the stuff is mined right in Utah.