Monday 17 June 2013

Bryce Canyon Rim Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 8.8 km (5.5 miles), terrain has a hill, rising 173 meters, elevation is high: 2500 meters (8000 feet)!

For more running routes, see Route List

Here's a route that I've included just for the fun of it. It is one of the most beautiful trails in the world, but will probably not be run very often. At 2500 meters (8000 feet) in elevation, you need to be well-acclimatized to the height if you want to try it.

I'm a flat-lands runner, and I really felt the elevation, getting winded quickly and often when I was in Bryce last week. So I just hiked this trail. But for anyone who is used to running in high altitudes, here is a running trail for you.
The Bryce Canyon hoodoos
The main sights in Bryce Canyon are fairly compact: a section of several kilometers of cliff, with hundreds of "hoodoos" (tall pyramid rocks) standing in the valley just to the west of the north/south cliff. And a rim-trail follows the clifftop past these breathtaking rock formations.

Another nice thing about this route is that a free park shuttle-bus service follows the cliff, and you can get on- or off at the main viewpoints. So if you find out that you aren't in as good a shape as you thought, you can just hop on the next bus when it comes. (They stop at Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point).

We'll start this route right near the park lodge and northern campground, at Sunrise Point. We'll then run south along the rim to Bryce Point, then run back the same direction.
Sunrise Point
Standing there at Sunrise Point, you'll already see many hoodoos below you, out into the valley. There is a great trail down into the valley from here, too, but save that for later.

Turn south and run along the rim trail, sometimes just sand and rock, other times (at the lookout points) paved. You can already see Sunset Point ahead of you, with its railings along the rim.
Dead tree along the rim
Sunset Point also has the greatest concentration of red-rock hoodoos, spreading out from the canyon walls by the hundreds. The trail turns to the west at Sunset before curving towards the south again.
Looking back towards Sunset Point
Running south, you'll see rock walls with windows in them. At the 1-km point, the trail starts going uphill, continuing for the next 1.5-km.

At the 2-km marker, you reach the next viewpoint, Inspiration Point. Soon, the trail will level-out again and begin going downhill until the turn-around point.

You are now running past white sandstone cliffs, with some big caves and windows in them.
From Bryce Point
Just before you reach the Bryce Point viewpoint parking lot, follow the trail to the left that goes out onto the rock point itself, for a breathtaking view of the whole rim that you have just run.

Now turn around and head back to Sunrise Point.

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