Utah: Red Canyon & Rainbow Point at Bryce Canyon

As part of our road trip on Saturday, we first went to Cedar Breaks National Monument, then headed towards Bryce Canyon. Before we ever made it into the park, we checked out a couple of locations on UT-12 first: Red Canyon and Mossy Cave.

Red Canyon

Red Canyon is a 3-4 mile area on UT-12 with scenic turnouts every 1/2 mile. You could spend a lot of time here!

An overall view of the amazing scenery from one of the first turnouts.
An overall view of the amazing scenery from one of the first turnouts.
A closeup view of some hoodoos from the photo trail at one of the turnouts.
A closeup view of some hoodoos from the photo trail at one of the turnouts.

Mossy Cave

Mossy Cave is technically part of Bryce Canyon, but is only reachable from a parking lot outside of the Bryce Canyon entrance. Go approximately 3.7 miles past the entrance on UT-12 – this is almost halfway between the park entrance and the town of Tropic. While the cave itself is nothing special (to me), the views along the trail and the waterfall along the way are pretty spectacular.

The first view at Mossy Cave.
The first view at Mossy Cave.

After seeing such a view, we knew we’d find more photo and video opportunities along the trail.

Close up of some hoodoos at Mossy Cave.
Close up of some hoodoos at Mossy Cave.
More closeup views at Mossy Cave.
Framed by the trees.
Looking ahead towards the trail from the creekbed.

After crossing two bridges, we arrived at a point where we could see the waterfalls from a distance.

The waterfall from the viewpoint, with no people.
The waterfall with a bit more of the creekbed, with people facing the opposite direction.
The waterfall as part of the surrounding scenery. Still breathtaking.

On our way back to the Jeep, we found an amazing view we missed on the way to the waterfall.

The sun came out briefly for this amazing view.
Not only were the hoodoos lit up, but the stream got some of that sun too.

We packed up to head to Bryce Canyon about this time, because it was starting to rain. The rain clouds are clearly visible in these last two pictures.

Bryce Canyon

It was around 6 p.m. when we entered the park, so we decided to eat dinner at the Bryce Canyon Lodge restaurant. Still raining, so we told ourselves that if it was still raining when we finished, we’d head home because sunset would not be worth it. Fortunately for us, the rain stopped and the cloud cover wasn’t too bad.

We headed for Rainbow Point, which is the last viewpoint and 15 miles from the Bryce Canyon Lodge. After scoping out the view, we set up at the railing and waited for golden hour to arrive. Just prior to golden hour, the clouds parted and the sun shone briefly. 

Sunshine on the point, with dark clouds overhead.
A bit more intensity from the sun.

A few minutes later, the golden hour light arrived. Due to the path construction at Rainbow Point, I could not get a view of sunset, but the golden hour light was spectacular.

Golden hour time with the last little bit of sunshine.
All golden hour light.

Since sunset was our plan, we definitely got what we wanted out of Bryce Canyon on this trip. We’ll head back next weekend and aim for sunrise.

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