ZION OR BRYCE CANYON

Old Feb 2nd, 2002, 05:42 PM
  #1  
don
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ZION OR BRYCE CANYON

If you only have time to see one, which would be the better choice?
 
Old Feb 2nd, 2002, 06:07 PM
  #2  
Dan
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Zions wins for the overall WOW effect. The hugh sandstone cliffs are incredible.
Bryce is better for hiking and relaxing.

Both are great, depends on what you want to do.
 
Old Feb 2nd, 2002, 06:27 PM
  #3  
Paul Rabe
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I've been to both, twice each. And I prefer Zion. Just more to see. I've done no major hiking in Zion, and thus conclude I still could experience even more of it.
 
Old Feb 2nd, 2002, 08:10 PM
  #4  
Bob Brown
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Here we go again, Zion versus Bryce.
My vote goes to Bryce. No where else on earth is quite like it, except on the other side of the plateau at Cedar Breaks.

The same geological formations that form Zion also outcrop at Capitol Reef NP. I much prefer Capitol Reef tp Zion because more formations are revealed and, as a result, the geology is more varied.
The cliffs are just as dominant, and there are more of them!!

In addition to the high cliffs, there are spires and cathedrals, domes and folds, natural bridges and twisting canyons. And last of all there is the incredible deep red of the Moenkopi formation, and the delicate hues of the Chinle Conglomerate that lie below the rocky reliefs formed by the red Entrada Sandstone and the sheer walled Wingate.
 
Old Feb 2nd, 2002, 09:02 PM
  #5  
Dayle
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Hey Bob! You always provide such accurate & detailed info on the west or obviously have a real love for the country - I've often wondered where you live & if you are perhaps a geologist?
 
Old Feb 3rd, 2002, 07:57 AM
  #6  
suzanne
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I love them both! But it depends on the time of year you're going...if you want to avoid extreme hot or cold temperatures. I'd say Bryce in May-September, and Zion for the rest of the year. Bryce is at a much higher elevation, so it's cold most of the year while the temperatures in Zion are similar to Vegas.
 
Old Feb 3rd, 2002, 08:51 AM
  #7  
RB
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IMHO, Zion is the more easily accessible park- people of all physical abilities can come in closer contact with the formations & natural beauty (i.e. the Riverside Walk, lower Emerald Pools, heck, just sitting in front of the lodge under the big tree, watching the deer.) Yes, one can drive to all the outlook points at Bryce and look over the formations, but to me, the best views of Bryce are found at its base, and not everyone has the physical ability to explore that area. Plus, the shuttle system works better around Zion-the less cars, the better! This question is a toughie- it's liking asking which is your favorite child. But I think I'd hit Zion first, and promise to see Bryce at the next available point.
 
Old Feb 3rd, 2002, 09:33 AM
  #8  
Bob Brown
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To answer Dale's question: I am not a geologist. I took 2 semesters of geology as one of my science electives in college, back in 1956.
An old friend of the family was a professional geologist, and he taught me a little bit, too, but nothing organized or consistent. Most of my knowledge is based on getting the appropriate publications at National Parks and studying them.
My knowledge is inconsistent. For example, I know virtually nothing about the New England area because I have not spent much time looking at geologic publications.

The area of northern Arizona and Utah is a little different because I have read the publications. For example, I spent considerable time with the geologic map of the Grand Canyon before my second trip there.
And I have a stratigraphic diagram on a cross section of the major parks of southern Utah.
I am one of those guys who like to know what he is looking at. At Capitol Reef, I got lucky one day and was able to spend an hour with a summer time ranger who was also a professional geologist, or had been. He was so fired up over lecturing on the formations that I learned quite a bit. The whole thing started when I asked him why there were volcanic rocks lying around the Capitol Reef area. The answer was a little more complicated than I thought. The geologists think they either washed in or were transported by glacial movement from farther away, and they remain there today on relatively flat areas because the annual rain/snow fall does not produce enough motive force to change their location.
To me the different formations of Utah are vivid and have distinct "personalities", and I like to know who they are. It is sort of like a baseball fan who knows the players quite well.
I used to know that too, but not anymore. I do well keeping up with the starting line up for two or three collegiate basketball teams.

 
Old Feb 3rd, 2002, 05:02 PM
  #9  
judith
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bob, i feel the same way about the utah parks as you. i drove there last fall from michigan and took a lot of your good advice with me. i also soaked up every geological fact i could and brought home some interesting fossils and rocks and memories. i can't choose which park i liked best, they are all so different. maybe zion for same reasons as posters. spent three weeks from moab to zion. it is wonderful to be retired, to be curious, and to enjoy seeing new things, isn't it? i am thinking of maine next fall, only don't know if i can tear myself away from az, nm and utah. there is so much to see!
 
Old Feb 3rd, 2002, 07:27 PM
  #10  
Bob Brown
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For Judith: must be the edu in us to read up on the rocks. (The Terry account is my main one.) Of all the formations out there, the one that fascinates me the most is the extensive igneous rock formation, much of it lava, that covers the plateau between Bryce and Cedar Breaks. I wonder what went on below the surface to cause an igneous outbreak in an area dominated by marine deposits?

One year my wife and I deviated from our usual practice of going west. Instead, we flew to Boston, drove to Quebec, around the Gaspe, then through New Brunswick to Cape Breton Island.
From there, we returned to Boston along the Bay of Fundy to Maine and Acadia NP.
Interesting trip, but we have not had much urge to return. I think I would visit Glacier, Yellowstone, the Tetons, the Canadian Rockies, and the Oregon Coast before I would visit Maine.

Also, if you have not done Lake Powell, it is interesting, if you can shrug off the fact that the best is hidden by water. We did get to Rainbow Bridge, and it is pretty.
 
Old Feb 3rd, 2002, 10:16 PM
  #11  
ALF
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Bob,
The basalt lava flows are much younger (Cenozoic) than the immediately underlying sedimentary rocks (mostly later Mesozoic). Yes, many of the sediments are marine in origin (much of Zion is desert sand though), but then the Colorado Plateau region was uplifted, many of the uppermost layers were eroded off, then basalt flowed up along fractures and faults that resulted from extension (stretching) that is still taking place through much of the southwest. I'm a geologist who has spent quite a bit of time on the Colorado Plateau. Who can choose between Bryce and Zion? They are so different, it really depends on taste. Personally, I would pick Zion in a minute, but watching the sunrise over Bryce is an unforgettable experience.
 
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 03:28 AM
  #12  
Tricia
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After reading this entire post, I feel that I've just listened to part of a lecture! Going to Zion AND Bryce in June. Have been studying my 9th grader's Earth Science book. There are pictures & descriptions of several sites, including Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Bryce & the Vermillion Cliffs in the "Weathering, Soil & Mass Wasting" chapter.
Thank you Bob Brown, ALF & all!
You make this site so very worthwhile. Tricia
 
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 10:00 AM
  #13  
judith
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gee you guys stay up late. thanks for the additional info. my guide on the schaefer trail said lava slid down from the east, probably from the manti-la sal peaks, which are formed by volcanic upheavals under the ground not eruptions, and the rockies. this is in canyonlands, however, and maybe a guide fable. it is so interesting to know that forces are still at work in that area.

i went over the very eastern tip of lake powell and the dirty devil river on my way to capitol reef. when you are surrounded by lakes mich., superior, huron, and erie, it looked so sad and artifical to me so i did not go to rainbow bridge, instead stayed longer at zion.

will really reconsider maine trip. have been reading some stuff and sounds a lot like northern mich. only more expensive.

thanks bob and alf. ya-ta-hey.



 
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 10:19 AM
  #14  
Tricia
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Judith:
No kidding, you thought
"when you are surrounded by
lakes mich., superior, huron,
and erie, it looked so sad and
artifical to me so i did not go to
rainbow bridge"
I have 2 days planned at Lake Powell for our upcoming trip. My family is really looking forward to renting a boat for a daytrip to Rainbow Bridge.
As I type I can look out at the white caps & snow coming in off of Lake Ontario. Have lived and played on this lake all my life.
When you think of Lake Powell as being created by the damming of Glen Canyon, well, that to me is a feat. My kids have never seen a "manmade" lake. I'm certain the contrast from Lake Ontario will make it memorable. Tricia

 
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 01:21 PM
  #15  
Lisa
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Both are outstanding, but I would have to say Zion - definitely Zion!

Although when I drove through there last August for the first time in 15 years, I was surprised to see that you are required to take their tour bus to see anything off the main highway roads now - no private cars allowed. I'm sure it's a huge environmental improvement for the area, but it's definitely a bummer to see those amazing sites from the tinted window of a large tour bus filled with dozens of people and screaming kids.
 
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 03:08 PM
  #16  
RB
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Have ridden the Zion shuttle during 2000 and 2001 trips, and can report the shuttles are a very pleasant way to see the park. While both trips were made during school times (Sept. 2000, May 2001), we never found the shuttles to be overcrowded. The shuttles hold maybe 55 people max (five 2-seat benches with center aisle, bench seat in back) As for noise level, most people are so busy taking in the view, it's usually pretty quiet. The shuttles stop at many places, and it's easy to hop out, take in a view, and hop on another when it comes along.
 
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 05:17 PM
  #17  
Dayle
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Hey Judith! How did you like the Shafer Trail? It's quite a drive near the top isn't it?

Lisa, the shuttles are the best thing to happen to Zion's in the last 100 years or so! The traffic jams & parking problems used to be miserable and a real environmental problem. Now you just hop on the shuttle, get off where ever you want, hike or walk as much as you want & hop back on. You are NOT held prisoner in a "tour bus". Try it, you'll like it.
 
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 05:24 PM
  #18  
OliveOyl
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We were at Zion and Bryce this past Thanksgiving week. Two points. First, it's impossible to say which of the two is "better". They are as different as night and day. Both are beautiful in their own right, but the formations are entirely different from each other. You could blindfold me and plunk me down in Bryce and I'd know precisely where I was. I may have preferred Zion only because of the hiking challenges, but one is as beautiful as the other.

2nd point is that during the winter you are allowed to drive in, rather than take the shuttle. I'm not certain now when the shuttle stops running, but it seems to me it was October 31. We commented on how glad we were to be able to use our own car and have the freedom to come and go precisely where and when we wanted.

It was a surprisingly beautiful time of year to see Zion, especially, where the cottonwood trees along the river and canyon bottoms were at their color peak. I was born and raised in the Berkshires, where fall coloring is big time tourist trade, but this was as breathtaking as anything I've seen, although the leaves were all bright yellow, none of the oranges and reds.

 
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 06:01 PM
  #19  
Bob Brown
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Alf, I was not really focusing when I said that about the marine deposits.
I know the Navojo Sandstone is of desert origin, and it covers a large area. The road from Bryce to Capitol Reef goes over a major surface outcrop of that white stuff. Awesome drive!!
I guess I was thinking that the Bryce landscape is a marine deposit and dominates in that it forms two lovely plateau-side parks/monuments.
I am sure that the Wingate, Kayenta, and Entrada formations have desert type origins too, or something that was quite sandy.
I still think the Moenkopi is beautiful.
All those hues of red and cinnamon.
 
Old Feb 5th, 2002, 10:35 AM
  #20  
judith
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i guess when i saw lake powell, i was thinking of how beautiful glen canyon looked before it was destroyed by the artifical lake so las vegas could grow to 1 million people. there are so many other things to see.

dayle, my fingerprints are still embedded on the jeep handles from the awsome ride up and down the shafer trail. it was death-defying and i will never forget it. luckily i did not go over the edge like thelma and louise. wonderful country!
 

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