I have been to Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon many times, and there are some sights that most tourists miss. If you are going to these three canyons, which are all close enough to make that worthwhile, here are some tips for you.
The Grand Canyon sunset is a must see, but don’t leave your viewpoint too early. Once the sun descends over the west rim, it takes about 10 minutes before the afterglow begins. Then the canyon lights back up with fantastic colors even more vivid than when viewed during the day. I prefer to be at Mather Point to watch this phenomenon, but any of the viewing points will do. The afterglow will last from 10 to 15 minutes, and is light enough to take great pictures or videos.
Traveling from Zion to Bryce Canyon is usually accomplished by going out the east exit of Zion on Route 9 to Mount Carmel Junction and then turning north on Route 89 up to Route 12 and into Bryce Canyon. Because of that, many people miss the “other part of Zion,” the Kolob Canyon part.
Don’t miss the eastern exit and Checkerboard Mesa, but leave Zion Canyon by the west exit to Springdale and head over to I-15 turning north. Kolob Canyon is several miles up I-15, but well worth the detour. Allow at least two hours there, and then head back up I-15 to Cedar City and Route 14. Take 14 over to Route 148 and go up to Cedar Breaks, a bowl-shaped miniature of Bryce Canyon. Allow at least an hour to see it. Then you can go back to Route 14 over to Route 89 and go the rest of the way up to Bryce Canyon.
The best way to see Bryce Canyon if you are not up to hiking down into it is to drive all the way south to Rainbow Point and then all stops coming back are right-hand turns with no crossing of traffic lanes. Even for the hikers it is a good way to familiarize yourself with the trail opportunities.
Take these three tips and you will truly enjoy everything the canyons have to offer.