By the time we got to the parks of southern Utah, we were on the last days of our road trip through the west and had used all our extra time on Colorado and northern Utah. On this, our first visit to Bryce and Zion, drive-through sightseeing would have to suffice.
It was early October, and a light snow was falling as we turned east on Utah 12 toward Bryce Canyon National Park (www.nps.gov/brca). We wanted to see the hoodoos -- the odd spires of colorful limestone that the Paiute Indians thought were evil people that had been turned to rock.
The snow, although not heavy, was sticking, and as we reached Bryce Canyon, we saw tall white towers, their snow-covered outlines fuzzy against the white flurries that continued to fall. The scene was like an old photo shot in black and white -- unique, but not the spectacle we had hoped for.
Next we headed toward Zion National Park (www.nps.gov/zion). As our route made a big sweep from south to west and the road dropped out of the mountains, the snow let up, the sky cleared and suddenly the weather was gorgeous.
We took Highway 9 west through the southern end of the park and into Zion Canyon, then south along the North Fork of the Virgin River, marveling at the brilliantly colored layers of rock that rose on either side of us. We paused for a quick roadside picnic, then continued west and out of the park, our appetites whetted for a return trip.
This is one in a series of postcards by Marjie Lambert, assistant Travel editor, who has been to all 50 states.