SW Utah National Parks part I: The Drive (Dec 27-29)

After Christmas we decided to make another trip to the red rocks country of southern Utah. This time Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks were our goals.

Leaving Estes Park on December 27, we took the travel in a leisurely pace, stopping in Breckenridge the first night to wish Steve and Lauren a belated Christmas. Fresh fallen snow sparkling under blue skies made for a beautiful drive all along I-70 the next day.

Click on any photo to see a larger and sharper image.
I-70 heading west

We stopped at Rifle Falls State Park which is about a 30 minute drive from the town of Rifle on I-70. Along with the pretty and accessible waterfalls, hiking trails and lake for boating, fishing and swimming, this park impressed us as a great place to play in the summer, too.

Stopping at snowy and icy Rifle Falls

The late afternoon sun inspired us to take another side trip to Colorado National Monument, south of Fruita. This was our first time driving in from the southern entrance and most of our photos come from the Devils Kitchen through Ute Canyon View areas.

Colorado National Monument view

Looking northwest from a viewpoint in Colorado National Monument

Another view of the canyons of Colorado National Monument

Snow-covered deadwood in CNM

Ending the day at Green River, WY, we were set for an easy drive into Bryce the next day (see Part II).

Red rock formations along I-70, headed west