Bryce Canyon National Park is a spectacular natural wonder located in southwestern Utah, in the United States. The park, which covers an area of over 35,000 acres, is known for its unique geological formations, including thousands of hoodoos, which are tall, thin spires of rock that rise up from the canyon floor.
The park was established as a national park in 1928, and since then it has become a popular destination for visitors from around the world. The park is named after Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon settler who homesteaded in the area in the late 1800s. Bryce was known for his colorful descriptions of the canyon, which he referred to as a “helluva place to lose a cow.”
One of the most striking features of Bryce Canyon National Park is the amphitheater, which is a natural basin that is surrounded by hoodoos. The amphitheater is located near the park’s entrance, and it is one of the most popular areas for visitors to explore. There are several trails that wind through the amphitheater, including the Navajo Loop Trail, which takes hikers down into the canyon and then back up again, and the Queen’s Garden Trail, which leads to some of the most picturesque hoodoos in the park.
In addition to the amphitheater, Bryce Canyon National Park is home to several other geological formations, including the natural bridge, which is a massive arch of rock that spans over 85 feet. There are also several overlooks throughout the park that provide visitors with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. One of the most popular overlooks is Sunrise Point, which is known for its breathtaking sunrises over the canyon.
Bryce Canyon National Park is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including mule deer, mountain lions, and several species of birds. The park is a popular destination for birdwatchers, as there are over 200 species of birds that can be seen in the area. Visitors can also participate in ranger-led programs and educational activities, which are designed to help them learn more about the park’s natural history and conservation efforts.
If you’re planning a visit to Bryce Canyon National Park, there are several things to keep in mind. The park is located at a high altitude, which means that temperatures can be quite cool, even in the summer months. Visitors should also be prepared for sudden weather changes, as storms can develop quickly in the area.
There are several campgrounds and lodging options available within the park, including several rustic cabins and a lodge that dates back to the 1920s. However, these accommodations can fill up quickly, especially during the peak summer months, so it’s important to make reservations well in advance.
Things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is a spectacular destination with a variety of activities and attractions to explore. Here are some of the top things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park:
There are several hiking trails in Bryce Canyon National Park that range in difficulty and distance. One of the most popular trails is the Navajo Loop Trail, which takes you down into the canyon and past some of the park’s most iconic formations. The Queens Garden Trail is also a favorite, offering stunning views of the hoodoos.
2. Scenic Drives
Bryce Canyon National Park has several scenic drives that take you through the park’s stunning landscape. The main park road provides access to several overlooks, including Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, and Inspiration Point.
3. Ranger Programs
The park offers a variety of ranger-led programs and activities, including guided hikes, night sky programs, and wildlife talks. These programs are a great way to learn more about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife.
4. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is a popular activity in Bryce Canyon National Park. There are several outfitters that offer guided rides through the park’s trails and canyons.
Bryce Canyon National Park is a designated International Dark Sky Park, which means that it has exceptional conditions for stargazing. Visitors can attend ranger-led astronomy programs or simply find a quiet spot to observe the night sky on their own.
Bryce Canyon National Park is a photographer’s dream, with stunning vistas, unique rock formations, and dramatic lighting. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just taking snapshots with your phone, there are countless photo opportunities in the park.
7. Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
During the winter months, Bryce Canyon National Park transforms into a winter wonderland. Visitors can explore the park’s trails on snowshoes or cross-country skis, enjoying the quiet beauty of the snow-covered landscape.
8. Wildlife Viewing
Bryce Canyon National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, mountain lions, and several species of birds. Visitors can spot wildlife while hiking or attending ranger-led programs, or simply keeping an eye out while driving through the park.
Bryce Canyon National Park Entrance Fee
The entrance fee for Bryce Canyon National Park is $35 per vehicle, which is valid for seven consecutive days. This fee includes entry for all passengers in a private, non-commercial vehicle. For individuals entering the park on foot, bicycle, or motorcycle, the fee is $20 per person, also valid for seven consecutive days.
There are also other pass options available, such as the annual pass for $80 which allows unlimited entry to all national parks and federal recreational lands for one year from the date of purchase. There are also special passes for seniors, military members, and fourth-grade students and their families.
It’s important to note that some areas within Bryce Canyon National Park may require an additional fee or permit, such as camping or backcountry hiking permits. These fees and permits vary depending on the activity and location, so it’s best to check with the park’s website or visitor center for more information.