Guide to Bryce Canyon National park, Utah
Introduce yourself with unknown frontiers of Bryce canyon, a national park area characterized by an enormous array of oddly shaped 'hoodoos,'experiencing adventurous hiking, horseback riding, biking and ATV Tours
Bryce Canyon is a small national park in southwestern Utah. Named after the Mormon Pioneer Ebenezer Bryce, it became a national park in 1928. A land that captures the imagination and the heart, Bryce is a favorite among Utah’s national parks. Bryce Canyon is unique in that it is not a “real canyon” carved by flowing water, but rather a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.From hiking through hoodoos to stargazing up at the vast Utah sky, Bryce Canyon National Park introduces visitors to frontiers unknown. Whether you come for the day or stay for the week, the views and activities are endless. Bryce Amphitheater, which is 12 miles long, 3 miles wide and 800 feet deep, is the largest of all the amphitheaters in the park. Water is the active ingredient here, but in the form of “frost-wedging” and chemical weathering. Each year over 1.5 million people visit Bryce Canyon, taking delight in the fantastic scenery and recreational opportunities. Hiking, Horseback Riding, Biking and ATV Tours are popular activities year round! Cross-country Skiing and Sleigh Rides are also available in Winter.
Bryce Canyon National Park does not contain one main canyon, but rather a dozen smaller ravines eroded into the east side of a ridge running approximately north-south at the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southwest Utah. This erosion has resulted in thousands of bizarre and fragile rock formations, large and small, in many subtle shades of pink, white, yellow, orange and red, extending in quite a narrow band for over 25 miles along the plateau rim. The national park is named after Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon farmer who was the first modern-day settler in the region, and was established in 1924. Bryce Canyon National Park is a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsagunt Plateau in southern Utah. Erosion has shaped colorful Claron limestones, sandstones and mudstones into thousands of spires, fins, pinnacles and mazes. The park is characterized by an enormous array of oddly shaped “hoodoos,” unique erosional formations whimsically arranged and tinted with a variety of subtle colors.
Iconic Features of the Park
The erosion exposed delicate and colorful pinnacles called hoodoos that are up to 200 feet high.The geological hoodoos formed from wind, water and ice erosion of the river and lakebed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views to visitors. It is the uniqueness of the rocks that caused Bryce Canyon to be designated as a national park.
Temperatures in Bryce Canyon are always less than other parks in south Utah due to the high elevation (7,900 feet at the visitor center, rising to 9,115 feet at Rainbow Point, at the south end of the park road), hence even summer hiking is usually comfortable. However, the altitude does mean that the air is thin, so there is less oxygen.
Getting to Bryce National Park
Bryce Canyon is reached by only one road – scenic highway UT 12 which crosses the northeast corner of the park. The park scenic drive forks off to the south, follows the top of the ridge for 18 miles, and has 14 viewpoints (see map) of which Bryce Point is the most famous and gives the best perspective of the extent and variety of the rock formations. The Shuttle for 2010 will begin May 7th and run through October 11th. The shuttle (Shuttle-bus)will operate from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day. Route duration is about 50 minutes, not including stops at facilities and overlooks.
Rates & Fees
The entrance fee to Bryce Canyon National Park is $25 per private vehicle. The fee for an individual entering by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or non-commercial group is $12.00 per person. Admission is for seven days and includes unlimited use of the Shuttle during it’s operating season.
Staying Around the Park
For a truly historic stay, The Lodge at Bryce Canyon offers hotel- guests a glimpse into the National Park Service past. A National Historic Landmark, this 1920’s era grand lodge offers recently refurbished hotel-style rooms along the canyon rim. For a more rustic experience, rent a western cabin complete with a gas log fireplace and lodge-pole pine walls. Visitors can also camp in one of two designated areas, the North and Sunset campgrounds within the park. Or find accommodations to suite any style at dozens of nearby towns including Boulder, Bryce Canyon City and Hatch, Utah. General store at Sunrise Point. Groceries, souvenirs, camping supplies, quick meals, rest rooms, coin-operated shower and laundry facilities are available from April through October. Amfac Parks and Resorts, Inc. also operates a gift shop and dining room in the lodge and a snack bar at the General Store.
Bryce Canyon National Park Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants
Lodging options in and around Bryce Canyon include both rustic and modern amenities, but all fill up fast in summer. Bryce Canyon Lodge is the only hotel inside the park, but there are a number of options in Bryce Canyon City, just north of the park’s entrance. Panguitch and Tropic are small towns nearby with good options for budget and last-minute travelers.
Bryce Canyon National Park Hiking Trails
Bryce Canyon offers a wide range of hikes, from an easy paved hike along the rim of the canyon to a strenuous multi day hike among the hoodoos Experience the hoodoos up close and personal on the combined three-mile Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail hike to the canyon floor. Start at either Sunset or Sunrise Point to switchback among, and in some cases, into the shimmering rock formations in Bryce Amphitheater. On the way, take in some of the parks most famous hoodoos, Queen Victoria and Thor’s Hammer, as you make your way through the towering spires back up the canyon wall to the rim.
Bryce Canyon National Park’s Other Adventurous Activities & Things to Do
Hunting, Jeep Tours, Museums, Paintball, Ranch Activities, Rock Climbing / Rapelling, River Running, Shopping, Snowmobiling, Skiing, Zip-Line Tours, Aerial Tours, Animal Viewing, ATV / 4×4 Tours, Biking, Entertainment, Fishing, Golfing, Educational / Guided Tours, Hiking and Horseback Riding, other things to do or tourist attractions & see and enjoy!