Bryce Canyon National Park

Who I am
Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Index

  • What see?
  • Curiosity
  • Paths
  • What to do?
  • Where to eat?
  • When to go?
  • Temperature
  • Opening time
  • Cost of entry
  • Guided tours
  • Accomodation
  • How to reach us
  • Move around the park

While it's not as extensive as other famous parks in the United States, it sure is Bryce Canyon National Park, in Utah, is no less fascinating.

What makes it an essential destination for anyone embarking on a trip to the west of the United States are the so-called "hoodoos", spectacular rock pillars formed due to erosion.



If you are about to discover the natural beauty of the United States, I recommend that you include Bryce Canyon in your itinerary. In the meantime, I'll tell you a little more about this wonderful nature reserve.

What see?

Bryce Canyon, with its hoodoos and its spectacular coloring in various shades of red, has not a single point that is not worth exploring. There are some from which it can be admired in all its beauty and others that offer unexpected surprises.

Visitor Center

Every self-respecting park has its own Visitor Center and Bryce Canyon is no exception. Here you can find all the information you need to visit the park: maps, brochures, information on guided tours and services in the area.

At the Visitor Center it is also possible to view a short film lasting 20 minutes, "Shadows of Time" and an exhibition, open since 2016.

Rainbow & Yovimpa Point

Rainbow Point is the best place to start your tour of Bryce Canyon National Park: located in the southern part of the park, from here, if you look north, you can admire the entire Bryce Canyon that stretches out in front of you.



A short distance from Rainbow Point there is Yovimpa Point, another panoramic point of considerable interest. From here it is possible to admire the rock formation called The Grand Staircase, characterized by a particular color and by the characteristic stepped conformation that earned it this name.

Agua Canyon

In Agua Canyon you will have the opportunity to admire two very interesting hoodoos, which also have curious names: the taller of the two, "The Hunter", On the left, and"The Rabbit”Or“ The Backpacker ”, on the right.

Curiosity: the hoodoos and their names

As soon as the park was established, almost all the major hoodoos were given a name. Over time, however, many have further eroded, completely changing shape, others have fallen, and most of those names have been forgotten.

Today the task of naming the hoodoos is left to the visitors, and to their imagination!

Natural Bridge

Many of the natural parks characterized by a predominantly rocky territory such as that of Bryce Canyon host, in their territory, spectacular rock formations made of arches. This is the case with the Natural Bridge, one of many inside the park, which offers a spectacular view of the Ponderosa pine forest that lies in front of it.

Farview Point

Thanks to the exceptional clarity of the air of Bryce Canyon, from Fairview Point it is possible to admire all the main parts of the Grand Staircase.


In particular, from north to south you can see: l’Aquarius Plateau (o Pink Cliffs), il Kaiparowits Plateau (Gray Cliffs) and the so-called Molly’s Nipple (White Cliffs).


Even further away you can see a glimpse of the Kaibab Plateau, which forms part of the North Rim of Bryce Canyon.

Paria View

Contrary to what one might think, it's not that easy to capture an image of Bryce Canyon kissed by the rays of the setting sun.

Paria View is one of the few spots in the park that offer a view of the canyon landscape illuminated by the setting sun. Precisely for this reason, it is one of the most loved points by photography enthusiasts.

Bryce Point

Bryce Point is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the entire park, and also one of the most significant. It is precisely at this point, in fact, that the first access road to the park built by the pioneer Ebenezer Bryce.

From here you can admire the wonderful natural amphitheater from which dozens of spectacular hoodoos rise which, at dawn, are hit by the first rays of the sun, acquiring a particular color, capable of leaving the lucky spectator speechless.

Inspiration Point

At Inspiration Point there are well three observation points that allow you to admire the crescent of the main Canyon from three different angles, each more beautiful than the other.


The most significant view is that of Silent City (not far from Sunset Point), with its neat row of hoodoos that stands out against the backdrop formed by the Boat Mesa.

Sunset Point

From Sunset Point you can see some of the most beautiful hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. Immediately below this point rises the forest of hoodoos of the Silent City.


Also from here it is also possible to enjoy the view of the Thor's Hammer, an imposing and solitary hoodoo that stands out in the middle of the canyon.

Sunrise Point

From the observation point called Sunrise Point it is possible to admire Boat Mesa e la Sinking Ship, which stand out imposingly in front of the Pink Cliffs dell’Aquarius Plateau.

Boat Mesa, in particular, rises to a height of more than 2400 meters, overlooking the forest of hoodoos that populate the Fairyland Canyon.

Fairyland Canyon

Located about a mile from the park entrance, Fairyland Canyon offers visitors the rare opportunity to see hoodoos up close.

Just like the Paiute Indians, many years ago, let yourself be enchanted by the beauty of these fantastic rock formations.

Mossy Cave

Mossy Cave is located in the northernmost part of the park. Located in the immediate vicinity of Highway 12, it can be reached after a short path.

Here in addition to enjoying a wonderful view of Bryce Canyon and its hoodoos, you can see the irrigation canal, still working today, excavated by pioneers at the end of the 800th century and one small but picturesque waterfall.

Curiosity

Why Bryce Canyon?

As I told you, Bryce Point is where the first road ever to reach Bryce Canyon ends.

To complete this work, together with an equally important one irrigation canal that was needed to get the water into the Canyon from Paria Creek, it was Ebenezer Bryce.

The point where the road he built ended was called Bryce Canyon, a name he kept even after the Bryce family moved elsewhere.

Why do the rocks have this color?

The hoodoos found within Bryce Canyon are the result of the erosion of the Claron training, dating back to the Cenozoic era.

The rock that composes them has taken on its color, reddish in the lower part (Pink Member) and white in the upper part (White Member), thanks to the sediments of sand, silt, iron and limestone that have accumulated over the centuries.

Paths

The best way to enjoy Bryce Canyon's natural beauty is to explore it by walking its many trails.

Before leaving, remember to equip yourself properly, wearing suitable shoes and carrying plenty of water with you.

Here are the most interesting trails in Bryce Canyon: there are all levels of difficulty!

Mossy Cave

- easy

Difficulty - easy

Length - 1,3 km (round trip)

Located just outside the Canyon, the trail named Mossy Cave is not a very long path that follows the channel excavated by the pioneers and ending in front of the waterfall.

rim trail

- easy

Difficulty - easy

Length –17,7 km (round trip)

The Rim Trail, which follows the entire upper rim of the Canyon, if followed from the right direction, allows you to touch all major points of interest, enjoying the spectacular view over the valley and its hoodoos.

Sunset Point to Sunrise Point Trail

- easy

Difficulty - easy

Length - 1,6 km (round trip)

The path that connects two of the main points of interest in the park it is paved and not excessively steep.

Bristlecone Loop

- easy

Difficulty - easy

Length - 1,6 km (round trip)

This hike will take you on a path that is within a spruce forest; at the end, surrounded by beautiful evergreen pines, you will see in front of you the magnificent panorama offered by the natural amphitheater of Bryce Canyon.

Queens Garden Trail

- easy

Difficulty - easy

Length - 2,9 km (round trip)

This trail, which begins at Sunset Trail, is for sure the easiest path to walk around the park: from here you can see a series of hoodoos that have all the appearance of a mysterious and fascinating garden; one of them was even baptized with the name of Queen Victoria!

Navajo Trail

- media

Difficulty - medium

Length - 2,2 km (round trip)

The Navaho Trail, one of the Park's most popular trails, begins at Sunset Point and descends into the Canyon. For an even more extraordinary experience, you can walk along it with the Queens Garden.

Tower Bridge Trail

- media

Difficulty - medium

Length - 4,8 km (round trip)

What is known as Tower Bridge is a path that begins at Sunrise Point and continues northeast along the Fairyland Loop Trail.

Hat Shop Trail

– medium/high

Difficulty - medium - high

Length - 6,4 km (round trip)

The Hat Shop is not a circular path, but a downhill path that starts from Bryce Point, and, passing close to the Under Rim Trail, allows you to see a whole series of hoodoos with flat rocks precariously balanced on top. Hence the name Hat Shop (hat shop).

Swamp Canyon Trail

– medium/high

Difficulty - medium - high

Length –7,2 km (round trip)

The Swamp Canyon Trail allows you to discover a part of the park less known and more collected. From the observation point of Swamp Cayon it is possible to descend on a path that connects to the Under Rim Trail and allows you to take a circular route, if followed in a clockwise direction.

Fairyland Loop Trail

- hard

Difficulty - difficult 

Length - 12,9 km (round trip)

As the name suggests, the Fairyland Loop is a circular trail.

It is one of the more challenging routes of the park, which starts at Fairyland Point and descends into the Canyon to give you wonderful views, which include the hoodoos and Tower Bridge, if you decide to continue on the path of the same name.

Peek a Boo Loop Trail

- hard

Difficulty - difficult

Length –8,8 km (round trip)

The Peek a Boo Loop Trail is a trail that starts at Bryce Point and is considered particularly challenging both for its length and for its inclination: the path, in fact, almost immediately begins to descend towards the bottom of the Canyon, and offers a magnificent view of the Wall of Windows.

Riggs Springs Loop Trail

- hard

Difficulty - difficult

Length - 14,2 km (round trip)

Another particularly challenging trail is the Riggs Springs Loop Trail, which it starts at Yovimpa Point and runs through a fir and spruce forest. The east section of the route allows you to enjoy wonderful views.

The west section, on the other hand, is steeper and crosses a thicker stretch of wood. Near the middle of the path there is a small spring: the ideal place to stop and rest for a while.

What to do?

Bryce Canyon delivers an infinity of activities to its visitors, let's see which are the most interesting:

Excursions

Of these I have already mentioned before. Pack your backpack, choose your favorite trail and set off to discover magical places and hoodoos with absurd shapes.

As we have seen, there are enough paths in the park to satisfy the needs of both the most experienced hikers and those who want to enjoy a simple walk in nature.

See the park by car or by shuttle

Fear not! If walking isn't your forte, you can always see some of the park's most interesting spots by standing by comfortably seated in your car, or in the free shuttle offered by the park to visitors who do not feel like walking miles and miles to explore it.

The shuttle made available to visitors, completely free for all those who have paid the ticket, follow the road that runs alongside the Bryce Amphitheater, proceeding in a circle, and allows you to stop at all the main points of interest. The same route can be followed with your own car.

Activities organized by Rangers

The Bryce Canyon Rangers are not only there to watch but also to introduce visitors to the park, its history, its geology and its inhabitants. How? Through the numerous activities that are organized from the end of spring until mid-October.

See the park at night

Also thanks to the programs developed by the Rangers, it is possible to take part in night excursions, in the moonlight, to see the park in a different light and admire the constellations if you choose one of the "astronomy programs", during which you can see the sky with a telescope.

You can also stop at camp in one of the areas equipped for camping.

Walks in the snow

Wear sturdy boots, or put on your feet snowshoeing, and, always guided by the Rangers experts, set off to discover the Snowy Bryce Canyon: it will be a unique experience!

Where to eat?

If, after a day spent exploring the wonders of Bryce Canyon, you want to enjoy a good meal sitting quietly at the table, there are several places in the area that are right for you.

Ebenezer’s Barn & Grill

Bryce Canyon City

Opening: open from May 1st to October 15th, from 19pm

If you want to spend an evening immersed in the typical western atmosphere, this is the place for you. The menu is also traditional and includes steaks, grilled salmon fillets, chicken, pork and the classic side dish of beans and boiled potatoes. There is also an alternative for those who don't like meat.

Bryce Canyon Pines Restaurant

Bryce Canyon National Park, Highway 12, miglio 10

The Bryce Canyon Pines Restaurant, located within the Park territory, offers visitors a typically American style lunch, breakfast and dinner.

Cowboy’s Buffet Steak and Room  – Best Western Ruby’s Inn

Bryce Canyon City, 26 South Main Street

situated in the main lobby of Ruby's Inn, the Cowboy's Buffet Steak and Room offers breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole family. The menu includes typical American dishes, with steaks, chicken and fish.

The Canyon Diner – Best Western Ruby’s Inn

Bryce Canyon City, 26 South Main Street

Open: from May to October, every day, from 6:30 am to 21:30 pm

The Canyon Diner is the classic fast food serving burgers, pizza, salads, hot dogs also to take away and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Bryce Canyon Inn

Tropic

Inside the Bryce Canyon Inn, in Tropic, is “The Pizza Place”. As you can guess from the name, the restaurant offers a pizza-based menu, but there are also salads and sandwiches.

Bryce Canyon Coffee Co.

Highway 12

Open: from April to October

Located on Highway 12, approximately 16 miles from the park entrance, it offers the typical menu of a cafeteria (coffee, cappuccino, tea, smoothies, milkshakes and desserts) and a warm and cozy atmosphere.

When to go?

Il Bryce Canyon National Park it is open all year round and offers its visitors numerous activities in any period they decide to visit.

Surely, the summer months are the best to explore Bryce Canyon: in the summer you can reach all areas of the park, the temperatures are mild (unlike other parks in Utah, here it is never too hot, not even in summer) and all the programs organized by the Ranger are active and the shuttle that goes around the main observation points of the park.

The only flaw is crowding: With the schools closed and the good weather, many want to visit Bryce Canyon.

Also spring and autumn they are ideal times to explore the Park: from the end of April until the end of September, the temperatures are pleasant and all the park services are still open, but, compared to the summer, there are far fewer people around.

In winter the park can be visited anyway, but keep in mind that trails can be covered in snow, so much so that some may be impractical, and many of the services are closed (the shuttle, for example, is only active in the hottest months).

The easiest paths to walk can be tackled with snowshoes or skis.

Temperature

Located at an inclusive height between 2000 and 3000 meters above sea level, Bryce Canyon is characterized by cold temperatures in winter, mild in spring and not too hot in summer.

Maxims Minimum Record Max Record Min
January 3.8° -12 ° -16.6 ° -34 °
February -15 ° -18.8 ° -33 °
March 7.7° -8 ° 24° -25 °
April 13.3° -3.8 ° 27° -20 °
May 18° -0.5 ° 31° -15 °
June 18° 3.3° 35.5° -6.6 °
July 28.3° 6.1° 36.1° -3.8 °
August 26° 7.2° 34.4° -8.3 °
September 23.3° 2.7° -12 ° -8.3 °
October 17.2° -1.6 ° 29° -18 °
November 10.5° -7.2 ° 23° -28 °
December 5.5° -11 ° 19° -30 °

Opening time

Bryce Canyon National Park is open all year round for 24 hours a day. In winter, some roads may close temporarily due to weather conditions.

Visitor Center Hours

Summer
from May to September
by 8: 00 20 to: 00
Autumn
October
by 8: 00 18 to: 00
Winter
from November to March
by 8: 00 16 to: 30
Spring
April
by 8: 00 18 to: 00

Closures

The Visitor Center and ticket office are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Cost of entry

To visit Bryce Canyon National Park it is necessary buy a pass which can be weekly or yearly. Here are all the rates:

  • Automotive Pass, $ 30 for each private vehicle and its occupants;
  • Motor Vehicle Pass, $ 25 for each private motor vehicle and its occupants;
  • Pass for one person, $ 15 for each person who enters on foot or by bicycle;
  • Annual pass, $ 35, allows unlimited entry for 12 months to the buyer and occupants of his vehicle / motor vehicle or to him and his family if arriving by any means other than the car.

Guided tours

If you want to make sure you don't miss any of the wonders of Bryce Canyon, we recommend this 3-day guided tour from Las Vegas that will take you to discover some of the most interesting natural beauty in the United States.

On the first day of travel you will visit the Mojave Desert and the Navajo Indian Reservation, to then reach the South rim del Grand Canyon.

The second day will start with a cruise on the Lake Powell and will continue with the visit of Bryce Canyon, with its reddish rocks and its hoohdoos.

On the third day, after visiting the majestic Zion National Park, if you go to Las Vegas.

Accomodation

In order not to waste even a minute of time that you could spend visiting Bryce Canyon, the ideal solution is stop to sleep nearby. Here are some of the best hotels to stop and sleep:

Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel

The Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel is nestled among the red rock cliffs of Bryce Canyon National Park. Among the many exclusive services, it offers easy access to area attractions.

Check availability

Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn

Bryce Canyon City

It is one of the closest hotels to the park boundaries and offers its guests rooms equipped with all comforts (TV, air conditioning, coffee machine, private bathroom) at affordable prices.

Check availability

Bryce Canyon Pines Motel

Bryce Canyon City

situated less than 5 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park, in the midst of a ponderosa pine grove, the hotel offers its guests traditional rooms, cottages, a camping area and parking for motorhomes.

Check availability

Bryce Canyon Resort

Bryce Canyon City

Bryce Canyon Resort, on Highway 12, is also within walking distance of the park entrance. It offers its guests the opportunity to stay in old-fashioned rooms but equipped with all comforts, including Wifi.

For breakfast you can rely on the hotel restaurant, The Cowboy Ranch House.

Check availability

Bryce Canyon Log Cabins

Tropic

Bryce Canyon Log Cabins in Tropic, Utah, are about a 15-minute drive from Bryce Canyon National Park. Those who decide to stay here will be hosted in cabins features which offer a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape.

Check availability

How to reach us

Bryce Canyon National Park can be reached only with the car. Below, I have listed all the available routes:

from the north

Take I-15 south to UT-20 (Exit 95). Continue east on UT-20 to US-89. Continue on US-89 south to UT-12.

Follow UT-12 east to UT-63. Take UT-63 and continue south to Bryce Canyon National Park.

The Visitor Center is located just over 2 kilometers from the park entrance.

from the south through Zion National Park

Take I-15 and travel north to UT-9 (Exit 16). Follow UT-9 east, pass through Zion National Park, and continue to US-89.

Head north to US-89 and then continue on UT-12. Continue on UT-12 east to UT-63. Take UT-63 and continue south to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Scenic road (ideal to travel in summer and early autumn)

Take I-15 north to Exit 59. Continue east to 200 north, then travel south on Main Street to Center Street / UT-14.

Continue traveling east on UT-14 to US-89. Continue north on US-89 to UT-12. Follow UT-12 east to UT-63. Take UT-63 south until you reach Bryce Canyon National Park.

from the south through the Bear (Dog) Valley

Take I-15 and travel north to UT-20 (Exit 95). Continue east on UT-20 until you come to US-89. Follow US-89 south to UT-12.

Continue on UT-12 east to UT-63. Take UT-63 and continue south to Bryce Canyon National Park.

da las vegas

Take the interchange for I-515 N / US-93 N / US-95 N, continue on I-15 to UT-20 E.

Upon reaching Iron County, take Exit 95 and merge onto I-515 N / US-93 N / US-95 N, then take Exit 76B to merge onto I-15 N / US-93 N and continue towards Salt Lake City.

Continue to follow I-15 N, cross Arizona and enter Utah, then take Exit 95 to UT-20 and continue to US-89 east, then continue on US-89 south to to UT -12 and then go east again until you come to UT-63.

At this point, continue south to Bryce Canyon.

Move around the park

To move around the park you can use your car or the free shuttle made available to visitors.

Shuttle timetables and stops

The free shuttle from the park to Bryce Canyon visitors is active from April to October with the following times:

  • from mid-April to mid-May, and from 1st to 29th October, from 06:00 to 18:00;
  • from mid-May to September 22, from 06:00 to 19:00;
  • from 23 to 30 September, from 06:00 to 18:45.

Le fermate sono: Shuttle Station, Ruby’s Inn, Grand Hotel, Ruby’s Campground, Visitor Center, Sunset Campground, Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Campgroud, Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon Lodge, Sunrise Point, Visitor Center, Shuttle Station.


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