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Bryce Canyon National Park Travel Guide

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  • Photo: Jason Maehl / Shutterstock

Plan Your Bryce Canyon National Park Vacation

A land that captures the imagination and the heart, Bryce is a favorite among Utah's national parks. Although its splendor had been well known for decades, Bryce Canyon wasn't designated a national park until 1928. The park is named for Ebenezer Bryce, a pioneer cattleman and the first permanent settler in the area. His description of the landscape not being hospitable to cows has oft been repeated.

Even more than his famous quote, however, Bryce Canyon is known for its fanciful "hoodoos," best viewed at sunrise or sunset, when the light plays off the red rock.

In geological terms, Bryce is actually an amphitheater, not a canyon. The hoodoos in the amphitheater took on their unusual shapes because the top layer of rock—"cap rock"—is harder than the layers below it. If erosion undercuts the soft rock beneath the cap too much, the hoodoo will tumble. Bryce continues to evolve today, but the hoodoos are a permanent feature; old ones may die, but new ones are constantly forming as the amphitheater rim recedes.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Hoodoo heaven The brashly colored, gravity-defying limestone tentacles reaching skyward—known locally as "hoodoos"—are the main attraction of Bryce Canyon.
  2. Famous fresh air With some of the clearest skies anywhere, the park offers views that, on a clear day, extend 200 miles and into three states.
  3. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets The deep orange and crimson hues of the park's hoodoos are intensified by the light of the sun at either end of the day.
  4. Dramatically different zones From the highest point of the rim to the canyon base, the park spans 2,000 feet, so you can explore three unique climatic zones spruce-fir forest, ponderosa-pine forest, and pinyon pine–juniper forest.
  5. Snowy fun Bryce gets 200 inches of snowfall a year, and is a popular destination for skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts.

When To Go

When to Go

Around Bryce Canyon National Park and the nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument area, elevations approach and surpass 9,000 feet, making for...

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