Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is a sprawling reserve (35,835 acres) in southern Utah, and is known for crimson-colored hoodoos, which are spire-shaped rock formations. The park's main road leads past the expansive Bryce Amphitheater, a hoodoo-filled depression lying below the Rim Trail hiking path. It has overlooks at Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point.
- The Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874.
- The area around Bryce Canyon became a National Monument in 1923 and was designated as a National Park in 1928.
- Bryce Canyon Park covers an area of 145 square kilometers (56 square miles) or 14,502 hectares (35,835 acres).
- Rainbow Point is the highest part of the park at 2,775 meters (9,105 feet) and Yellow Creek is the lowest part of the park at 2,020 meters (6,620 feet).
- The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which was not formed from erosion initiated from a central stream, meaning it technically is not a canyon.
- The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called “hoodoos.”
- Bryce Canyon's rocks are among the youngest of those on the Colorado Plateau, dating back a mere 65 million years ago to the Cretaceous period.
- 7-day entrance passes to Bryce Canyon National Park cost $35 for vehicles and $20 per person for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The fee includes unlimited use of the free shuttle bus that runs from late May through early October.
- Bryce Canyon National Park is located at a relatively high elevation of 8,000 to 9,000 feet, meaning that it is much cooler than at Utah's other national parks such as Zion, Canyonlands, and Arches.
- Entrance fees - and annual passes that are good bargains, can be found on the National Park Service website.
Where is Bryce Canyon National Park?
After departing Torrey, UT, we drove to Bryce Canyon National Park - or perhaps I should say we drove to Tropic, UT as that was where we stayed. We did not want to stay at one of the motels adjacent to the park, or in the park lodge, as they were very expensive. The motel in Tropic, UT ( Bryce Canyon Log Cabins) was comfortable and we had a cabin suite which suited our requirements nicely.
It was a 10 mile drive from our log cabin to the park, we never had much traffic as we started early each day.
As you can see in this National Park Map, Bryce Canyon is long and narrow - it is approximately 18 miles from the Visitor Center to Rainbow Point. The park shuttle buses do not provide service beyond Bryce Point, so if you want to see Rainbow Point you will have to drive there.
Staying here turned out to be a great decision - it was only 8 miles from the park, there is a great BBQ shop in town, there is a small grocery store, gas station - there was everything we needed. The icing on the cake was that the log cabin we stayed in was comfortable and had a small kitchen.
Our first morning's adventure was to drive over to the park and to trek the Queens Garden & Navajo Loop Trail. It is a 2.9 mile hike, easily the most popular hiking trail in the park. We started it from Sunrise Point, down the trail on an approximately 600 foot descent. The National Park Service describes that the Navajo Trail up to Sunset Point is not as steep as the Queen's Garden trail, but they achieve that through a series of switchbacks that reduce the steepness, but slightly increase the trail length. The last 3 images above were taken on the switchback portion of the Navajo Trail and it shows how steep it was for us.
After we hiked back up to Sunset Point, we caught one of the park shuttles back to Sunrise Point, as by then my butt was dragging ! The shuttle buses are great for allowing visitors to park at one location and then move about the park on their buses. The buses do not go all the way to the Rainbow Point however.
On our last day there, we drove to Natural Bridge and Rainbow Point. This is as far as you can drive in the park, as the road ends at Rainbow Point. It is 22 miles from the Visitor's Center to Rainbow Point, so be sure you have the time to burn!
- Just Traveling Thru Travel Planning Tips
- Bryce Canyon Website
- Google Search Results list for "restaurants in the Bryce Canyon area"
- Google Search Results list for "accommodations in the Bryce Canyon area"
- Google Search Results list for "things to do or see in Bryce Canyon National Park"
- 15 Best Things To Do in Bryce Canyon National Park on the "US News & Travel" site
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