The National Parks system in America might be the best in the world. It’s filled with incomparable experiences like Yellowstone National Park and Craters of the Moon. But the experience Bryce Canyon National Park offers is unique for its visitors.
This park has been around for almost a century, and gives its guests the opportunity to take in some of America’s most gorgeous natural wonders. For anyone going for the first time, it’s an awe inspiring experience to say the least.
Bryce Canyon is born
Located in southwestern Utah, the Bryce Canyon region was named for a Mormon settler called Ebenezer Bryce. As always, archaeological evidence indicates that Indigenous peoples were active in the area for 10,000 years before pioneers showed up.
As early as 1916, various magazines started talking about the incredible natural beauty of the area. The problem was that access was terrible, making it impossible for most visitors to get there. Upgraded roads improved that issue in the following years.
Bryce Canyon was declared a national monument in 1923 but was changed to being a national park in 1928. National monuments are places of historical and cultural significance while national parks are areas of natural and scenic value. Bryce Canyon is certainly the latter of the two.
A natural wonder
The irony of Bryce Canyon National Park’s name is that it’s not a canyon at all. In fact, it’s most famous formations have been better described as massive natural amphitheaters. They line the eastern side of an area called the Paunsaugunt Plateau.
Bryce Canyon is borderline overflowing with hoodoos, tall, slender spires of rock formed by erosion and weathering over millions of years. There are thousands of hoodoos throughout many areas of the park, creating a absolutely stunning visual.
Due to its high elevation, there are a variety of environmental zones in the park. It contains an incredible range of flora and fauna, including endangered species like the California Condor. Bryce Canyon is a great place to check out wildlife that might not be around for much longer.
Taking it all in
Honestly, the best thing to do in the park is just spend time driving and hiking. There are many incredible spots to go and drink the beauty in. Sunset Point. Bryce Point. Fairyland Canyon. They all offer unique looks at all of the natural splendor Bryce Canyon has to offer.
There are several incredible hiking loops and trails, as well. Keep in mind that some of them go pretty deep into the backcountry. Not only do you need to be prepared for that, some of these hikes actually require a special backcountry permit.
Bryce Canyon also has guided trail rides that are done on horseback. It’s a great way to take in aspects of the park you wouldn’t normally see. Taking that a step further, the park even offers various ranger guided activities, including star gazing night hikes.
What it comes down to is that Bryce Canyon is an epic way to get way from the trappings of modern life and reconnect with nature. Just don’t spend too much time staring at it through your camera’s view finder.