Utah is the land of many canyons as well as national parks of which one of the internationally acclaimed is the Bryce Canyon National Park in southwest. The name itself suggests the top draw – the Bryce Canyon. Technically, it is a giant horseshoe-shaped amphitheater created naturally due to the erosion taking place along the Paunsaugunt Plateau in east. Another highlight in this park is the series of hoodoos referred to as the unique geological structures formed because of the ice, water, and wind erosion that has completely transformed the sedimentary rocks and the course of the river’s water. Above all, what is even more eye-soothing is the fact that these rocks are in the multi hues of white to orange to red making the Bryce Canyon National Park an impressive wild destination.
For the animal lovers, the park is the home of over 40 mammal species as well as 150 bird species. You can spot black bears, elk, marmots, mountain lions (summer), mule deer, pronghorn antelope, swallows, turkeys, jays, owls, ravens, swifts, red-tailed hawks, and nuthatches. Just ensure that you do not make an attempt to feed these creatures or allow them to grab food from you. Why? It is only to protect the lovely beings here from starving as they get addicted to human food.
There are several interesting sights worth a visit, most of which seen along the Rim Trail. Nestled close to the lodge, the Sunrise Point ensures a superb view of the canyon amphitheatre when the sun is rising. So, reach early in the park. Then, hike further on the trail to enjoy an alternative view of the canyon from the Sunset Point. If you move ahead from here, the Inspiration Point, as names says, motivates you to take some great photographs at sunset. Next, the Bryce Point as a dramatic overlook offers a great scene of the hoodoos along with the edging scenery. Do not miss the Natural Bridge that is an interesting formation via an eroded hoodoo. Lastly, the Rainbow Point at the road’s end ensures spotting of more hoodoos. It is from here that extra trails of the park can be accessed such as the Riggs Spring Loop Trail.
The Rim Trail of 11 miles is a must to hike that also encompasses a round trip that stretches along the cliff edge. It starts at the Fairyland Point and culminates at the Bryce Point. Also, the Mossy Cave trail of less than 1 mile is worth an exploration from highway 12. This one will take you to a waterfall along with a grotto and a few vistas of the extra hoodoos.
The Navajo Loop of 2.2 km is also popular including the round trip. It begins from the Sunset Point and will make you reach at the middle of the amphitheatre creations like the Thor’s Hammer and Walls Street. On the other hand, you can also choose the mix of Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop (4.6 km) that too start at the Sunrise Point and ends at the Sunset Point. This one will show you the Bryce Amphitheatre.
The Tower Bridge of 4.8 km nestled in the north of Sunrise Point will make you see natural arch. For exploring more probing rock formations, walk upon the Hat Shop trail of 4 miles that descends 900 feet down after starting from the Bryce Point.
This is very memorable on the Peekaboo Loop of 5.5 miles that makes you explore the formations within the amphitheatre. You can join this one from the Queen’s Garden trail.
In the Bryce Canyon National Park, the Bryce Canyon Lodge was my pick. However, there are resorts, inns, and motels. Kindly check their operating days. And yes, there are 8 backcountry campsites along the 23-mile Under-the-Rim trail running between Bryce and Rainbow Points.
Best time to visit
April through October
Entry fee: $25
Reaching here: Nestled at a higher altitude, this remote park is easily accessible from the Kanab town.