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Southern Utah Spotlight: Bryce Canyon National Park

The red sandstone hoodoos rise up against the clear blue Western sky, casting shadows across Bryce Canyon National Park. These geological rock formations are one of the most well-known features of the park, attracting millions of revelers and explorers from around the world every year.

Bryce Canyon National Park is a close neighbor to Dixie National Park, just 45 miles away and visible from our adventure chalet on Strawberry Point.

Activities

The park is open all year-round and beyond its epic scenic drive, offers amazing recreational adventures during every season. Bryce Canyon has 13 viewpoints over theaters and eight hiking routes. Here are a few of our top picks for day-adventures in the park:

  • Horseback Ride – Explore the terrain on horseback, venturing from Sunrise Point and descending into the canyon. Views at the heart of Bryce Canyon include Wall of Windows, The Chessmen, Silent City, and the Bristle Cone Pine Trees. Schedule your horseback adventure.

  • Take to the Trails – The most popular hike is the Queen’s Garden-Navajo Loop. 2.9 miles with an elevation gain of 600 feet skirts along the ridges and through hoodoos. Other favorites include Sunset Point to Sunrise Point, Fairyland Loop, and Bristlecone Pines Hike.
  • Stargazing Tours – Experience a once-in-a-lifetime view of the expansive night sky. During the months of May to September, park rangers lead tours every Wednesday and Friday night. Book a private tour here.

A Brief History bryce-entrance-986x629

Bryce Canyon National Park area was home to Mormon settlers in the 1850s and subsequently named after Ebenezer Bryce who set up a homestead in 1874. The area received national monument status in 1923 from President Warren G. Harding and became a national park in 1928. While there is very little historical evidence of early human habitation, the park shares a history similar to Zion National Park, in that the Basketmaker Anasazi people, Fremont Culture, and then Paiute Native Americans all had a presence in the park-area over a 10,000-year period of time.

Bryce Canyon National Park became more widely known in the early 20th-century with the establishment of the Union Pacific and Santa Fe railroads. Articles from 1916 feature pictures of the singular topography and red rock canyons.

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Abounding Natural Wonders

Multi-colored rock pinnacles “hoodoos” and large amphitheaters fill the 20-mile long stretch of canyons. The vegetation in and around the land teems with diverse wildlife, including three on the endangered species list including the Utah prairie dog, the California condor, and southwestern willow flycatcher. Elks, pronghorns, bears, and bobcats frequent forests of pinyon pine and juniper trees. 

Bryce Canyon National Park has a 7.4 magnitude night sky, one of the darkest in North America. The park’s night sky showcases the brilliant Milky Way and 7,500 visible stars.

Bryce Canyon National Park is an extraordinary experience for visitors of all ages.

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