Bryce Canyon National Park
Linger at Bryce Canyon National Park
By Dixie Brunner
It’s easy to linger longer at Bryce Canyon National Park ... the hard part is leaving!
As you approach Bryce Canyon, you get the overwhelming feeling that you are about to see something very special. You can’t wait to get there! But relax and enjoy the journey, as with most travels in southern Utah, getting there is as satisfying as the destination!
The roads winding up to the scenic overlooks present a visual treat themselves. You begin to see the oddly-shaped hoodoos as you pass through Red Canyon. High desert plateaus give way to conifer forests ... and then you travel into Bryce Canyon National Park. It’s unlike any place you’ve ever seen before!
Red stone spires jab at the azure-blue Utah sky, like an accusing old man’s fingers. An eerie feeling takes hold as the towering rock pillars beckon. Peer over the canyon rim, and you’re treated to a breathtaking landscape vista, far beyond that of normal, descriptive vocabulary.
The geological wonder known as Bryce Canyon National Park is a testament to Mother Nature having final say when it comes to creating a place of color, texture and beauty. Its spires, rocky temples and pillars, arranged within a huge amphitheater of red rock, seem like they’ve been placed to stimulate people’s imaginations.
Bryce’s allure is undeniable, from the minute you first glimpse the unusual sculptured, multi-colored pinnacles from along the canyon’s edge. The bizarre formations are nestled in 12 huge bowls sinking deep into the red Utah earth.
The stone spires of Bryce are actually products of erosion. The effects of wind, weather and time on sedimentary rock, such as limestone and sandstone, have carved the stone sculptures.
You must explore Bryce! The many hiking trails leading to the canyon floor demand your attention. Some choose to rent horses to make the trip, while others opt to walk.
The gradual descent into Bryce Canyon offers a giant fantasy close-up view of the orange formations. The game many choose to play, as they follow the gentle switchbacks, is to guess what the spires and formations resemble. Upon reaching the canyon floor you can rest on a bench provided along the trail. You stare up at the red spires stretching over 1,000 feet into the air and feel very small.
Another popular hike is the Mossy Cave Trail, where you are treated to a visual refreshment of a beautiful waterfall!
Each season and every passing moment offer a different view of Bryce. The master artist of time provides a different perspective, as lighting creates changing magical effects.
A year round visitor center and natural history center adjacent to the park entrance can help visitors plan their Bryce tour. Daily ranger talks and current schedules for various park activities are posted there. Enhance your visitor experience by taking in a guided moonlit hike, geology talk or telescope stargazing!