Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park – Rocks of Ages!
By Dixie Brunner
As you approach Bryce Canyon National Park, 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 equally as satisfying as the destination – and taking a hike and viewing the strange rock formations is the best way to explore Bryce! A year round visitor 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. There is also a display of indigenous animals you might see in the park. 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 with two stone archways welcoming your arrival. Bryce is 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 dramatic, 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 southern Utah earth. The stone spires of Bryce are actually products of erosion. The effects of wind, weather and time on sedimentary rock, such as lime and sandstone, have carved the stone sculptures. The Rim Trail is very popular because it runs around the top, connecting you with all the scenic overlooks, from Fairyland to Bryce Point. The great part about this trail is you can choose how far you want to go – 0.5-5.5 miles one way, offers you some options on how far is a good thing. But you must explore Bryce more – the many hiking trails leading to the canyon floor also demand your attention! The only question is how to get down. Some choose to rent horses to make the trip, while many opt to walk. The Navajo Trail Loop travels down into the main natural amphitheater. This is one of the most popular trails going down and can be combined with the Queens Garden Trail. While longer, it gives you even more to see with such formations as Queen Victoria, Gulliver’s Castle and the Queen’s Castle. The gradual descent into Bryce Canyon offers a giant fantasy close-up view of the orange formations. Upon reaching the canyon floor you stare up at the red spires stretching over 1,000 feet into the air and feel very small. 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. The view confirms what you already knew to be true – Bryce Canyon is an enchanted place. Enhance your visitor experience by taking a moonlit-guided hike, geology talk or telescope stargazing! Renowned for its stunning dark skies, a whole new life of adventure happens during the evening due to low light pollution. Become star struck! Explore the beautiful scenic rock attractions of Bryce!