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Bryce Canyon National Park

Updated on October 24, 2011

Visit the Massive Natural Ampitheater of Southwest Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park

Dark Reds, vibrant oranges, warm earth toned browns and whites combine like an artist's palette at southwestern Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park. The ampitheater area contains large geological rock formations called hoodos. A unique combination of wind erosion, water and ice have sculpted the rock into thousands of gigantic spikes in the area known as Bryce Canyon.

Photo of Bryce Canyon by rmartinjr.

The Under the Rim Trail is the longest in the park, and also the most strenuous hiking trail. At 23 miles long, you will need to set camp during this long trek over the park. The trail will afford views of Yellow Creek, the Natural Bridge, and Bryce Point. You can view more photos of the Under the Rim Trail here.
Bryce Canyon at Sunrise

Bryce Canyon has a good range of easy to strenuous hikes throughout the park. With all hikes, you should be prepared with plenty of water and the right hiking boots, as well as the proper permits.

Right Fork Yellow Creek is a short hike of only 3 miles, offering beautiful views of Ponderosa Pines and hoodoos, passing unique cacti and wildflowers in the warmer months. Right Fork Swamp Canyon also affords beautiful views and a mere 1.1 mile walk from the Sheep Creek Swamp Canyon parking lot.

If you're looking for some very easy hikes, around the ampitheatre area of Bryce Canyon you can find hikes that are 1/2 mile or less, like from Inspiration Point to Bryce Point along the Rim Trail.

A Guide to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks - These two parks are often visited in the same trip!

Wild, vast and rugged, Zion and Bryce Canyon are among America's most dramatic national parks, filled with towering cliffs, hanging gardens and a riot of surreal, rainbow-striped rock formations. Whether you want to hike narrow slot canyons or admire stunning views, this indispensable guide will help you explore these desert jewels, plus the best of southern Utah's other parklands.

Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks (Lonely Planet)
Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks (Lonely Planet)

Find out where to view Natural Bridges, the best places to see hoodoos, find the best hiking, canyoneering, mountain biking, rock climbing, river rafting, and horseback riding. There are also chapters on Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Arches National Parks, plus Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the outdoor mecca of Moab, plus where to find the best camping and family friendly sites.


How These Rock Formations (Hoodos) Were Created - A video explaining the process that creates the intricate formations in Bryce Canyon

It Gets Hot!

Bryce Canyon and all of Southern Utah can get very hot in the summer months. The most comfortable times to hike the park are in the late spring and early fall months. However, since Bryce is at a higher elevation, it can be cooler than other areas of Southern Utah.

The National Park Service reminds us:

Keep in mind that all trails below the rim involve steep climbs out of the canyon. Here are a few more hiking reminders;

* Wear hiking boots with good "lug" traction and ankle support.

* Carry plenty of water; 1 quart (liter) per 2-3 hours of hiking for each person

* Park elevations reach over 9,000 feet (2774 meters). Even mild extertion may leave you feeling light-headed and nauseated.

* Some trails are also shared by horses/mules April to October. Hikers must yield to horses/mules. Hiking clockwise reduces your chances of encountering horses/mules.

* Stay on maintained trails. DO NOT use "social" trails.

* Be respectful of others; keep noise levels down - no yelling.

* Do not feed wildlife.

* Remember, ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety.

Buy at

Recommended Bryce Canyon Books - Get a better look at this Amazing park!

Read up on the amazing history of this National Park, browse photos, and get insider tips on traveling to this wonderous area.

How Was Bryce Canyon Formed?

The scientific history of Bryce, simplified.

Bryce Canyon is a misnomer of sorts. It isn't technically a canyon. Canyons are carved from a river over millions of years through erosion. Bryce was created from headward erosion, which basically leaves a series of steep rock formations in its path. Bryce Canyon is an exterme example of this! These large pinnacles are called hoodoos. The hoodoos of Bryce Ampitheater extend 20 miles within the National Park.

Sunset in Bryce Canyon

When trying to figure out how these formations were formed, think of what isn't there and instead of what is there. Think of the water making big scoops from a flat piece of rock. These scoops would be the shape of a stadium -- steep slopes going up, and the rows of seats getting higher and higher. Think of the concrete of the actual stadium as the hoodoos. That's what headwater erosion resulted in at Bryce Canyon!

Bryce Canyon Video Tours - Take a trip to the canyon without actually going!

Great slideshows and amateur videos of Bryce Canyon, offering a glimpse into what you can expect at this surreal park of southwest Utah.

Books on Bryce Canyon - Hike to the best spots and see the most on your trip!

Get a better idea of what to expect on your trip to Bryce Canyon by examining the trails, find out how to get to the most scenic places in the park, and insider info in a handy guide! Don't go it alone, there's too much to see, you'll need a good guide!

More Lenses in the Grand Circle - Visit more of America's beautiful southwest!

Bryce Canyon National ParkBryce Canyon is located in the southwestern portion of Utah, and is home to the famous red and white hoodoos spire formations, with remarkable hiking trails and scenic opportunities.

Capitol Reef National ParkA 70 mile wrinkle in the earth's crust resulted in the massive Capitol Reef area and National Park. Giant sandstone domes line the tops of this beautiful Utah plateau.

Canyonlands National ParkWind and water carved stone resulted in the area near Arches known as Canyonlands. The area boasts impressive, wide canyons, unique desert wildlife, and unmatched hiking.

Zion National ParkThe majestic Zion region has been eroded over time by the Virgin River, which slims down to the challenging hiking area of the Narrows.

Mesa Verde National ParkRemnants of a long lost culture can be found in the Colorado ruins of Mesa Verde National Park. Visit to gaze upon the incredible Puebloan Cliff Palace and ancient petroglyphs.

Monument ValleyDeep in the four corners region of the southwest is the often filmed Monument Valley reservation area. Now under the rule of the Navajo tribe, the area is open for touring, hiking and photography.

Arches National ParkSee the most natural sandstone arches anywhere in the world in Arches National Park of Moab, Utah. Erosion has left thousands of these unique stone structures standing in the park.

Black Canyon of the GunnisonDeep, black canyons leave a lasting impression in Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison, with an impressive 2700 foot drop over into the Gunnison River.

Great Basin National ParkGreat Basin National Park contains the beautiful underground Lehman's Cave, and the mammoth peak of Mount Wheeler. Hike the area from its 13,000 feet peak, to beneath the earth's surface.

The Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world, with an unforgettable hiking, photography, and road trip experience.

Tell Us About Your Experience in Bryce National Park, or Future Plans to Visit! - Have you been to Bryce Canyon? What did you think?

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    • Kiwisoutback profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      @goldenrulecomics: I'd love to get there during snowfall or shortly after. I was there late afternoon in the summer, which was oppressive and way too hot. I'd go in the autumn or winter if I went again.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image


      6 years ago from New Jersey

      My wife and I visited Bryce in October 1991 after an early snow storm, and it was just gorgeous! We were hiking through the snow by ourselves for most of the day and all around us was undisturbed nature. The hoodoos looked beautiful with crowns of snow!

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 

      6 years ago

      I have been to Bryce Canyon twice. The first time was as a teenager. The second time, I took my camera. I made sure to go there because I heard there was snow. And there was. It was pretty doggone cold! And I got winded at 9000 feet, which is well over a mile in elevation from where I live. (By the way, no need to claim that rivers and other forces carved these and features in other parks over millions of years. Millions of years not required. :) )

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      We really enjoy visiting Bryce Canyon. The scenery is so amazing and the wilderness is so quiet. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • Eklectik1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Bryce Canyon is my favorite National Park (been there 2x so far) and my favorite trail is the Queens Garden / Navajo Loop that traverses the entire amphitheater. Loved it so much I made a lens about it: If you're considering visiting the National Parks of the Southwest, be sure to add Bryce Canyon to your list. Aside from the spectacular daytime views, the night sky is so clear you can see the Milky Way. Highly recommended!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      6 years ago

      Great lens, pictures and videos, Thanks

    • agoofyidea profile image


      6 years ago

      I visited Bryce when I was a child. I need to go back. Amazing pictures.

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 

      7 years ago

      Visiting Bryce Canyon is my dream. I have never been there but I'm looking forward to go there. You photos are gorgeous! :)

    • Monica Ranstrom profile image

      Monica Ranstrom 

      7 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I'll have to add Bryce to my list of places to go!

    • LDWorld profile image


      7 years ago

      I heard about Bryce Canyon, but never could imagine it was so beautiful, on my bucket list it goes :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      An excellent showcase for this natural wonder. Such awesome scenery.

      Blessed by a squid angel and will be featured on You've Been Blessed.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful! ~ I hadn't heard of Bryce Canyon before, not that I remember. I love you photos, thanks for the tour once again.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I visited Bryce Canyon in 2001. It is breathtaking and fascinating. Excellent lens to entice people to see it for themselves!

    • missbat profile image


      8 years ago

      I haven't been to Bryce Canyon in a long, long time. But it was so very beautiful What a great lens about such a beautiful natural treasure!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Bryce Canyon is beautiful and so is this lens. I loved your color description in the introduction. We visited there many years ago and I could visualize exactly what it looked like. I also love your customized GuestBook banner. That looks great.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      9 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      ~Angel Blessings to You~

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Have to go there...been to Moab and loved Arches National Park.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      9 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      love bryce! featuring this and some of your other lenses on my Natural Wonder lens.5*

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow... that rainbow photo is absolutely breathtaking! Angel Blessings to you.


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