Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park: A Forest of Stone


7/22/20232 min read

Bryce Canyon National Park: A Forest of Stone
Bryce Canyon National Park: A Forest of Stone

Bryce Canyon National Park: A Forest of Stone

Bryce Canyon National Park, situated in the high steppes of southern Utah, is renowned worldwide for its crimson-colored hoodoos (spire-shaped rock formations). The park's horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters and pristine dark skies offer visitors a stunning natural spectacle and a unique stargazing opportunity.

History of Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park's history is as colorful as the rich hues that adorn its iconic hoodoos. Native Americans, including the Paiute tribe and the ancient Anasazi, resided there for hundreds of years. They developed a rich heritage centered around the understanding and respect for the natural world, viewing the hoodoos as ancient people frozen in stone by the trickster Coyote.

European-American settlers reached Bryce Canyon in the mid-19th century. Among these settlers was Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer who lent his name to the park. Bryce, who used the canyon as a natural corral for his cattle, reportedly called it "a hell of a place to lose a cow."

The federal government recognized the area's extraordinary scenic value in 1923 when President Warren G. Harding declared it a national monument. The park was re-designated as Bryce Canyon National Park in 1928. It spans over 35,000 acres and draws over one million visitors annually.

Iconic Features of Bryce Canyon National Park

The most defining feature of Bryce Canyon is undoubtedly its hoodoos. These tall, thin spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins and "broken" lands are a spectacle of natural architecture. The largest collection of hoodoos in the world is found in the park's Bryce Amphitheater, a giant natural bowl filled with a maze of red, orange, and white spires.

The park's highest point, Rainbow Point, offers breathtaking views of the pink cliffs and the Aquarius Plateau. The Bristlecone Loop, accessible from Rainbow Point, takes visitors past 1,800-year-old Bristlecone Pines, the oldest trees in the park.

Bryce Canyon is also one of the best places on earth for stargazing, as it boasts some of the darkest skies in North America. The park hosts a regular astronomy program and an annual Astronomy Festival.

Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round, and each season offers different attractions. The park is known for its superb air quality, which allows visitors to see distant mountains and objects on the horizon that are usually obscured in places with lesser air quality.

The park is a hiker's paradise, with a variety of trails ranging from easy to strenuous. These trails wind through the remarkable rock formations and offer panoramic views of the three main amphitheaters. In addition to hiking, visitors can enjoy camping, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing in winter.

Bryce Canyon is located near Highway 63, approximately four hours' drive from Las Vegas and two hours from Zion National Park.


With its unique geology and stunning vistas, Bryce Canyon National Park offers visitors a glimpse into an otherworldly landscape. Whether it's hiking among the hoodoos or gazing at the star-filled night sky, a visit to Bryce Canyon is a journey into nature's extraordinary wonders.