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Bryce Canyon National Park - Utah

Some of the wildest and most colorful rock formations on Earth can be seen at Bryce Canyon National Park near Panguitch, Utah. There is something almost supernatural about the way the rocks have been sculpted by erosion into a wilderness of "hoodoos" or spires and other fantastic forms. Iron oxides give red, yellow and brown tints to the limestone and manganese oxides give a lavender hue.

The park got its name from Mormon settler Ebenezer Bryce who first settled in the area. Bryce, whose cattle grazed in the mazelike twists of the canyons' stream beds, declared it "a hell of a place to lose a cow."

Looking Into Bryce CanyonBryce is not a true canyon but a series of U-shaped amphitheaters carved down 2,000 feet in the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau by tributaries of the Paria River. An American Indian name for the area translates as "red rocks standing like men in a bowl-shaped canyon."

Near the entrance of the park before reaching the entrance station, look for the 1-mile drive to Fairyland Point Overlook.  Here you get an excellent panoramic view of the vertical erosion that characterizes Bryce. A short walk from the trailhead leads to spires and towers.

One of the best overlooks in the park is at Bryce Point, one of the highest views in the park overlooking Bryce Amphitheater which covers six square miles. You don't want to miss this one!

A short but steep trail leads from the Inspiration Point parking lot to Upper Inspiration Point and features several close-up viewpoints into the canyon. Sunset Point nearby is named for the astonishing brilliance of color brought on by the late afternoon sun.   

Further south is Farview Point where you can see far to the east. A 125-foot tall stone arch can be seen from the Natural Bridge viewpoint. The Pink Cliffs in front of Navajo Mountain can be seen from the Agua Canyon viewpoint. Closer in, towering hoodoos can be seen from this spot.

At 9,105 feet Rainbow Point is one of the highest points in the park. The cliffs at Yovimpa Point are covered in 1500 year old bristlecone pines. On clear days you can see all the way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Some of the wildlife that may be seen at Bryce include the yellow-bellied marmot, bobcat, badger, gray fox, porcupine, and pine squirrel.  The most common animals seen are the chipmunks and golden-mantled ground squirrels. Mule deer, the park's largest mammal, can be seen in the meadows early morning or evening. Cougar and coyote are seen rarely.

Directions and Fees

Bryce Canyon is located 26 miles southeast of Panguitch via US 89 and SR 63 and SR 12. The park is open all year. Admission is $10 per vehicle, valid for 7 days. Annual passes are $20 per person (subject to change).

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