Bryce Canyon National Park

This photo was taken during a December visit, but no matter what time of year, Bryce Canyon is breathtaking!
This photo was taken during a December visit, but no matter what time of year, Bryce Canyon is breathtaking!

Bryce Canyon is not just one canyon, but a series of amphitheaters in the side of the mountain. You will see red and orange hoodoos, pink cliffs, and amazing scenery. The park is located near the town of Bryce, Utah just off of Highway 12 and is open year-round. The park is almost 8,000 feet above sea level, and some roads and trails may be temporarily closed after winter storms.

Rainbow Arch
Rainbow Arch

One main road runs through the park, with several viewpoints off of the road. You can take the easy Rim Trail and look down into the various amphitheaters, and you can also take one of the hikes down into the amphitheaters for an close-up experience with these rock formations such as the Rainbow Arch seen above.One of the easier trails into the amphitheater is the Queens Garden trail. It is a down and back trail of 1.8 miles. It is also one of the more popular trails in the park, and can often be busy. If you don’t want to go back up the same way you came, the trail does join up with the Navajo Loop which is a moderate hike.

If you do take the Navajo Loop, be prepared for a more strenuous climb back to the top of the amphitheater. Wear good hiking shoes (I am always amazed at the varied types of shoes I see on people taking this trail — everything from flip flips to wedge sandals!) and bring plenty of water with you.

There is much to see in Bryce Canyon, either by hiking or from the many viewpoints you can drive to. You could also schedule a horseback tour into the canyon. Plus the drive along Highway 12 to the canyon is pretty amazing to see. You can’t go wrong spending a day or two here. For more information on Bryce Canyon National Park, including details about each of the hiking trails, visit www.nps.gov/brca.

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