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Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah - What You Need to Know When Visiting Bryce

Hiking, Sightseeing, Shopping and More at Bryce Canyon

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Bryce Canyon View

Bryce Canyon View

Copyright: Elizabeth R. Mitchell
Bryce Basics

Bryce Canyon National Park, approximately 250 miles from either Salt Lake City, Utah or Las Vegas, Nevada is located in southeast Utah. Bryce is a little northeast of Zion National Park. It is open all year round. Bryce is one of the top attractions of the southwest. The official Bryce website explains... Bryce Canyon, famous for its worldly unique geology, consists of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called "hoodoos."

When to Go

Bryce Canyon National Park is open year round. There may be temporary road closures during and shortly after winter snow storms until plowing is completed and conditions are safe for visitor traffic. The park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The visitor's center is closed on Christmas.

Activities

The Park is designed to have something for everyone. The restrooms, visitor's center, shuttle, general store and Bryce Canyon Lodge are fully accessible.The Bryce Canyon Shuttle operates May 26 - September 4, 2006, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time. Buses run approximately every 12 minutes. Route duration is about 50 minutes, not including stops at facilities and overlooks. Cars are allowed in the park but the shuttle is encouraged to keep the traffic down.

What are Hoodoos?

The main attraction at Bryce is the unique geology of the area. Deserts create many strange-looking landforms from the rocks beneath them, like arches and domes and yardangs and mesas. But a particularly grotesque one is called a hoodoo rock. Dry-climate erosion, without the softening effects of soil or humidity, brings out the details of the sedimentary joints and crossbedding, carving suitable formations into suggestive shapes. More on hoodoos from About Geology

Hiking - There are easy trails, such as The Rim Trail, and very strenuous trails such as Navaho and Peekaboo Loops which take you down into the base of the fascinating Hoodoos. Backcountry hiking is limited. There are two trails designed for overnight hiking. Backcountry camping is by permit only on a first come, first served basis purchased at the visitor's center.

It is important to remember that Bryce Canyon is at a high altitude and is rugged. You would need good hiking boots, hiking poles, plenty of water and a day to acclimate to the altitude before hiking.

Bicycles - Bikes are restricted to paved roads. Nearby, the Dixie National Forest has a paved 5 mile bicycle path through Red Canyon.

Horseback Riding - Guided trips are available April through October. Reservations and information are available at the lodge or by writing:
Canyon Trail Rides
PO Box 128
Tropic, UT 84776
Phone: 435-679-8665

Website

Visitor's Center- The Visitors Center has a great movie that describes the geology of Bryce Canyon National Park. There is also a small museum. It is worth a stop on your way in to the park. The Visitors Center is open in summer 8:00a.m. to 8:00p.m.

Shopping - The Visitors Center has a great shop with an excellent selection of books, great souvenirs and beautifully designed t-shirts. Proceeds go to the park.

Pet Limitations- Pets are not recommended in the park. If you bring a pet, it must be leashed. You cannot bring pets on trails, in buildings or to viewpoints.

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