If you’re looking for unique destination for your next hiking trip, Bryce Canyon National Park is the park that should be on your list to visit. Despite its name, Bryce Canyon National Park isn’t actually a canyon, but rather a collection of naturally formed amphitheaters. Exploring the unique geology of Bryce Canyon with a hike through the hoodoos is the best way to experience this national park. We have multiple trip options to get the full Bryce Canyon experience, from weekend escapes only in Bryce to trips that also visit Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Zion National Park.
The best way to experience Bryce’s amphitheaters and unique geology is to hike through the park. Don’t miss these trails!
Click here for a map of Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce Canyon is located in Southern Utah, east of Zion National Park off of National Scenic Byway 12.
Bryce is a great destination for hiking, photography, wildlife viewing, road biking the scenic park road, mule rides, and lots more fun activities in the surrounding area including horseback riding, ATV adventures, mountain biking at nearby Thunder Mountain trail, and of course camping under the stars.
The easiest way to get to Bryce Canyon is to fly into Las Vegas and rent a car. This also makes it possible to visit other beautiful sights in the region including Zion National Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and more!
The name “Bryce” comes from a man named Ebenezer Bryce who settled in the area with his family in the late 1800s. Their homestead was just below the main Bryce amphitheater. Locals in the area referred to the unique rock formations as “Bryce’s Canyon.”
Before embarking on any Bryce Canyon hikes, you will probably need to decide on lodging. There are two campgrounds in Bryce Canyon.
Open year round, and has SHOWERS is nearby the Visitor Center
Closed mid October – mid April
If you’d rather sleep in a warm bed, you would be advised to try and get a reservation at the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge, though it is competitive to reserve rooms here since it is the only hotel in Bryce Canyon National Park.
The town of Tropic is just outside of Bryce and has many inns and hotels for you to choose from. The Bullberry Inn is the best B&B in town, or another recommendation would be The Hills to rent a one bedroom apartment. Maps for the campgrounds can be found here.
Headward erosion causes the amphitheaters to recede, leaving fins of soil that slowly whittle away to become many spire-like formations called Hoodoos (up to 200 feet high). While Bryce is not the only place with Hoodoos in the world, it has one of the highest concentrations of them. The result is an alien landscape with columns of stone rising from the orange and tan slopes. As if it wasn’t already super interesting to look at, there are also many natural arches, bridges and windows. The elevation of the park is generally between 8,000-9,000 ft.
Bryce Canyon is out of the way, so while you’re in the area it is the perfect opportunity to see other nearby utah hiking spots like Zion National Park, or even to make a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.
For the geology buffs, Bryce Canyon is the start and the youngest of 5 massive layers of formations that make up The Grand Staircase. The Grand Staircase is a wonderfully displayed geological record spanning from 100 million years at the top of the Staircase to almost 2 billion years (including the “basement”, Vishnu Schist) at the bottom. The record tells a story in colorful brilliance of ancient sand dunes, of great seas that were here before the desert, and of the shocking voyage that our continental plate has made; currently sailing West over an ocean of magma and lifting the Staircase miles into the sky. It contains a wealth of plant and animal fossils that can teach us more about how Earth has developed, what it was like before humans were here to see it, and based on those findings and the trends discovered we are able improve the accuracy of our predictions about Earth’s future. What is buried helps us to make sense of what we find at the surface. The Grand Staircase stretches across millions of acres from Bryce to the The Grand Canyon, and this American treasure is well worth exploring.