We’ve compiled a list of ultimate attractions to see at Bryce Canyon.
Sandstone spires scrape the sapphire sky high above the otherworldly landscape of the inimitable Bryce Canyon National Park, a haven of ultimate attractions. An immense chasm studded with red-orange rocks, Utah’s famed Bryce Canyon possesses an ancient mystique and timeless majesty evidenced most profoundly in the sandy spikes that pierce the clouds high above the ginger-hued soil. The relentless forces of weathering and erosion carved these skyscraping stones into unique formations known as hoodoos that tower over the terrain like soaring steeples from a bygone age.
Start your trip at Bryce Amphitheater, a vast valley filled with sprawling mazes of towering copper-hued hoodoos. Stop at an overlook along the first three miles of the main road for a bird’s-eye view of the sandy spikes that litter the alien landscape of Bryce Canyon. Descend into the canyon via the Navajo Loop Trail, a moderate 1.4-mile hike that begins at Sunset Point. After an hour of near-constant switchbacks and 515 feet of elevation change, you will come to Bottom Junction and begin the slow ascent back up to Sunset Point.
After your hike, relax at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, a stately wood-and-stone building that has graced the park since 1925. Dine beside a magnificent stone fireplace whose immense size and cheery warmth give the large dining room a rustic charm. Sample a sunset spinach salad for a delicious appetizer or try the garlic-loaded shrimp scampi entrée before scarfing down a slice of chocolate cake drizzled with prickly pear syrup. No dining reservations are required and casual attire is acceptable.
A sloping valley narrows to a dusty orange path that beckons visitors to brave the switchbacks and enter the enormous Bryce Canyon via the Queen’s Garden Trail. The walkway descends 320 feet into the gulch with a roundtrip distance of 1.8 miles. If you are in the mood for a strenuous trek, try the 8-mile Fairyland Loop hike, a backcountry trail with up-close views of pale pink hoodoos whose light salmon shade is all the more striking when compared with the scraggly brush that splashes emerald splotches over the hillsides.
Bright yellow-orange spires pierce the clouds high above the Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail, a 5.5-mile hike with a maximum elevation of 8309 feet. While gazing on a range of unique hoodoos on your strenuous descent to the canyon floor, remember to yield the right-of-way to horse and mule riders and look out for trail caravans. Hikers are especially susceptible to ankle injuries on this trail because of its steep downhill slope, so wear sturdy shoes and use a foot traction device if you are walking Peek-A-Boo Loop in winter.
Tall, thin hoodoos stretch as far as the eye can see at Inspiration Point, a lookout with a dazzling overview of the myriad red-orange rock columns that, from a distance, appear to be bright flames flickering at the edge of the forest. When looking north, bask in the beauty of the Paunsaugunt plateau’s ponderosa forest and lush meadows; when gazing east, take in the wonder of Bryce Creek, a typically dry streambed that bursts to life in the springtime and becomes a rushing brook swollen with winter snowmelt.
Southern Scenic Drive
See the red rocks of Bryce Canyon up close when you cruise along the Southern Scenic Drive, a stunning highway with nine scenic turnouts where you can pull over and take in the wonder of the canyon. Look out for Natural Bridge, an imposing 85-foot-tall arch that gives a rounded window into the beauty of the forest beyond. The deep red hue of the rocky overpass stands in stark contrast to the deep green trees that cover the hillsides far beyond the carved-out peephole that gives visitors a unique glimpse into Utah’s natural beauty.
Experience the best of Bryce Canyon when you visit these four scenic attractions.