Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon, Kurt Repanshek

Javascript is required to view this map.

Southern Utah's national parks all are red-rock wonders.

Zion National Park features towering cliffs of stone. Arches National Park showcases a one-of-its-kind collection of stony arches and windows. Canyonlands National Park is a maze of canyons, and Capitol Reef National Park offers a sprawling rockscape.

Bryce Canyon, on the other hand, is much, much more intimate and, in some manners, more curious, geologically.

Not quite 36,000 acres in size -- little more than a tenth the size of Canyonlands -- the drawing card of Bryce is its namesake amphitheater crowded with hoodoos and goblins that erosion has sculpted from the pink underbelly of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Whether you gaze down upon the amphitheater, or stroll through it, the features known as Thor's Hammer, Queen's Garden, Natural Bridge, ET, Indian Princess, and the Warrior, just to name a few, fire your imagination and cause you to marvel at nature's artistic side.

For most visitors, Bryce is a one-day adventure, as the 18-mile long Rim Road leads to all the major overlooks that provide dramatic views into the canyons down below.

But this small park deserves a closer, more attentive inspection, for its wonders are in the nuances that wind, rain, ice and snow have created, and even in the shadows it casts. You can spend at least a day exploring down below the rim, and the viewpoints from the top of the rim can take up the good portion of another day.

Not to be overlooked, either, are the dark skies overhead that sparkle with stars once the sun goes down. Another good reason to spend at least one night in the park.

Traveler's choice for: Hiking, photography, geology

Park History: Bryce Canyon National Park

What's in a name? Would Bryce Canyon National Park be as popular if it was known as Temple of the Gods National Park?.

Lodging in Bryce Canyon National Park

At first glance, lodging options at Bryce Canyon National Park might appear simple and straightforward, but a little exploration reveals charming bed-and-breakfast accommodations in the area as well as the more typical park lodgings.

Camping in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park offers some gorgeous camping options for those toting a tent or pulling an RV.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park

Though not a park filled with endless miles of trails, Bryce Canyon National Park has a potpourri of wonder-filled hikes that take you down into, and then wind through, an incredibly eroded land of color.

Wildlife in Bryce Canyon National Park

Most of the wildlife you initially spot in Bryce Canyon National Park flit about the park's coniferous forests or scamper across the forest duff, but if you take the time to look, and are in the right place at the right time, you just might be surprised.

The Essential Bryce Canyon

Surrounded by southern Utah’s rugged wilderness, I’m confronted by, of all things, butterscotch. In a landscape of warm kaleidoscopic colors that change with the swinging of the sun, butterscotch currently is the color of the limestone ramparts that brought fame to Bryce Canyon National Park. And, I find as I plant my nose against the rough and rumpled bark of a 100-foot-tall Ponderosa pine, butterscotch is the unmistakable scent wafting from the tree.

Traveler's Checklist: Bryce Canyon National Park, Winter Edition

Though summer draws the bulk of Bryce Canyon National Park's 1.2 million annual visitors, a strong argument can be made that winter is a more fascinating time to visit this red-rock icon. The sharp contrasts between fresh-fallen snow, cerulean skies, and the park's red-hued amphitheaters are spectacular.

Resources For Bryce Canyon National Park

This is where you can find websites, helpful phone numbers, friends groups and cooperating associations, and, sometimes, books related to the park.

Bryce Canyon National Park News

Ten Top Geologic Parks In The National Park System

Geology factors into many units of the National Park System, but there are some parks that rise above all others if you have an interest in the geologic past...and present. What follows is a short list of some of the most geologically fascinating parks in the system, though we're sure you can add others.

Birding In The National Parks: Birding By The Season Through The National Park System

National park travelers are keenly aware of the changing seasons. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a completely different experience in August than in October. The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon need to be seen both in the blistering July sun and the January snow to be fully appreciated. And, of course, there’s Yellowstone – a bustling city on a summer weekend and a tranquil white wilderness on a bright February morning.

Reader Participation Day: What Role Should Horses Have In The National Parks

Horses have a long, long history in America. They came to the New World with the Spaniards, and have carried riders ever since. In many national parks horses are icons, seen as both honorable steeds that carry mounted rangers and as work horses that carry both visitors and gear. But they also have impacts on the landscape, and there have been calls to ban them from the parks. But should they be banned?

Bryce Canyon National Park Images