A land that captures the imagination and the heart, Bryce is a favorite among Utah's national parks. Although its splendor had been well known for decades, Bryce Canyon wasn't designated a national park until 1928. The park is named for Ebenezer Bryce, a pioneer cattleman and the first permanent settler in the area. His description of the landscape not being hospitable to cows has oft been repeated. Even more than his famous quote, however, Bryce Canyon is known for its fanciful "hoodoos," best viewed at sunrise or sunset, when the light plays off the red rock.In geological terms, Bryce is actually an amphitheater, not a canyon. The hoodoos in the amphitheater took on their unusual shapes because the top layer of rock—"cap rock"—is harder than the layers below it. If erosion undercuts the soft rock beneath the cap too much, the hoodoo will tumble. Bryce continues to evolve today, but the hoodoos are a permanent feature; old ones may die, but new ones are constantly forming as the amphitheater rim recedes.
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Things You Can't Miss
Drive 18-mile route (or take the shuttle) to access the visitor center and overlooks including Farview Point, Natural Bridge and Rainbow Point.
Encompassing Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point, this iconic location is unmatched for color and grandeur.
Less visited than other lookouts, Fairyland Point provides a colorful vista taking in Boat Mesa, the Sinking Ship, China Wall and Campbell Canyon.
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How many of these amazing wonders of nature in the U.S. have you seen?
There’s a good reason this is the park’s most popular hike: It wanders among bizarre rock formations and traverses the slot canyon called Wall Street.
Want to avoid the Grand Canyon crowds? Consider visiting Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and other gorges across America.
Jonathan Blair/National Geographic Creative
Guided horseback rides let you see destinations such as Wall of Windows, Silent City and the Cathedral while letting a horse or mule do the work.
Get information on national parks throughout America.
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Clear, unpolluted air makes the park a fantastic place for stargazing. Check the park office for scheduled ranger-led evening astronomy programs.
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Shared Trips to this Destination
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