Bryce Canyon National Park

 

 

 

Description

At Bryce Canyon National Park, erosion has shaped colorful Claron limestones, sandstones, and mudstones into thousands of spires, fines, pinnacles, and mazes. Collectively called "hoodoos," these colorful and whimsical formations stand in horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters along the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in Southern Utah.

 

 

Park Information

Operation Hours: The park is open 24 hours per day through out the year.

Entrance Fees:
Individual pass - $12 - 7 Days
This entrance fee applies to motorcycles, bicyclists, or individuals traveling on foot
Private vehicle - $25 - 7 Days
Bryce Canyon National Park Annual Pass - $30

Camping Fees:
Regular Tent/RV Site - $15 per site per night
Sunset Group Sites - $55-$100 depending on group size

Backcountry Camping Fees:
$5 - 1-2 persons for up to 7 nights
$10 - 3-6 persons for up to 7 nights
$15 - 7-15 persons for up to 7 nights

Directions:  From the north or south on US Hwy 89: Turn east on Utah Hwy 12 (seven miles south of Panguitch, Utah) and travel to the junction of Utah 12 and 63. Turn south (right) onto Utah 63 and travel three miles to reach the park entrance.
From the east: Travel west on Utah 12 to the intersection with Utah 63. Turn south (left) to reach the park entrance.

Weather & Climate:  At 8,000 to 9,100 feet, summer days are pleasant (80's) and nights are cool (40's). Afternoon thundershowers are common during mid- to late summer.
Spring and Fall weather is highly variable with days of snow or days with strong sun and 70 degrees.  Cold winter days are offset by high altitude sun and dry climate.
  

Available Facilities:  Restrooms, Bookstore, Museum and a Ranger staffed Information Desk.

 

History

Little is known of the native American inhabitants of the park area prior to Mormon pioneer settlement. Limited archeological studies indicate that this area was used primarily for hunting with most habitation in the river valleys below. Trips to the plateau were limited to harvesting its forest resources, including wild game. Later settlers continued this seasonal use.

Bryce Canyon National Park is named for pioneer Ebenzener Bryce who came to the Paria Valley with his family in 1875. He was sent by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because his skill as a carpenter would be useful in settling this area. Bryce built a road to the plateau top to retrieve firewood and timber. He also built an irrigation canal to raise crops and animals. Local people called the canyon with the strange rock fomations near Ebenezer's home "Bryce's Canyon". The Bryces moved to Arizona in 1880, the name remained.

As southern Utah developed, Reuben and Minnie Syrett--who homesteaded just outside the present park boundaries--brought their friends to see the intricately eroded stone formations. By popular demand, they developed sleeping and eating facilities on the canyon rim. They called their establishment, "Tourist's Rest." When the area was set aside as a national monument in 1923, the Union Pacific Railroad bought out the Syrett's interests and began to construct Bryce Canyon Lodge intending to make the Bryce Canyon area part of their new "Loop Tour" of the southwest. The Syrett's then built "Ruby's Inn" on their own land just north of the park.

Intrest in the area continued to grow after the declaration of the new national monument. The Union Pacific continued to improved facilities in the area. They improved transportation into Cedar City and started a shuttle service from the train depot there to Bryce Canyon National Monument. In 1924, Bryce Canyon National Monument was declared Utah National Park. The Bryce Canyon Lodge was finished in the same year. In 1925, the Union Pacific continued to expand the Bryce Canyon Lodge, due to the overwhelming popularity of the area.

Bryce Canyon Lodge still serves park visitors. This National Historic Landmark has been renovated to provide modern safety and conveniences, while maintaining the character of the 1930's.

In 1928 an act of congress increased the amount of protected land to double what was already protected by the new national park. This addition of land was accompanied by another name change. Bryce Canyon National Park was officially designated on February 25, 1928.

 

Conducted Activities

National park rangers and volunteers conduct interpretive activities from late spring through early fall. All interpretive programs are offered free-of-charge. This is a basic schedule of what is offered this summer, all programs are subject to change. Check at the Visitor Center for additional information.

 

 

Guided Hikes and Walks

Queens Garden Hike - Hike down to the canyon bottom to view the rocks and life forms up close. 320 ft/98 m elevation change; 2.5 hours, 1.8 miles/2.9 km.

Navajo Loop Hike - Switchbacks lead to the canyon bottom through Wall Street and past Thorís Hammer. 521 ft/159 m elevation change; 2.5 hours, 1.4 miles/2.2 km.

Rim Walk - Stroll along the canyon rim. 1 hour;1 mile/1.6 km, roundtrip.

 

 

Special Programs

Just For Kids - Join a ranger for games and activities on ecology and Bryce Canyon. 1 hour. Reservations required.

Moonlight Hike - Hike among moonlit hoodoos. Sign-up (in person) is required. 320 ft/98 m elevation change; 2 hours. Offered three times each month during the full moon.

Night Skies at Bryce - Learn the stars, planets and constellations. 1 hour.

Star Party - Join an astronomer from Hansen Planetarium and view the sky through telescopes. 2 hours. (Offered once each month.)

 

Talks & Evening Programs

Geology Talk - Rangers tell the geologic story of Bryce Canyon. 30 minutes.

Lodge Patio Talk - Relax and learn about natural or cultural history. 30 minutes.

Campfire/Auditorium Program - Bryce Canyonís diversity comes to life during the slide program or evening talk at the campground amphitheaters or Bryce Lodge auditorium. 45 minutes.

 

Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger Program offers children the opportunity to learn more about the park. Although the program is designed as an independent learning experience in an effort to accommodate individual family schedules, one important requirement is that the kids attend a ranger-guided activity. Recommended minimum time needed for completion of the program is approximately one full day. When kids fulfill their requirements, they can bring their completed booklets to the park visitor center and receive a Junior Ranger certificate, badge and special patch.

 

Camping

Developed Campgrounds:
Bryce Canyon has two campgrounds, North and Sunset, with 218 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Group Campsite:
One group site is available in Sunset Campground by reservation only from approximately May 15 through October 10 (depending on weather).

Backcountry Campsites:
A $5 backcountry permit is required for overnight backcountry camping. Permits must be obtained in person and are issued at the park visitor center from 8:00 a.m. until two hours before sunset. No reservations are accepted.

 

Hiking

Day Hikes in Bryce Amphitheater:
The easiest trail is the 1/2-mile (one way) section of Rim Trail between Sunset and Sunrise Points. Other sections of the Rim Trail (which extends 5.5 miles between Fairyland and Bryce Points) have steeper terrain.

Trails which wind down below the rim through the rock formations include:

Fairyland Loop
(8 miles round trip);
Peekaboo Loop
(4.8 or 6.8 miles round trip);
Queen's Garden (1.8 miles round trip) and
Navajo Loop (1.5 miles round trip).

The Peekaboo Loop Trail also serves as a horse trail.

Keep in mind that all trails below the rim involve steep climbs out of the canyon. Wear hiking boots with good traction and ankle support. Drink plenty of water. Know and respect your own physical limitations.

Backcountry Hikes: The Under-the-Rim Trail extends 23 miles from Bryce Point to Rainbow Point and has eight backcountry campsites. The Riggs Spring Loop Trail (8.8 miles round trip) from Yovimpa Point has four backcountry sites. Both trails drop below the rim of the plateau and lead through forested areas. A backcountry permit is required for all overnight hiking. Permits are available at the Visitor Center for $5. Click here for more information about backcountry camping.

 

For Additional Information Contact:

Bryce Canyon National Park
PO Box 170001
Bryce Canyon, UT 84717-0001
(435)834-5322

   

For more information visit the National Park Service website