Bryce Canyon National Park: Meet Utah’s Great Outdoors
One of the main reasons I decided to visit the state of Utah is the limitless opportunity for outdoor adventure, especially in the Mighty 5 National Parks. On my recent trip, I had the opportunity to explore one of these popular parks, Bryce Canyon National Park. It is a landmark example of the natural beauty of this remarkable state.
Bryce Canyon National Park: Horseback and Hoodoos
Bryce Canyon National Park is not a real canyon in that it is not eroded by flowing water. Instead, its natural geologic formations are caused by water freezing and thawing, as well as natural erosion from rainfall.
Upon my arrival, I was immediately captivated by one of its most unique features, the hoodoos. These limestone-rich pillars range from average human height to more than 10 stories high. Because of Bryce Canyon’s unique erosional patterns, hoodoos are more abundant here than anywhere else in the world.
There are a handful of opportunities to hike or horseback ride through the canyon with local guides. Notably, the most popular trail is The Navajo Loop Trail because it wends its way through a multitude of hoodoos and slot canyons. The reds and oranges of the canyon walls combined with the green of the Douglas fir trees makes for some memorable vistas. Many people combine the Navajo Loop Trail with other trails for a longer outing.
More leisurely hikes can be enjoyed along the canyon rim. Some sections are nice and easy with little elevation change. Unlike the deeper canyon trails, a rim trail hike gives you an opportunity to enjoy the splendor of the hoodoos from above. And no matter which trails you choose, you simply cannot miss a sunset view from one of the great vantage points. Watching the setting sun cast a shimmering glow on the hoodoo pinnacles and canyon walls is an experience that I won’t forget.
Beyond Bryce Canyon
If you’re staying near Bryce Canyon and have an extra day or two during your trip, consider a visit to Zion National Park or Canyonlands National Park. Zion National Park is one of the most-visited parks in the U.S., known for its unparalleled views of an otherworldly landscape: dramatic cliffs, sandstone canyons and towering rock formations. It’s within a two-hour drive from Bryce Canyon – a nice day-trip distance. Meanwhile, Canyonlands National Park is about a four-hour drive away, so I recommend making this trip an overnight stay in one of the park’s nearby towns. This park is full of adventure for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly if you enjoy whitewater rafting.
Beyond being one of the most spectacular outdoor destinations of your life, a trip to Bryce Canyon is also convenient. Whether you’re camping in the park or staying in any of the nearby towns, there’s a variety of lodging to choose from for all tastes. The only question left is when to book your trip!