Located in south central Utah, Bryce Canyon is one of the most intriguing and unique National Parks that our family has ever seen.
Best known for its tall rock pillars called “hoodoos”, and brilliant orange color, Bryce is captivating to say the least.
As the top step of the Grand Staircase, Bryce Canyon was formed 35-55 million years ago by rivers and streams flowing through the highlands and depositing iron-rich lime sediments in the ancient lakes. On a clear day, you can look south down the Grand Staircase to the horizon (90+ miles away) where you’ll be able to see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!
The reddish-pink hoodoos formed by those iron-rich sediments almost resemble drippy castles that the kids make with wet sand at the beach. But unlike drippy castles that were built bottom to top, hoodoos were carved from the top down by flowing water and centuries of freeze-thaw cycles to create some fantastic shapes.
Based on our trip to Bryce, here’s what we would recommend:
This 3-hour bus tour was not only FREE, it was incredibly entertaining. As we drove between scenic overlooks, our bus driver / tour guide (Cliff), told us the true story of Butch Cassidy (Robert Parker) and the Sundance Kid and the cowboy history of the surrounding southern Utah area from Robber’s Roost to the Big Rock Candy Mountains. It was so captivating that we couldn’t wait to get back on the bus to hear the rest (perhaps his plan worked?). The view from Rainbow Point seemed to go on forever. The tour guide pointed out Navajo Mountain 85 miles away! The scenic lookouts, history, stories, and antidotes made the Rainbow Point Tour our Bryce Canyon highlight!
OK…so this is not something to do, per se, but it’s fun to spot the faces in the rock. Our tour guide had given dozens of hoodoos an identity from Queens of England to cartoon characters. And once you spotted the image, it was hard NOT to see the faces in the rock! Some of the faces even had moving shadows that appeared to make their eyes move as the sun swept across the sky.
This is the post card vantage point – the spot that makes you wish you had a 360-degree camera. Thousands of hoodoos stand in formation as far as the eye can see. In a word – it’s amazing.
I think that I learned as much from this activity than this kids! All of our boys participated (ages 4-13) and thoroughly enjoyed it.
We had 1-day to see Bryce – which I thought was fine. We saw some amazing vistas, heard some great stories, saw grazing pronghorns, and even took the kids through the Junior Ranger Program.
While there, however, I did see some things that would have nice to experience had we been able to stay a couple more days. If we went back, I’d try to stay at the Bryce Canyon Lodge; Perhaps go for a hike or a horseback ride; and stay for a sunrise and the amazing night sky for some evening star-gazing.
No regrets…just some ideas for those that may have another day in this amazing national treasure!