Bryce Canyon is one of our favorite national parks. We hiked through some parts of it and instantly fell in love with its beauty and amazing landscapes. It hosts such magnificent rock history, formations, and “sculptures” that are hard to find in any other place in the world.
The canyon lies within the Colorado Plateau geographic province of North America and straddles the southeastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau west of the Paunsaugunt Fault. It is very difficult to explain the magical paintings the sun paints with the clouds and the mountain tops during sunrises and sunsets there. You have to experience it. Words and even pictures hardly do any justice.
Park visitors arrive from the plateau part of the park and look over the plateau’s edge toward a valley containing the fault and the Paria River just beyond it (Paria is Paiute for “muddy or elk water”). The edge of the Kaiparowits Plateau bounds the opposite side of the valley.
Bryce Canyon was not formed from erosion initiated from a central stream, meaning it technically is not a canyon. Instead, headward erosion has excavated large amphitheater-shaped features in the Cenozoic-aged rocks of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. This erosion exposed delicate and colorful pinnacles called hoodoos that are up to 200 feet (60 m) high. A series of amphitheaters extends more than 20 miles (30 km) north-to-south within the park. The largest is Bryce Amphitheater, which is 12 miles (19 km) long, 3 miles (5 km) wide, and 800 feet (240 m) deep.
All the viewpoints we went to presented amazing views. In some cases, I might argue that some of the views were more impressive than the Grand Canyon or at least as impressive. Nature has done things there that are just mind-blowing. If you do not have much time there make sure you visit the Sunrise and the Sunset points. They are very close to each other and the hike is very very short. Park is very well maintained and the roads are in great condition.
We stayed at one of the most historical hotels there – The Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn. It was found in 1916 and still has that cowboy old school feel to it. Very nicely done inside and out. If you have a chance to stay there or at least visit this hotel you would not be sorry. We absolutely enjoyed our stay. Link to it:
The hotel is just outside the park and about 10 mins from Sunrise and Sunset points. Really convenient. Next to it, there are places to eat, gift shops, a gas station, etc. Overall great location to rest and relax after your busy day exploring the park.
When to go
As you can see we went to visit Bryce Canton during the month of January and there was plenty of snow everywhere. The weather was perfect for winter hiking. Sunny and just right for pictures and long hikes. You can see the links section for the temperatures there for each month.
- Bryce Canyon Official Web Site
- Bryce Canyon Wikipedia page / Weather & monthly temperatures
- Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn