What to expect when visiting beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah
Bryce Canyon is known for its brightly colored fairy chimneys, but visitors can expect a lot more when hiking this national park.
Bryce Canyon National Park may receive fewer visitors than Zion National Park (see here for when to hike Zion), but part of that is due to its remote location. It is a beautiful national park and truly a must see while visiting Utah. Ideally, all park facilities (visitor center, restaurants, lodge, general store and campgrounds are close to each other).
As you enter Bryce Canyon, you will be enchanted by a veritable forest of red fairy chimneys. See the work of the millions of years of freezing and thawing nature that gave birth to this field.
About Bryce Canyon
Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon, but a collection of natural amphitheatres clustered along the Paunsaugunt Plateau. It is famous for its distinctive and amazing fairy chimneys (also known as tent stones, fairy chimneys or earth pyramids).
Fairy chimneys are tall, slender rocky spiers. They are usually made up of soft rocks topped with harder rocks. They normally form in sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations. At Bryce Canyon they are colorful and breathtaking being made up of red, orange and white colors.
- Established: As a national park in 1923
Due to the park‘s high elevation (around 8,000-9,000 feet), there are even opportunities for winter sports (eg, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing).
Although winter is out of season, it offers a whole new perspective of the beautiful national park. See the red fairy chimneys covered with a layer of snow.
- Snowfall: Can average up to almost 100 inches
- Shuttle service: Between April and October there is a shuttle service to help alleviate congestion
- Point of view access point: Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point are all within a few miles of each other
- Scenic route: Is an 18 mile main road leading from the park’s only entrance
- Ranger programs: Daily geological lectures, shore walks, evening programs, astronomy programs, full moon hikes
Accommodation inside the park
To stay in the park, there are options for camping and staying at the Lodge in Bryce Canyon.
Lodge in Bryce Canyon
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon offers one of the park’s most iconic historic structures. This lodge is located within walking distance of the park’s main draw – the Bryce Amphitheater. The Lodge closes during the winter season, although their Sunset Lodge stays open a bit longer from November (through November 27). There are many more accommodation options outside of the park. See here for more information on accommodation.
- Rooms: 114 rooms (including motel rooms, cabins and lodge suites)
- To eat: The Lodge has a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Winter rate: $ 131.00 (November 1 to 27)
Camping in the park
The national park offers two campgrounds (although only one is open during the winter). They are called North and Sunset and are located near the Visitor Center (and Byrce Canyon Lodge).
- Basis of attribution: first come, first served north campground; Sunset Campground can be booked during peak hours
- Winter: Sunset Campground closed in winter
- Camping fees: Tents $ 20 per site, RV $ 30 per site
Additional facilities in the park
Other restaurants and shops in the park include the General Store and the Valhalla Pizzeria & Coffee Shop. The general store offers hot and cold take-out options (such as pizzas, soups, sandwiches, etc.). It contains drinks like water, beer, and soda, as well as camping supplies and necessities. A relief for campers, it also has toilets and showers.
Valhalla Pizzeria & Coffee Shop is generally a great dining option. But it is closed for 2021 and is normally closed off season from October to May.
Hiking Bryce Canyon
Of course, at least one short hike should be done when visiting Bryce Canyon. You can hike Bryce Canyon with your dog, see here for some national parks in the United States that you can explore with your dog. The park offers a number of day hikes (not multi-day hikes). Check the National Park Service for a full list of hiking trails in the park.
- Pets: Pets are allowed but only on a leash and on paved paths, picnic areas, etc.
- Escalation: Do not climb the fairy chimneys
Sunset at sunrise
Easiest hike with a view of scenic Bryce Amphitheater.
Wall up to a mossy cave with spectacular icicles in winter and mosses in summer
To note: Park service does not recommend hiking the trail between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. as it has become extremely crowded
Fairy Land Loop
See the Chinese Wall, Tower Bridge and the Great Fairy Chimneys – the benefit of being less crowded
Crossing the Bryce Amphitheater
Hop off Bryce Point and walk up to Sunrise Point (tip, use shuttle to return)
Next: Zion National Park: When To Visit & Why It’s So Worth It
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