Bryce Canyon National Park

We visited a lot of places on our Spring Break Road Trip to Havasupai Falls but when people ask me which place was my favorite, I have to admit it was Bryce Canyon NP.  There is an abundance of beauty in the southwest, but nothing quite like the world’s largest collection of hoodoos that you find here.

This 55 square acre national monument is similar to other canyon or mesa parks that have a main road that spans its almost the entire 18 mile length and is anchored by a visitor center with various viewpoints and attractions spreading out from there.  We drove in for our visit because we only had a few hours but I highly recommend to save yourself the nightmare of finding parking when the park is busy and take the shuttle in from town that is available during the summer.

Okay, a lazy picture out the window.  But we hit the park when it was busy and I didn’t feel like getting out to wait for a chance to stand alone for the obligatory entrance sign picture.

A land once named Unka Tumpee Wun-Nurrx Tungwatsini Xoopakichu Ahnax, which meant “Red Rock Standing Like A Man In A Hole” by the Paiute Indians, the park was created in 1923 and named after settlers who lived in the area at the end of the 1870s.  I think the original name is a bit more fitting.

The rim of the main amphitheater sits as high as 9,115ft and the Yellow River sits in the lowest point in the canyon at 6,620ft.  If you just flew in from somewhere at sea level, you will want to give yourself some time to acclimate to the high elevation before attempting too much physical activity.  And you will, the scenery just calls to be explored.

Plan for a variety of weather and temperatures during your visit; sun, elevation and wind can mean things cool off or heat up quickly to a difference of more than 30 degrees in one day. Water and comfortable footwear are important on the more than 65 walking and hiking trails in the park, as well. I will put in a plug for carrying the 10 Essentials of hiking, even though you are not far from services. Being prepared is just smart.

There are over 200 campsites available, most on a first come, first serve basis. You can also backcountry camp along two trails in in the canyon, one 9 miles and one 23 miles.  Permits are required and available at the visitor’s center.

For our visit, we spent some time at the visitor’s center and then drove out to Sunset Point to hike the Navajo Queens Garden Loop, a 2.9 mile path that takes you down from the rim to the canyon floor and then back up again. It is rated as a moderate hike with about 600ft of elevation change. It was the most beautiful hike I’ve done in the Southwest so far!

Navajo Queens Garden Loop Gallery

After this amazing hike, we walked back along the rim to our car ending our time in the park.

I hope you have a chance to visit Bryce National Park sometime in the near future and fall in love, too!

For more details about our hike, you can read my post, Spring Break Road Trip Day 2, Part 2: Queen of Bryce, Hoodoo Groot and A Tarp.

Bryce Canyon National Park is located between Bryce Canyon City and Tropic in south central Utah on SR 12.  You can find more information about the park and current conditions on the NPS website.

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