Why was Bryce Canyon National Park Created
Named after Mormon pioneer Ebenezer Bryce, Bryce Canyon National Park was created to protect the unique geology of the area. The shapes and colors of the Hoodoos that make up the huge amphitheaters of Bryce Canyon are found nowhere else in the world. This is truly a unique National Park and its proximity to other Southern Utah parks makes it a popular destination for good reason.
How do you get to Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon Airports- The closest major airport to Bryce Canyon National Park is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The Bryce Canyon airport is for scenic flights or private planes only. Cedar City, Utah is 2 hours away and has delta connection flight. St George UT at about 3 hours away has daily flights from Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
Bryce Canyon Car Rentals- Although there are some private shuttles that go to Bryce, and a free shuttle in the Park if you really want to explore Bryce Canyon and nearby parks it is a god idea to have a car. If you are already at Bryce Canyon you can pick up a rental at Ruby’s Inn right outside the park. Nearby cities like Cedar City, St George and Kanab also have rental cars.
Bryce Canyon Shuttles- There is a free shuttle in Bryce Canyon National Park as well as several private companies that run shuttles in the area.
Bryce Canyon Fees and Other Costs
Bryce Canyon National Park charges a $25 entry fee for private vehicles. Camping and Hiking fees are separate. Like most National Parks costs for food lodging and other service are above average.
Bryce Canyon Weather and Climate
The Rim of Bryce Canyon National Park has an elevation of 8,000 to 9,100 feet making for great summer weather while many other area parks are down right hot.. Average highs for the summer season are around 80 degrees, while evening lows are typically in the 40’s. At this elevation weather in the fall and spring season can vary from 65 and sunny to heavy snow so it important to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. The winter sun can warm cold day, but the average snow fall is 95 inches, so be prepared for real winter weather November through March.
When to visit Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park receives 1.75 million visitors each year and most of these are in the summer season. On like other parks on the Colorado Plateau, summer is the ideal time to visit Bryce because of its high elevation. While Spring and Fall can also have good weather, temperatures can be downright cold, and snow can fly. Of course the winter season offers solitude, and some good snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
Environment of Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon is not a huge park in size at 35,835 acres, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. The main feature of Bryce Canyon’s topography is the strange Hoodoo formations that the Park was created to protect. While the rim of the park is fairly flat, it is a ruff and rugged landscape once you make your way down to the surreal amphitheatres below the rim. Bryce Canyon’s Hoodoos are its main geologic feature, and were formed by the erosion of altering hard and soft rock layers of the Clarion Formation. This rough pattern that is not uniform, is what makes a hoodoo different from a spire, which has a uniform, tapered thickness, and a fairly smooth surface. Bryce is not a true canyon, and the chief force in the creation of the hoodoos is weathering and the frost-wedging, and not flowing water.
Bryce Canyon Flora and Fauna
Because of Bryce Canyon National Parks location on a high plateau, its get much more precipitation than the surrounding deserts. This increase in precipitation and cooler temperature means you’ll find fir, spruce and aspen at the highest elevations and ponderosa pines at the median altitudes. Lower in elevation you find pinyon juniper forest, and cactus, yucca and other desert plants in the lowest regions of the park. Bryce Canyon also has splendid wildflowers throughout the park. This diverse landscape also holds many species of animals. From Rocky Mountain Elk and Pronghorn, to migratory birds, Bryce is home to many birds, mammals and reptiles.
Bryce Canyon Accommodations
Bryce Canyon Lodge is the only lodge inside the park, and its operating season is April 1st to October 31st. There are several lodging options right outside the park and in nearby towns. If you have an RV there are three campgrounds with hook-ups right outside the park. These campgrounds also have tent sites, but there are better options for tent campers in Dixie National Forest.
Bryce Canyon Activities
Bryce is a great place to walk along the rim, check out a ranger talk or star gaze. The park is also a great place to go for a hike. Although most of the trails are day hikes, there are a couple of backpacking options. Private stock is allowed on park trails as well, and is a popular activity in the park. In the wintertime Bryce Canyon also has some nice trails fro snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Outside the park there are several companies that offer scenic flights, atv rides, and a great bike trail in Dixie National Forest.
Bryce Canyon Food and Drink
Inside Bryce Canyon National Park the Bryce Canyon Lodge is the only place with a restaurant, but you can also pick up food at the grocery store. Outside the park there are several restaurants to choose from as well as some small grocery stores.
Bryce Canyon Health, Safety and Hazards
Because of its elevation, propensity for storms, and open areas on the rim lightening is probably the biggest threat in the park. Sunburn is also a problem at Bryce, because the suns rays are stronger at higher elevation, and the pleasant temperatures make visitors unaware of the danger.
Bryce Canyon Culture and History
Bryce Canyon was designated a National Park in 1924, but people have been coming here for nearly 10,000 years. Unlike many other parks on the Colorado Plateau, long-term settlement has not been found in the park. The weather was just too harsh, and most ancestral people were just passing through on hunting trips, or harvesting pine nuts. Mormon pioneers built irrigation systems on the plateau for crops in the valley below, but some people might just have been visiting like people still do today.