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Bryce Canyon National Park

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BryceEntrySign.jpg
Entry sign
There is a Bryce Canyon, but Bryce Canyon National Park isn't a canyon, but a series of amphitheaters at the Eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau covering 56 square miles. A Mormon named Ebenezer Bryce and his wife Mary first settled here in 1874, who once remarked that "it was a hell of a place to lose a cow". Who am I to disagree?

The area became an attraction of sorts, and people referred to the place as Bryce's Canyon. Eb eventually left in 1880, due to a prolonged drought that affected the area. I do have to point out that a drought in this area of Utah is like having the sun rise in the East every morning.

However, that didn't stop people like Ruby Syrett from establishing a hotel and guide services in the late 1910's before the place as even a park. It paid off for the Syrett's, who owns all those properties right outside the park. Now known as just "Bryce Canyon", it became a National Monument in 1923, and congress authorized the National Park in 1928. Back to Top

Bryce Canyon National Park Map
Cropped map of Bryce Canyon National Park. Click on the map for a larger view.
This area of Utah holds a soft and colorful sandstone, which under the right conditions is easily molded by the erosion of the elements.

Bryce Canyon is probably the premier showcase of this erosion, forming vertical columns that often looked carved rather than eroded, locally known as Hoodoos. (Cedar Breaks National Monument, just down the road to the West, shows this same type of erosion.)

Bryce is one of my favorite parks, with its intricate sandstone formations, easy access via the park road, seemingly poseable wildlife, and it hasn't become overwhelmed with crowds like Zion and Grand Canyon. One still has to keep in mind that that most of the park is over 7,000 feet, so if you're not used to the altitude, plan on some extra time getting around...

I had visited the park in September 1997 and September 2008. Back to Top

Entrance

Even in 1997, I commented that putting a garbage can in front of the entrance sign was a really thoughtless. There are probably 1000's of photo albums with a picture of the entrance sign... and a garbage can. By 2008, not only did they build a small plaza in front of the sign so stupid tourists could pose (gosh, like me), but put in a small parking area.

It's also interesting to note the only tree still recognizable in the background is the one behind the sign.

Entrance Sign
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Fairyland Point is actually inside the park boundaries, but outside the fee area. I'll add that I just love wildlife that's so unconcerned that you're there that they turn their back on you...

Fairyland Point
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Sunrise Point
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Sunset Point
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Inspiration Point
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Bryce Point
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Paria View
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Swamp Canyon
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Unnamed Pullout (MM9)
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Farview Point
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Natural Bridge
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Aqua Canyon
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Unnamed Pullout (MM14)
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Ponderosa Point
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Black Birch Canyon
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Rainbow Point
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The Mossy Cave unit is off of Utah-12, four or five miles from the turn off to the main part of the park. Jo was going to go horseback riding, so we didn't hike all the way to the cave. Of course, being 7,000 feet above sea level could have had something to do with it...

Mossy Cave Trail
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Related Links

Rubys Inn
Rubys Inn Link Ruby's Inn is named after Ruby Syrett, who promoted the area in 1910, years before Bryce Canyon became a park. As a matter of fact, the Syrett family still owns the land right outside the park, as well as the two hotels, both gas stations, the restaurants, all the gift shops and grocery store.

Only the original Best Western existed when I was there, and I stayed in a brand new room with a whirlpool tub right next to the pool atrium. It was rough, but someone had to do it...
Near Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah / 25 Images. Visited Sep 2008.

Utah State Route 12
Utah-12 Link Utah State Route 12 (also named as the "Journey Through Time Byway") is my favorite road in America.

The 124 mile road starts at a unnamed junction with US-89 and ends in Torrey, Utah, pretty much connecting Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef National Park. In-between are a couple of those spectacular Utah State Parks, a National Monument and some jaw-dropping landscapes just off the side of the road.
Utah / 67 Images. Visited Sep 1997, Sep 2008.

US-89
US-89 Link US-89 is a remarkable road that follows some of the most scenic areas of the West from Canada to Arizona, and along the way passes through (or comes within a few miles of) over a half dozen major Western Parks. Glacier to Yellowstone to Grand Teton, Bryce, Zion, Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon.

I've actually frequented this road quite a bit, but in a disjointed, non-continuous fashion.

Visited Various

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Grand Staircase-Escalante NM Link Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is actually larger than the state of Delaware, but has a population close to the number of visitors in the park.

The GSENM page starts with an overview of what the Grand Staircase actually is, a geologic wonderland stretching from the Aquaritus Plateau at Bryce Canyon to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This 8,000 foot drop in elevation in almost discreet steps holds some of the most breathtaking scenery in America.
Near Escalante, Utah / 33 Images Visited Sept 1997, Sep 2008.
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Trip Report: Sep 1997, Sep 2008.

Return to: State Index Utah State Page National Parks

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