Happy 1st Travel Tuesday of June!! I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with the fact that it’s June… Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m headed out to Yellowstone this week! Yay – happy dance! Yeah…So anyway, continuing the National Park theme, this week is all about Bryce Canyon National Park!
Bryce Canyon is located in southwestern Utah and is considered relatively small at only 56.2 square miles. It was designated as a National Monument in June 1923 and then a National Park in September 1928. The canyon itself is known for it’s natural horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters and oddly shaped rock pillars called “hoodoos.” The rim boasts meadows, forests, and abundant wildlife along with panoramic views of 3 states (approaching 200 miles of visibility).
The term “hoodoo” is thought to come from early geologists who believed that the rock formations could cast a spell on you with their magical spires and towering arches. Having seen these myself, I can totally see why they might have had this thought!
I have a confession to make. To date, this is my favorite National Park of all the ones I’ve had the privilege to visit. The combination of canyons, arches, hoodoos, trees, and – OMG – the colors is absolutely spectacular. One of my main missions before leaving Arizona is to take an extended camping trip to Bryce Canyon so I can explore some more (smile).
Know Before You Go:
Getting there: Bryce Canyon can be accessed via State Road 89 near Panguitch, Utah.
When to go: Weather in the canyon can vary, but is normally quite pleasant. In the summer months the highs are in the 80s with lows dropping into the 40s. It does snow at the canyon, so be prepared if you go anytime other than mid-summer.
What to wear: I know I sound like a broken record here, but layers, layers, layers! It’s always better to be able to adjust according to your activity and any shift in weather than hiking back to the car for your coat. A backpack comes in handy for storing camera equipment and clothing (smile).
What to bring: A camera. I realize this always applies, but especially with this place. Unlike the Grand Canyon, I found Bryce Canyon a bit easier to photograph, as there are more immediate subjects to focus on. Also be sure to bring lots of [you got it!] water!! A few snacks are also a good idea as you’ll need plenty of fuel for any return journeys. There are a few restaurants in the park, but their serving hours are limited. Considering the remoteness of the park, stocking up on snacks/water/etc. before you go is just a good backup plan (smile).
What to watch for: Bryce Canyon is a little less prickly than some of the other National Parks I’ve highlighted so far (ahem, Saguaro…ahem, Joshua Tree), but the creatures are still something to look out for. Also be very wary of venturing too far unsupplied – it’s easier to get dehydrated when it’s not really that warm outside, and cell service anywhere below the rim is pretty non-existent.