Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Sights To See

"The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time."

— Henry David Thoreau

Had Thoreau seen the stunning rock formations of Bryce Canyon, he might not have described the elements as "gentle touches of air and water." There is so much powerful energy here, that it is difficult to imagine anything less than monumental natural forces sculpting Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon is carved out of the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, one of the high plateaus of Utah. To the south of Bryce, the land descends in a series of gigantic steps called the Grand Staircase. The pink cliffs of Bryce Canyon are the uppermost step in the Grand Staircase. The gray, white, vermilion and chocolate cliffs recede into the distant south, stepping down to the Kaibab Plateau, which then rises to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The vantage point at Bryce grants the visitor up to 200 mile views of southern Utah and northern Arizona.

From the rim of the canyon, the ground falls away to reveal an incredible assortment of hoodoos, fins, mazes and spires. One reputed Paiute name for the canyon was a description that was loosely translated as "Red Rocks Standing Like Men in a Bowl-Shaped Recess." Subsequent others have searched for something recognizable in Bryce, naming different rocky forms the Queen's Garden, Sinking Ship, Silent City, Wall Street, Fairyland Canyon, Thor's Hammer, the Alligator, the Senti-nel and Queen Victoria. They are simply labels, but they indi-cate how people have attempted to make this fantastic landscape seem a little more familiar.

To see all of these amazing formations, leave your automobile and enter the canyon by foot or horseback. A system -of trails allows you to travel one or more routes during a hike. The Rim Trail, Queen's Garden Trail, Navajo Loop Trail and Peekaboo Loop Trail are all interconnecting and wind past some of the most breathtaking scenery in the canyon. 

Don't forget to take the time to explore Bryce's forests and meadows. Walk amid ancient bristlecone pines and the vibrant colors of aspen groves. Pine, spruce and fir, which grow in profusion on the plateau above the canyons, provide a strikingly familiar contrast to the otherworldly quality of this naturally formed amphitheater.