Bryce Canyon National Park Things to Do

  • View From Paria Viewpoint
    View From Paria Viewpoint
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  • Paria Amphitheater
    Paria Amphitheater
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  • Sunset Point
    Sunset Point
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Most Recent Things to Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

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    Sunset Point

    by Basaic Written Jan 27, 2012

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    People who are visiting the park for only a very short amount of time sometimes stop here and just tour the Sunset and Sunrise Viewpoints. Both offer nice views of the Bryce Amphitheater which is the largest naturally occurring amphitheater in the park. I highly recommend, however, that you allow yourself more time at this magnificent park. This is also the trailhead for the Queen's Garden Trail that leads to Thor's Hammer and Wall Street.

    Sunset Point Sunset Point Sunset Point Sunset Point A Couple of Hoodoos
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    Bryce Point

    by Basaic Written Jan 27, 2012

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    Taking the road opposite the turnoff for Paria View brings you to Bryce Point the southernmost viewpoint for the extremely impressive Bryce Amphitheater. Bryce Point is the northernmost point for the Under the Rim Trail. North from here the trail follows closer to the rim.

    Bryce Point Bryce Point Bryce Point Bryce Point Bryce Point
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    The Geology of Paria Valley

    by Basaic Written Jan 27, 2012

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    The Paria Overlook is also very interesting because of the grottoes and the Row of Windows. These formations show how the erosion by rainwater and snow forms the rock. Moisture from rain and melting snow seeps through small cracks in the harder caprock to the more porous sandstone below. The water then makes its way to the cliff face where it slowly melts the Calcium Carbonate that holds the rock together forming ever deepening grottoes. As time passes these grottoes continue to grow forming the Row of Windows. Note the arch that has formed in this manner in the center of Photo 2.

    Grottoes Row of Windows
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    Paria View

    by Basaic Written Jan 27, 2012

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    Paria View is another that I highly recommend. Here you can see an impressive amphitheater carved by Yellow Creek; the Paria Valley and Table Cliff Plateaus. If you look further south you can see the Navajo Sandstone forming the White Cliffs.

    View From Paria Viewpoint View From Paria Viewpoint View From Paria Viewpoint View From Paria Viewpoint Paria Amphitheater
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    Swamp Canyon

    by Basaic Written Jan 27, 2012

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    The parking area for Swamp Canyon Overlook offers a nice view of Swamp Canyon which parallels the plateau you are driving on. You can also access the Swamp Canyon or Sheep Creek Connecting Trails here that will lead you to the Under the Rim Trail.

    View From Swamp Canyon Viewpoint View From Swamp Canyon Viewpoint View From Swamp Canyon Viewpoint
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    "Natural Bridge"

    by Basaic Written Jan 17, 2012

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    This point is called "Natural Bridge". It is misnamed, however, because this is not a natural bridge. Natural bridges are formed by rushing streams but this "bridge" was formed by water seeping into cracks and freezing and thawing, then combining with chemical erosion and gravity to form the opening.

    Natural Bridge Natural Bridge
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    Weather and Altitude at Rainbow Point

    by Basaic Written Jan 17, 2012

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    Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point are the highest points in the park. At about 9000 feet in elevation, they are 1200 feet higher than the visitors center. If you are not used to higher elevations, you may want to take it easy until you acclimatize. This high elevation also means you will see snow much of the year here.

    Snow at Rainbow Point
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    Rainbow Point

    by Basaic Written Jan 17, 2012

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    Rainbow Point is the southernmost point on the scenic drive. Rainbow Point has a spectacular view that on most days shows Navajo Mountain and the Kaibab Plateau in Arizona, some 90 miles away. Look at the vast array of colors visible in the hoodoos and slopes.

    Rainbow Point Rainbow Point Rainbow Point Rainbow Point Rainbow Point
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    Scenic Drive

    by Basaic Written Jan 17, 2012

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    There is an 18 mile scenic drive accessing almost all the viewpoints in the park. All of the pullouts are on the east side of the road. In order to keep from having to cross traffic, you may want to drive to the end of the road and work your way back.

    Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive
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    Visitors Center Museum

    by Basaic Written Jan 17, 2012

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    There is a nice museum in the visitors center that shows the geology of the park, the history of the people that lived here, and the animals indigenous to the area. There are also activities aimed at kids here. There was an interesting story about the origin of Bryce Canyon from a Paiute Legend. "Before there were any Indians in the area the Legend People "To-when-an-ung-wa" lived here. They were bad, however, and Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them now; some standing in rows; some sitting down; some holding others. You can see their faces with paint still on them. The name of the place is "Agka-ku-wass-a wits" (Red Painted Faces)."

    Museum Displays Indian Artifacts Stellar's Jay Baby Bear Kid's Area
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    Mossy Cave

    by Segolily Updated Sep 13, 2011

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    This is an easy trail good for young children as there are not any steep cliffs and the trail is fairly level. It is not otherwise a must do in my opinion though there are some nice hoodoos and arches here as well.

    There is usually a waterfall at the end. This is a man made waterfall and the waterway provides water for the town of Tropic. The building of the channel by early settlers in order to provide a way to live in the valley is a tale of courage and determination.

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    Take a horse ride

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

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    Another way to get into the hoodoos is to take a horse ride. I haven't done this, though it seems like it would be fun.

    There are several companies which offer rides. The one into the park is operated by the Canyon Trail Rides concessionaire. The rides have an outstanding safety record and are considered one of the best horse rides in southern Utah.

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    Rainbow Point and Bristlecone Pine Trail

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

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    Rainbow Point is the end of the road...also the end of the mountain top. There are expansive views of the surrounding Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Powell Point, the highest elevation in the area and more. There are picnic tables and pithouses. It is a wonderful place to relax.

    The 1 mile Bristlecone pine trail is fairly level and leads along the rim. It is a wonderful way to appreciate more this special place. Taking a walk allows you to listen to the birds, feel the wind on your face, smell the pine, see the rock colors, catch a glimpse of the elusive Bristlecone pine.

    The Bristlecone pine grows in isolated areas, just below tree line where conditions are harsh. They have been found to be over 3,000 years old and are believed to be the longest lived single organism on earth. The one at the end of the trail looks pretty dead, but even then it would still be valuable due to the tree ring record. I saw a few younger ones along the way.

    Powell Point A young Bristlecone pine
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    Enjoy the Scenic Drive

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

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    South of the main amphitheater is the 12 mile scenic drive. This follows the rim of the mountain and does, at times, hug the rim fairly closely. It is a nice drive through the plateau top Pondorosa Pine forest. You can see deer and rabbits, prairie dogs and more. There are several viewpoints all along the way. Since they are on the east side of the road it is easier to drive to the end and stop at them along the way back.

    The most dramatic of the stops is at the Natural Bridge. The ground is much too steep to glimpse this from any other angle, but the viewpoint works just fine.

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    Take a look at the Visitors Center

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

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    This is where you'll get the layout of the park, get all the up to date information on the trail conditions, get your questions about the geology, flowers and prairie dogs answered. It is here that you can get shuttle schedules, sign up for ranger led hikes, get the schedule for ranger talks and astronomy particulars. It is a must do stop.

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Bryce Canyon National Park Things to Do

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