According to Bryce Canyon NP, Natural Bridge is belonging to the classes of arches. It has been formed by the constant erosion of water (as streams or rivers), which was even easier in Natural Bridges case, as it is standing at the top of a steep gully, where the washed-out rock is swept away quite quickly.
The arch is 26 m long and 38 m high.
The rock type is extremely rich in iron oxide – thus real red color, which you can clearly see on the right hand side in the arch, as well as on it’s top.
My picture is from 1990 – and it would be interesting to see and compare, how Natural Bridge looks today, if some parts of it’s wall have been washed away already.
The 4th (southernmost) viewpoint of Main Amphitheatre offers the most dramatic views and should better be read as “Sunrise Point”, as from here, you’d view them best (as it is southeast of the Amphitheatre).
Here, the hoodoos are standing that close that it is almost impossible to identify the single ones.
It is said that this here was the favourite spot of old settler Ebenezer Bryce, and it’s clearly imaginable why he said “that’s a hell of a place to loose a cow”. Bet, the cow did think the same, when she was lost here…
Located a bit south (right hand side) of “The Hunter”, there is another cute and famous hoodoo, called either The Backpacker or The Rabbit – presumably depends if you’re a hunter or a outdoor person :-)
Look at it’s top, also here, little tree is growing ! This hoodoos’ top is also made of the white limestone formation, and also look what a nice prominent joint erosion has formed between the two formations, the hoodoo is “made of”.
At Bryce Point, where the “Under-the-Rim”-Trail starts, Bryce Canyon hosts its famous grottos.
The carving erosion did a good job here, caving out little grottos or caves or hollow cavities, as a result of the soft structure in the upper layer, the White Cliffs. Hardly colored limestone mixed with yellowish limestone, containing limonite (the yellow colored iron oxide modification).
Those grottos look as if Antonio Gaudí, Barelonas most famous architect, took them as a model to work on his Parque Güell.
Being the second of the 4 viewpoints in Main Amphitheatre, Sunset Point gives room to view the magnificent red-rock-men hoodoos.
As for Inspiration Point, the Pink Cliffs and White Cliffs – the 2 major forms of Bryce Canyon’s geologic history – can be admired.
Here, also the famous well-trotten Navajo Loop Trail begins and ends, with glorios views to some special hoodoos, such as Thor’s Hammer.
The best time for pictures is – how else would it be from the name – the late afternoon.
The area around inspiration point is a classical example of the Claron or Wasatch formation.
This is the “youngest” formation of rocks within Colorado Plateau and shows more or less how Bryce Canyon was “made”:
A huge system of lakes filled the region of central and eastern Utah during the Eocene epoch (which was 56 – 34 million years ago). Iron oxide enriched lime was deposited in the deepest beds, followed by calcium-rich mud layers and various sand deposits closer to the surface.
Lithification took place, after climate change and the lake’s shrinkeage.
Now visible are the Pink Cliffs (the iron oxide enriched limestone) and above the White Cliffs (limestone and sandstone).
Still, the name of this View – Silent City – refers to the more romantic approach of the silent city, which was left after god coyote has transformed it’s people into stone.
With 9105 ft, Rainbow Point is the highest elevation (or view point) in the park. Together with Yovimpa Point, it is also the southernmost one, located 18 miles away from the entrance.
Park officials suggest to begin the visit here and then “work” your way back to the north, visiting every viewpoint. This sounds like a perfect idea, as by when you reach the Main Amphitheatre, it’s afternoon and you can’t miss the sunsets !
From Rainbow Point, you have a superb view to the south – on clear days you can even see as far south as Kaibab Plateau, which is the Northern Rim of Grand Canyon.
Rainbow Point is also the home of the Bristlecone Pines, one of the oldest tree species on earth.
As if Sleeping Beauty waiting here for the prince to kiss her to life again – this is how these hoodoo-wall formation looks.
Or was is it Rapunzel’s castle, with the tower on the left, where she is waiting for the kings son to release her out of her prison tower, by climbing up her long braided hair ?
You have the room for your fantasy :-)
This Fairy Castle is located in the area of Sunset Point.
Formerly called “View Point”, Ponderosa Canyon is your second stop if you decide to do the view tour from the parks’ southern end.
The name of this viewpoint is derived from the little forests of Ponderosa Pines there, the tallest trees of America Southwest (grow up to 120 feet), plus a variety of multicolored Hoodoos.
In the picture you can also notice that the Canyons here are not that deep (or don’t go that deep) as it is for Main Amphitheatre. And look for the rocks’ different shades of yellow and red and orange in front – all depending on the concentration and the physical “form” of iron oxide present.
At Paria View, as well as at Bryce Point, you can get a clear picture of what Bryce Canyon is not exactly a canyon, but has been carved out of the eastern part of Paunsaugunt Plateau.
Looking northeast and east, you can see the Aquarius Plateau in the background, which forms the northeastern boundary or shore of the former huge lake, which was the historic origin of Bryce Canyon.
After the lake waters vanished, they left Paunsaugunt Plateau to be carved into what is Bryce Canyon today, as well as the huge bassin with Paria river flowing.
In the picture, you can even see the little town of Tropic (righ hand side) with it’s little lake.
For sure the best known and most photographed hoodoo in Bryce Canyon is Thor’s Hammer.
Red-bearded Thor was the most prominent god of the vikings – god of thunder. That’s probably the reason where the 100 ft tall single standing hoodoo got it’s name from :-)
The picture is taken on the Navajo Loop Trail, but it’s also perfectly visible from Sunset Point.
Whenever you drive from Zion NP to Bryce Canyon NP in Utah, you will pass Red Canyon. It's just some miles before BC NP entrance.
Not really a park, just the typical RED rock formation of Utah.
Make sure, you arrive or pass this Canyon at approx. 1-2 hours before sunset - the colors are incredible !
Sunrise Point is the first and northernmost viewpoint for Main Amphitheatre. The views are enormous, to Fairyland Canyon, Sinking Ship and down to Bryce Point.
From here also start 2 hiking paths – the longer Fairyland Loop (13 km) and the Queen Garden Trail (3 km), which can be done together with Navajo Loop Trail.
Agua Canyon’s most prominent hoodoos are called “The Hunter” (see picture) and “The Rabbit” or “The Backpacker” (see other tip).
Look at the Hunter’s green hat – made by the little trees which grow on it’s top.
In the background, you see the Cliffs’ typical “stripes” in pink and white.
The Fairyland Loop is a great place to escape the crowds at Bryce. This eight mile loop has a lot of ups and downs and will take you the better part of four hours but you will be rewarded with some amazing views, walk past incredible formations, and best of all get away from 90% of the people at the park.
We started at sunrise at Sunrise Point. I would do it from Fairyland next time. The hike in from Sunrise is in the shade in the morning and you would have great views on it from Fairyland if you did it early morning. Also, you get into the formations much more quickly from there. By the time we hiked all the way over, the sun was too high in the sky for great photos.