Last Updated: 19th Apr 2012
by – Alex McCarty, Tour Manager, North America
One of the major natural attractions showcased in the state of Utah is Bryce Canyon National Park.
Ebenezer Bryce, a pioneer settler, came to the region in the 1870’s and built a ranch on the land. Friends and family who visited the homestead were overwhelmed by its beauty and word about Bryce’s Backyard began to spread.
Today, almost two million visitors come to Bryce Canyon every year to hike, camp and experience the mystical colors of the canyon walls and the crazy formations of the spires and hoodoos surrounding the park.
There is a series of peaks and valleys located throughout the park with some rock faces climbing a thousand feet high (300 meters). The park itself is already at an elevation of some 6000 feet above sea level (1500 meters), which, along with high winds, water and ice, has helped the relatively brittle sandstone and limestone of the canyon to erode into the spectacular formations you see when looking down to the floor below.
The park is filled with eye-popping natural bridges and rock formations called hoodoos carved out by the elements of the desert-like environment. They tend to stand broadside, windblown and cracked, with seams of light slipping through, and sometimes perilously balancing larger rocks teetering on their heads.
Perhaps what is most awe-inspiring are the colors of the rock—pink, orange, cream, rust—which are almost pastel in appearance and change ever deeper with the sun. Unlike Zion, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks, Bryce is less developed, making the experience there much less distracted, allowing you the opportunity to get that much closer to nature, by hiking one of the trails (moderate to strenuous) or taking a walk along the rim (mild to moderate).