As ‘80’s rock icons the B-52’s once said, “If you think you’re in outer space, don’t feel out of place, ‘cause there are thousands of others like you.” Indeed, upon catching their first glimpse of Bryce Canyon, many visitors comment that the enigmatic rock formations remind them of the set of a “Star Wars” movie.
Bryce Canyon, the smallest among Utah’s National Parks, is a spectacle of nature’s artistry and a peculiar testament to erosion’s transformative power. Nestled within a cluster of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters, layers of soft rock have been gradually eroded over eons into whimsical formations, known as “hoo-doos.” This process, driven by the relentless actions of wind and water, has crafted a surreal, dreamlike landscape.
Interestingly, the park’s namesake, Ebeneezer Bryce, an early Anglo settler, viewed the area with more practicality than awe. His rather prosaic remark on the labyrinthine network of mini-canyons was that it was “a helluva place to lose a cow,” a sentiment that somewhat belies the park’s breathtaking beauty.
Situated over 8,000 feet above sea level, Bryce Canyon provides a refreshing summer escape from the sweltering temperatures prevalent in much of the region. Visitors flock to enjoy a host of activities, from horseback riding to air tours, not to mention the favorite pastime of day hiking, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the park’s otherworldly allure.
When winter swathes the landscape in snow, a different kind of adventure awaits. The intrepid can take to the trails with cross-country skis or snowshoes, exploring the park’s frost-kissed grandeur in a whole new light. Bryce Canyon, with its stunning views and varied recreational options, is a destination that truly showcases nature’s fascinating idiosyncrasies.
Visitors wishing to stay near Bryce Canyon National Park may be interested in staying at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. This 4,000 acre resort is just 70 miles from Bryce Canyon and borders the eastern edge of Zion National Park. Visitors may stay in one location and see both parks. Zion Ponderosa offers a variety of excellent lodging and even camping options, along with two restaurants, and a host of activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing, ATV and Jeep Tours and much more. There is also lodging available at hotels in nearby communities.