Bryce Canyon National Park isn’t a canyon. It is more of a mountain that has eroded leaving behind spires of incredible red rock formations. These formations are called hoodoos and are caused by the frost during the winter as well as water erosion.
The park itself is huge. It takes about thirty minutes to drive from one end of it to the other. You can visit the park for a day or camp. I would suggest camping because it affords you the ability to have a base camp for going hiking and makes you feel truly entrenched in what the park has to offer.
Hiking in the Hoodoos: Navajo Loop Trail
I have been to Bryce Canyon many times but the last time I went was the first time I walked through the hoodoos, and it was the first time I actually understood Bryce.
The Navajo Loop Trail is a 1.4-mile loop with a descent of 550 feet. If you're in Bryce, you need to do a hike through the hoodoos. You'll gain a new respect and understanding that you never had before. The trail isn't too challenging, but make sure you wear decent footwear. I should know, as I ate some dirt on one of the trails!
Starting at Yovimpa Point and Ending at Fairyland Point
To give you a viewpoint of what each site looks like, I'll start from the end of the park and work backward to show you how each stop looks. I suggest starting at the end because each stop is on the left side of the road and rather than trying to cross traffic, you'll be able to pull off to the side of the road.
Yovimpa Point & Rainbow Point:
It requires a short walk to get here, but it is certainly worth it. Some of my favorite views came from this area. I ended up walking around the rim of both of the points, but when I got to the end of what seemed like a trail it was blocked off, so I am not too sure if I was off trail or not!
You need to stay on the trails. You might not realize it, but these hoodoos are hundreds of feet high which means these drops are life threatening.
#17 on Bryce Canyon Map
Blackbird Birch Canyon:
#15 on Bryce Canyon Map
One of my favorite stops on the drive back. The contrasts here were incredible and had a great view of the hoodoos!
#13 on Bryce Canyon Map
Farview & Piracy Point
Bryce Point: Closed during the summer of 2016
- For camping, there are no advanced reservations. This is a positive, as it makes a spur of the moment trip possible, but make sure you get there before the camp sites clear out at 11 am and see which site you can take. By 12 pm almost all of the sites will be gone!
- Bring your hiking boots.
- Bring rain gear. The weather here can shift quickly if you are visiting in winter, spring, or fall.
- You absolutely need to bring a wide angle lens as well as a tripod.
- At Sunset Point the sun will be setting directly behind you. Be wary if you are looking for the sunset in front of you.
- Golden hour here is going to be your friend, but I would also encourage you to come back for the night because you should be able to get some incredible night photography in. Make sure you check the moon schedule if you are looking to do nighttime photography!
- Canon EF 24-70mm ƒ2.8 L II USM Lens
- Canon EF 70-200mm ƒ2.8L IS II USM Lens
- Canon EOS 6D DSLR Camera
- Canon EF 11-24mm ƒ4L USM Lens
- Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR Camera
- Canon Extender EF 2x III
- Canon EF 24mm ƒ1.4L II USM Lens
- Mefoto Tripod
The largest current threat to Bryce Canyon continues to be a proposed coal mine in the area. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance helped defeat a measure in 2011 that would have allowed a coal mine to operate on the door step of the national park, but unfortunately the topic is again up for discussion with Alton Coal Development trying to expand their current mine onto public land.
It would be disastrous if the mine expands, as it would pollute the air and water supplies surrounding Bryce and have an enormous environmental impact.
"The impact of the mine expansion on the local environment would be significant. It would pollute the air, flood Bryce Canyon’s world-famous dark night skies with light, degrade the habitat and health of wildlife such as the imperiled sage grouse, lower water quality, and mar one of the most majestic landscapes in the world." --Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance