Bryce Canyon National Park, located in southwestern Utah, is a popular tourist attraction in the United States. The canyon is known for its series of geological features, called hoodoos, which have formed from weather and stream erosion of sedimentary rock.
Stories from the Paiute tribe say that the hoodoos are actually Legend People turned to stone by the trickster Coyote. The hoodoos appear in a series of tiered natural skyscrapers, almost resembling a large amphitheater in their formation. The canyon is known for its geological tourism, and it is quite easy to direct oneself on a self-guided tour through the hoodoos to appreciate the view, hiking, the wilderness, and the historical and cultural tourism that the area provides.
One of the benefits of a tour through Bryce Canyon is that it can be completed by car, offering a spectacular and scenic drive. There are thirteen places to stop on the roadways traversing the canyon where you can view the hoodoos and the splendor of the surrounding landscape.
In addition to completing the tour by automobile, those looking for more physical activity can opt to hike the eight different trails offered by this national park. The hiking trails range in difficulty from easy to moderate to challenging. If you're feeling even more adventurous, the trails permit overnight hiking, which requires a camping permit, allowing for hikers to set up a tent and fully immerse themselves in the natural environment.
There are many areas to lodge and eat near Bryce Canyon, but the closest available lodging is in Panguitch. Depending on how adventurous tourists are, the options for sightseeing can allow for either a quick stop for sightseeing or a week-long outdoor adventure.
One of the natural benefits of the region is the climate and air quality, offering high visibility throughout most of the year. This, in turn, means that some of the highest vantage points offer a view distance ranging from 90-160 miles, granting the ability to see famous natural landmarks in even Arizona and New Mexico from a distance.
At night, the area is famous for featuring some of the darkest night skies in the United States. As such, the national park service offers stargazing events for astronomy enthusiasts, including an annual astronomy festival.
In addition to appreciating the stars and landscape, the area offers diverse flora and fauna for ecological tourism. In fact, Bryce Canyon is home to over 400 species of plants, 170 species of birds, 11 species of reptiles, as well as a diverse array of mammals ranging from small rodents to black bears and elk. Make sure to bring a camera in order to capture images of these creatures in their natural environment!
Self-guided tourists should brush up on the ecology, geology, and cultural history of Bryce Canyon in order to best appreciate the opportunities for learning and exploration that the area provides its visitors. Explore the land's connection to Native American culture, early American history, its status as a national park, and the astounding geological significance behind the formation of the hoodoos. Visitors to Bryce Canyon will have a meaningful experience and enjoy this national park to its fullest.