Each year visitors from all over the world come to Bryce Canyon National Park to explore the unique rock formations and enjoy the areas incredible scenery. Bryce Canyon is composed of a series of giant amphitheaters filled with millions of pink rock pinnacles called “hoodoos.” These rock formations are a mixture of bright red, orange and pink hues that are especially spectacular at sunrise and sunset.
On your visit to Bryce Canyon, you can take the Bryce Canyon shuttle to the different trailheads, or you may choose to drive the paved road through the park taking time to pull off at overlooks into the canyon amphitheaters below. You will be given a map of the Park at the gate, which will lead you to the best lookout points. Just beyond the main gate is the Bryce Canyon Visitors Center, be sure to stop and check out the various displays about the geology of the park. You may also want to hike into the amphitheaters on one of the many trails. There is an extensive trail system through the main amphitheater near the visitors center.
Archaeological surveys of the Bryce Canyon National Park area show that people have enjoyed Bryce’s hoodoos for at least 10,000 years. Long before the first settlers arrived, Pueblo peoples hunted game in the forests and meadows of the plateau. Paiutes also frequented the plateau to harvest pine nuts and hunt rabbits. The first settlers to the area were the Mormon pioneers. Bryce Canyon received its name for Ebenezer Bryce, one of the Pioneers who helped to settle the area along the Pausaugunt Plateau. In 1928 Bryce Canyon National Park was officially established and was later increased in 1931 to its present day size of 35,835 acres. People came to see the Bryce Canyon area long before it became a national park, but travel to the area was limited due to the lack of well-maintained roads. In 1930, the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel was completed connecting Bryce National Park to Zion, Cedar Breaks, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Bryce Canyon National Park now receives over 1.5 million visitors each year.
The Bryce Canyon Visitors Center is open year-round, except Thanksgiving, December 25 and January 1, the center is located one mile inside the park boundary and offers a natural history museum as well as a video program that is shown daily in the auditorium. The Visitors Center also posts information regarding schedules for park activities and ranger-led hikes.
Walking and hiking are among the best ways to experience Bryce Canyon National Park. Hiking allows you to gain a clearer perception of the heights of pinnacles and monoliths, as well as the immensity of the amphitheaters themselves. Permits are not necessary for day hikes, but be sure to check with a park ranger for weather and trail conditions. In just a couple of hours on the trail you will be able to experience an incredible variety of scenery and geological wonders. As you plan your hike please remember that the trails that descend to the bottom are moderate to steep, making the return part of the hike the hardest. Bryce’s high elevation requires extra exertion, so know your limits and be careful.
To help eliminate traffic within the Bryce Canyon National Park the national park system has developed a shuttle system to help bus visitors to the different lookout points and trailheads within the park. At the entrance to Bryce Canyon you will receive a map of the canyon including trail and shuttle information. The first Bryce Canyon shuttle can be picked up at the Shuttle Staging Area just outside the park, located at the intersection of Hwy 12 and Hwy 63. From the Staging Area, the “Blue Line” Shuttle will pick you up and bring you into the park to the Visitor Center. At the Visitor Center you can then ride the “Red Line” Shuttle to the most famous viewpoints and scenic trailheads in the Main Amphitheater. You can also make arrangements to tour the southern portion of the park on the “Green Line” Shuttle. This service is limited, and seats must be reserved in person at the Visitor Center Desk, up to one day in advance. These three shuttle lines run all day and there is no charge to use them, you may also choose to drive your own car through the park.
Bryce Canyon National Park is a perfect place for a picnic after a day of exploring the area incredible rock formations. The rim of the park is lined with ponderosa pine trees and plenty of shade. There are picnic tables, water and restrooms located at Sunset Point, Yovimpa Point and the North Campgrounds.
All passes can be obtained at the entrance stations. Entrance to Bryce is $20 per car and is valid for seven days. The price for an individual entering the park on foot or bicycle is $10 , not to exceed $20 per family. A one-year Bryce Canyon Pass is $30.
The National Parks Pass costs $50 and covers admission to national parks for one year from date of purchase. The 12-month Golden Eagle Passport, valid for federal parks and recreation areas, is available for $65. The Golden Access Passport provides free entrance to U.S. citizens or residents with lifetime disabilities.
The Golden Age Passport is available to U.S. citizens or residents 62 years of age or older for a one-time fee of $10. These passes are non-transferable
In order to preserve and protect Bryce National Park for future visitors, it is important to abide by the National Park Service’s regulations. The following are a few key points:
- The disturbance of wildlife or removal of any park resources, including rocks, plants, fossils and remnants, is prohibited. This also includes feeding wild animals.
- Pets must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in the backcountry or on most trails. Check at a visitor center for more information.
- Bicycles are allowed only on roads or designated routes.
- Do not park in handicapped areas unless you are authorized to do so.
- Carry your trash (including cigarette butts) to proper receptacles or pack it out. Park rangers can give you recycling information.
- Collection of firewood is prohibited.
- Permits are required for backcountry overnight camping. They may be obtained at the park’s visitor center upon arrival.