Bryce Canyon National Park

Thor’s Hammer, monstrous hoodoos and a Sinking Ship. Bryce Canyon’s red-orange-pink amphitheaters stage a Norse myth 70 million years in the making.

Wind, water and time have eroded Bryce Canyon National Park's sandstone cliffs into otherworldly characters plucked from the unconscious of a mad Viking. Rows of humanoid pillars crosshatched by rock strata look almost intentional but perfectly surreal. So silent, eerie and beautiful. So improbable it has to be true. Read more...




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Historical Weather


38F 17F Average Temperature
1.5" Avg. Precipitation (inches)
17.1" Avg. Snowfall (inches)

Your first view of the park is a dramatic unveiling. Wind through stands of pine trees until they break at the rim of Bryce Canyon National Park, revealing a panorama of goblins, towers and fins of a color you can’t quite name. (What’s the Pantone number for “Leif Erikson’s Beard”?) The canyon’s epic comes alive as you move through the 37-mile circuit — especially as the sun rises and sets.

You can learn a lot about yourself looking into <a href="/bryce-canyon-national-park/amphitheater"Bryce Amphitheater. Do you see a purgatorial cavern crawling with demons? …beatific angels lining the stadium of heaven? …the Claron Formation’s variously dense, variously iron-rich layers of mud-, silt- and limestone, cut up by water and frost in an 800-foot cross section of the Paunsaugunt Plateau that lays bare the geologic record since the last dinosaurs bought the farm? See what you want and interpret accordingly. (It’s a shame Sigmund Freud never hiked the Fairyland Loop.)

Speaking of frost, don’t pack for Zion when you’re going to Bryce, which is a full 18˚F cooler. The rim reaches 9,100 feet above sea level, so July peaks around 80˚F and winter snow sticks around until April. (Yeah, snow. Lots of it. <a href="/ski/brian-head-ski-resort"Brian Head Ski Resort is just up the road. Enjoy the desert paradox.) It’s a year-round national park: comfortable all summer and snowy hoodoos make for gorgeous cross-country skiing winter to spring.

Bike it, hike it, snowshoe or ride a horse. If you don’t want to park, hop on the shuttle and people-watch between viewpoints. Take a cameraful of pictures no one will understand and let the giant yellow-pink monsters haunt your dreams.

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