Historic Ruby's Inn
The (now renovated) quintessential Bryce Canyon basecamp
Bryce Canyon National Park would be Notre-Dame
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. 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. Read more...
You can learn a lot about yourself looking into 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. 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.
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah, not far from Zion National Park – just a scenic hour-and-a-half drive away. Below are directions to Bryce Canyon from some notable nearby destinations.
From Zion National Park (72 miles)
Take Hwy 9 east toward Mt. Carmel Junction. Take Hwy 89 north for 43 miles, then turn right and head east on Hwy 12. Follow the signs to Bryce Canyon National Park.
From Salt Lake City, UT (268 miles)
Take I-15 S toward Las Vegas, NV for 213 miles. Take exit 95 and head southeast on Hwy 20 to Hwy 89 south, then Hwy 12 east. Follow the signs to Bryce Canyon National Park.
From Las Vegas, NV (260 miles)
Take I-15 N toward Salt Lake City. Take exit 95 and head southeast on Hwy 20 to Hwy 89 south, then Hwy 12 east. Follow the signs to Bryce Canyon National Park.