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Bryce Canyon National Park

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The Wonder

A geologist's playground, with hoodoos (rock spires) as tall as 10-story buildings. Phenomenal stargazing and guided nighttime hikes.

The Adventures

Stargazing, hiking, camping, astronomy programs, guided full moon hikes (even in snow), snowshoeing, cross-country skiing

One for the Bucket List

Hike past twilight and stargaze into the night. During the afternoon, journey the Navajo Loop Trail down from Sunset Point through the slot canyon of Wall Street and loop around Queens Garden for one of the most popular experiences of Bryce Canyon. Together, they'll wind you through magnificent nooks, slot canyons and around some of the park's most famous hoodoos and formations, enough to max out the memory on your digital camera. The combined loop is 2.9 miles, with the Queens Garden section considered the easiest hike in the park.

After dark, you might not be able to keep your eyes from flitting up to the sky. So the park offers astronomy programs on more than 100 nights during the year to help keep your pupils from ping-pong-ing out of control. And if you're in the park during the full moon, take one of the guided full moon hikes into the canyon for a spooky tour of the rocky shadows. Full moon hikes are offered two or three days around each full moon (even in winter months, on snowshoes), and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis (with lines often forming an hour before the visitor center opens). "Lug traction" footwear is required to go on a full moon hike. Hikes are usually one to two miles long.

From the National Park Service: "Clean and dry air means good visibility. Bryce Canyon National Park also benefits by being a high elevation park far from civilization. The expanse of land you can see from Bryce, also known as our viewshed, is enormous. Our thin clean air is easy to see through and at night it is as dark as dark can be. There are few places left in the world where you can stand in one place and see so much undeveloped land. Even on our busiest days, visitors often remark 'When I look out across the Grand Staircase, it kinda' feels like I have the whole planet to myself.' Visibility is one of our most treasured resources. On a clear day at Bryce you can see nearly 200 miles to the Black Mesas in eastern Arizona. On a clear dark night, you can see 2.2 million light years or 527,000,000,000,000,000 miles to the Andromeda Galaxy."

Seasons and Hours

Did you know rapid freezing and thawing cycles in Bryce Canyon contribute to the natural forces that carve its unique formations? So please be aware that temperatures dip below freezing at night during most of the year, and can swing more than 40 degrees in a day.

The park's visitor center is open 8AM-4:30PM daily (except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day), with extended hours during warmer months.

Getting There

Roughly 270 miles from both Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon is smack dab in the middle of Utah's most remote canyon country. The park's visitor center is about a mile from the entrance off Highway 63. There is no public transportation to the park, but a free park shuttle is offered within the park from May to October. See map.

Average Temps (ºF) High/Low

January - 34/9
April - 51/24
July - 78/47
October - 57/27

Approximate Distance From...

Zion National Park - 80 miles
Las Vegas, NV - 270 miles
Salt Lake City, UT - 270 miles
Grand Canyon National Park - 280 miles
Arches National Park - 280 miles
Phoenix - 340 miles

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Fill Your Bucket List With Bewilderness

America the beautiful. You got that right. From the skytops of the world's tallest trees to the underwater color-play of tropical reefs, the National Park Service (NPS) oversees hundreds of parks and areas to conserve many of our country's most precious natural wonders and living treasures.

Otherworldly landscapes. Thriving wildlife. Hidden, wicked-cool marvels of time and nature. Humbling, sweeping views that are not just breathtaking but truly breath-giving, so inspiring you might find them. Whether you're a mobile-mad workaholic, family trooper or just a mid-life meditator, we hope you have time to enjoy it all.

Affordable Adventure

Fewer than half of the national parks charge entrance fees, which usually range from $5 to $25 (often just per vehicle). Children 16 and under are always admitted for free. Daily fees for camping usually range between $10 and $20 per party.

The NPS offers annual America the Beautiful Passes that cover entrance fees at any national park.

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