Situated on the rim of a high plateau and blanched by the pale of winter light in southwestern Utah lies the extraordinary Bryce Canyon National Park. Although it is the smallest national parks in the U.S. and it draws considerably fewer visitors than nearby Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, its vistas are no less beautiful, and snowpack trails offer an added challenge to adventurers seeking hikers.
It’s 56 mi.² (35,000 acres) contains a thick forest and hoodoos that create a bizarre fairy tale like landscape.
In spring as the snow softens on the rugged beauty of a kindred park. Thousands of craggy limestone towers into the curved hillside, creating a textured amphitheater and narrow slot canyons, the richly colored rocks layers over the bright reflected sunlight. Bryce Canyon is nonetheless one of its most stunning during sunrise or sunset.
The unique environment of Bryce Canyon National Park tells a fascinating story of sedimentation and extreme erosion. The canyon which is more of a natural amphitheater. But in fact, Bryce Canyon is not actually a real Canyon, because it does not have a flowing river and there are no opposite canyon walls. In fact, it’s a heavily eroded escarpment, and the scenery at Bryce Canyon National Park is in a constant state of change. The erosion of these hoodoos is calculated up to 4 feet every century, lightning speed geologically speaking. The rim of the canyon is receiving at the same rate the new hoodoos are emerging, and as the old ones go away, thanks to the erosive powers of water and ice the remarkable Bryce Canyon will continue to be reborn again.
The canyon is named after pioneers who first settled here. Scottish immigrants Ebenezer Bryce and his wife Mary but it has been given other names too. A cave without a ceiling, a forest of stones but it was officially declared a national park on February 26, 1919. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited the park and said “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled through-out the wide world… Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”
Visitors will find exploring the Hoodoos, stone columns of mystery and splendor one of the parks great adventures, hoodoos that are created by insidious erosion from water freezing and expanding in the rocky recesses. The same process that creates these striking hoodoos will destroy them.
The Paiute Indians called them Red Rocks standing like men.
Today part guidebook details a litany of names a beautiful view point, each to spectacular vistas. inspiration point, sunrise point, rainbow point, and Natural Bridge misnames because it is actually a natural arch form from some of the reddest rock in the Klaron formation.
This amassment of monoliths is called the silent city which brings to mind poet Mark Strand’s insightful writings on Bryce Canyon the Parks.
Pinnacles and spires give it the look of a decayed City.
Silenced by the abrasions of time we walk among its fires and crumbled crenellation and steep and narrow canyons as if we are wending our way through the streets of a medieval village we might add there is an otherworldliness about this geologic wonder we walk softly as if in a dream scape.