The contrast of colors at Bryce Canyon National Park combined with the unique shapes of the land turn any traveler into a photographer. The bright blue sky, dark green forest, and red rock formations make for a memorable view. We visited the park on our road trip from Florida to California, and it quickly became one of our favorite spots for day hikes.
Bryce Canyon’s Natural Bridge, pictured above and below, is one of the park’s natural arches. The rock is a Claron Formation, which means it is rich in iron oxide minerals, experts say. Through frost wedging, streams and rivers eroded the land to form these unique formations.
According to Bryce Canyon rangers, Natural Bridge was formed due to various types of erosion, including the expanding of cracks as water turns to ice, which is known as frost wedging. When a rock dissolves from rainwater scientists, call that dissolution, which eroded the top and sides of Natural Bridge. Gravity played a part as well, and pulled the weakened areas of the rock from the center, which created the hole, experts say.
If you aren’t a fan of hiking, don’t worry, Bryce Canyon offers various viewing areas for visitors, like the one pictured above. When you get to the park, speak with a ranger about the best spots that have minimal physical activity requirements.
The Bryce Canyon Rim is an unbelievable view of a natural amphitheater filled with land formations that experts call hoodoos. Hoodoos are formed when a window rock formation collapses. Rangers detail the process here, which involves a plateau becoming a window formation through erosion. It is eventually too large to support its roof and collapses, leaving one leg. That last leg of the earlier rock is called a hoodoo. The above view is stunning, but if you’d like to see the hoodoos up close check out the Rim trail here.
If you are looking for a relatively easy hike that gives you access to the rock formations, we suggest the Queens Garden Trail, pictured above and below. We loved seeing the different shapes nature creates in the various hoodoos. Start at Sunrise Point and descend 320 feet on the trail.
If you are a fan of rewards, you’ll love the “I Hiked the Hoodoos” program at Bryce Canyon. Visitors take a photo with signs showing the metal trail markers, like this one. Gather enough photos on enough trails and rangers reward you with a commemorative pin. We completed the program in a day and loved the extra incentive to get moving.
If you aren’t a fan of hiking, but want to get out of the car and explore Bryce Canyon, consider horse and mule guided trail rides. Learn more about them here. Waterfall lovers will want to check out Mossy Cave Trail. And for travelers with children over the age of 6 who are looking for an extraordinary experience, see the full moon hikes at Bryce Canyon here.
Have you been to Bryce Canyon National Park? Did you complete any of the hikes? Tell us in the comments below.