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Magnificent Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah: Forces of Nature

Utah is a fantastic state filled with natural wonders, including many beautiful state and national parks. We loved vacationing there!

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southern Utah, not far from Zion National Park. It became a national park in 1928. It was one of five national parks in Utah that my mother, niece, and I enjoyed visiting in the summer of 1991.

Similar to Zion, an inland lake once covered this area. Uplifting of the land took place over time, and there are many fossil remains of plants and animal life, including dinosaurs.

Bryce Canyon Geology

Bryce is an amphitheater carved out of pink cliffs. The colors of the rocks are brilliant and vary according to the time of day when viewed. Iron oxide causes the red and yellow colors, manganese, lavenders, and purple hues.

The white cap-rock is more substantial than the rock beneath it and protects it from erosion from the top. Fantastic effects take place by the longtime action of rain, snow, and ice. One can conger up all types of images when viewing these otherworldly shapes, many of which are known as "hoodoos."

Bryce Canyon and the sculptural rocks found there are a prime example of the powers of erosion! This post will show many pictures of this geological wonder.

Settlement of the Area

Ebeneezer Bryce was a Mormon settler and tried to make a living in this area. Because of the lack of water, he gave up and moved elsewhere after about five years. This national park still bears his name.

Paiute Indians also lived around this area and considered this to be a very spiritual place.

A hell of a place to lose a cow!

— Ebeneezer Bryce

How to View Bryce Canyon

Photographers have a good time capturing various attitudes of the surreal landscape that is Bryce Canyon. There are 35 miles of paved roads (56 kilometers) that take one to several viewpoints. Photos taken in the winter when snow blankets the area are stunning. This park offers visitors a reason to come and enjoy its year-round beauty!

In addition to the numerous lookout points from the road, hikers have many paths and trails that can be enjoyed by hearty souls with good sturdy shoes. One has to carry water with one if one is to do any amount of hiking.

People can rent horses, and hikers must give horses the right of way when on these paths.

Flora and Fauna

Adjacent to the canyon are meadows filled with wildflowers.

Bristle-cone pine trees cling to the rocks and anchor themselves, often in precarious attitudes drawing moisture from the frequent summer thunderstorms. They also help to slow the process of erosion with their tenacious roots that embrace the rocks and hold them in place a while longer.

Many animals also call this place home. Mule deer are seen in abundance, especially in the mornings and evenings when they are foraging for food.

We saw many ground squirrels, and there is a prairie dog town nearby. Many people were amusing themselves, taking photos of the cute and curious prairie dogs, including us. It is quite a large colony, and although wary, the critters see so many tourists that they allow people to get quite close to them before dodging below ground into their haven tunnels.

Also known to reside in this area are coyotes and some mountain lions.

A Map of Bryce Amphitheater Region

A Map of Bryce Amphitheater Region

Ruby's Inn

We spent the night at Ruby's Inn. You can see the location of Ruby's Inn and its proximity to Bryce Canyon National Park at the top of the map featured above. It is one of the closest lodgings to this park.

Ruben and Minnie Syrett settled in this area back in 1916. They "discovered" Bryce Canyon and were granted permission to build a lodge nearby.

Ruby's Inn now includes a post office, a laundromat, dining facilities, convention facilities, an indoor pool, a trailer park as well as the motel. We were pleased with the accommodations and would stay there again were we ever to revisit this area.

Outside our room was a small lake where we amused ourselves by feeding some ducks one morning. The meadow surrounding Ruby's Inn was pretty adorned with a variety of blooming wildflowers and trees. It is quite a contrast to the fantastic shapes, spires, and weathered rocks that compose Bryce Canyon National Park.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed this glimpse via pictures and videos taken of the amazingly shaped rocks caused by erosion in Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park. It is so beautiful, and the colors, depending upon the time of day or passing clouds, make for a surreal landscape that one does not easily forget.

A national park is not a playground. it’s a sanctuary for nature and for humans who will accept nature on nature’s own terms.

— Michael Frome

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Peggy Woods

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