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Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 001I have visited Bryce Canyon National Park several times over the years.  Each visit is always unique, regardless of extraneous variables such as season, weather, and even park construction projects.  A major part of the grand spectacle comes from the many contrasts inherent in this place.  Although one of the smallest national parks at 56.2 square miles, its high elevations (8,000-9,000 feet) mean the park occupies three different climate zones as it ascends 2,000 feet.  In addition, the drive into Bryce Canyon National Park is deceptive: visitors first encounter meadows and sparse forests that hide the stupendous vistas that eventually erupt, offering 200 miles of visibility.

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 087

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Bryce NP, red rock canyon 101

mid view with clouds

Of course, there is also the fact that Bryce Canyon National Park is not really a canyon. Instead, the area is comprised of a series of amphitheaters, each one cut 1,000 feet into the sandstone cliffs. Its 18-mile scenic drive takes visitors to numerous scenic overlooks and hiking trails, providing dramatic overviews of the park’s stark vistas and red cliffs.

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 006

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 114

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pano vista 3 river

Bryce Vista River

Bryce Maybe Sunset Pt after storm

SOME FLOWERS & ANIMALS THAT CAN OFTEN BE SEEN

Utah Prairie Dog

Utah Prairie Dog

flowers 1

flowers 5

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 008

chipmunk

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 007

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flowers 2

SOME TYPICAL VIEWS

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INSPIRATION POINT

inspiration pt vista

inspiration point close

NATURAL BRIDGE

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FAIRVIEW POINT

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GEOLOGICAL MAP OF THE COLORADO PLATEAU

BNP geo maps

Bryce Fairview PtThis magnificent park is one of many national parks scattered throughout Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. This four-state area is part of the expansive geological feature called the Colorado Plateau that—millions of years ago (mya)—was formed from sedimentary buildup, tectonic activity and ongoing erosion.  Bryce Canyon National Park, however, is one of the areas that was initially situated at the bottom of an inland sea.  The combination of this area’s special features—initially underwater, ongoing wind erosion complemented by the impact of freezing temperatures and annual rainfall—gives rise to park’s the most unique feature: hoodoos.

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 134Hoodoos are bulbous spires eroded out of the sandstone cliffs that are unique in the world to this national park in southern Utah.  These statuesque rock features look almost human as they populate the cliffs and terraces.  In 1936, Indian Dick was recorded sharing part of a Paiute Legend about the formation of this area and it ghostly apparitions:

“Before there were any Indians, the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. . . . Coyote turned them all into rocks.  You can see them in that place now; some standing in rows; some sitting down; some holding onto others. You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks. . . . The name of that place is Agka-ku-wass-a-wits (Red Painted Faces).”

hoodoo 2

hoodoo 3

I love to sit and observe these hoodoos.  They seem so human that I swear I can hear their whispers as they huddle against the wind.  Some of the works by my favorite artists show individuals at one with nature who would be at peace wandering the trails that meander through these impressive cliffs.

Bryce Hoodoo Vista pano

Although these artists did not live in Utah, their work captures the spirit and people of the Southwest and along with the hoodoos themselves  remind me that past and present, nature and families, history and culture intertwine together in this special place called Bryce Canyon National Park.

Carole Grigg, Cherokee, Oregon

Carole Grigg, Cherokee, Oregon

R. C. Gorman, Navajo, California & New Mexico

R. C. Gorman, Navajo, California & New Mexico

R. C. Gorman

R. C. Gorman

Amado Pena, Yaqui, Arizona & Texas

Amado Pena, Yaqui, Arizona & Texas

Bryce Hoodoo 3

Bryce Hoodoo 5

If you have never been, consider visiting Bryce Canyon National Park.  It is a truly wondrous place.  Although native tribes had populated the area for centuries, this wondrous location was officially named Bryce Canyon National Park after a Mormon pioneer named Ebenezer Bryce.  The area was first preserved as a National Monument in 1923, becoming a National Park in 1928.  As a visitor brochure explains, “This dynamic mesmerizing place is like no other.”

pano vista 4

Comments on: "Bryce Canyon National Park" (13)

  1. Sherry D'Attile said:

    Thank you for sharing this majestic place. I’d only vaguely heard of it before, but now it’s definitely on my bucket list! 🙂

  2. Beautiful photos and great information about what must be a spectacular place Patti! Heartening to know that it is being protected for the enjoyment of those who’ll come after us.

  3. Thanks for stopping by. I agree, one of the best things done is preserving nature! I still think all those great places you visit are spectacular with all those great animals you photograph.

  4. I haven’t been to Bryce, but I’ve only heard praise for this park. Gotta love the spires!!!! … Thanks for the journey!

  5. So much beauty!

  6. Yes. The reds and browns are different than the blues and greys of Yosemite, but beautiful nonetheless. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. […] Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah […]

  8. […] and admiration.  Of course, there are the giant iconic rock formations such as the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park and Zion National Park.  Really, you can just travel to any of the […]

  9. […] Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah […]

  10. […] property with 15 million visitors in 2014.  Utah offers many parks from which to choose, including Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Zion National […]

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