Bryce Canyon is situated in a unique geographic and climactic niche, where the soft sedimentary rock of the Colorado Plateau meets a temperature zone with an unusually high amount of freeze/thaw cycles annually. The result is a particular erosion of rocks, forming first ‘windows’ and then free-standing pillars of rock known as hoodoos. Established as a National Park in 1928, Bryce Canyon currently houses the world’s largest collection of hoodoos.
While the canyon itself, at a depth of around 800 feet, may seem unspectacular compared to the nearby Zion or Grand Canyons, Bryce certainly makes up for this with its combination of fascinating geology and drastically fewer visitors. Short hikes down into the canyon provide the visitor with an immediate, up-close view of the hoodoos that is almost enough for one to see geology as an active process (will that hoodoo finally topple over?).
In addition to the geological features, Bryce is known for having some of the best skies around, with views up to 160 miles away on a clear day, and some of the best stargazing in the lower 48! This park is spectacular and should not be skipped in one’s tour of southern Utah.