Explore the Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park
Located in southern Utah east of Zion National Park (read my Zion post here), Bryce Canyon National Park is another one of Utah’s “mighty five.” I was surprised that its higher elevation resulted in a much different climate, even though it is only an hour and a half away from Zion. Getting out of the car I was met with a wintry chill in the clear air even in mid-May, and the day before at Zion I had been simply wearing a tee-shirt.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected travel in every way. Please refer to local ordinances in the country, state, or city, and look up the website of the museum, tour, restaurant, or hotel you are considering visiting.
Bryce Canyon is most famous for famous rock formations called hoodoos. Created by erosion, freezing and melting water has cracked the stone into naturally formed pillars.
Bryce Canyon National Park is centrally located in the American Southwest. If you don’t want to drive, or are visiting from another country, you can fly into Las Vegas or Salt Lake City and rent a car from there (it will still be a several hour drive).
There are fees associated with entering the park which help with upkeep and conservation efforts. The fee is $30/week for a car or $15/week for a person on foot. (More options and details here). Our 2017 America the Beautiful pass covered our fee to enter Bryce Canyon and camp at Zion National Park on the same trip.
Bryce Canyon is smaller in acreage than Zion National Park but seems much more vast due to the geographic features (broad expanses instead of slot canyons). Most people take the scenic drive through the park first, and then take advantage of a couple of hikes (the park offers over 50 total miles of trails). One of the most popular trails in the park is the Navajo Loop trail. When we were there, parts of it were still closed due to snow (!) but Doug still meandered down until the close-off point, and got some amazing photos.
We camped at Zion, not Bryce, so I can’t provide a personal account of this park, however I have done some of the research for you. There are two campgrounds, North and Sunset, and they do not get booked up as quickly as Zion NP. The Sunset campground is closed during the winter. For those who don’t want to sleep outside, there is a lodge and a hotel located in the park too.
When to go
This is a great four-season park. Every National Park is a great summer family trip, and the summers here are comparatively mild (temperature does not crack 100). The hoodoos look beautiful when covered in snow, but due to high elevation winters are long and cold.
Visiting Bryce Canyon for a half-day left me wanting to see more. The beautiful landscape and intriguing hoodoos would make for a great camping setting. Like in my last post, if you want to camp but don’t have much experience, I highly recommend exploring Camp Academy for learning more, especially for newbies.
All photos by Staci and Doug Jackson for The Voyageer.
I definitely want to go now!
Definitely adding this to my list of things to see during my birthday roadtrip next year! The pictures look incredible! #TheWeeklyPostcard
It was amazing. Not as famous as other parks but very impressive.
I love your photos – brings back memories of my own trip to Bryce several years ago. I’m hoping to spend part of this winter in St George and will definitely go see Bryce after a snowfall!
I really want to visit all the national parks in Utah. I love the rock formations in Bryce, I am glad I now know the name of them. I think I agree with you a half day is not enough! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.
Oh that looks absolutely stunning, I’d love to visit someday!
I’ve heard so much about this beautiful canyon this year I almost feel like I’ve been now! I definitely need to go for myself though!! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!
I’ve never heard of ‘Hoodoos’ before, but now I know more. It sounds like you had a great time and I wish I could see the canyon myself soon. #theweeklypostcard
Wow this is breathtaking! Def adding to my ever growing list of places to see
This is beautiful! It’s definitely on my bucket list for when we move back to the US! #theweeklypostcard
Thanks to travel bloggers like you, this summer I’ve discovered just how much the Southwest USA has to offer in terms of hiking and the great outdoors. Bryce Canyon stands out for its unique landscape, for sure! I’d love to visit it someday, though perhaps not at the height of summer as it looks extremely hot and dry =S
It’s been so long since I’ve been in Bryce! Your beautiful pictures reminded me how beautiful this place is. I should definitely return there sometimes. #TheWeeklyPostcard
You’ve captured one of my favorite National Parks beautifully! Hiking down into the Hoodoos is surreal – the landscape is just so unique! It’s nice that much of the park is very accessible, too. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!