Bryce Canyon National Park (NP) in southern Utah is known for the unusual scenic beauty and its “hoodoos.” The hoodoos are rock-shaped pillars formed more than 40 million years ago from chromatic limestone that has been eroded by rain and ice. These hoodoos range in color from eggshell to pink to crimson. While hoodoos are in other western and upper Midwest states, they can also be seen in Cappadocia (Turkey), Serbia, Taiwan, and Alberta (Canada). However, Bryce Canyon NP holds the highest concentration of hoodoos of any place on earth.
While looking down on the hoodoos is a spectacular sight, what is even more spectacular is hiking down into the hoodoos and seeing the slot canyons for views not visible from above. If you are unable to hike into and up out of the valley, consider taking a horseback ride through some of the areas.
Bryce Canyon NP is celebrating a centennial. One hundred years ago, President Harding wanted to protect this beautiful and unusual place. So, on June 8, 1923, he used the powers of the National Monuments and Antiquity Act to name the area Bryce Canyon National Monument. Five years later, after meeting specific conditions, the U.S. Congress declared the area a national park.
As a way to celebrate the centennial, there are special events during the year. On June 8 there is a special centennial ceremony, plus a piano concert being held on the rim above the hoodoos. For more information about events, tickets, and reservations, check out www.nps.gov/brca.
The park is open year-round with 60% of visitors arriving June through September. Activities in the park include hiking, ranger programs, camping, stargazing, and horseback riding. In the winter, when it snows, cross country skiing is also available. To get an overview of the park, there is the 38-mile round trip drive along the ridge, with 13 viewpoints to see from the comfort of your vehicle. If you don’t want to drive, there is a free shuttle that can do the driving for you. The optional shuttle bus runs from April 7 through Oct. 22. Your only fee is the entrance fee to the park. The shuttle bus is wheelchair accessible and there are several short trails that are paved and wheelchair accessible.
It is always a good idea to plan ahead and check out www.nps.gov before visiting any of the parks to understand any need for reservations, closures due to weather or fire, etc.