Bryce Canyon National Park, named after pioneer and Mormon Ebenezer Bryce, opened in 1928. Gargantuan hoodoos, rock pillars formed from erosion, rise up from the earth’s surface. More hoodoos are in this park than there are in any other place in the world. Besides jaw-dropping hoodoos, the park is filled with picture-perfect vistas and spruce-fir forests. One of the most popular points of interest is the natural amphitheater.
Throughout the year, Bryce Canyon National Park hosts a range of programs that examine the geology, ecology, and even astronomy found in the park. Many ranger-guided programs are available. Rangers lead visitors on guided hikes and in cultural discussions about the earliest people who made Bryce Canyon home. At night, moonlit hikes are available, and there are astronomy programs as well. If you visit during the winter, consider a snowshoe hike with a ranger. During the midsummer, the park holds an annual geology festival called GeoFest, and the park hosts the springtime Utah Prairie Dog Day. Check the park’s website for dates and times of special events like these.
Free Shuttle Bus
From mid-April to late October, Bryce Canyon National Park runs a free shuttle bus beginning at 8 am each day. (Depending on when you visit, shuttle service will end at either 6 pm or 7 pm.) These months tend to be popular times to visit the park and frustrating times for finding a place to park your vehicle. If you drive your vehicle into the park, you will be charged admission and given a 7-day pass ($30 for cars and trucks, $25 for motorcycles, and $15 for bicyclists or pedestrians). Although you are welcome to tour the park using your own vehicle, you may waste a lot of time in traffic. Find a Shuttle Staging Area near Ruby’s Inn or Ruby’s Campground. The free shuttle service will take you to many points of interest in the park. At some stops, you can exit the bus and board another that comes, which usually takes about 15 minutes.
Top Tip: A guided bus tour called the Rainbow Shuttle Tour runs from May through September at 9 am and 1:30 pm. Contact the park to reserve your free place on this 40-mile journey. The Rainbow Shuttle Tour lasts about 3 ½ hours.