Utah is a state full of stunning landscapes and adventure. One of the best regions to start is Bryce Canyon Country. With two national parks, three state parks, two national scenic byways and a national monument all in one area, you can see why Bryce is an outdoor adventurer’s dream.
The main attraction is Bryce Canyon National Park with its red-orange-pink rock amphitheaters. Once you’ve visited this stunning work of nature hit the Scenic Byway 12 to check out lots of other adventures around the area. Here’s 5 of the best adventures you can experience in Bryce Canyon Country and beyond.
Top 5 Adventures in Bryce Canyon Country & Beyond
Hike the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Photo by Ann Whittaker, Utah.com
The Grand Staircase is an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon. What makes the Grand Staircase unique is that it preserves more Earth history than any other place on Earth.
The Escalante section is the most popular area of the monument, especially for hikers. Here you’ll find plummeting waterfalls, colorful arches, sculpted slickrock and narrow canyons such as Peek-a-boo and Spooky Gulch.
Mountain Bike Through Red Canyon
The Red Canyon paved trail takes you through one of Utah’s most scenic canyons up to Inspiration Point. Red Canyon is also known as “Little Bryce”, with brilliantly colored red rocks and large pine trees. If you want to get away from crowds, this is your place. Connect this trail with the Thunder Mountain Loop Trail which combines technical riding with amazing views.
Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park
Photo by Jean-Christophe Benoist via WikiCommons
Bryce Canyon Country is home to some of the most unique rock formations in the US. Despite its name, it’s not a canyon but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters. What makes Bryce unique is geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The best way to experience this colorful, red-rock landscape is to hit the trails.
One of the most popular hikes is the Rim Trail. It’s a 4.7 mile that takes you through some of the most scenic views of the park such as Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, Bryce Point and Inspiration Point.
If you’re after a challenge, check out the Navajo Loop Trail. This hike brings you to the Bryce Amphitheater on a descent into a group of hoodoos (tall, thin spire of rock). The Navajo Loop winds through Wall Street, a slot canyon section of narrow hoodoo formations.
Cross Country Skiing
Fodor’s recently rated Bryce Canyon National Park as one of the best National Parks in the United States for a winter time experience. The air is crisp and pure, you can see for hundreds of miles, and the white blanketed snow looks amazing on the orange rock formations in Bryce. Also there’s practically no crowds and the rates for accommodation are lower.
A great way to see this area of Utah during winter is on skis. A popular cross-country route is the Fairyland Point Road. It’s a 1.1-mile ski trail through pine tree groves and open meadows to the stunning view from Fairyland Point. Just be sure to pack your warmest gear!
If you aren’t into skiing, there’s plenty of other fun winter activities to try like snow shoeing, sleigh rides, snowmobiling and iceskating. Check out Ruby’s Inn for gear rentals.
Drive Scenic Byway 12
Highway 12 is one of the most scenic highways in America. It’s not just about pretty views, it’s the connector of some of the best adventures in the area, many of which are on this list. The highway passes through Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and over Boulder Mountain in the Dixie National Forest and ends at the entrance to Capitol Reef National Park. If you’re a photographer or just want to soak in some of Utah’s finest landscapes, this drive is for you.
Tips for Planning Your Bryce Adventures
- There are many great places to stay throughout the area with lots of accommodation options and restaurants, as well as guides and outfitters.
- For photographers, don’t stop shooting right after sunrise. You’ll still find wonderful reflected light even hours after sunrise. To isolate hoodoos or features inside the amphitheater use a longer focal length lens for a more intimate view.
- Don’t just see Bryce Canyon and take off. Stay an extra day or two to experience all the nearby adventures.
- Take your time! Don’t try to pack everything in and rush around. Go slow and soak in the natural beauty of this area of Utah.
This post was made possible thanks to a partnership and was brought to you by Bryce Canyon Country. As always, the content and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.
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