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Bryce Canyon Travel Basics

Accessibility: The paved faitly level trail between Sunset and Sunrise points and many viewpoints, park buildings and restrooms are accessible to people in wheelchairs. Accessible campsites are available. The visitor center slide program is captioned.

Camping: Tent and RV camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis at North and Sunset campgrounds. A fee is charged. Sites have picnic tables and fireplaces; water and restrooms are nearby. Gathering wood is prohibited. There are no hookups.

Designations:
Bryce Canyon National Monument - June 8, 1923
Bryce Canyon National Park - September 15, 1928

Driving along the Plateau Rim: The 18 mile main park road affords outstanding views of the park and southern Utah scenery. From many overlooks you can see more than 100 miles on clear days. On crisp winter days, views from Rainbow or Yovimpa points are restricted only by the curvature of the Earth. Driving south from the visitor center to Rainbow Point, you gradually gain 1100 feet of elevation. En route, watch how the forests change from ponderosa pine to spruce, fir and aspen. Trailers are not permitted beyond Sunset Campground. Leave trailers at the visitor center, the trailer turn-around south of Sunset Campground or at your campsite. All overlooks lie east of the road. To avoid crossing traffic to reach them, drive to the southern end of the park and stop at the overlooks on your return.

Fairyland Point offers views of Fairyland Amphitheater and its fanciful shapes. Highlighted by Sinking Ship, with a backdrop of the Aquarius Plateau and distant Navajo Mountain, this scenery rivals any in the park. Because this overlook is a mile off the main park road, many visitors miss it. The road is not plowed and is used as a crosscountry ski trail during snowy months.

Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce points ring Bryce Amphitheater, the largest natural amphitheater in the park. The Queen's Garden Trail bgins at Sunrise Point. From Sunset Point you can hike to Thor's Hammer and Wall Street. Inspiration Point offers the best view of the Silent City. The Under-the-Rim Trail begins at Bryce Point. Distant panoramas from each point feature the Black Mountains in the northeast and Navajo Mountain in the south.

Paria View looks out across hoodoos in an amphitheater carved by Yellow Creek. The Paria River valley and Table Cliffs Plateau form the backdrop. To the south, the White Cliffs, carved out of Navajo Sandstone, are visible.

Fairview Point affords a panorama that includes neighboring plateaus and mountains and far to the southeast, the Kaibab Plateau of Grand Canyon's North Rim. Here Ponderosa Pines begin to give way to Douglas fir and white fir.

Natural Bridge was not formed by stream as true natural bridges are. It is more accurately an arch, carved by the combined forces of rain and frost erosion acting from the top of the rock.

Ponderosa Canyon shows off multicolored hoodoos framed by pine-covered foothills and the Table Cliffs Plateau to the north.

Agua Canyon displays contrasts of light and color that are among the most satisfying in the park. Look for small trees atop a hoodoo known as The Hunter. In the distance, the rims of southern plateaus and canyons are visible.

Yovimpa and Rainbow points offer expansice views of southern Utah. On most days you can see Navajo Mountain and the Kaibab Plateau 90 miles away in Arizona. On the clearest days, the view extends into New Mexico. The foreground is awash in the colors of long-eroded slopes and remnant hoodoos. The park road ends at Rainbow Point.

Getting There: By PLANE - Regular commercial flights serve Cedar City (87 miles), St. George (150 miles), Salt Lake City (270 miles), as well as Las Vegas, Nevada (270 miles). The Bryce Canyon Airport (4 miles), operated by Garfield Country, has commercial flights from Las Vegas. Private planes are welcome at this uncontrolled airport.
By CAR - From the north or south on US Hwy 89: Turn east on Utah Hwy 12 (seven miles south of Panguitch, Utah) and travel to the junction of Utah 12 and 63. Turn south (right) onto Utah 63 and travel three miles to reach the park entrance. From the east: Travel west on Utah 12 to the intersection with Utah 63. Turn south (left) to reach the park entrance.

General Store: Groceries, film, quick meals and camper supplies are available from April to November at a store near the Sunrise Point parking area. Coin-operated shower and laundry facilities are also available here.

Hoodoo: A pinnacle or odd shaped rock left standing by the forces of erosion.

Interpretive Programs: Park rangers offer interpretive programs in summer. These include geology talks, campfire programs and guided walks and hikes on a variety of topics. Staffing may permit spring and fall programs. Schedules for interpretive activities are available at the visitor center.

Lodging and Tours: Designed by master architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood and built of local stone and timbers in 1924-25, Bryce Canyon Lodge reflects the rustic style of the period. Rooms and cabins are available from April to November. The lodge has a restaurant, gift shop and post office. You may also register at the lodge for guided horse rides.

Safety Concerns: Steep drop-offs abound in the park - watch children alosely ans stay away from cliff edges. During thunderstorms, remain in your vehicle and avoid isolated trees and open areas. Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit is 35 mph. Watch for mule deer and other animals when driving, especially after dark. Wheeled vehicles, including bicycles, must stay on paved roads. Feeding wildlife harms them and is illegal, as are firearms and hunting or trapping.

Pets must be on a leash and physically restrained at all times; they are not allowed on trails or in public buildings. Camp only in designated campgrounds; build fires only in grills and picnic only at designated picnic areas. High elevation can be dangerous to those with heart or respiratory ailments. Be aware of your personal limits, do not overexert. Stay on trails and don't take shortcuts. Please yield to horse traffic. Loose gravel may roll underfoot. Wear hiking shoes or boots with good ankle support and watch your footing.

Shuttle Bus: The Bryce Canyon Shuttle is designed to leave the hassles of parking a car outside the park. Leave your car at the Shuttle Parking area and hop on the bus into the park. Three different shuttle lines ensure smooth travel to each of the view points every 10 to 15 minutes. You can hit all the northern view points, then hike from Bryce Point to Sunrise Point and catch the shuttle back to your car, back to the lodge, or back to your campground.

Visitor Center: The park visitor center provides information, lost-and-found backcountry permits and first aid services.

Walking and Hiking: Perhaps the best way to experience both the grandeur and intimacy of Bryce's forests, meadows and startling erosional features is on foot. Carry drinking water, wear study footgear and remember that your return will be uphill.

Overnight backcountry use requires a permit available at the visitor center. Overnight backpacking trips are allowed only on the Under-the-Rim and Riggs Spring trails.

Weather: From April through October, days are pleasant and nights are cool. Thunderstorms are common in summer. Winter features many bright and crisp days with snow blanketing the plateau like icing on a cake. Many park viewpoints remain open in winter and lodging is available year round near the park. Snowshoeing and crosscountry skiing are popular winter activities.

Wildflowers: Elevations ranging from 6000 to 9100 feet and diverse soil and moisture conditions influence the park's plant life. More than 400 plant species grow in the park. At the park's comparatively high elevations, many wildflowers that bloom in spring elsewhere may bloom in late summer here.

Wildlife: Bryce Canyon's forests and meadows support diverse animal life, from small mammals and birds to foxes and occasional mountain lions and black bears. Mule deer are the most common large mammal - best seen on summer mornings and evenings in roadside meadows. Mountain lions prey on mule deer in mutually beneficial population dynamics. Elk and proghorn antelope, reintroduced nearby, are sometimes seen in the park. More than 160 species of birds visit the park yearly. Watch swifts and swallows perform aerobatics along cliff faces while feeding on insects in flight. In winter, mule deer, mountain lions and coyotes migrate to lower elevations. Marmots and ground squirrels hibernate. Most bird species migrate to warmer climates, but jays, nuthatches, ravens, eagles and owls winter here. While humans have severely reduced the habitat available to wildlife, a scarcity of water in southern Utah restricts human development, allowing for enhancement of wildlife diversity.


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