Bryce Canyon Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park - Natural Bridge

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Natural Bridge at Bryce Canyon is really a Freestanding Arch

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Bryce Canyon
National Park

Large groups of hoodoos like those found at Bryce Canyon National Park are quite unusual except  for one small corner of Southern Utah.  The park encompasses 35,835 acres of land and a good share of it is covered with eroded shale that forms the mystical limestone hoodoos. These geological curiosities of claron limestone, sandstone and mudstone have an ancient history.  The geology of Bryce Canyon began around the same time as the disappearance of the dinosaurs.  Slowly over vast periods of time the landscape changed until it finally resulted in  what you see in Bryce today. Although the parks name implies that it is a canyon, it is not.  The hoodoos and amphitheaters are the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, an area embattled and sculpted by the Paria River's tributaries as well as wind and ice.

Bryce Canyon Facts

Established as a National Park in 1928
Established as a National Monument in 1923
Average summer temperature: 82 degrees
Average rainfall: 15 inches per year
Best time to visit: Spring and Fall
Most popular time to visit: Summer
Annual park visitation: 2-million
Time Zone: Mountain Time
Location: SW Utah (248 miles from Las Vegas)
Elevation Range: 6,600 ft. to 9,100 ft.
Precipitation: Peaks in March and September
Popular hikes: Queens Garden, Navajo Loop
Most famous landmarks:  Thor's Hammer, Natural Bridge
Pets: Not allowed on trails and must be on a leash
Backpacking: Permit required
Mammals: 50 species
Birds: 160 species
Reptiles and Amphibians:15 species
Flora: 400 native species of plants
Trails: 60 miles of trails
Rock: Limestone
Geographic: Paunsaugunt Plateau
Region: Great Basin Desert
Bikes: There are no bike paths, but Red Canyon located nine-miles east of Bryce Canyon has a beautiful paved bike path and several mountain bike paths.

Bryce Canyon offers distinctly different adventures for each season of the year and is a year-round destination. In Bryce Canyon the summers are sunny and warm, and in autumn the days are alive with vivid early fall colors.  In the winter, fresh snow brightens the red rock hoodoos.  In the spring the meadows fill with an abundance of colorful desert blooms.

Arches and Bridges

Bridge and Arches: Natural Bridge and other natural arches and windows, although abundant in Bryce Canyon, are surprisingly little known features of the park.

Natural Bridge: Natural Bridge, the most popular arch in Bryce Canyon, is located 1.7 miles past  Fairview Point and is visible from the Natural Bridge turn-out.

Naming Natural Bridge: The naming of Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon caused a slight uproar in the geology circles. Even though the natural-made structure looks like a bridge, it is in fact an arch.

What is the difference between a bridge and arch?
The difference between a bridge and an arch is in how the rocks were molded and formed. A true natural bridge is formed by stream erosion or some sort of water force, but Bryce Canyon's Natural Bridge is thought to be formed by weathering, rain and freezing. Run-off enlarged the hole in the center of Natural Bridge, forming the structure seen today.

Bryce Canyon Vacation: Canyon Country

Bryce Canyon National Park Map Red Canyon - Dixie National Forest Cedar Mountain - Dixie National Forest Zion National Park Coral Pink Sand Dunes North Rim of the Grand Canyon Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument East Zion Welcome Center Bryce Canyon National Park Cedar Breaks National Monument Scenic Byway 89 Scenic Byway 14 Scenic Byway 143 Scenic Byway 12 Scenic Byway 9 - Zion Mt. Carmel Hwy Zion National Park Lodging Zion National Park Lodging

Bryce Canyon is located a quick 60 miles from the junction of Scenic Byways 9 & 89 on the east side of Zion Park.

Naturalist NotesNature Notes

Peekaboo Loop and the Mossy Cave display fun windows and arches. Windows are usually carved by weathering and erosion in Bryce Canyon. Narrow fractures occur in rock then the freeze and thaw cycle generates larger openings. As time goes on and a window becomes too large to support its own roof, it breaks.  Broken windows are the multitudes of limestone hoodoos seen in Bryce Canyon. 

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