This national park is centered along the spine plateau above Bryce Canyon, which drops to the east from the main park road. Along the road are numerous pull-offs for enjoying views down into the canyon, with its miles and miles of awe-inspiring sandstone hoodoo spires. Drive to the far south end of the park where the road terminates for the best views of Rainbow Point, named for the colorful rocks that lead into the Grand Staircase National Monument, then get away from the crowds by hiking one of the many trails that drop into the canyon. Visitors can also pick up a backcountry permit and stay overnight to see the stars. While most tourists come during the spring and summer months, Bryce is particularly stunning in the winter when it’s covered in snow.

More Recommendations

Sea of Spires at Inspiration Point

Bryce Canyon creates its own rainbow of colors, with layers of oranges, yellows, reds, whites, and greens. At Inspiration Point, you can get lost in this convoluted maze of spires just by staring. If you want to get a closer look at the bizarre rock formations called hoodoos, you can strike out on trails by foot or by horse (or mule for the less experienced rider).

Inspire Yourself at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon left me at a loss for words. Utah’s spectacular park system will do that, what with its otherworldly geological features, epic night skies, canyons, cliffs, and hoodoos. Bryce is one remarkable destination. The hike down into the canyon was like stepping foot onto the surface of another planet. During our Go Ahead tour, we had time to walk the rim, hike a ways down into the canyon itself, and explore the park’s interpretive center. Like each of our national parks, the first visit feels introductory, exciting, and like a glimpse at something big.

Flash Parker traveled on Go Ahead’s U.S. National Parks tour as part of AFAR’s partnership with the United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. For more on Flash’s journey, visit the USTOA Blog.

Brilliant Bryce Canyon

The colors in Bryce Canyon were astounding. I’ve never seen reds, greens, and blues quite so vivid in my life. The dazzling sun there intensified the colors so much that I felt as if I had somehow dropped into a Photoshopped world, where all hues were set to full saturation.

The Elements of Bryce Canyon

Driving through Bryce Canyon is limited, but hiking isn’t. Finding a bad view is difficult. The danger is keeping your mind on the trail with the elements of beauty around every turn.

Navajo Trail Hike in Bryce Canyon, Utah

Get up early and head into Bryce Canyon National Park to the beginning of the Navajo Trail head. This moderate two-hour hike takes you down into the valley and the heart of the formations, then back up the very steep “Wall Street” section. A great way to see Bryce Canyon’s stunning formations up close and personal.

Hiking at Bryce Canyon

The contrast of colors at Bryce Canyon National Park combined with the unique shapes of the land turn any traveler into a photographer. The bright blue sky, dark green forest, and red rock formations make for a memorable view. We visited the park on our road trip from Florida to California, and it quickly became one of our favorite spots for day hikes.

Great views at Bryce Canyon

If you are looking for a fairly easy hike that gives you access to the rock formations, we suggest the Queens Garden Trail, pictured above and below. We loved seeing the different shapes nature creates in the various hoodoos. Start at Sunrise Point and descend 320 feet on the trail.

Mother Nature's Artwork

Mother Nature seems to have stayed longer in some states than in others. In Utah - she was very busy. In order to see all of the incredible national parks - Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, Delicate Arch, Zion National Park, Canyonlands and Monument Valley, I recommend car camping. The national parks here offer a wide range of camping options - from primitive to full hooks ups with water and electricity. The best time of the year for this part of Utah is late May and early June - before the heat begins. At night it might be a bit chilly, but that’s what a campfire is all about.

Beautiful Red Rock Country....

Driving and hiking through the national parks in southern Utah is a treat for the eyes. The unbelievable colors, the hoodoos and the rock formations really make me wish I had come here exploring much earlier in my life...so much to see!

See anything inaccurate? Let our Editors know

More From AFAR