Why you’ve just gotta see Bryce Canyon National Park in your lifetime!
If you’re planning a trip to Southern Utah, there are quite a few sights that are probably on your list. It’s the perfect family playground with its warm weather and astounding geographical wonders, including the Mighty Five National Parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Arches.
Bryce Canyon National Park is like nothing you will ever see in your lifetime. It’s a literal freak of nature and something to put on your bucket list.
We took our four kids, ages 4-10 years old, and spent five days in Southern Utah. Crunched for time, we were able to spend a day in Zion National Park and another in Bryce Canyon National Park, among several hikes and sites in St. George, Utah. Here’a a quick guide to Bryce National Park.
How To See Bryce Canyon National Park in One Day
1. Parking: First be aware of the parking situation. Similar to Zion National Park, there is a free shuttle that will take you from site to site within Bryce Canyon. Unlike Zion National Park however, the shuttle is not mandatory, but it is extremely convenient. If visiting the park during peak season (June-August) you may have more success and less headache taking the shuttle.
2. Temperature: Bryce National Park is an oddity in many ways, one being the weather. While you can count on nearby Zion National Park to be warm, the higher elevation of Bryce Canyon means that the weather is colder and more unpredictable so you should consider some comfortable vests for hiking or similar outdoor clothes. .
We went the first week of October and needed coats and long pants pretty much the entire time where the day before in Zion we all had shorts and t-shirts.
3. Bring a lunch: There are plenty of places to enjoy a snack or a picnic. There is a lodge, a visitor’s center, a general store, and a pizzeria inside the park, but you may want to do your own things as well.
Understand the Geology
Bryce Canyon’s geology is one of a kind. There is literally no where else on the face of this Earth where you’ll find this type of land erosion and formation.
Giant rocks and aspiring boulders jut from the red rock canyon in formations that appear like a giant’s game of chess. These hoodoos, or pillars of rock in fantastical shapes, are caused by a unique kind of erosion that only happens in Bryce Canyon.
So how are these bizarre pillars formed? Not wind, but water erosion.
Thousands of years of water, ice, and gravity combined forces to create one of the most beautiful views known to man.
Bryce Canyon Hikes
Even if you’re not an avid hiker, exploring Bryce Canyon is an awesome experience. There are over a dozen hikes, all ranging in difficulty from easy to moderate, and to get the most out of your experience, make sure to do at least a couple.
If visiting with kids, make sure to stop in at the visitor’s center and ask the ranger for the safest hikes for your family. (Some involve steep drop-offs or climbs and are not suited for children.)
The Scenic Rim Trail is one of the most astounding trails you will ever hike in your lifetime. This trail takes you right along the perimeter of Bryce Canyon where you feel like an original explorer, seeing these fantastical hoodoos up-close and personal. It’s a feeling you’ll never forget.
Kids Can Earn a Free Ranger Pin
One of my kids’ favorite parts of visiting Bryce National Park is the Junior Ranger Program. Before you enter Bryce Canyon, first go to the Visitor’s Center and ask the ranger for a Junior Parks handbook. This is so fun for kids!
It’s a workbook full of activities that kids can do and things they can look for throughout Bryce Canyon. It keeps them engaged and excited the whole time and at the end, if they’ve completed the workbook, they can turn it back into the park ranger and receive a free Junior Ranger pin.
You can see Bryce Canyon National Park in a day if you’re crunched for time, or spend a few days there if you have more leeway. Visit the National Parks Service website for places to camp or stay near Bryce Canyon and make it a point to visit in your lifetime.