Bryce Canyon Country
You won't run out of jaw-dropping vistas in your trip to this corner of Utah. Just make sure you pack a camera
Bryce Canyon Country (a.k.a. Garfield County, Utah) has been called the most scenically diversified place in the world. It encompasses spectacular destinations such as Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Lake Powell, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Anasazi Indian Village State Park and Petrified Forest State Park.
This remarkable area in southern Utah is the place for great hiking, mountain biking, fishing, backcountry exploring, ATV trails, scenic aerial tours, amazing stargazing and much more.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Let's start with the spectacular Bryce Canyon National Park. The park is located near the junction of Scenic Byway 12 and U-63 and is a series of large natural amphitheaters with thousands of multicolored rock pinnacles called "hoodoos." These formations shine brilliantly under sunny skies but glow most exquisitely under the softer light of the rising or setting sun. Visitors may drive through the 20-mile-long park and stop at scenic viewpoints, and hike or take horseback rides along trails into the canyon. Perhaps the best experiences at Bryce Canyon come from descending on trails among the amphitheaters and hoodoos. You'll be astonished by the contrast of the orange formations and the richest blue sky you've ever seen. Be sure to stop at the visitor's center and museum at the entrance of the park. In winter months, allow time to cross country ski or snowshoe. Check at the visitor's center for times of ranger-led walks and talks.
Interpretive programs are offered throughout the year, weather permitting. Note: Pets must be on a leash and under control at all times; they are not permitted on park trails or overlooks.
Capitol Reef National Park
The Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth's crust, extends from nearby Thousand Lakes Mountain to the Colorado River (now Lake Powell). Capitol Reef National Park was established to protect this grand and colorful geologic feature, as well as the historical and cultural history that abounds in the area.
Capitol Reef is accessible via Scenic Byway 12 and U-24, or take the Burr Trail from Boulder. Drive the park's scenic drive, stop in at the visitor's center and museum, hike the trails and visit the old log schoolhouse and the village of Fruita.
On the fringe of Bryce Canyon Country are Lake Powell, where you can fish, boat, swim and hike, and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Bullfrog Marina is accessible via the Burr Trail or by way of U-95 and U-276. To get to Wahweap Marina near Page, Arizona, drive south on U.S. 89. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based and backcountry recreation. The recreation area stretches hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah, encompassing scenic vistas, geologic wonders and a panorama of human history.
Kodachrome Basin State Park
Kodachrome Basin State Park is located 20 miles southeast of Bryce Canyon National Park and is just a short drive from the picturesque communities of Tropic, Cannonville and Henrieville that make up the scenic Bryce Valley. Best known for the 67 towering sand pipes that range from 6 feet to 170 feet in height and dominate the desert landscape, this colorful park has a well-deserved reputation as a photographer's paradise.
Several hiking, biking and equestrian trails run throughout the park. The state park is located at 5,800 feet, so you'll find warm, sunny summers and mild winters that make the park pleasant to visit any season. The park is open yearround but check for road conditions prior to heading out.
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument surrounds the park. The 2,240-acre park can be thoroughly explored in a day or less, leaving time for a side excursion to nearby Grosvenor Arch, a massive natural stone arch located about nine miles southeast, or a drive through rugged Cottonwood Canyon via Cottonwood Canyon Road.
Anasazi State Park
Visit the museum and partially excavated prehistoric Indian village at Anasazi State Park, located in the town of Boulder on Scenic Byway 12. This ancient Indian village was one of the largest Anasazi communities west of the Colorado River. The site is believed to have been occupied from A.D. 1050 to 1200. The village remains largely unexcavated, but many artifacts have been uncovered and are on display in the newly remodeled museum. Group and individual picnic areas are available, but there is no camping.
Petrified Forest State Park
Hike past large specimens of petrified wood and dinosaur fossils at Escalante Petrified Forest, located one mile west of Escalante. The park has hiking trails, fishing at Wide Hollow Reservoir, canoeing, camping and picnicking.
Dixie National Forest
There are three sections of the Dixie National Forest in the Bryce Canyon Country region. Each section encompasses a major plateau and elevations range from approximately 6,000 to over 10,000 feet. The Aquarius Plateau is believed to be the highest plateau in North America. Wildlife abounds in these areas, which represent some of the most remote forestland in the continental United States. Scenic Highway 12 passes alongside and through two of these sections of the forest.
For More Information:
Bryce Canyon Country
Utah Travel Council