Magnificent Bryce Canyon National Park
Spectacular rock formations colored in orange, red and white make this place unique and fascinating. Covering approximately 56 square miles of land, Bryce Canyon Park is also home to over 400 species of native plants, as well as hundreds more species of animals and birds. It is a wonderful place to visit, but its remote location results in a relatively low number of annual visitors, who often prefer to go to the Grand Canyon or the Zion National Park.
The main feature of the park is the amazing Bryce Canyon, which despite its name is actually not a real canyon, but a collection of huge natural amphitheaters. The largest of them measures 12 miles in length, 3 miles in width and 800 feet in depth (Bryce Amphitheater). Speaking of numbers, one place that you need to reach is the park’s highest point, known as Rainbow Point. An 18 mile drive through stunning sceneries will take you there, at 9, 105 feet altitude.
From up there you can see the vast Bryce Amphitheater, the Henry Mountains, White Cliffs, Vermilion Cliffs, and Aquarius Plateau. Because the air in this area is very clean, most days will offer you the chance to see as far as 90 miles in the distance, catching glimpses of the Navajo Mountain and Arizona’s Kaibab Plateau.
According to archeologists and their research, people lived in this park for at least 10,000 years. Very little is known about human habitation in the area, but archaeological digs revealed some very old artifacts. Native Americans used to populate the park before European Americans came here, and their mythology was very much influenced by the local geological formations. They were mostly amazed by the so called hoodoos (aka fairy chimneys), which are tall and thin spires of rock that can reach up to 200 feet in height.
With such amazing stone structures it is no wonder photography enthusiasts find the park absolutely irresistible. Sunsets and sunrises are also breathtaking on most days, which makes Bryce an excellent place in which to practice your landscape photography skills. Most visitors, however, come here for plain sightseeing, hiking, or skiing.
Another magical experience in the park is stargazing. People can see around 7,500 stars here with the naked eye, which is much more than what they would normally spot in most other places on earth, where light pollution diminishes the beauty of the starry night to about 2,000 stars. Astronomy enthusiasts should not miss the annual Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival and other similar events organized by the park rangers. The park really has something special for every type of visitor. And the best way to see that is with your own eyes.