Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwest Utah, only a short distance from Zion National Park. Let's start off by stating geologically, Bryce Canyon is NOT a canyon but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters. Canyons are created by erosion caused by a central stream, Bryce was formed by head-ward erosion, which is erosion occurring at the origin of a stream channel. This type of erosion is responsible for the large amphitheater shaped feature.
Bryce's most distinctive characteristic is the geological feature called 'hoodoos'. The formation of hoodoos starts with rainwater seeping into cracks in the rock. The water freezes during Bryce’s cold nights, expands and breaks apart the rock. The deep, narrow walls called 'fins' result from rain and snow melt running down the slopes from Bryce’s rim. Eventually the fins form holes (called windows), and when the windows grow larger they collapse and create the bizarre hoodoos that we see today.
(Geology 101 class is now dismissed).
Views from up high.
Views up-close to the hoodoos following the Queen's Garden/Navajo Loop trail (2.9 miles).
Sunset at the main amphitheater.
Red Canyon State Park
Just a few miles from Bryce was this gem of a state park. There are no crowds like you experience at Bryce and the hoodoos are not as enormous, but you get a chance to walk through the canyon and enjoy the unique features up close.
Kodachrome Basin State Park
Kodachrome, located less than one hour from Bryce, is special due to the 67 sandstone spires and columns found throughout the park. There are differing opinions over how these structures were formed but they are only unique to Kodachrome. The chance to view these 6 to 170 feet tall sand pipes is worth a side trip. We hiked the Angel's Palace Trail because this short 2-mile trail was described as the "best photographic' trail for a short visit.