Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah. Contained within the park is Bryce Canyon – despite its name, this is not actually a canyon, but rather a giant natural amphitheater. Bryce is distinctive due to its geological structures, called hoodoos, formed from wind, water, and ice erosion of the river and lakebed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views to visitors.
Because Bryce Canyon transcends 2,000 ft (1,200 m) of elevation, the park exists in three distinct climatic zones. Douglas-fir and white fir, along with aspen and Engelmann spruce, make up the forests on the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Ponderosa pine forests cover the mid-elevations with blue spruce and Douglas-fir in water-rich areas and manzanita and bitterbrush as underbrush. The lowest areas of the park are dominated by dwarf forests of pinyon pine and juniper with manzanita, serviceberry, and antelope bitterbrush in between. Cottonwoods, water birch, and willow grow along the lower elevation streams.
Bryce Canyon National Park has two campgrounds located in close proximity to the Visitor Center, Bryce Canyon Lodge and the geologic wonder that is the Bryce Amphitheater. Backcountry camping information is also available there. With a rim elevation between 8,000-9,100 feet (2,420-2,760 m), summer days are pleasant and nights are cool. Spring and fall weather is highly variable with days of snow or days with h1 sun and sub-freezing nights. Average winter snowfall is 95″ (240 cm), providing cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. The park receives fewer visitors than the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, largely due to its remote location.
Some of the best photo opportunities are made before the sun comes up from Bryce Point. The best photos of Bryce Canyon National Park are taken about 30 minute after sunrise from the various viewpoints along the rim. Photographers can descend the trail down to Wall Street and the Navajo Loop Trail to be surrounded by the spectacular hoodoos for mid-morning images using reflected light.