Bryce Canyon is one of America’s most scenic destinations and one of the most accessible National Parks.

It is a magical land of a thousand wonderfully shaped fragile rock spires called hoodoos. Depending of the time of the year and day they change in appearance. It is almost impossible to see Bryan Canyon twice exactly the same. Several trails lead down into the canyon, which is actually what geologists call an amphitheatre created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

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The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon are 60 million year old sculpted Claron rock formations which consist of limestone, dolomite and siltstone layers. The yearly weather cycle aids the process needed for a hoodoo to form.

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In Bryce Canyon it freezes at night approximately 360 days of the year. The freeze and thaw cycle loosens the slope surface, allowing debris to be carried away by water run-off. Bryce's colorful combination of pink and orange colors is caused by trace amounts of iron oxide. The white formations are lacking it.

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Based on ancient artifacts, scientists to believe that the Anasazi Indians lived in the Bryce Canyon and its vicinity over 2000 years ago. They were most likely followed by Fremont Indians until the 1200s and later by Paiute Indians. The Paiute called Bryce Canyon National Park “Unka-timpe-wa-wince-pockich”, which can be translated as “red rocks standing like men in bowl shaped canyon.”

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John Wesley Powell reported the names that the Paiute Indians had given to many of the rock structures in Bryce Canyon. In the 1870's, it was the Mormon pioneers that settled near Bryce Canyon. Bryce Canyon was established as a National Park in 1928 and named after Ebenezer Bryce, an early Mormon settler, who homesteaded here in the mid 1870's. Legend has it that when Bryce was asked about his thoughts on the canyon he replied, “It’s a heck of a place to lose a cow.” In about 1880 Ebenezer and family left the Bryce Canyon area, moved to the Gila River Valley in Arizona and established the town of Bryce. Ebenezer Bryce died on September 26th 1913 and is buried in the Bryce Cemetery.

Bryce Tree Bryce Winter

 

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