Lying in southern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its crimson colored spire shaped rock formations, known as hoodoos. An inland sea that divided the continent east to west deposited sediments (mostly limestone) into large lakes. 22 million years ago, when the Colorado Plateau began to rise from tectonic activity, the lakes dried up leaving behind the oldest rocks in the park known as the Claron Formation.
Today, Bryce Canyon National Park has a diverse number of animal species including the pronghorn, mountain lion, Great Basin rattlesnake, Stellar’s jay, Clark’s nutcracker, and the threatened Utah prairie dog.
After the Fremont and the Anasazi, the Paiute Indians started to settle in this region beginning around 1200 A.D. In the 1800s, Mormon Pioneers came here to escape persecution. Bryce Canyon National Park is named after Ebenezer Bryce, who designed Pine Valley Chapel, the oldest Mormon chapel in use. Displayed below are a 19th century cradle board (Koanonts) and a rabbit blanket.
The hoodoos have been sculpted from the Pink Cliffs, which are a part of the Grand Staircase. The entire Bryce Canyon National Park stretches out before the eye.
The sequence of rock layers called the Grand Staircase can be seen clearly. The viewpoint is at the top of the Pink Cliffs, below which are the Grey Cliffs. In the distance, the White Cliffs stand tall. The red rock beneath them are the Vermilion Cliffs. The tree covered hills belong to the Kaibab Plateau of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.
Named after the huge Ponderosa pines on the floor of Bryce Canyon National Park, some which measure more than 5 feet in diameter and grow as tall as 150 feet. The combination of sand, shale and clay sustains dense vegetation, which in turn absorbs rainfall and prevents flash floods.
The two prominent hoodoos here are the taller “The Hunter” on the left, and the “Rabbit” or “Backpacker” on the right.
Bridges are actually arches. The arch has been carved from red Claron Formation, which gets its color from the iron oxide minerals. Frost wedging weakened the rock, while rainwater dissolved rock matter from the top and sides. Finally when gravity pulled loose the weakened pockets of rock at the center, a hole is created. This is the “bridge”.
Famous landmarks in Bryce Canyon National Park include the Aquarius Plateau (Pink Cliffs), the Kaiparowits Plateau (Grey Cliffs), Molly’s Nipple (White Cliffs), Navajo Mountain and the Black Mesas in Arizona.
Thin walls of rocks called fins give rise to hoodoos. Frost wedging enlarges cracks in the fins creating holes or windows, As windows grow, their tops ventually collapse, leaving a column. Rainwater further dissolves and sculpts these limestone pillars into the bulbous spires known as hoodoos. The Silent City features rows of hoodoos, apparently frozen against Boat Mesa.
The most popular scenic point, it offers one of the most beautiful vistas of Bryce Canyon National Park. Visitors can walk down a trail which takes you through the rock formations.