$25 per vehicle, $12 per biker/hiker
SIZE: 35,835 acres
Without a doubt Bryce Canyon features some of the strangest-looking geological formations in the world. Located on the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, rainwater has created fantastic horseshoe-shaped amphitheatres full of pillars, called hoodoos, which look like red Greek columns.
HOW TO GET THERE
Perhaps knowing how beautiful it was, nature built the canyons as far from large cities as she could in order to keep them from destruction. The closest major airports are Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Both require about a three-hour drive.
WHERE TO STAY
Camping is available at the North campground for $15 per night. If you forgot your tent, the nearby town of Bryce has plenty of options. The new Best Western resort looks like a good bet.
WHAT TO DO
Weekly snowshoe tours are available from park rangers. Some even go at night to get a look at the park under a different light. The rangers offer astronomy tours on Saturday. But if you’re itching to explore on your own, rent or bring a pair of snowshoes. You can also crosscountry ski, but you are limited to the rim of the canyon. Bryce Canyon is made up of narrow slots and can be incredibly dangerous for downhill skiers. Red Canyon Bike also offers rental bikes if you yearn to explore the canyons from the bottom.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
⇢ Due to the fragile nature of Bryce’s formations, backcountry hiking is discouraged, especially in the winter.
⇢ If you’re lucky, you may see some Pronghorn, a North American antelope that was once common across the plains.
⇢ Combine your visit with a trip to Zion National Park, which is only 90 miles south.