Bryce Canyon National Park
Although it is called "Bryce Canyon National Park", Bryce Canyon actually is not a "Canyon" at all. It is rather a large number of natural amphitheaters that, all together, make up what we call "Bryce Canyon National Park." Bryce Canyon lies on the eastern side of the beautiful Paunsaugunt Plateau, and the nearest town is Tropic, Utah, which lies just below the park. In fact, there is a lighly used hiking/horse trail that will take you from the park itself directly to Tropic, Utah. (Unless you have done all the other hikes already, I would not recommend that hike myself.)
Although Indians did inhabit the area even as far as 10,000 years ago, very little is known about their activities around Bryce Canyon. Indian artifacats from both the Anasazi as well as the Fremonts have been discovered close-by the Park. We do, however, know quite a bit more about the Paiute Indians who inhabited the area much more recently. It is primarily from the Paiute that we receive the mythology regarding the famous "Hoodoos."
The Bryce Canyon area was settled in the 1850's and it is named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded there. By 1916, Bryce Canyon was featured in magazine articles published by the Union Pacific and the Santa Fe Railroads. However, due to the remote location, Bryce Canyon remained a very seldom visited place. It was Ruby Syrett, Harold Bowman, and the Perry brothers who decided to build some lodging and accomodations for tourists who were coming in more and more increasingly until finally the Union Pacific Railroad decided to expand into the area to bring even more visitors! In 1923, Warren G. Harding designated Bryce Canyon a National Monument in order to help protect it from over-grazing, logging, and unregulated tourism. In 1928, Bryce Canyon was officialy designated a National Park and today the size of Bryce Canyon National Park is 35,835 acres!
The most famous feature of Bryce Canyon National Park is its great stone spires, called "Hoodoos." The Paiute Indians who were native to the area held the belief that these hoodoos were acually people that the coyote god turned into stone as punishment for their careless attitude toward the land.
The wildlife you are most likely to see as you visit Bryce Canyon National Park is prairie dogs, antelope, mule deer, squirrels and many different birds. However, there are plenty of elk, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, black bears, bats, and porcupines that you also might be lucky enough to find!
You will find on your visit, that while Bryce Canyon National Park is an extremely beautiful and popular destination, it is a far less frequented National Park than nearby Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks.
If you would like to learn more about the history of Bryce Canyon National Park, click the links below!