Bryce Canyon National Park
The smallest of Utah's national parks, Bryce Canyon is really a series of amphitheatres carved from the surrounding cliffs by erosion. From the plateau at 8,000ft (2,438m) above sea level, layers of multicoloured rock have been worn away exposing the Pink Cliffs and leaving fairytale sandstone formations in striking colours of red, white, yellow and rich orange. Its best-known features are the groups of top-heavy pinnacles of rock that have been left standing after millions of years of erosion, known as 'hoodoos'. A Paiute legend explains the silent columns of sandstone in terms of a legendary tribe who lived there in antiquity and were turned to stone by the powerful Coyote for their evil ways. Today views from the rim take in landscapes such as the 'Silent City' and 'Rainbow Point' where thousands of fiery-coloured hoodoos stand watch over arches, mazes and oddly shaped spires. Bryce Canyon is also one of the most accessible parks with many trails leading down among the sandstone pinnacles, as well as an easy Rim Trail with many viewpoints. There are plenty of interesting activities available, such as guided moonlit hikes, horseback rides, stargazing with the help of telescopes, snowshoe hikes in winter and geology talks. the visitor's center offers information and times for all the activities.
Telephone: (435) 834 5322
Transport: A free shuttle bus transports visitors from the car park to the visitor centre, and travels to all of the park's viewpoints from 9am to 7pm daily (26 May to 4 September)
Opening times: The visitor centre is open daily from 8am to 8pm (May to September); from 8am to 6pm (October); from 8am to 4.30pm (November to March); and from 8am to 6pm (April). The park is open 24 hours a day, year round, with temporary road closures during and after snow storms
Admission: An entrance fee of $25 (vehicles) or $12 (walk-ins, cyclists or bikers) is valid for seven days, and includes unlimited free use of the park's shuttle bus service