Here are 10 Facts about Bryce Canyon National Park that you probably didn’t know! These cool facts are great to learn or brush up on before going into the park! Whether you're coming out for fun, bridals, an elopement, or even just wanted to learn more about this incredible park, here are the Top 10 interesting facts about Bryce Canyon.
#1. Where did Bryce get its name?
The name Bryce comes from Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon settler who stumbled upon the area trying to round up cattle. He described it as a “helluva place to lose a cow”. That leads us to the next fact…
#2. Despite its name, it’s not actually a Canyon
Bryce Canyon is actually a vast stretch of natural amphitheaters etched into the expansive Paunsaugunt Plateau. In any case, it makes for a stunning view!
#3. It officially became a National Park in 1928
While it was initially protected as a National Monument in 1923, just 5 years later it was changed to a National Park in 1928 (roughly 54 years after Ebenezer Bryce settled there). It’s also the smallest national park in Utah (though definitely not one to miss).
#4. Bryce Canyon is famous for its unusual imagery
Possibly one of the most distinct parks out there, Bryce Canyon is known for its beautiful red and white textures, slot canyons, windows and tall spires known as “hoodoos”.
Cool bonus fact: The park is home to more hoodoos than anywhere else in the world, making its trails feel maze-like (and like something out of a movie). Several of the trails you can actually visit in just one day.
#5. Among its amazing formations is Thor’s Hammer
Near the park’s visitor’s center is a hike called Sunrise Point, home of the famous natural rock formation known as “Thor’s Hammer”. It’s one of the most iconic hoodoos in the park, formed from thousands of years of erosion.
#6. More than 2.5 million visitors come every year
The park has seen significant growth in recent years due to its growing popularity and unique geography. It is much easier to get around than it’s neighboring park, Zion.
#7. It used to be home to Anasazi, Paiute, and Fremont
These three groups once inhabited the area (remnants of which can sometimes be found throughout the park). Archeologists have found evidence that the Plateau has been visited by people as far back as 10,000 years ago. Due to its harsh winters, however, they were unlikely to have taken up permanent residence. It’s still home to a number of amazing animals such as porcupines, mule dear, coyotes, and even Peregrine Falcons.
Photo by Brittany Hamann Photography
#8. Bryce Canyon’s night skies are perfect for stargazing
The nights are so clear and dark, it makes for an incredible view of the stars– so much so in fact that astronomy programs are occasionally offered nearby.
Photo by Adventure & Vow
#9. The road from Bryce to Zion National Park is only 72 miles apart
Wanting to hit two parks in one visit? Wondering how far it is from Bryce Canyon National Park to Zion National Park? Luckily it’s only about an hour and a half drive, though both parks will take longer than that to explore properly.
We definitely recommend taking your time in Bryce– it’s just fun to know you don’t have to travel far to see another amazing park full of incredible hikes.
Photo by Casandrah Jensen Photography
#10. Some believe they can see faces in the rocks
Native Americans used to call the place “Angka-ku-wass-a-wits”, or “red-painted faces”. It was believed that if you looked closer at the hoodoos and rocks, you could see the faces of those who turned to stone! Spooky!
The images attributed to Ashley & Justin Photography and were featured in the children's book Dilbert the Duck Visits Bryce Canyon National Park.