Bryce Canyon is home to some of the best sites and amazing places in Southern Utah. There is the very famous Bryce Canyon National Park as well as the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. With the natural beauty of these places, Bryce Canyon is definitely a must see especially for those who are into nature. Apart from these places, there are other remarkable sites and nice parks that surround Bryce Canyon. You can enjoy going to the Red Canyon, Hole in the Rock, Lake Powell and the Dixie National Forest. There are simply a lot of things to try and to do. So, make sure that you get the most out of your trip down south.
Bryce Canyon National Park
One of the most famous destinations in Bryce Canyon is no other than the Bryce Canyon National Park itself. It is just in between Scenic Byway 12/U-63. What tourists will love about this park is that it is open all throughout the year and you can definitely witness how these amazing natural amphitheaters are formed. Get to see the towering hoodoos as they blend in color, light and other elements. If it is sunny, you can see shining formations but under the soft light like for instance when the sun is rising or when it is setting, you can see that heavenly glow, a truly once in a lifetime experience.
Utah’s Aquarius Plateau, another name for Boulder Mountain; is located at the High Plateaus of Colorado. It stands at about 11,000 feet and it stretches more than 90 miles long, a reverse S shaped from north to south. When you go to the Boulder Mountain, you can see that it covers about 900 sq. miles and it is considered to be the biggest and the highest plateau in the area. But it does not stop there, you can find 80 lakes on the mountain covered with lush greenery like fir, aspen, grasslands, meadows and spruce. At the middle elevated part, there you can see the beautiful ponderosa pine. You can see juniper trees and pinyon at the lower elevations.
Anasazi State Park Museum
If you want to go for a more historical experience, there is the Anasazi State Park Museum. This is the very heart of the canyon country as this where you can find the ancient Indian village. The said village was considered to be the best Anasazi communities at the western part of the Colorado River. Indians occupied the area from 1050 AD to 1200. Over the years, there have been different artifacts discovered which are then displayed in the Anasazi State Park Museum.
First settled by Jededia Adair in the 1900s, Widtsoe town is also one tourist spot you want to visit. Adair was a farmer who became the first settler in the area until other people started living there. Originally known as Adairville, it was named various times like John R. Winder and John Houston. But after several years, it has retained the name of John A. Widstoe, the president of the University of Utah.
Capitol Reef National Park
For a rugged landscape, Capitol Reef National Park is open all year round and it is perfect for those who are seeing adventure. To go to Capitol Reef, you can arrive through Scenic Byway 12/U-24. You can also head to the Burr Trail. Just go to the Park’s scenic drive and from there you can see the Visitor Center as well as the Museum. You can hike and see the old log schoolhouse.
Hole in the Rock
The road at which you will pass to get to the Hole in the Rock is a dirt road. But you do not have to worry because it is accessible and passable during nice weather. The dirt road is quite wide and maintained. With Hole in the Rock, you can get into this road so you can experience delving into the best slot canyons like Coyote Gulch, Egypt, Spooky and Peek-a-boo. If you want to see fantastic arches and rock formations, there is the Devil’s Garden.
Grand Staircase National Monument
Covering a huge piece of land about 1.7 million acres, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument connects the Bryce Canyon National Parks and Capitol Reef to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This is considered to be the newest monument and you can see the wilderness of the desert. Experiencing hiking the canyons and at the same be amazed with the wildlife. If you want to avoid the huge crowd, there are remote areas that you can explore and take nice shots with your camera.
Dixie National Forest
Dixie National Forest has 3 different sectors in the Garfield County. Every section features 6,000 to 10,000 ft. elevations and a major plateau. The 3 sections include Aquarius Plateau, Paunsaugunt Plateau and Markagunt Plateau. The highest plateau in North America is the Aquarius Plateaus.
Red Canyon, a widely popular bike and trail will lead you to witness the best views of the hoodoos. You have the option to go on a short hike or you can also use your bike in this 5 mile path. It is a famous trail as you get to see ponderosa forest between the upper Paunsaugunt Plateau and Red Canyon. All of these enable you to access the Thunder Mountain Trail and the Grand View Trail.
Kodachrome Basin State Park
A short drive from beautiful places like Henrieville, Cannonville and Tropic, Kodachrome Basin State Park showcases the majestic Bryce Valley. This place is known for its 67 high sand pipes that highlight the amazing desert landscape. This is considered to be a paradise especially among photographers.
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
If you want to experience seeing dinosaur fossils and petrified wood, you can hike at Escalante Petrified Forest which is just about 1 mile west of Escalante. Located at 710 N. Reservoir Road, this state park has various hiking trails and you can enjoy a wide range of activities like camping, canoeing and fishing (Wide Hollow Reservoir). You can also go on picnic.
At Lake Powell which can be accessed through the Burr Trail or way U-276 and U-95, plenty of activities await you. From hiking, swimming to fishing, you can enjoy these lake activities with your loved ones.
Located about 20 mins. south part of Panguitch, the lake stands at 8,400 ft in elevation and you can easily find it along Scenic Highway 143. It is a good basecamp for different tourist spots like for instance Cedar Breaks National Monument, Cascade Falls, Mammoth Cave and other famous attractions.
To see a scenic terrain, you can try scenic drive which is about 120 miles. See the beauty of Southern Utah as you access the road and experience the diverse terrain.
Where to Get Information
For you to have a fun and hassle-free trip, it is important that you go to the visitors centers. At Bryce Canyon Country, you can go to different visitor centers. They are managed by the local tourism office and operated by Federal Agencies. You can request for maps and other pieces of information you need.