Bryce Canyon: America’s other grand canyon

22 June 2012

The south west of America is littered with grand features – big holes in the ground and big rocks sticking out of the ground. Think Monument Valley - the red rock spires where Forest Gump stops running and where Tom Cruise rock-climbs in the opening sequence of MI2. Think the Grand Canyon – well, you know the Grand Canyon.


As well as the big names there is an abundance of less famous areas which are equally compelling. Bryce Canyon is one of those places – maybe not a household name, but truly, gob-smackingly spectacular.


The famous feature of Bryce is its ‘hoodoos’ – thin rock spires jutting out of the canyon. The colours range in a spectrum through white, yellow, orange, pink, red and brown, and there are hundreds of them. Standing on the canyon rim at sunset, the colours are electric.


Walking down into the canyon, you take a winding narrow path which descends steeply, switching back, ducking through rock windows and around hoodoos. Once on the canyon floor, it’s a different world, of pine trees and crumbling boulders.


Down in the canyon there’s an area called Queen’s Garden – so called because of a hoodoo with a distinct likeness to Queen Victoria. Corny, but, you know, it actually does look like her… and it’s a good excuse to stop for a snack and a drink.


Bryce is also famous for its night sky. With its clear air, distant horizons and dark sky, Bryce has the best view of the stars in North America. Camping near the canyon rim at rim at night, the sky is vast and sparkling. A fitting end to an amazing day.