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Amazing Panoramic Views Available at Bryce Canyon National Park on Your Next Utah Camping Expedition
Bryce Canyon National Park was named after the Mormon Pioneer Ebenezer Bryce and established in 1928. It is a small national park in southwestern Utah that is best known for its unique geology comprised of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved into the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Unlike the Grand canyon that was formed by a river, Bryce Canyon was created by rainwater and the force of "frost-wedging". This colorful and diverse erosion of the Claron Formation left behind complex and diverse shapes, including canyons, fins, windows, and spires that are as varied in color as they are in shape.
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Surrounded by ponderosa pines, high elevation meadows, and fir spruce forests, Bryce Canyon National Park is filled with wildlife and boasts some of the cleanest air worldwide. There is an amazing panoramic view of three separate states and visibility is close to 200 miles. This combined with the lack of any large nearby light sources makes Bryce Canyon National Park an excellent place to star gaze, as well as a terrific Utah camping destination.
Bryce Canyon National Park is open 24 hours, every day of the year, although information centers and fee booths are closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Roads may be closed in winter due to snow, but are opened back up as soon as plowing is completed. Fire conditions can be high in summer. The entrance fee is $25, which is good for 7 days. An annual pass is $30 and good for 12 months from the date of purchase.
Bryce Canyon National Park's amphitheater offers many hiking opportunities. Since many of the trails are interconnected, the most popular hikes are really more a combination of a few basic trails. One easy, excellent hike is a trail that leads to the Mossy Cave. It is a streamside hike that brings you to a mossy overhang, which is not a cavern but more like a shelter cave. Depending on the season, you will find the overhang covered with either moss or icicles. A small waterfall flows from May to October. This is a unique canyon for Bryce Canyon because in 1890-1892, Mormon Pioneers labored with picks and shovels to carve out an irrigation ditch running from the East Fork of the Sevier River into this canyon. Because there is flowing water, this canyon is on its way to becoming a true water-carved canyon, unlike the rest of the park. Another exciting hike opportunity is the Full Moon hikes offered only during the full moon. Flashlights are prohibited and lug traction shoes are required. The beautiful night sky and the full moon light your way through a guided night hike. If hiking is not your thing, definitely take advantage of the visibility of Bryce Canyon National Park with one of the many park lead astronomy programs. You can even get a good look at the sun with their special solar telescopes! On those moonless nights, you can see 7,500 stars filling the night sky and there are astronomy programs set up so you can easily enjoy one of the best star gazing places on Earth.
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