Everyone should spend at least a little time on the park's scenic drive, following the canyon rim south to Rainbow Point. There are numerous stops where you can get off the shuttle or out of your vehicle and gaze into the canyon to view the varicolored formations. There are also numerous trail heads along the drive that provide access down into the amphitheaters.
Another top experience is walking the Rim Trail for at least a short way, to access different views into Bryce Amphitheater, the park's largest and most colorful natural amphitheater. Although it's worthwhile at any time of day, the Rim Trail is especially wonderful just after sunrise, when you can catch the changing angles of the sun on the hoodoos.
One viewpoint not to be missed is the appropriately named Inspiration Point, which provides a splendid view down into Bryce Amphitheater. This viewpoint provides the best view of Silent City, an area that's packed with hoodoos and jump-starts the imagination. Some of us, however, believe the view is even better just south of Inspiration Point along the Rim Trail, up a little rise, at what is usually called Upper Inspiration Point. We think this is possibly the best view in the park.
To get a real feel for the canyon and to get grand close-up views of many spectacular formations, you must hike down into the canyon to walk among the hoodoos. One of the best canyon trails is the Queen's Garden Trail, which can be hiked in only a few hours, is easy enough for most park visitors -- including children -- and takes you to some fascinating hoodoos.
Speaking of hoodoos, there are a few of these naturally sculpted monuments in stone that are on almost everyone's must-see list. Majestic Queen Victoria can be seen from Sunrise Point on the rim, but is better examined from the Queen's Garden Trail. Magnificent Thor's Hammer is visible from Sunset Point, but is best seen from the Navajo Loop Trail.
Attractions that aren't made of stone include Bryce Canyon's bristlecone pine trees, exceptionally old evergreens that grow in some of the more inhospitable areas of the park. They're easily seen via the Bristlecone Loop Trail.
Historic & Man-Made Attractions
Although prehistoric American Indians and 19th-century pioneers spent some time in what is now Bryce Canyon National Park, they left little evidence. The park's main historic site is the handsome sandstone and ponderosa pine Lodge at Bryce Canyon, built by the Union Pacific Railroad, and opened in 1924. Much of it has been faithfully restored to its 1920s appearance, and the lobby contains historic photos taken in the park during that period.
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