Photo Wonder: Bryce Canyon National Park
Why a wonder – Bryce Canyon is one of five National Parks in Utah. It is well known for its dazzling, colorful scenery and its remarkable hoodoos. The area technically is not a canyon, but a plateau that is falling apart due to water’s freezing and thawing cycles. Over millions of years, the softer sedimentary rock wears away revealing shapely, tall structures topped by a thicker rock layer. Bryce has the largest concentrations of hoodoos in one place in the world. The habitat in Bryce Canyon supports diverse animal life, such as black bears, elk and deer.
Where – Bryce Canyon is in southwestern Utah, about 75 miles northeast of Zion National Park and about 175 miles north of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Areas of the park are easily accessible from an 18-mile scenic drive, a shuttle and numerous hikes. Lodging at Bryce Canyon City puts you close to the park entrance.
When – Visit at any time of the year. However, Bryce is at high elevation, so it will snow in winter and spring. It gets moderately hot in summer. Early mornings and evenings tend to be chilly, so wear layers. Parking is limited, so arrive early each day to find a space, walk to the shuttle or hike.
Photography — You don’t have to be in great shape to enjoy photographing Bryce Canyon. Numerous sights are viewed a short walk from the scenic drive parking areas. Hiking down into the canyon will yield distinctly different vantage points. Take a wide-angle lens for grand landscape photos and a mid-to-long range telephoto for intimate landscapes and wildlife sightings. Be aware that Bryce is at 8,000 ft. elevation, so hydrate and only carry as much gear as you can handle when walking uphill. Also, take a tripod for night sky photos in this remote area. Tip: Plan for a sunrise photo shoot to view the hoodoos as they glow in the morning light. A light coating of snow adds depth and interest to the scenery.
Learn more – Maps are available at the park entrance and Visitor Center. Go online for more information at www.nps.gov/brca.