For those who have never been to Bryce Canyon National Park, the first visit is guaranteed to be an overwhelming experience! When the thousands upon thousands of glowing bright colorful hoodoos are first seen, sensory overload will likely occur and the jaw will drop in awe while gazing at this magnificent spectacle. The orange color sandstone looks as if it is on fire when the sunlight beams down and the towering isolated hoodoos are so tall that the pine trees standing next to them look like match sticks. Everything is out of proportion and the entire landscape seems to glow with a life of its own, while the strange hoodoos look like animated characters. The first look into Bryce Canyon will certainly will leave the proverbial baggage behind and whatever plans that were made ahead of time will likely vanish like a puff of smoke.
Bryce Canyon is a high elevation amphitheater canyon, which means that erosive forces have carved one side of the high mesa into a very large escalloped alcove. Just like with the neighboring Grand Staircase-Escalante terrain, the mountains and mesas in this area are composed of many different layers of bedrock that vary greatly in color and hardness. Over eons of time, vast upheavals exposed the bare rock, then freeze and thaw water erosion added the finer details. Because there are layers of soft sandstone at the highest points, this canyon is crowned with massive hoodoo rock formations. There actually are so many hoodoos in Bryce Canyon that it is nearly impossible to count them all.
As mentioned earlier, the initial Bryce Canyon visit will totally overwhelm the senses, so it is best to just go with this mode. A good plan of action for the first day is to simply enjoy the views at the roadside scenic overlooks and there sure are plenty of them in this park. Taking in the majestic views on day one will help a visitor to become oriented and the most interesting trailheads can be noted. Taking this leisurely approach will also allow time to acclimate to the high elevation before taking on a strenuous hike into this deep canyon, which can prevent medical episodes. For those who use a digital camera, be sure to pack an extra memory card, because the temptation to take a picture of every interesting feature will likely occur. Sticking with the scenic overlooks definitely is the best way to go till the adrenaline returns to a normal level!
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