Bryce Canyon National Park is home to the largest collection hoodoos on earth. If you aren’t familiar with them, a hoodoo is an irregular column of rock. As you can see in the picture below, these red rock columns extend almost as far as the eye can see from certain viewpoints within the park. If you are interested in how these hoodoos are formed, don’t hesitate to visit Bryce Canyon’s nps.gov website.
These hoodoos (and Bryce Canyon) are part of the Grand Staircase, an extensive area (roughly 100 miles x 200 miles) of sedimentary rock layers that stretch from Bryce Canyon National park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon. According to NPS.gov,
“In the 1870s, geologist Clarence Dutton first conceptualized this region as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps. Dutton divided this layer cake of Earth history into five steps that he colorfully named Pink Cliffs, Grey Cliffs, White Cliffs, Vermilion Cliffs, and Chocolate Cliffs. Since then, modern geologists have further divided Dutton’s steps into individual rock formations.”
Although the history of the geology is intriguing in and of itself, actually experiencing these amazing rock formations should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Dog Friendly Activities
While most of Bryce Canyon National Park is off-limits to pets, there are a few notable places that pets ARE allowed. According to the official park website, pets are permitted on all paved surfaces in the park: campgrounds, parking lots, paved roads, paved viewpoint areas, on the paved trail between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point, and on the paved Shared Use Path between the park and Inspiration Point.
We took full advantage of the Shared Use Path. We were unable to find parking for our RV within the park, so drove back to Bryce Canyon City and parked in the shuttle lot there. Since dogs can’t ride the shuttles, we walked the Shared Use Path from the shuttle lot into the park (it is about 3 miles from the shuttle lot to the first overlook and we totaled just under 9 miles of walking by the time we got back to the RV). The path from the shuttle lot is paved and passes through a coniferous forest. The trail was lightly used on the day that we visited, with just a few bicyclists passing us during our walk.
Once we arrived inside the park, we took the dogs from Sunrise to Sunset Points. There we were treated to amazing views of the many hoodoos. Don’t skip this wonderful dog-friendly paved trail. It is short, but offers the best views the dogs will get of Bryce Canyon. Trails wound down among the fascinating rocks, but I will have to return without the pups someday to experience the hoodoos up close.
Bryce Canyon National Park has two campgrounds – North and Sunset. Both are first come, first served and only the North campground is open year round.
We stayed on BLM land both before and after our visit to Bryce Canyon. You can find more information about the location we camped at before visiting Bryce Canyon in our Capitol Reef post.
The night between our visit to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, we found a lovely BLM campsite by taking Road 71 off of Hwy 9. We had stopped at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center in the morning to do a little research on camping spots and then flushed out our information with the amazing website, Freecampsites.net. Here is the link for the camping location that we used.
Activities in the Surrounding Areas
There is so much to do in this area of Utah, especially if you have a high clearance, 4WD vehicle. We drove straight from Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park and did not take advantage of any other hiking options, but we know they are out there. This link is also in our last national parks post, but it is a good list of trails so we repeated it this post.
Bryce Canyon National Park offers stunning views of fascinating hoodoos. You will be limited if you decide to take your four-legged family member with you, but you can still enjoy fantastic views of stunning landscapes. And if you want, you can even get a nice long walk in on the paved trails.
Have you been to Bryce Canyon with your pets? What activities did you enjoy in the park or surrounding areas? Let us know in the comments below.