50 Interesting Facts About Bryce Canyon National Park

Last updated on July 7th, 2021

36. The geological formations at the park may be tempting as a background for a stunning selfie but many of them are actually dangerous. The slopes are steep and gravely while the rocks on cliffs are crumbly. These areas can only support the weight of a small animal, such as a chipmunk.

37. There are three endangered species that call Bryce Canyon home. These are the Utah Prairie Dog, the southwestern willow flycatcher, and the majestic California Condor.

Prairie Dog
Prairie Dog. Facts About Bryce Canyon National Park. Image credit – Daniel Huizinga

38. The prairie dog nearly went extinct in the 1950s due to extensive eradication efforts by farmers. These animals were notorious for destroying crops and were often poisoned. They were reintroduced in the area during the 1970s and have lived as protected species in Bryce Canyon since.

39. Hiking is a popular activity in the park. Tourists who want a shorter and easier route often consider the Queens Garden Trail which begins at Sunrise Point. The trail is less than 2 miles long out and back, and will only take 1 to 2 hours to finish. At the end of the trail, it is possible to view the Queen Victoria rock formation, which resembles the profile of the late English monarch.

40. There are 8 marked hiking trails within the park that visitors can tour within a day. Combined, the trails total about 80 kilometres. That’s nearly the equivalent of hiking from Staten Island to New Jersey.

41. Given the type of landscape that Bryce Canyon has, it is no surprise that people have gotten lost among its famous hoodoos. In 2017, the park placed 8th with the most number of search-and-rescue operations.

Fairyland Canyon, Bryce Canyon Utah, USA.
Fairyland Canyon, Bryce Canyon Utah, USA. Image credit – Barton Davis Smith

42. Bryce Canyon is a stargazer’s heaven. Its night sky has a rating of 7.4 magnitude, which means it has one of the places in North America with the darkest skies. It is possible to view as many as 7,500 stars at night in the park without a telescope. In most other places, only about 2,500 stars or fewer can be seen because of light pollution.

43. An asteroid was named after the park. Asteroid 49272, a minor planet, was discovered in 1998. The naming of the asteroid was done in recognition of the stargazing programs sponsored by Bryce Canyon National Park.

44. The beauty of Bryce Canyon has not only been captured in photos but also in films. It has appeared in several movies starting in 1924 with The Deadwood Coach, which was the first Hollywood production in Utah. Filming was a challenge to the cast and crew because of the terrain. To film the setting, the production staff had to build trails and stairs on the rock walls.

45. Bryce Canyon was also the setting for adventure and road trip movies. Two of the more notable ones include Sergeants 3 (1962), which starred Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and Bonneville (2006), which starred Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Joan Allen.

46. Bryce Canyon averages one fatality every year, which is quite low. Safety protocols are in place and visitors are constantly reminded of the precautions they need to take to avoid accidents and injuries. One of the worst accidents related to the park occurred in 2019 when a bus carrying tourists from China crashed on the way to the park. There were four fatalities.

Navajo Loop, Bryce Canyon, Utah
Navajo Loop, Bryce Canyon, Utah. Facts About Bryce Canyon National Park. Image credit – Andrew Smith

47. The Navajo Loop is a favorite trail among visitors to Bryce Canyon. It has a distance of 1.3 miles and goes through to the main valley of the canyon. Some parts of the loop are steep but the descent is gentle and the trail is wide and well-trodded.

48. Weather conditions at Bryce Canyon National Park can change drastically during the day. Temperature changes can have a difference of as much as 27° C or 50° F. This is another reason why tourists are asked to take precautions when visiting.

49. USS Bryce Canyon was a destroyer named after the park. It was launched in March 1946 and was awarded one battle star for providing services during the Korean War. The ship was decommissioned in 1981.

50. Nature, especially water, has carved the landscape of Bryce for millions of years and continue to do so. According to experts, the current rim of the park will be eroded further by about a foot within the next 50 years. This will change the features of the park gradually but likely irreversibly.