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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Bryce Canyon National Park

Part of Utah’s Mighty 5, Bryce Canyon National Park attracts millions of visitors annually to its Martian-like landscape. The desert climate is full of red rocks towering skyward in bizarre shapes.

Within a few minutes of visiting the park, it’s easy to see why Bryce Canyon was named a national park. Bryce Canyon is often high on people’s to-see list, thanks to the unique high-desert climate and beautiful landscape.

Here are a few facts that will make you book your next trip to southern Utah.

5. You’ll Find More Hoodoos Here Than Anywhere Else in the World

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A hiker overlooking the hoodoos. (Source: Getty Images)

Those towering columns of rocks within the park are called hoodoos. A mix of weather and erosion helps to form the rocks slowly over millions of years. The stones also have different calcium levels, causing some rocks to jut out while others carve inward, making each tower unique. Bryce Canyon National Park is home to more hoodoos than anywhere else on the planet. 

4. Despite the Name, It Isn’t Technically a Canyon

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An amphitheater in the park. (Source: Getty Images)

As the National Park Service (NPS) explains, Bryce Canyon is not one single canyon. The park is made up of multiple amphitheaters, which are bowl-shaped areas created by rain drainage and melting snow. These areas are filled with hoodoo rock formations. The park would need to be shaped by a flowing river to be a true canyon.

3. Who is ‘Bryce,’ Anyway? Here’s Why ‘Bryce’ Has a National Park

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Ebenezer and Mary Bryce and the ditch they helped build. (Source: NPS)

The park gets its name from Mormon settlers. Ebenezer Bryce and his family lived in the area in 1875. They played a role in building an irrigation ditch in the area and a road in the pink cliffs that made it easier to access timber. The road ended at the amphitheater, and locals started referring to it as Bryce’s Canyon. Even after the family left for Arizona in 1880, the name stuck. In 1928, it officially became a national park.

2. The Park Has One of the Longest-Running Night Sky Programs in the NPS

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The Milky Way in the night sky. (Source: Getty Images)

If you’re visiting Bryce Canyon, be sure to stick around after dark. The park is well-known for its night sky programs and runs about 100 events a year. The lack of light pollution makes the park an excellent destination for star gazing. Watching the night skies has been essential to Bryce Canyon’s history and a tradition for decades. 

1. Bryce Canyon National Park Has a Prairie Dog Festival

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The Utah prairie dog. (Source: Getty Images)

Utah Prairie Dog Day uniquely celebrates some of the park’s smaller wildlife. The Utah prairie dog only lives in the state’s southwest corner around Bryce Canyon. The animal plays a critical role in the park’s ecosystem. So, once a year, the park celebrates with a special event in the prairie dog’s honor. Visitors to the event can enjoy an art contest, family-friendly activity booths, and guest speakers.

Read more facts about the National Parks:

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