Bryce Canyon National Park is the crown jewel of Garfield County—but there’s so much natural beauty and adventure to experience! With charming towns and easy access to scenic byways, a national monument, national and state parks, alpine lakes, and incredible scenery, you’ll want to return again and again.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Visitors flock to Bryce Canyon National Park year-round to see the stunning red rock hoodoos and natural formations that fill the huge, natural amphitheaters. An 18-mile scenic drive winds through the park, with scenic rim viewpoints along the way with stunning panoramic views as far as the eye can see. Scenic stops include Sunrise and Sunset Points, Natural Bridge, Ponderosa Canyon, and Rainbow Point (the highest in the park at 9,115 feet). Trails run along the rim, below the rim, and throughout the backcountry. Easy day hikes include the paved 1-mile Rim Trail, Mossy Cave, and Bristlecone Loop. Queens Garden is considered the easiest trail into the canyon and interconnects with the more challenging Navajo Loop trail. Fairyland Loop, Peek-A-Boo Loop, and Riggs Spring are much more strenuous but lead to spectacular sights deep in Bryce amphitheater. The Under-the-Rim Trail runs for 23 miles from Bryce Point to Rainbow Point and has eight backcountry campsites. There are two campgrounds in the park and an excellent visitor center. Bryce Canyon National Park is located near the junction of Highway 63 and Scenic Byway 12. Bryce City is just outside the gates and has several lodging options including the renowned Ruby’s Inn plus several campsites.
Capitol Reef National Park
Bryce Canyon isn’t the only national park accessible from Bryce Canyon Country: Capitol Reef National Park is easily accessible from Boulder and Escalante via Highway 24. The defining geologic highlight of Capitol Reef National Park is the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile wrinkle in the earth’s crust. The easiest way to see Capitol Reef National Park is from the paved Scenic Drive. It begins near the visitor center and winds through the park for eight miles, with 11 impressive viewpoints along the way.
Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge lie beyond the Scenic Drive, accessible by spur roads. A trail from Grand Wash leads to the massive Cassidy Arch, named for outlaw Butch Cassidy. At the end of the Scenic Drive, there are great views of Capitol Reef’s huge white dome formation and the steep layers of the Waterpocket Fold monocline. The drive to Torrey, Capitol Reef’s gateway town, is less than an hour from Boulder along Highway 24. Boulder and Escalante’s central locations in Bryce Canyon Country and available lodging options make either town a perfect base camp for your stay in Bryce Canyon Country.