• Bryce Canyon Amphitheater

    Bryce Canyon

    National Park Utah

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  • U.S. Highway 89 Bryce Canyon to Grand Canyon

    Road damage south of Page, Arizona will impact travel between Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks. Click for a travel advisory and link to a map with suggested alternate routes: More »

  • Sunset Campground Construction

    From April-July 2014, three new restroom facilities will be constructed in Sunset Campground. Visitors may experience construction noise and dust, as well as some campsite and restroom closures. 'Sunset Campground' webpage has additional information. More »

  • Bryce Point to Peekaboo Connector Trail Closure

    Due to a large rockslide, the connecting trail from Bryce Point to Peekaboo Loop is closed. Trail will be reopened once repairs are made. The Peekaboo Loop is open, but must be accessed from Sunset or Sunrise Point.

  • Wall Street Section of Navajo Loop Closed

    Due to dangerous conditions (falling rock and treacherous, icy switchbacks), the Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop Trail is CLOSED. It will reopen in Spring once freezing temperatures have subsided.

  • Backcountry Campsite Closures

    Due to bear activity at select campsites in Bryce Canyon's backcountry, two backcountry campsites have been closed until further notice: Sheep Creek and Iron Spring.

Pioneer History

Ebenezer (Eb) and Mary Bryce. The pioneers credited with settling the formation that bears their name.
Ebenezer and Mary Bryce. Pioneers who settled in what is now called Bryce Canyon.

In 1776, a Spanish entrada under the direction of Franciscan Friars, Silvestra Velez de Escalante and Francisco Atanasio Dominguez, passed to the south near what is now the Utah and Arizona border. They probably saw the pink cliffs in the distance.

Jedediah Smith passed by the Sevier and Virgin rivers, while on his way to Spanish California, in 1826. In 1830, frontiersman George Yount passed through the present sites of Circleville, Panguitch and Cedar City. Captain John C. Fremont passed the present sites of Cedar City, Parowan and Circleville. In 1844. Mormon scouts, looking for favorable farming and grazing lands, visited the Sevier River near Panguitch in 1852.

In 1866 a group of men, under the direction of Captain James Andrus, traversed the upper Paria Valley.

A group of families established the town of Clifton near the junction of the Paria River and Henrieville Creek, in 1874. Ebenezer Bryce and his family arrived in Clifton in 1875, but soon moved upstream to Henderson Valley (New Clifton). Ebenezer helped to complete a seven mile irrigation ditch from Paria Creek. Bryce built a road into the pink cliffs to make timber more accessible. People started to call the amphitheater where the road terminated, “Bryce’s Canyon.” Ebenezer Bryce and his family moved to Arizona in 1880, but the Bryce’s Canyon name stuck.

Clifton was abandoned in 1877. Families founded Cannonville, a mile upstream and Henrieville, five miles east of Cannonville.

In 1890 and 1891, a ditch was dug to divert water from the East Fork of the Sevier River, over the east rim of the Paunsaugunt Plateau and 1500 feet down in the valley. The town of Tropic was laid out in 1891.

Did You Know?

Utah Prairie Dog

Utah Prairie Dogs are a threatened species found only in southwestern Utah. Distinguishable by its white tail and black eyebrows, several colonies are located within Bryce Canyon's boundaries. More...