• 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.

Astronomy Programs at Bryce Canyon

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Date: December 16, 2010
Contact: Dan Ng, 435.834.4740

Bryce Canyon National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh invites you to join Bryce Canyon’s “Dark Rangers” on Monday, December 20, 2010, for an evening of programs and activities highlighting two significant astronomical events—both occurring simultaneously: Winter Solstice, and a total lunar eclipse! Says Bradybaugh, “Whether or not you’ve been to an astronomy show at Bryce Canyon before, it’s worth braving the cold for this one, because we won’t have a total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice for another 391 years!” Though total lunar eclipses can be seen about every 5 years in North America, the next one to happen on the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year and when Earth is closest to our Sun, won’t be until December 21, 2401!

Ranger Joel Allen adds, “Full moons are so bright that usually they’re the enemy of stargazing. However, as the moon eclipses, you’ll get the best of both worlds—the romance of a full moon, and the starry splendor of an ultra-dark sky.”

The evening events begin at 5:30 p.m. with a full moon hike among the hoodoos led by Ranger Kevin Poe. Attendance is capped at 30 participants, ages 6 and up. The hike is moderately-strenuous and will last about two hours. Stop by the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center (open daily, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or call (435-834-4747) to reserve a spot on this hike. Hiking boots are required for all participants on moonlight hikes. Because hiking trails have patches of snow and ice, traction devices are highly recommended. Visitors may purchase traction devices at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center for $25, if they so desire.

The second event will be a pre-eclipse moon viewing through large telescopes on the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center patio. This will take place from 10:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Be sure to dress warmly as night time temperatures will dip well below freezing.

Beginning at 10:30 p.m. in the visitor center auditorium, Rangers Joel Allen and Kevin Poe will present a one-hour multimedia program called, “All I Want for Solstice is Our Moon to Come Back!” In addition to explaining how eclipses work, this presentation highlights the science and mythology of how our Moon came to be, life’s dependence on our Moon, and human exploration of our lunar neighbor.

The grand finale of the evening will take place from 11:30 p.m. to 12:40 a.m. Visitors will be invited back to the large telescopes outside to view our “disappearing” Moon as it is slowly eclipsed by Earth’s shadow.

Ranger Kevin Poe offers this suggestion: “Still looking for the perfect gift for that person who has everything? Why not bring them to our Eclipse Extravaganza here at Bryce Canyon, the Last Grand Sanctuary of Natural Darkness!”

As Poe explains, “This will not be the only astronomy presentation Bryce Canyon offers during this holiday season - but it will be the best one!” The other three astronomy presentations will be Friday, December 24, Tuesday, December 28, and Friday, December 31. All three will be held at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center and all three will start at 7:00pm., followed by stargazing - weather permitting.

All events are free of charge, though the park entrance fee is $25.00 – good for up to a seven-day visit at Bryce Canyon National Park. National passes like the Interagency Annual Pass, Senior Pass, and Access Pass waive the entrance fee.

Be sure to dress warmly—with lots of layers—for these events. Free hot apple cider and cocoa will be provided for attendees of these events.

We hope to see you there!

Did You Know?

USS Shenandoah at sea, USS Bryce Canyon is of the same class ship.

USS Bryce Canyon (AD-36) was named after the park. Commissioned 15 September 1950 at Charleston SC,(22 years after the park was established, to the day), Decommissioned 30 June 1981. A plaque, with a Flag and Ensign last flown over the ship are on display in the Headquarters building. More...