• 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.

Mossy Cave Trail

Waterfall at Mossy Cave

Waterfall at Mossy Cave

NPS

At first, this canyon known as Water Canyon, might look like any ordinary Bryce Canyon kind of canyon. It's not. From 1890-1892 Mormon Pioneers labored with picks and shovels to carve an irrigation ditch from the East Fork of the Sevier River, through the Paunsaugunt Plateau, into this canyon.

As you hike up the Mossy Cave Trail, notice how the higher elevations of this "canyon" have the lumpy, broken, and random texture typical of Bryce Canyon and its hoodoos. You will also see how the lower section is without hoodoos, and has smooth angled sides looking like a 'V' in cross-section. Because of this little water course, it is unlikely that anymore hoodoos will form here. The existing ones will eventually crumble and Water Canyon will have completed the metamorphosis, becoming a "real canyon."

Take the left fork of the trail up to Mossy Cave. Mossy Cave is not a cavern but a shelter cave. Here depending on the season, you will either see a large overhang filled with moss, or filled with giant icicles. Mossy Cave is a grotto, created by an underground spring.

Take the right fork of the trail and you'll end up above a small waterfall. Here, the rapid trenching of this stream has been delayed by a layer of Dolomite. Dolomite is a special form of limestone that is fortified by magnesium. Dolomite is not only harder than regular limestone, it also can't be dissolved by slightly acidic rainwater. Dolomite is what has created this waterfall and it is also the cap rock for our more famous and durable hoodoos.

 
Topographical Image of Mossy Cave trail
Mossy Cave Trail (marked in red)
NPS
 
Elevation Profile for Mossy Cave Trail
 

Total Distance:

.9 miles
1.5 km

Climbing:

300 feet
91 m

Descending:

300 feet
91 m

Min/Max:

6819/7023 feet
2078/2140 m

Did You Know?

Bryce Canyon Lodge

The Bryce Canyon Lodge, constructed in multiple phases throughout the 1920s, is a National Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the last of the original lodges, designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood and built by the Utah Parks Company, to survive within the Grand Circle. More...