History & Culture
Bryce Canyon National Park lies on the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in south central Utah. Bryce Canyon National Monument (administered by the U.S. Forest Service) was originally established on June 8, 1923 to preserve the “unusual scenic beauty, scientific interest, and importance.” On June 7, 1924, the monument’s name was changed to Utah National Park and it was transferred to the National Park Service. On February 25, 1928 Utah National Park was changed to Bryce Canyon National Park. Subsequent legislation enlarged the park to its current size of 35,835 acres.
Bryce is famous for its unique geology, consisting of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful calcium-rich mudstone of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called "hoodoos." Tinted with colors too numerous and subtle to name, these whimsically arranged rocks create a wondrous landscape of mazes, offering some of the most exciting and memorable walks and hikes imaginable.
Ponderosa pines, high elevation meadows, and fir-spruce forests border the rim of the plateau and abound with wildlife. This area boasts some of the world's best air quality, offering panoramic views of three states and approaching 200 miles of visibility. This, coupled with the lack of nearby large light sources, creates unparalleled opportunities for stargazing.
One of the first questions people ask when visiting the rugged wilds of southern Utah is, "Who would live here?" The answer is, "Many different cultures over thousands of years have foraged, hunted and survived in this wilderness."
Historic Resource Study
Follow this link to read Bryce Canyon's Historic Resource Study in its entirety.
Last updated: June 18, 2018