We encourage our visitors to start their auto tour of Bryce Canyon National Park by driving directly to the very southern end first. From here at Rainbow Point the entirety of the park stretches out before you back to the north.
Before you leave the Rainbow Point area make sure you walk to the southern overlook — Yovimpa Point. Here is one of the places you can get a good look at the sequence of rock layers called the Grand Staircase. The sections or steps in the Grand Staircase are named for the dominant color of rock. You are standing on the top step known as the Pink Cliffs. Directly below you are the Grey Cliffs. As you look into the distance you can see Molly's Nipple, which is part of the White Cliffs. Looking down into distant canyons near the horizon, you can just make out some red rock underneath the White Cliffs. This red rock makes up the Vermilion Cliffs. Hidden from view but directly under the towering Vermilion Cliffs are the comparatively diminutive Chocolate Cliffs. The tree-covered hills that meet the horizon belong to the Kaibab Plateau — the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Spending a few minutes at both Rainbow and Yovimpa Points will provide visitors with a geologic and geographic orientation, helping them better understand the landscape and landforms that surround Bryce Canyon National Park, and thereby better appreciate the unique beauty of this National Park.
The much easier 0.8 mile Bristlecone Loop meanders through the forest atop this highest portion of the park. Here you will pass by Bristlecone Pines up to 1,800-years-old.
Last updated: April 13, 2016