Top 6 Outdoor Activities in Bryce

There is so much more to Bryce Canyon National Park than meets the eye. Inside the park, endless activities and adventures await. Visitors can enjoy adventurous outdoor activities, like hiking, horseback riding, camping, or backcountry exploring. There are also many exciting Ranger programs and annual festivals for visitors to participate in. Every guest will find many unique and entertaining things to do while visiting Bryce Canyon National Park.

1. Hiking

The best way to explore the Bryce Canyon landscape is to hike along Bryce’s many trails. Hiking gets visitors up close to the amazing geological formations, plant life, and wild animals that call Bryce home. There are many different hikes for guests to enjoy, and visitors of all ages and abilities will find trails they can explore. Whether staying in Bryce Canyon for one day, one week, or longer, every visitor should experience the joy of hiking through the Bryce Canyon landscape.

For the best hiking experience, guests should consider hiking at least one of these popular trails in Bryce Canyon.

Mossy Cave
This short hike is just under one mile, but it is packed with gorgeous sights. Hikers will travel along a stream to get to a mossy overhang. In this area, there is also a small waterfall and a nice, shady place to rest. This hike is suitable for the whole family and should be on every visitor’s itinerary.

Navajo Trail
At just over a mile, this hike is considered moderately difficult. It leads hikers from Sunset Point down into the Bryce Amphitheater. Hikers will see gorgeous red rock formations, towering Douglas Firs, and a panoramic view of the Bryce Canyon landscape.

Fairyland Loop
This strenuous hike is not for the faint of heart. It is a difficult eight-mile round trip filled with challenging obstacles. This hike is well worth the hard work, though. Hikers will see spectacular views of China Wall, Tower Bridge, and countless hoodoos.

2.Horseback Riding

Just as the settlers did hundreds of years ago, guests can saddle up a horse and trot along Bryce Canyon and the surrounding areas. There are local companies that will set up a guided tour and provide guests with an experienced, gentle horse to ride. Taking a ride along one of the trails that allow horses in Bryce Canyon National Park, or galloping along its outskirts, will be a beautiful and unforgettable experience.

Curious brown horse looking out stable window

Bryce Canyon is one of the few national parks that allow horseback riding experiences within the park limits. Guests can also enjoy one of the many experiences on the outskirts of the park.

Bryce Amphitheater
Horseback guides will take guests down into the Bryce Amphitheater. Riders will have to depend on their horse to do the hard work of walking along the rocky landscape.

Peek-a-Boo Loop
Though Peek-a-Boo Loop is a very strenuous hike, those who are not equipped for a tough hike can still experience this fascinating trail. By taking this trail on horseback, riders will see all that the heart of the amphitheater has to offer, like the Wall of Windows, without having to do the walking themselves.

Outside of the Park
Beyond park limits, there are many other opportunities to horseback ride. Riders can be guided through meadows, along winding trails, or run their horse in a wide-open space. Experienced riders may even be able to take their horse out without guides to truly get a magical experience.

3.Camping

Though there are many terrific lodging options in the towns near Bryce Canyon National Park, camping out under the stars is an unbeatable way to stay in the area. Campers get to surround themselves with the beauty of the park all day and night. They also don’t have far to travel to enjoy exciting activities, since the adventure is just outside their door. Those who are interested in camping in Bryce Canyon will find peace and relaxation in the red rock landscape.

camping, tourism, hike, family and people concept – happy father and son roasting marshmallow over campfire

There are three main places in Bryce Canyon to set up camp. Each one offers an incredible experience in the Bryce wilderness.

North Campground
North Campground is near the visitor center, Bryce Amphitheater, and the Bryce Canyon Lodge. RV and tent sites fill up quickly, so it is best to reserve a spot as soon as possible.

Sunset Campground
Near North Campground lies Sunset Campground, which is a large campground with many tent and RV sites. It is surrounded by Ponderosa Pines, which provide inviting shade and beautiful scenery.

Backcountry Camping
Backcountry camping can be a thrilling experience. There are a limited number of backcountry campsites, so those wishing to enjoy the joy the camping in the untamed wilderness should reserve a backcountry campsite upon arrival.

4.Ranger Programs

The Rangers at Bryce Canyon National Park work hard to make sure every guest gets the most out of their trip to the park. To educate visitors about Bryce Canyon, the Rangers have many different programs for guests to participate in. These programs are designed to be fun, educational, and get guests excited about the gorgeous land they are visiting. Travelers to Bryce Canyon should make it a point to experience at least one of the programs offered by the Rangers at Bryce Canyon National Park.

There are various Ranger programs throughout the year that help to keep guests engaged and interested in the many amazing features of the park. The following are some of the most popular programs.

Geology Talks
Every day, guests can find a Ranger at either Sunset Point or the visitor center who will teach them about the geological history of Bryce Canyon. Rangers will explain which types of geological formations can be found, how the formations were made, and answer questions about Bryce Canyon’s unique geology.

Kid’s Programs
There are many different programs at Bryce Canyon, all of which are family-friendly, but the kid’s programs are specifically tailored for children. Almost every day, the Rangers put on a different program for kids. Guests can look at the kid’s program schedule and sign up for activities at the visitor center.

Full Moon Hikes
On and near full moons each month, guests can take a guided tour under the breathtaking Bryce Canyon night sky. These tours are led by Rangers who have a wealth of knowledge about Bryce Canyon astronomy.

5.Backcountry Exploration

Exploring the backcountry of Bryce Canyon can be just as exciting as visiting the park itself. The Bryce backcountry is peaceful, wild, and beautiful. There are far fewer crowds than there are inside the park, so guests can get a true wilderness experience. Exploring the Bryce Canyon backcountry is a terrific way to see more of this gorgeous Utah landscape and enjoy exploring less traveled paths.

Bryce Canyon Panorama View, Arizona, United States of America

There are a few things visitors should know before heading into the backcountry, like permits that must be obtained and safety measures that should be followed.

Backcountry Fees
The fee for traveling into the backcountry is $5 per person for ages 16 and up. Permits can be purchased at the visitor center from 9 am to one hour before closing.

Backcountry Trails
From Bryce Point to Rainbow Point, which makes up the 22.9-mile-long Under-the-Rim Trail, there are many intersecting trails. These trails are all quite strenuous and should not be attempted by inexperienced hikers.

Dangers of the Backcountry
Steep drops, unkempt trails, lack of water, and many other challenges will arise while hiking and camping in the backcountry. Unprepared hikers could find themselves in a very dangerous situation, so it is important to be fully prepared for everything the backcountry may bring.

6.Exciting Festivals

When people with common interests get together, magical things can happen. Bryce Canyon is a terrific place for guests with similar interests to congregate and enjoy their interest or hobby. Throughout the year, Bryce Canyon puts on a variety of festivals celebrating many different things. These festivals build stronger communities and connect people from all walks of life.

The following are some of the most popular festivals in the Bryce Canyon area.

Geology Festival
People from all over the world gather in Bryce Canyon to share their mutual love of geology. There is no better place than Bryce Canyon, with its many unique geological wonders, to enjoy this exciting science.

Prairie Dog Festival
The Utah prairie dog is a vital species to the Bryce Canyon ecosystem. During National Parks Week, guests can gather to marvel at these busy, adorable little creatures.

Astronomy Festival
Bryce Canyon has an unbelievable view of the night sky, thanks to the lack of light pollution. Guests will see more stars than they ever knew existed and gain in-depth knowledge of Bryce Canyon astronomy. Guests will be able to use advanced telescopes, star maps, and talk to knowledgeable astronomers.

Enjoy Bryce Canyon’s Many Activities

Every experience at Bryce Canyon will be an unforgettable one. Guests will love the many different activities that are available year-round at the park. Whether taking a long vacation in Bryce or just passing through, visitors won’t want to miss all that Bryce Canyon National Park has to offer.

Full Moon Hikes in Bryce Canyon

The red rock landscape in Bryce Canyon is often the star of the show. People come from all over the world to see the hoodoos, red rock cliffs, and other geological features of Bryce. While these natural features are gorgeous, there is an even more beautiful sight just above the rocky terrain.
The night sky in Bryce Canyon is a magnificent show of stars, planets, and galaxies. In many places across the world, the night sky is dulled by the effects of light pollution, which occurs when lights from urban or suburban areas reduce night sky visibility. In Bryce, light pollution is very minimal, which allows visitors to get a nearly uninterrupted view of the sky at night. On a clear night, how far guests can see is limited only by the strength of their eyes.
On nights with a full moon, the stars may not appear to shine as brightly, due to the bright moon, but these full moon nights are just as magical. The huge, bright moon means that hikers can travel along the landscape without the assistance of flashlights or headlamps. The moon’s light bounces off the red rock, casting eerie, yet beautiful, shadows across the landscape. Seeing Bryce Canyon by moonlight is like entering a completely different world. The chill of the night, the glowing moon, and the company of fellow travelers make a Full Moon Hike in Bryce Canyon an unforgettable experience.Full Moon Hike Tickets
For a few nights each month, a full moon drenches Bryce Canyon in a beautiful silver glow. During these nights, visitors will have the chance to embark on a magical nighttime journey through the park. The Full Moon Hikes at Bryce Canyon are guided by professionals who know the land, the history of the land, and the best places to go during a full moon.
It would be wonderful if every visitor could join this amazing guided hike, but, for safety reasons, hikes must be capped at 30 guests per group. To make things as fair as possible, the park uses a lottery system to choose who will be a part of these hikes.

The Full Moon Hike Lottery
At 4:00 pm on the day of the full moon hike, visitors should gather at the Visitor Center Auditorium. They should bring along the boots they plan on wearing during the hike. Upon arrival, the footwear will be inspected and, if hiking boots and shoes pass inspection, a lottery ticket will be given. There is only one lottery ticket per group of visitors, and groups cannot exceed six people. Then, numbers will be drawn at random until 30 people have been selected for the hike. During the busier season, there will usually be two groups of 30, which means 60 people will be chosen for the hikes. Since the full moon lasts for two days, guests who did not get to experience the full moon hike the first time will have another chance the following night.

Hikers Without Tickets
Visitors who aren’t lucky enough to get a Full Moon Hike ticket, but would still like to experience Bryce Canyon under the full moon, can go out to explore the park on their own. If visitors are familiar with the area, are prepared for the trip, and don’t go farther into the park than they are comfortable with, they can take a short hike under the bright moon in Bryce. Before attempting to take a full moon journey alone, visitors may want to speak to a park ranger about their plans and follow the hiking information and equipment recommendations below. Every visitor can have a life-changing hike beneath the big Bryce Canyon moon.

Blue Moon over Bryce Canyon with traces of snow on hoodoos

Important Full Moon Hiking Information
There are a few important things to know before attending a Full Moon Hike in Bryce Canyon. Many guests may like to have an idea of what the experience will entail before embarking on their journey. It is also important to know the rules of the hike, as well as who this hike is suitable for. Knowing these important pieces of information can make a hike under the full moon a perfect experience.

The Full Moon Hike Experience
The full moon hike begins when the group meets their ranger guide at a designated area in the park. From there, the ranger will explain the journey that is in store, inform hikers of the rules of the hike, and ensure everyone is ready for the hike. The group will then embark on their one to two-mile-long journey along one of the many trails in Bryce Canyon. Hikers are often amazed at how brightly lit the park is from the full moon. The tour will stop for guests to take photos or just take in the gorgeous view. Every step of this nighttime journey will be a surreal experience.

Restricted Items and Activities
There are a few rules that all participants must agree to follow before beginning the hike. The first is that artificial light sources, like flashlights, headlamps, and flash photography, are not allowed. It can take a while to let the eyes adjust to the low lighting, and the bright lights from these devices will seriously impair night vision. This is not only rude to other hikers, but it can also be extremely dangerous. There will be times during the hike that rangers may allow the use of flash photography, but hikers are asked not to do so without permission.

Hike Accessibility
Large portions of the full moon hike include steep and rocky trails. Because of this, these trails are not accessible to wheelchairs. Those participating in the Full Moon Hike at Bryce Canyon should be able to complete a moderately strenuous hike on rough terrain. Children under the age of six are also not permitted to participate in this hike. Limiting this hike to only those who can safely walk the trails without assistance is done to protect the safety of hikers. There are many places in Bryce Canyon under the night sky that are accessible to those with limited mobility, so every visitor will still be able to enjoy the full moon.

Full Moon Hiking Equipment
As with all activities in Bryce, full moon hikes require equipment to make the journey safe and fun. Some of the items are necessary, and others are nice to have. Having the right equipment will help hikers get the most out of their Full Moon Hike.

Hiking Boots or Shoes
Having a pair of sturdy hiking shoes or boots, with lug soles, is required. These will be inspected before guests are able to enter the lottery. Hiking footwear should fit well, be comfortable, and keep feet dry in case of wet weather. Incorrect footwear can make hiking in Bryce Canyon unbearable.

Layers of Clothing
Nights in Bryce Canyon, no matter the season, get quite chilly. As the night goes on, the temperature will continue to drop. Hikers should have a few layers of clothing, such as jackets, sweatshirts, and a hat. It takes many guests by surprise that temperatures can feel so cool once the sun goes down, so being prepared for this temperature drop is very important.

Water
Even when it’s cool out and the sun is not shining, hiking can be a strenuous, dehydrating activity. Each hiker should have enough water for a few hours of activity in an easily accessible water container. If carrying water in a backpack, hikers should make sure they can get to it easily, since it may be more difficult to find at night.

Camera with Adjustable Modes
Though not necessary, anyone hoping to get some great shots of the beautiful sky will want to have the proper camera. A camera with changeable settings, such as lighting, shutter speed, exposure, and aperture, will give hikers the best chance at taking breathtaking night sky photographs. These pictures will allow visitors to share this amazing view with those who have not been able to experience it in person.

Star Map
The stars may not be as bright on full moon nights, but it’s still exciting to use a star map to find where constellations, galaxies, and planets are. Hikers can bring along a traditional star map or download one of the many star map apps available on their mobile device. Using a star map can turn this hike into an invaluable learning experience.

Marvel at the Moon in Bryce Canyon
Enjoying this incredible hike while visiting Bryce Canyon will be an experience that is not soon forgotten. Guests will marvel in awe at the gorgeous night sky, while being guided through Bryce Canyon by an experienced ranger. To plan a trip that includes a Full Moon Hike adventure, guests should visit Bryce Canyon’s National Park Service Website, and visit the Full Moon Hike page, to discover which nights in Bryce will experience a full moon. Walking through Bryce Canyon beneath a huge, radiant full moon will be an unbelievable experience.

Featured Photo by Bhanu Tadinada

Bird Watching in Bryce

In the Bryce Canyon area, there are over 200 different species of birds that can be observed. For those who are new to birdwatching, and those who are birdwatching professionals, Bryce Canyon is an incredible place to spy many different birds. In fact, many people travel to Bryce for the sole purpose of birdwatching. Anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of some breathtaking birds should look no further than Bryce, Utah.
When it comes to birdwatching in Bryce, there are a few things to keep in mind. The types of birds that can be seen, the seasons to birdwatch, and the equipment needed to birdwatch, are all very important aspects of birdwatching. Knowing what the common birds of Bryce look like, where they live, and where they are likely to be seen will increase the chance of seeing them. It’s also important to know which season to visit and what will be needed during the trip. When visitors plan a birdwatching trip, they will set themselves up for an incredible birding experience.

Types of Birds

The birds of Bryce Canyon are incredibly diverse. Of the hundreds of species of birds across Bryce, there are many birds that can be seen on a regular basis. From falcons to swallows, the winged creatures that call Bryce home will amaze every visitor. The following are a few bird species which can be seen in Bryce.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon by Ron Knight

The Peregrine Falcon can be found in the western portion of the United States, as well as along the east coast. They usually have a muddled brown, tan, and black coloring. These amazing creatures will nest just about anywhere, from forests to cities. However, in the Bryce area, they are most likely to nest on rocky cliff sides and among the pines. Their long, slender wings and incredible speed make them an easy bird to spot. Better yet, Peregrine Falcons often hunt in pairs, so birdwatchers are likely to see more than one at a time.

 

Steller’s Jay

Stellars Jay by Eric Ellingson

The Steller’s Jay makes its home in the mountainous parts of the western United States. The Steller’s Jay has a deep blue body with a black head. The top of the head sports a tall crest, which sets this jay apart from others in the area. Those hoping to spy a Steller’s Jay should head to the Ponderosa forests, along the Bryce Canyon rim. These birds like to inconspicuously nest in the trees. Years of being fed by visitors have made many of these birds turn into beggars. It is important to remember not to feed these wild creatures, so their future as a thriving species in Bryce can be assured.

 

 

 

Raven

Raven

Ravens can be found throughout most of the world. They will live in most wild, undeveloped areas of wilderness. They are a larger, usually about two feet long, bird with jet black feathers. Because they have coloring and shape like a crow, ravens and crows are often confused for one another. However, a raven is about twice the size of a common crow. They are likely to be seen around the parking areas of scenic viewpoints, because ill-informed guests will often feed them in these areas. Catching a glimpse of these intelligent birds in their natural habitat will be an experience not soon forgotten.

 

 

 

 

California Condor

California Condor
California Condors can be found only in a few small areas near Utah and in California. Since California Condors are an endangered species, spotting one in the wild is rare. They are very large birds, weighing up to 22 pounds, with a wingspan of around 108 inches. They have a bald, pink head, and a stocky body covered in brown feathers. It is rare to see a California Condor, but it is not unheard of. Any sightings of this incredible bird should be reported to park officials immediately.

 

 

 

 

Clark’s Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker
Clark’s Nutcrackers live in higher elevations, throughout the western part of the United States and Canada. These small birds are the size of a jay, but are shaped like a crow. They have a light grey body, a black tail, and black wings. Birdwatchers are most likely to see a Clark’s Nutcracker in higher elevations around Bryce, living among the pines. Listening for their gravelly call, and frequenting areas with seeds and nuts, is the best way to spy one of these terrific birds.

 

 

 

 

Osprey

Osprey
Osprey can be found across the United States, Canada, and many other parts of the world. They are larger birds, with a wingspan of around five feet. They have dark brown bodies with white undersides, and their head is white with a dark eye stripe. Their shape and movements make them easily identifiable, while they are soaring through the air. Osprey feed on live fish, which they catch with their large talons. Their feeding habits mean they live close to water, so the various bodies of water near Bryce are the best places to catch a glimpse of the magnificent Osprey.

Violet-Green Swallow
Swallows are a common bird, but there is something special about the Violet-green Swallow. The Violet-green Swallow is found in the western parts of the United States and Canada. They are a small, fast bird. As their name implies, they are violet and green. Various shades of green run from the top of the head to the middle of their back. From there, the tail and wing feathers are a violet hue. Their underside is a bright white, which makes their deep greens and violets even more striking. In Bryce, the Violet-green Swallow feeds on swarms of flying insects, so sightings around still waters and bright lights are most common.

Violet Green Swallow

 

 

Seasons for Birdwatching

Every season in Bryce provides ample opportunities to see the magnificent birds of the area. The time of the year birdwatchers come to visit Bryce will depend on a few factors. The type of birds they would like to see and the weather they would like to experience are the two most important aspects of a birdwatching trip’s timing. Rest assured, all four seasons in Bryce are beautiful, and there are magnificent birds to be

Winter

Though many birds do not stick around Bryce during the winter, there are still quite a few amazing birds to be seen during winters in Bryce. Lucky birdwatchers may spot a Bald Eagle or a Ring-necked Pheasant. Generally, though, visitors will mainly see the common birds who call Bryce home year-round.
The following birds are just a few of the common birds to see in Bryce during the winter.

  • Copper’s Hawk
  • Steller’s Jay
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Raven
  • Mountain Chickadee

Spring
Spring is a very exciting time of the year for birdwatching in Bryce. The months of March until May are a time of increased activity for the birds of Bryce. During the spring, birds are nesting, mating, and preparing for the arrival of their young. Fortunate birdwatchers may see the unique mating ritual of the Peregrine Falcon, as they plummet incredible distances overhead. Or, they may find themselves being chased away by a protective swallow, if they venture too close to their nest.
While there are many birds to be seen in Bryce during the spring, the following are a few of the most common species that may be observed.

  • Mallard
  • White-throated Swift
  • Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler

Summer
Summer is another exciting time of the year for birdwatchers. During the summer, newly hatched birds are venturing out of their nests for the first time. Some birds may be laying another round of eggs, and working tirelessly to care for their hatchings. Some birds are still finding a mate to begin the mating and nesting process with. For birdwatchers in Bryce, summer is a great time to see many unique species performing their daily routines in their natural habitat.
Of the many species of birds to see during the summer in Bryce, these are a few of the most exciting.

  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Cassin’s Finch
  • Say’s Phoebe
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • American Coot

Fall
During the months of September to November, birdwatchers can observe birds doing many incredible things. Many birds may be preparing for migration by filling up on their choice of nuts, berries, seeds, or other food sources. Others begin the process of preparing to stay for the winter in Bryce. Watching these amazing creatures as they prepare for winter in their own special way is a truly magical experience.
Though there are fewer birds in the fall than there are during the spring or summer, there are still many impressive beds to be seen. The following are just a few of the birds to see during the fall Bryce.

  • Brewer’s Blackbird
  • Pygmy Nuthatch
  • Violet-green Swallow
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Mountain Bluebird
Birdwatching Equipment

Experienced birdwatchers are likely to have an arsenal of birdwatching equipment. High-tech binoculars, guidebooks, radars, and more can be used to get the most out of a birding trip. However, for novice birdwatchers, there are just a few important things that should be used while birdwatching.

Seasonal Clothing
Clothes that will keep birders safe from the elements are a must. Whether it’s a hot summer day or a frigid winter morning, sensible clothing will make a trip enjoyable and safe.

Binoculars
Binoculars are the tool that turns a casual hike along the landscape into a birdwatching adventure. Having a good pair of binoculars can eliminate a lot of guesswork while trying to spot birds. With binoculars, birdwatchers can see the birds closely, identify them, and fully enjoy the unique, individual beauty each bird within a species has.

Camera
Catching a great picture or video of the birds in Bryce is a great way to share this exciting experience with others. Even people who are not interested in birdwatching will enjoy looking at pictures of the incredible colors, pattern, and other features on different species of birds.

Navigation Equipment
Since birdwatching is such an interesting activity, and following the birds can lead birdwatchers of the beaten path, it is important to have some sort of navigation equipment. Maps, GPS, and other navigation equipment will help birders to avoid being lost in the wild Bryce landscape.

Bird Species Checklist
The National Park Service compiled a list of the 210 species of birds that have been seen within a five-mile radius of Bryce Canyon National Park. This comprehensive list is a terrific guide to the common, occasional, uncommon, and rare birds of the area. Having this list can help to identify species, determine how rare a sighting is, and compare notes with other birders.

Keep an Eye on the Sky in Bryce

All year long in Bryce, visitors can look to the sky, peer into the trees, or search rocky cliff sides to catch a glimpse of incredible bird species. The untouched wilderness of Bryce Canyon National Park, and the surrounding areas, makes viewing birds in their natural habitat fun and easy. No matter what activity has drawn visitors to the area, spending a little time observing the amazing flying beauties of Bryce will be time well spent.

Seeing Stars

There is something magical about the flickering stars high above the earth in the night sky. They have inspired beautiful paintings, popular songs, and epic poems. Across the globe, people young and old tilt their heads back to try and find the big dipper, identify the north star, and, if they’re lucky, catch a glimpse of a shooting star.
Knowing a bit more about stargazing, threats to the beautiful sky at twilight, and the programs and people that are trying to keep our sky pristine, especially those in Bryce Canyon, can help to increase the appreciation one has for the sky. There is so much more than meets the eye when it comes to stargazing and it is important to get involved with enjoying and preserving our view of the stars, before it’s too late.
Gazing Upon the Stars
We wish upon them, navigate with them, and dream to soar above them. For these, and many other reasons, stargazing has been a popular activity for centuries. There is so much to discover when looking at the night sky. Gazers can observe the skies simply for the beauty as they search for meteors or shooting stars. Others may turn to the skies with a more scientific approach, looking for constellations, planets, or other celestial happenings. No matter the purpose for stargazing, it is sure to be an activity that opens the eyes, clears the mind, and helps inspire a new appreciation for natural and celestial beauty.
Astronomy is the study of all that lies beyond earth. This includes the stars, planets, and all other bodies that reside in the universe. Astronomers and astronomy buffs use everything from the naked eye to high-powered telescopes to explore the stars and gain a wealth of knowledge about the past, present, and future. The stars have helped scientists to create many theories about the creation of the universe, contribute to the understanding of how time works, and help to predict what will happen to the earth in the future. As more great minds look to the stars, many mysteries of life are being solved.
Observing the stars doesn’t have to be such a technical matter. Even children can enjoy getting lost in the stars. A less technical, but still incredibly exciting, activity to do while looking at the stars is to identify constellations. Constellations are different patterns the stars make, with many of these patterns being based on mythological figures. Once a constellation is found, it is interesting to try to connect the stars and envision the pattern. Some of the most popular constellations to find are Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, Orion and Orion’s Belt, and Cassiopeia. Learning to identify these constellations helps people to appreciate the skies and find their place in the universe.

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah under the stars at midnight.

The Growing Problem of Light Pollution
When thinking of pollution, the common images that come to mind are smog, debris, and landfills. There is another less talked about kind of pollution that is having a negative impact on the night sky. Light pollution occurs in many areas throughout the world. The bright lights from cities and towns pollute the sky with their glow, making it increasingly difficult to see the stars.
The light pollution from city lights doesn’t only affect the city they are shining from. Light pollution can make it harder to see the stars for hundreds of miles. The light pollution from Las Vegas, Nevada, a city known for its bright lights, has made it difficult to see the stars at the Grand Canyon, which is 150 miles away. As cities and towns grow and more lights begin to shine, preserved areas like national parks risk losing their magical twilight view.
While not being able to see the stars is a huge issue, bright lights are causing even bigger problems. Each year, millions of birds are drawn to the bright lights from buildings at night, which confuses them and traps them in between buildings. Many eventually crash into the large, reflective windows and die. Another animal affected by bright lights are sea turtles. Female sea turtles lay their eggs on the dunes of beaches. When their offspring hatch, they head toward the brightest area, which should be into the ocean toward the horizon. Instead, they end up in the middle of populated areas and become prey or succumb to the elements. There are countless animals that are threatened in various ways by light pollution, so it is imperative that something is done.
Luckily, light pollution, unlike other types of pollution, is easily reversed. By working on reducing the lights used and upgrading to newer technology, light pollution can be eliminated immediately. Fortunately, there are many dedicated people who are working to do just that.

The Dark Sky Movement
The dark sky movement is a campaign that aims to eliminate light pollution and the issues it causes. This movement invites everyone to join in on reducing light pollution because, after all, we all live under the same sky.
There are many cities and towns that have set an impressive example for other cities and towns by implementing different tactics to reduce light pollution. Chicago, for example, has implemented a ‘lights out’ program that encourages skyscraper owners throughout the city to turn off any unnecessary lighting. This act alone has saved tens of thousands of birds.
In Flagstaff, Arizona, which has been named the first International Dark Sky City by the International Dark Sky Movement, they are doing many amazing things to illuminate light pollution. Since the 1950s, they have been cutting back on the lighting that can be used, such as advertisement lighting, they have upgraded their street lights so that the light is directed downward rather than into the sky, and they have made many more impressive improvements. These improvements have allowed them to be able to see the full arch of the Milky Way from their own backyards. Not many people can say that.
By using the methods modeled by the cities and towns dedicated to keeping the sky dark, light pollution can become a non-issue. If lights continue to be used without regard to light pollution and cities continue to grow, by 2025 there will be nowhere in the United States to view a pristine night sky.

Bryce Canyon Astronomy
Bryce Canyon National Park is known for many incredible things. The landscape, exciting activities, and unique history of the area bring people to the area every season. While life on the ground in Bryce is wonderful, the view of the sky at night is even more unforgettable.
Bryce Canyon is far from the worries of light pollution. In fact, on a clear night, you can see the Milky Way stretch from horizon to horizon. This amazing view of the stars brings many people to Bryce Canyon each year. The people of Bryce Canyon’s gratitude for the night sky is not a new development. In fact, this national park’s history of preserving and appreciating the beauty of the night goes back nearly fifty years, long before other parks began their night sky programs.
In 1969, the first astronomy programs were formed in Bryce Canyon. Shortly after the initial programs began, many park rangers maintained stargazing programs for interested guest. The beautiful sky of Bryce Canyon even attracted Patrick Wiggins, NASA Solar System Ambassador to Utah, to come to Bryce Canyon six times each summer to offer different astronomy programs. He began holding these programs in 1984 and continues to do so today. In 1985, Bryce Canyon received its first telescope, which was donated by the National Park Service Air Resources Division office out of Denver, CO. By 1989, Bryce Canyon received a second telescope, donated by the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association, so that more people could enjoy the night sky.
By 2001, Bryce Canyon was known well enough as a great place to view the sky that it held its first Astronomy Festival with the help of Salt Lake Astronomical Society. With many more efforts put into making Bryce Canyon the perfect stargazing location, the number of visitors who came to Bryce Canyon for astronomy programs was up to 27,000. Starting in 2005, Bryce Canyon has over twelve volunteers who help with public astronomy programs. Also in 2005, Bryce Canyon expands its Astronomy Festival to include many more activities, including daytime seminars and guest speakers, with the help of Chad Moore from the Night Sky Team. The efforts to create an enjoyable stargazing experience for visitors to Bryce Canyon will continue for years to come.

Get Lost in the Stars
Each year, the astronomy programs at Bryce Canyon continue to grow and attract new visitors. By keeping light pollution in check and making astronomy programs available to anyone interested, Bryce Canyon will continue to be a sanctuary for stargazers around the world.
They have many exciting astronomy activities available year-round, which are hosted by educated rangers, volunteers, and astronomy professionals. Visitors can enjoy things like night trips with the Astronomy Rangers, the Annual Astronomy Festival, Night Sky Programs, Full Moon Hikes, and even a Solar Viewer to safely get a close look at the sun.
To get away from the light pollution and mingle with many fellow astronomy buffs, a trip to Bryce Canyon is in order. The connection visitors feel to the night sky after a trip to Bryce Canyon, where it feels like they can reach out and grab a chunk of the Milky Way, is immeasurable. Budding astronomy buffs and pros alike will find Bryce Canyon to be an amazing sanctuary of stars.

Tropic, Utah: The Center of it All

Most people don’t realize that when visiting the state of Utah, there is a nearly endless number of things to see and do. These exciting experiences aren’t all spread out across the state, either. In fact, there is a small town many people choose to stay in that is centrally located near five different popular areas of Utah.
The town of Tropic is a beautiful town in southern Utah. Tropic is a small town, with only about five hundred permanent residents. This small-town feel is what makes Tropic such a wonderful place to stay. There are many lodging options to choose from, places to eat, things to explore, and it is right in the middle of all the best outdoor adventures of Utah.
From Tropic, Utah, guests are only ninety minutes from five of the most beautiful places in not only Utah but the entire country. These five parks, monuments, and sites will provide visitors with an unforgettable vacation experience thanks to their closeness to Tropic. By spending less than two hours in the car, visitors will find themselves in vastly different locations with new and amazing things to see each day of their trip. Even those with just a few days to spend in the area will find that Tropic makes the perfect place to stay to enjoy the most of southern Utah.

Cedar Breaks National Monument
While not a household name for a vacation destination, Cedar Breaks National Monument has a lot to offer those who are lucky enough to visit. This beautiful area of Utah features the best of many different terrains, all in one place.
There are lush areas of plant life, complete with unique and colorful wildflowers. There are beautiful rock formations to walk along and marvel at. The soaring bristlecone pines, which is one of the oldest trees in existence, cover many parts of this landscape. Visitors may be lucky enough to spot some of the local wildlife since many different animals call this stretch of land home. The high elevations provide a unique feeling to guests, especially those who have never stood at such heights before.
While seeing these amazing things in the daylight is wonderful, the real show begins at night fall. The lack of light pollution and the high elevations make stargazing in Cedar Breaks National Monument unforgettable. Visitors will look up and see more stars than they ever thought possible and every other night sky they see will pale in comparison.
The drive from Tropic to Cedar Breaks is just over an hour, which leaves plenty of time for visitors to enjoy the area before heading back to Tropic. With so much to experience, Cedar Breaks National Monument is a destination that should be on everyone’s list while they are in Tropic, Utah.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Though this park may be smaller than Zion, it has many incredible views, rock formations, and plant and animal life to experience. The main thing that draws visitors into Bryce Canyon are the countless hoodoos.
Hoodoos are rock formations that are created through erosion. This is unique because most rock formations are made by sediment being added, not taken away. These tall and narrow spires are scattered throughout Bryce, many of which have been made famous by their unique shapes. Some of the most popular hoodoos in Bryce Canyon are Thor’s Hammer, Queen Victoria, the Silent City, and the Queen’s Garden. Many hoodoos can be seen from some of Bryce’s various viewpoints, which can be reached by vehicle.
For those who like to get more involved with the landscape, there is a nearly endless number of trails that go through Bryce Canyon. Some trails are very strenuous while others are perfect for the whole family. Hiking along this landscape allows hikers to feel connected with nature and truly appreciate the geological beauty throughout the park.
By driving only fifteen minutes from Tropic, visitors can experience all the amazing things that this gorgeous park offers. By taking a day to drive or hike along Bryce Canyon guests will be treated to amazing views and a once in a lifetime experience.

Brian Head
This small town in southwestern Utah has earned its place on every list of the best things to do in Utah, especially while staying in Tropic. The main attraction in Brian Head is the unbelievable Brian Head Ski Resort. This resort has a base elevation of 9,600 feet, which is the highest in all of Utah. This high elevation provides pristine, powdery snow for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy all winter long.
Those who won’t be in Tropic during skiing season should still make their way to Brian Head since the resort is open all year round. When the weather is warm, Brian Head pulls out all the stops to make their resort as fun and exciting as can be. They have activities like disc golf, adventure trails, mountain biking, archery, and much more. Even in the heat of the summer, guests can head to Brian Head, get a little cooler at higher elevations, and enjoy a fun day of exciting activities.
It is a relatively short drive to get to Brian Head from Tropic, Utah. The drive is mostly on major roadways, meaning there won’t be a lot of town traffic to deal with. It takes approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to get to the town of Brian Head from Tropic. The short drive allows guests to head to Brian Head in the morning, enjoy a full day of adventure, then drive back to Tropic in the evening without spending the whole day in the car.

Grand Staircase- Escalante
For adventure seekers, Grand Staircase- Escalante is the place to go while in Tropic, Utah. There are so many amazing areas to hike that the entire day will be full of fun adventures and beautiful views.
The most popular places to explore while in Escalante are the slot canyons. Slot canyons are small areas between the rock, most of which have been carved out by water over millions of years. These slot canyons are narrow, some with areas that are as small at a foot wide. Getting into a slot canyon is like exploring a completely different world. It is cool, dark, and usually wet. The views from these slot canyons are magnificent and well worth the walk.
Some of the most popular slot canyons to hike while in Escalante are Zebra Slot Canyon, Peek-A-Boo Gulch, and Coyote Gulch. Hiking through a slot canyon is a life-changing experience.
Getting to Grand Staircase- Escalante from Tropic only takes about ten minutes. This short drive means that those who wish to explore more of Escalante can do so easily. When there is some extra time at the end of the day or a break between adventures, taking a ride to Grand Staircase- Escalante from Tropic is a great way to keep the excitement of the vacation going.

Zion National Park
Zion National Park is the most popular national park in Utah. In fact, in recent years the number of people who visit Zion has increased greatly to an astonishing 2.9 million. That number makes it the sixth most visited park in the United States. But why are so many people going to Zion National Park?
The answer to that question is easy. There is so much to see and do throughout the park. Guests can participate in a variety of activities within the park, like canyoneering, hiking, horseback riding, and climbing. There are very popular hiking trails like Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, The Subway, and more. Many of these hikes require permits, so experienced hikers try their luck at the permit lottery to be allowed to hike in certain areas.
For guests who prefer more intense activities, there are many companies in the area that provide ATV, biking, and even aerial tours of Zion and the surrounding landscape. The ponderosa pines and amazing geological formations throughout the park make it such a beautiful place to experience.
By driving just an hour and a half from Tropic, guests can see all the beauty of Zion National Park. Though this is the longest drive on the list, it is certainly well worth the miles on the road. No matter the season, guests staying in Tropic will not want to miss all that is waiting for them in Zion National Park.

Discover Utah from Beautiful Tropic
Whether guests want to hike all day, enjoy new and exciting activities, or take a leisurely drive to see the landscape of Utah, Tropic is the perfect place to stay during a trip. Guests can feel comfortable in a nice hotel, get out and embark on unforgettable adventures, and then retire to their rooms to rest up and start all over again the next day. The small town feeling and incredible lodging in Tropic will help to make any Utah vacation complete.

July Activities in Bryce Canyon

July Activities in Bryce Canyon
Travelers can find something fun and exciting to do in Bryce Canyon throughout the entire year. From exciting outdoor activities to interesting shows and performances, there’s never a dull moment in this area, and July is no exception.
The month of July is packed full of exciting things to do and see in Bryce Canyon National Park and the surrounding areas. In addition to the everyday adventures, like horseback riding, canyoneering, hiking, and scenic tours, there are special events and activities being held throughout the month, as well. Featured below are a few of the fun things to experience during a trip to Bryce Canyon in July. Keep in mind, there are many other adventures to enjoy, so speak with locals or search online to line up a July vacation with endless entertainment.

Things to do
The list of things to do in Bryce Canyon during the month of July is incredibly diverse. Aspiring cowboys, fitness nuts, and geology enthusiasts can all find something exciting to do during July. All the following events and activities are in different locations, but all are within a short drive to the Bryce Canyon area. To enjoy these unforgettable adventures, visitors should be sure to schedule a trip to Bryce Canyon during the month of July.

Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo
Wednesday through Saturday, beginning at 7:00 PM, visitors can enjoy the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo. The rodeo takes place at the Ruby’s Inn Rodeo Grounds near Ruby’s Inn. The price of admission for the rodeo is $13.00 for ages twelve and up, $9.00 for ages five to eleven, and free admission for children under five. The tickets, which are general admission tickets, can be purchased two different ways. They are sold in the lobby of the Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn or at the main entrance gate of the rodeo.
At Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo, the crowd is able to get in on the action. Adults can sign up to ride a real bucking bull and children can be signed up for the steer and sheep riding. Those who are signed up by 5:00 PM on the day of the rodeo will be able to experience a taste of being a real cowboy. To sign up, guests should either call Ruby’s at (866) 782-0002 or email at rodeo@rubysinn.com. This opportunity to bring out their inner cowboy is a chance that not many people will ever get.

There are two days in July, the fourth and the twenty-fourth, that Ruby’s will be holding a jackpot rodeo. These are the biggest rodeos of the season, with cowboys and cowgirls coming from all around to compete. Participants pay an entry fee that goes into a pot which can be won for each competition. This chance at a big prize brings out the competitive spirit in every rider. All the events at Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo are a true joy to watch.

Independence Day Celebration
The fourth of July is an exciting day in the U.S. It is a day to celebrate the nation’s independence from English rule and the official creation of this free nation. The usual celebration of Independence Day revolves around cookouts, fireworks, and gathering friends and family. For those who will be in the Bryce Canyon area during this special holiday, there will be plenty to do and celebrate on the fourth.
In the areas of Bryce, Panguitch, and Boulder, Utah, there will be fun-filled days to celebrate Independence Day. These celebrations will begin in the early afternoon and go on until after dark, most concluding with a fireworks display. There will be thrilling parades, delicious food, fun activities, and much more. Celebrating this nation in a small town in Utah will be the most memorable Independence Day celebration one can have.

Desperado Dual
The Desperado Duel is a very popular bicycle event in the Bryce Canyon area. This demanding but beautiful ride takes riders on a journey through some of the most spectacular views in the world. With nothing but the gorgeous red rock surrounding them, riders can choose to participate in the fifty, one hundred and nine, or one hundred and fifty-mile option. No matter which ride is chosen, the entire day is sure to be an unforgettable one.
The route includes fully stocked rest stops, delicious lunches, and much more. Every rider will receive a Desperado Duel participation medal and trucker hat when they register for their event. The entire day will be filled with fun, even when riders are not riding. Before the start of the ride, which is 7:00 PM, there will be a pre-race party for participants and visitors. This will be an action-packed day filled with excitement and beauty in the Bryce Canyon area.

Panguitch Invitational Rodeo
Held at the Triple C Area from July 21st to the 23rd, this exciting jackpot rodeo is sure to thrill the crowd. This invitational rodeo is open to all high school students who wish to participate. There will be many traditional rodeo events, such as barrel racing, roping, rodeos, and stock shows. Watch as winning contestants are awarded saddles, while second and third place receive buckles. The pride and joy that these students receive from competing in this rodeo are enough to make the entire show a complete delight.

Mystical Arts of Tibet

This one of a kind experience lasts from July 19th to the 25th. This celebration will begin with a dinner welcoming the Tibetan Monks that are traveling to raise money to help educate, feed, house, and care for nearly 3,000 exiled Tibetan Monks. Throughout the entire week, visitors will be delighted and in awe of these amazing people. During the week, they will be creating a sand mandala, a practice that Tibetan Monks are famous for. Also, there will be daily meditation and prayers for those who wish to participate. There are many exciting activities to take part in during the week, from singing to lunches and more. Every guest will walk away from each event feeling at peace and connected with their spirituality. This one-of-a-kind experience is one that should not be missed.

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon and 5K
On Saturday, July 8th Bryce Canyon will be holding its famous 5K and half marathon. These runs take runners through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, testing their strength and stamina along the way. Once runners pick up their packets on July 7th, they will be ready to head out on the trails the next day. The entire run is incredibly scenic, making it one of the most memorable and exciting runs in the entire country. Runners will truly appreciate the challenging course and the aesthetic beauty throughout both races.

Annual Geology Festival
There are very few places in America that offer such beautiful and diverse rock formations. Geology buffs travel to the Bryce area every year just to marvel at the impressive formations. On July 14th and 15th, Geology enthusiasts will flock to the Bryce Canyon area for the annual GeoFest. Park rangers will take visitors on guided hikes through the area, host family-friendly geology activities, have special geology guests and speakers, and set up many geological presentations and family oriented events at the visitor center. This is a great chance for everyone interested in geology to really submerse themselves in the beauty of geological history. From hiking along the Bryce area to learning about other geological formations, Bryce Canyon GeoFest is the place to be for those interested in geology.

Experience Bryce Canyon in July
The warm temperatures are calling travelers from near and far to come and enjoy a trip to Bryce Canyon. In addition to the many fun activities that can be done year-round, Bryce Canyon has an unforgettable lineup of events and activities throughout the month. Choose one adventure or stay a while and experience them all. A trip to Bryce Canyon in July is guaranteed to be the highlight of the summer.

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Featured photo by Jean-Claude Schwarzen

Scenic Highway 12

Traveling Along Scenic Highway 12
There is a popular quote from Dan Eldon that says, “The journey is the destination.” This quote could not be more fitting when traveling along many of the beautiful highways of Utah. There is one highway in particular that provides an especially unforgettable journey.
Scenic Highway 12 is incredibly special in more ways than one. This route has a myriad of rock formations, incredible views, and tons of things to stop and do along the ride. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Scenic Highway 12 is often called the “Million Dollar Road.”

Amazing Rock Formations
This highway leads travelers through some of the most beautiful areas of Utah. The road leads right along canyons, mesas, slick rock amphitheaters, and much more. Seeing these formations, which were formed over millions of years, will transport travelers back in time and give them a true appreciation for Utah’s history.

Unforgettable Views
The views along Scenic Highway 12 are some of the best in the world. Travelers will drive across ridges, through mountains, and next to unique plants and wildlife. There are many places where travelers can pull over and take amazing pictures of the beautiful landscape surrounding Scenic Highway 12.

Exciting Adventures
Those who would like to venture out of the car are in for a real treat. Along the highway, there are several museums, restaurants, and parks to be explored. Around every corner, travelers will find something new and exciting to enjoy.

The Drive of a Lifetime
The journey along Scenic Highway 12 will be one of the most memorable parts of a trip to Utah. While headed to their destination, travelers will be treated to amazing natural formations, one-of-a-kind views, and exciting new experiences. For these reasons, a drive along Scenic Highway 12 should be on everyone’s Utah bucket list.

Feature photo by Wolfgang Staudt

Parks for Horseback Riding in USA

The desire to uncover new things is a tradition rooted deep in North American culture. Horse riding is also synonymous with Americans with the cowboy tradition being associated with America and Canada. The region is well endowed with natural space and the highly hospitable people make it possible for nature and horse riding enthusiasts to participate in horseback riding tours and holidays. Parks for Horseback Riding in USA are immense and therefore it is easy to find a horseback riding vacation in the country. Some of the most popular ones in North America include;

1. The 9 Yellowstone Park Ranches
2. The Grand Canyon mule riding vacation
3. Horse Riding at Utah-Capitol Reef Park

Grand Canyon National Park- is a popular park attracting a huge number of visitors every year. The park is situated in an exquisite natural amphitheater. This stunning park is popularly known for “hoodoos”, natural pillars created by wind, water, and ice erosion. More than 5 million visitors come to the park every year for sightseeing, hiking, and horseback riding. In order to get the best glimpse of the area’s unique natural sceneries, mule riding proves to work best. The irresistible view of canyon walls, plateaus, beautiful sunset, and the Colorado River bring the true meaning of the term “grand” as the place is named. The massive exploration opportunities presented by the park enable visitors to go around the park on foot, helicopter, boat, bus, or ride by mule (mostly preferred). Mules are chosen simply because they have a good track record of being safe and meek. Mule trips are provided on both the North and South Rim of the Grand Canyon. If you desire some solitude then the best place to be board is the North Rim which is secluded and wilder. South Rim is busier and is home to operator lodges, gift shops, tours, and many activities.

horseback riding 012
Photo Credit: PROmyboogers on flickr

Yellowstone Park Ranches-this iconic park has nine of top horseback riding places in North America. Guests as young as 13 years are accepted to ride at the park. The professional guides at the park offer unmatched assistance to the guests. At Yellowstone you get to choose from any of the following options;
• McGarry Ranch, Rexburg Idaho-lies barely 90 miles to the west of Jackson Hole. The Yellowstone Park is 1and half hour drive from this popular ranch.
• 7D Ranch Cody Wyoming- is a one hour drive from Yellowstone National Park. It lies on the remote Sunlight Basin located at the core of Absaroka Mountains. It is one of the ancient ranches in Wyoming and guests enjoy frequent 3 to 2 week tours of North Absaroka Wilderness, Yellowstone Park, and Beartooth Mountains.
• Paradise Guest Ranch-located in Buffalo Wyoming is this 3 hour ride Ranch from Yellowstone. It lies splendidly on foothills of Big Horn Mountains. Other attraction sites nearby include “Hole in the Wall” and Fort Phil Kearney.
• Big Sky Montana’s Lone Mountain Ranch-situated 48 miles from the town of Yellowstone and is 18 miles from Northwest Corner. Guests can take a horseback ride from the ranch to Yellowstone National Park.
• Mountain Sky Guest Ranch-lies in emigrant Montana and is 30 miles from Yellowstone Park. Day-long horseback rides and fly-fishing are availed to guests at the ranch. Available also is special whitewater rafting along the Yellowstone River. Livingstone and Bozeman city centers are situated a few miles from this ranch and offer guests the finest western cuisine.
• Gros Ventre River Ranch-located in Moose Wyoming that lies 60 miles from Yellowstone Park and only 18 miles from Grand Teton Park. It is also 18 miles away from Jackson Town, popular for its western art galleries, events, and restaurants.
• Emigrant Montana’s Hubbard Circle Ranch-located in at the border of Yellowstone Park. Guest get chance to walk cattle at Gallattin, one of the finest mountains. Those who make a day trip to Yellowstone park are given packed lunches. At the ranch explore the stunning wilderness on the edge of Yellowstone National Park.
• T Cross Ranch-located at Dubois Wyoming is this amazing ranch ideal for a family ranch vacation. It is a two hour drive to Yellowstone Park. The Dubois town is a popular town surrounded by Wind River and Absaroka Mountains.
• Livingstone Montana’s 63 Ranch-this ranch is situated 50 miles from Yellowstone national Park, 1and half hour drive from the park. Guests learn to gather and rope cattle at the ranch. They also adventure to the nearby Absaroka wilderness and Gallatan forests.

These parks are just a representation of the numerous Parks for Horseback Riding in USA. These astounding destinations for horseback riding are ideal for individual, family, or group visits.

Panguitch- Discover their History and their Current Lifestyle

Panguitch is a name that originates from the Paiute Indians and has the meaning “Big Fish.” It is located near the mountains where you will surely find Panguitch Lake, a lake known for its huge number of large trout it provides.

Pioneers

The first people to ever settle in this area were the Native Americans. They had lived there for a long time until in 1864 when some Mormon pioneers settled in the area. At first it was called Fairview until years later it was changed to Panguitch. This was after the first settlers were evacuated by the Native Indians and later decided to go back there in 1871. This place is situated 6630 feet above the sea level in a mountainous countryside close to the Bryce Canyon.

Harsh Weather Conditions and Starvation

This place is known for its short growing seasons and long, harsh winters. In their first year of settlement, the pioneers had it rough as winter came very early and their crops were covered by snow before they were even mature. This led to the leaders coming together and coming up with a plan to feed the starving community. In this, seven men volunteered to go and fetch for food in the neighboring Parowan community. This community was located on the other side of the mountain where they would find flour. They took their wagons and left. The journey was good at first but as they went on, the snow started deepening and they had to abandon their wagons to go on foot.

Quilt Walk Innovation

As they continued walking, they often fell through the crust of the snow. This made the journey much tougher. This is not until they came up with the idea of placing quilts on top of the snow and walking on them. At the end of one quilt, they would take the previous one and lay it down before them. They continued with this process until they reached the next community. The return journey was tougher as they had huge loads but with the help of quilt walking, they were able to feed that starving community and provide enough food for them to store.

Quilt Walk Celebrations

If you make your way to Panguitch around spring, you will be able to learn all you would like to know on the “Quilt Walk” in the town’s Annual Quilt Walk celebrations. All the locals show some of the quilts they have made pieced or embroidered, hand-made or machine developed. In this festival, you get to eat the pioneer feast and get to watch the full story on the famous Quilt Walk by some of the local talent.

Main Street Shops, Panguitch, Utah
Photo Credit: ap0013 on flickr

Construction of Buildings

Some of the original and old heritage is showcased with the beautiful red bricks buildings and homes that were established. The pioneer settlers had already developed a brick factory. They would load their horse wagons with wood and iron rich clay that was available in plenty in that area. With the help of the wood, they would fire the kiln and make bricks. Instead of money, the workers were paid in terms of bricks. With these brick payment, they were able to build their own homes. At first, they built tall homes but with time, they shifted to shorter two storey buildings. The home designs were largely influenced by the Dutch and English cultures.

Alexander Cabin

In the area, there are some log cabins as well as wooden homes which are still standing. One of them is the Alexander Cabin which is usually preserved and protected by the local residents. It is visible from the north entrance of the town as it is at the city’s park. This cabin is only open during the summer season and people get to view the ancient artifacts and also have a look at how the ancient people lived.

Legend Sheriff

Every building and home has its part of history. One of the most famous homes that is located along Main Street housed a former sheriff and a legend to the community, James W. Pace. According to tales told, the sheriff’s wife, would always signal the resident of the community whenever federal agents would come to hunt down polygamists at the peak of night. She did these by placing a lamp of light by the window. When the residents saw these, all the men would go into hiding.

Other Famous Buildings

Another famous building, made of red bricks, that was used for plenty of purposes is known as the Bishops Storehouse. At first, this building was used as a food and clothing distribution center for the poor. Later on, this building was converted in a school room, mainly used for religious teachings, and now it is known as the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum. One more famous red brick building is the Social Hall. It has colorful history as it was first built for the purpose of holding major church meetings. Later on, it picked other uses such as dances, fundraiser events, gymnasium, and is now used to host the Quilt Walk play annually.

Farming

In those old days, the people raised sheeps but now, the common thing to find is cattle. Among the first branches of ZCMI was built at Panguitch.

Tourist Attractions

Tourism is a serious income earner for the local economy. Panguitch is surrounded by some of the best sceneries on earth. The area has five national parks namely Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon’s North Rim, Capital Reef and Canyonlands. Also, there are two national monuments in Panguitch: Cedar Breaks and Grand Staircase-Escalante, and also the Lake Powell found at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. There are also five other common recreation areas and state parks.

Visit Panguitch and become part of the locals as they relive their historical journey to the town as it is now.

Capitol Reef National Park

Situated in the south-central part of the home of national adventure and amusement parks Utah lays Capitol Reef National Park, which opens its doors to visitors from all over the world. Capitol Reef admits visitors 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, so no matter what hour of the day or time if the year you plan to the park, its doors would always be open, so you can enjoy the warm hospitality of the park, with all the fun and exciting activities that accompanies it.

The main entrance to Capitol Reef is through highway 14, which cuts across the park. Capitol Reef National Park is very renowned among Utah state parks and is well acclaimed for its exciting natural wonders which provide an astonishing view of this desert landscape of immeasurable beauty. Capitol Reef also acts as a sanctuary that harbors a variety of fun sporting and recreational activities such as hiking, camping, climbing or canyoneering, fishing, biking and horseback riding, which could all be enjoyed by the park’s visitors all year round. One of the most exciting rides within the park is the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive.

Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Photo Credit: PhotoOutpost (Rex Biggers) on flickr

If you intend on visiting the park for your first time, or after a long period, then it is advisable to begin your tour of the park in the visitor center, where you would gain valuable information as to how to go around the park with minimum damage of the fragile and sensitive arena that surrounds the park, while enjoying the intriguing facilities offered by the park. Be sure to grab a map of the park from the visitor centre, including some of the interesting books and brochures which provide extremely valuable information about the park. The Visitor center is usually open all year round, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, though working hours may extend up to 6:00 pm in the busy summer periods.

An entrance fee of $3 is charged for pedestrian and bicycle owners who intend to go beyond Fruita Campground, while a corresponding fee of $5 is charged for private vehicles and motorcycles. However, you can gain exclusive one year entrance rights into Capitol Reef and a variety of parks in and around Utah by obtaining an America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, for only $80, which could be gotten at the park’s visitor center.

The Park is packed-full with fun recreational activities that would suit children and adults alike of all ages and sex. The Capitol Reef Scenic Drive would take you on a self paced ride of your life, and offer you a clear view of most of the magnificent structures in and around the park. This ride also gives you the opportunity to savor an exceptional all-round view of the desert environment of sheer sandstone cliffs, and excellently carved layers of shale and rocks which gives a clear narration of the earth’s history, while you enjoy a resounding feel of the dry desert wind on your forehead as you cruise deeper and deeper into this exciting natural museum and explore its breathtaking artifacts.