The magnificence of Southern Utah is widely known, especially considering the five national parks in Utah. The two most popular are Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. Located within ninety minutes’ drive of each other, they attract millions of visitors each year. Inside the parks are plenty of good reasons to come, but surrounding the parks are wonderful features that enhance the vacation. This article describes not only Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park, but also the gems, adventures, and comforts outside the parks.
Inside Bryce National Park
Bryce Canyon is home to creatures from another planet. Called “Hoodoos,” they are natural sculptures of red sandstone, carved by wind and water over thousands of years. Hoodoos stand like guards over the bountiful flora and fauna of Bryce. (A Twilight Zone episode should have been made of the Hoodoos attacking and driving out deer poachers from Bryce’s sacred grounds.) Along the highway through Bryce, sightseers stop at pullout points to gaze at and photograph Bryce’s green and white forest set amid the red sandstone and Hoodoos. The Hiking trails of Bryce Canyon National Park take you to many gorgeous sites, including to Queen Victoria’s Garden, where a large rock formation keenly resembles the face of Queen Victoria. Bryce sees comfortable summer temperatures and cold, snowy winters; so hikers need to make preparations that fit the seasonal hazards.
Zion is Nearby
Zion is the third most visited national park in America. It has it all: orange rock formations, hot and cold seasons, free shuttle transportation to and from neighboring hotels, historic, rustic lodging, world-famous hikes for families and for serious adventurers, majestic and colorful vistas, and a vast range of wildlife to photograph and stay away from. Zion’s most iconic hike is to Angels Landing. Roughly five miles round trip, the trail climaxes at a narrow ridge, overlooking a deathly fall, below and stunning views of mountains, flowers, and orange rock formations. Along the ridge is fastened a chain railing to grab onto, just in case.
Just Outside of Bryce Canyon National Park
Surrounding Bryce Canyon are nice hotels and tasty restaurants, along with several campgrounds for RVs and tents. The Best Western and Quality Inn hotels are popular, and you know what you’re getting. There are also some unique lodges which delight visitors who want something different. Bryce Canyon Pines and Bryce View Lodge are mid-range hotels with nice, non-smoking rooms. Wireless internet is free of charge, and the views are beautiful. The Best Western Plus Grand Hotel and Bryce Canyon Pines get the best reviews for hotels near Bryce National Park. The Pines also has a nice restaurant with delicious country meals. The Stone Hearth Grill gets high reviews for its cuisine and service.
Just Outside of Zion National Park
What’s outside of Zion? The charming town of Springdale, Utah sits adjacent to Zion’s main entrance and is full of attractive amenities: first-class hotels, restaurants, and gift shops. Memories will be made in Springdale. One of its best features is the Watchman Villas–luxurious vacation rentals, fully equipped to make your Zion vacation a real pleasure. Beautiful furniture, bedrooms, kitchen and appliances, and balconies with magnificent views are some of the draws to the Watchman. Out the front door, a free shuttle whisks tourists away to the park and back, throughout the day. Choose from five types of villas to suit your group. Prices range from $250 to $550 per night.
Reasons to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park
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