Bryce Canyon Country may be best known for the national park, but that natural wonder isn’t the only attraction that will take your breath away in Garfield County. Plan your trip to the park, hike, bike, and explore the 35,000 plus acres, but save a few days to explore beyond the parks borders.
Here are some ideas for those of you that are looking for adventure off the beaten path.
View the Milky Way Galaxy like nowhere on Earth
Located far from city lights, with minimal light pollution, stargazers can view the stars and sites of the heavens till their heart’s content. Tours, presentations, and night hikes are offered throughout the year and the Astronomy Festival held late June to early July is a great way for the novice or seasoned astronomer to see the sky in a new light. The national park offers programs and workshops and telescopes are available.
Explore Forgotten Towns and Scenic Byways
History buffs and explorers at heart can venture off the beaten path to explore some of Utah’s ghost towns. Garfield County has several communities that have all but disappeared. Accessible with 2WD vehicles, and abandoned for various reasons, you can drive by farming towns that failed due to the harsh conditions of the high altitude and short growing season, a struggling mining town or the once thriving community of Widtsoe Junction, devastated by drought.
Stop by Escalante Hole in the Rock Heritage Center to learn the historic significance of the Mormon settlers who blazed a trail from the southwestern part of Utah to the southeast. Along the trail, they faced many trials. Large murals illustrate their remarkable and dangerous journey.
The Anasazi Museum State Park features a life-sized six-room replica of a Puebloan Village open for tours. View artifacts that have been excavated from the original site and learn about the Native Americans that first called the area home.
Take Adventure to new Heights
Get your adrenaline rushing as you hit the rugged trials near the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in a rented 4 x 4 Jeep. If you’re in pretty good shape and don’t mind narrow spaces, explore the slot canyons and more remote corners of the region on a canyoneering tour. Mountain bike trails allow you to visit more isolated areas of the parks, offering unprecedented views of the surrounding landscape. And during the winter, visitors can snowshoe, ice fish or enjoy the 20-miles of snowmobile trails through Dixie National Forest.
Grab your camera and favorite lenses and practice your shooting skills at Kodachrome Basin State Park, a photographer’s dream. The area was nicknamed Kodachrome, by National Geographic Society photographers in 1948, after the new film produced by the Kodak Company.
Bryce Canyon County has something for everyone and every comfort level. Whether your tastes include an up-close look at the countryside by hiking through the parks and camping on site, or hitting the golf course and relaxing in a luxurious cabin with scenic vista views. No matter what type of traveler you are, I promise you’ll find what you’re looking for in Bryce Canyon Country. And I promise you won’t want to leave your camera at home.
What would you most like to see or do in Bryce Canyon Country?
This post is sponsored by Bryce Canyon Country. Images used with permission from Bryce Canyon Country.
© 2016, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.