Bryce Canyon, Utah on the map. National Park Bryce Canyon (Utah) on the map of USA

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Bryce Canyon, Utah on the map. National Park Bryce Canyon  (Utah) on the map of USA

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Established: 1928   Acreage: 35,835

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in south-central Utah, due north of the Grand Canyon. Paiute Indians described this region as 'Red rocks standing like men in a bowl-shaped canyon.' The many shapes and forms in stone have conjured up all sorts of images: walls and windows, minarets, gables, pagodas, pedestals and temples. It is not known when the land was first seen by white men. James Andrus and his party passed through the area in 1866, and there is little doubt that other parties had also seen Bryce Canyon but their reports escaped notice.

Bryce Canyon is not a canyon at all, but a spectacular amphitheater carved by erosion by water in the 50 to 60 million-year-old rocks of the Pink Cliffs. These cliffs are the uppermost step in the Grand Staircase that rises to the north between Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Parks. The staircase is a series of cliffs, all retreating to the north as the super-imposed rock layers of southern Utah are eroded. The capstone of the Grand Staircase is the Pink Cliffs (9100 feet) — ancient lake deposits once more than 2000 feet thick, but now eroded away to 800 to 1300 feet.

The tallest cliffs among the steps of the Grand Staircase are the White Cliffs (2200 feet), which are really tan in color but look white in sunlight. The Vermilion Cliffs are a brilliant, dark red and can be seen while either walking through Zion Canyon or driving along the road to the Grand Canyon. Near the south entrance to the park are the rocks of the Chocolate, or Belted, Cliffs. From sunrise to sunset, the visitor is dazzled by vivid color. The reds and yellows are caused by iron oxide in the rocks, the purples and lavenders by manganese.

The forests and meadows of Bryce Canyon are home to a wide range of animal .species. At the bottom of the food chain is a large rodent population—chipmunks, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, mice, gophers and other species—that feed on seeds and nuts. These small mammals are preyed upon by badger, skunk, bobcat, weasel, ring-tailed cat, gray fox and coyote.

Mule deer are the largest species of mammals that roam Bryce Canyon. Gone now are the large mammals that once existed here—grizzly bear and timber wolf—and many more are rare—elk, cougar, bighorn sheep, and blond bear. Man has wiped out their numbers, and, sadly, the park is not large enough to offer adequate protection for these vanishing species.

 

Bryce Canyon, Utah on the map. National Park Bryce Canyon  (Utah) on the map of USA