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3 reasons now is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon

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It’s the third week of June. Summer is still young but you can already feel a case of early-stage cabin fever building, a little pre-ennui. This was the summer you were really going to crush it — ride bikes! go hiking! finish your hip hop mix tape! see a bunch of national parks! — but so far you’ve only managed to buy yourself a few snow cones and relearn how to set the timer on your sprinklers.

Well now is the perfect time for procrastinators to be spontaneous and let Bryce Canyon National Park save your summer. And here’s why:

1. Discover Utah’s tallest park

Sometimes referred to as a “forest of stone,” the beautiful Bryce Canyon hoodoos stand frozen in time, delicate yet nearly eternal, like the facial expressions of Goldie Hawn. The hoodoos are red rock pillars carved by ice and frost — Bryce Canyon gets plenty cold enough for that kind of thing at 9,000 feet in elevation — that look almost exactly like Martians. Set them against high-altitude pine forests and a swimming-pool-blue sky and you have an elevated spin on Utah red rock.

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Bryce Canyon’s geological wonders far exceed their hype. They’re magnificent to behold, but you’re gonna wanna do more than just sit around beholding them all day. Pack a lunch, fill up your water bottle, lace up your adventuring shoe of choice and take a walk into the great cracks in the earth’s smiling face. (Was that metaphor overblown? Too many metaphors in general? Sorry. Bryce makes subtlety difficult.)

These hikes aren’t the most popular amongst tourists but they are incredible, so you’ll have plenty of time and space to gawk at the grandeur:

  • Mossy Cave: Easy/1.0 miles roundtrip. Follow a stream past moss, ice and rock.
  • Queens Garden Loop: Moderate/1.8 miles roundtrip. Short, steep and to the point.
  • Peekaboo Loop: Strenuous/5.5 miles roundtrip. Start with a view and make your way down.

2. The Bryce is right at Ruby’s InnIn geologic time, Ruby’s Inn is just knee-high to a hoodoo, but a lot has happened in Bryce Canyon City since Ruby Syrett first peeked over the rim. Ruby’s Inn is still the crown jewel (get it?!) of altitudinal accommodations, an all-in-one destination crammed with good sleeps, good eats and Western hospitality.

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Ruby’s Inn are currently sweetening Bryce Canyon’s whole deal thusly:

3. Smaller crowds and cooler tempsSome parts of southern Utah are prohibitively hot mid-summer, but Bryce Canyon, all the way up in the sky, ranges from 50–80 ˚F in July. Hike without what feels like a hair dryer in your face. You may even want a light jacket if you stay up to stargaze from the rim. (Do it! Remote location + elevation = dark skies = starry eyes!)

Despite its comfy climes and comely climbs, Bryce also manages to stay less crowded than some other red rock hot spots. Less worrying about strangers ruining your selfies and more enjoying rock forms that don’t seem like they should exist.

So go ahead. Drive up into the cool, clear air. Right about now would be a good time. Save a little and see a lot.