Geology of the National Parks

History of Bryce Canyon

Milky Way Galaxy above hoodoos at Mossy Cave Trail NPS / Derek Demeter


Bryce Canyon National Park, which turns 100 years old this year (2023), is located in southwestern Utah.  It is the ultimate place to learn about and enjoy the splendor of the night sky. Set against the Hoodoo rock formations, and far from the light pollution of civilization; Bryce Canyon is a sanctuary for stargazers.

Hoodoos are tall skinny spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins and "broken" lands. Nowhere in the world are hoodoos as abundant as in the northern section of Bryce Canyon National Park. 

The Bryce Canyon area was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon was originally designated as a national monument in 1923, and was re-designated as a national park by Congress in 1928 during the administration of Calvin Coolidge.

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