Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (Photodisc)

Thor's Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (NPS/Ray Mathis)

Moon over Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (Medioimages/Photodisc)

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What to do in Bryce Canyon National Park

Surrounded by hundreds of miles of water- and wind-carved canyons, Bryce Canyon National Park is an anomaly. This 12-mile-long valley is crowded with stone spires called “hoodoos,” created by a freeze-thaw cycle, all painted hues of red and cream. Though many of the park’s 1.2 million annual visitors ogle the so-called Bryce Amphitheater from the 18-mile paved road on the rim, the best way to see the canyon is to hike it. The 5.5-mile Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail is strenuous, descending more than 1,500 feet from Bryce Point to the valley floor, winding through stands of pinyon and around precarious spires before climbing back up. An easier option, the 1.8-mile Queen’s Garden Trail, drops 320 feet into the canyon and past a hoodoo that resembles the trail’s namesake matriarch, Queen Victoria.