Photo: Thanan/Getty Images
Most years, the month of May is when warm spring weather takes hold, the school year begins to draw to a close, and families start planning their summer trips to America’s national parks in earnest. This year, the pandemic has delayed the openings of many parks, but as restrictions loosen, some are now welcoming visitors. Chief among these, at least for shutterbugs, is Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park, which is home to some of the most spectacular rock formations in the world. Here, three viewpoints over Bryce Canyon where you can snap a stunning shot now.
Bryce Canyon’s aforementioned rock formations are known as hoodoos, and the best-known of these is Thor’s Hammer—the kids are definitely going to make you stop for this one—which stands watch over the Silent City, a cluster of rocks in the Bryce Amphitheater. The clearest view of Thor’s Hammer, which takes its shape due to the uneven weathering of sandstone and siltstone, can be found at Sunset Point, about a mile and a half past the park’s visitors center.
Thor’s Hammer is just one of the many hoodoos to be found in the canyon. For a panoramic view of the entire Amphitheater, keep going to Bryce Point, which looks northward over the landscape from an elevation of 8,300 feet. The scene is especially jaw-dropping at sunrise, when the first morning light flashes across all that red rock.
Arches National Park is the most famous place in Utah to see sandstone arches, but if you don’t feel like driving the 250 miles across the state to Moab to fill out your photo album, just keep on going south through Bryce Canyon for about 20 more minutes south to reach the Natural Bridge lookout. The 85-foot arch here provides a perfect windowframe for the ponderosa pine forest below.