Bryce Canyon National Park vs Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

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Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve are two national parks that offer vastly different experiences for visitors. Bryce Canyon is known for its colorful hoodoos and otherworldly rock formations, while Glacier Bay offers visitors the opportunity to explore the vast glaciers and rugged coastline of Alaska. If you’re looking for a unique outdoor adventure, these two parks are a must-see. Imagine yourself hiking the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon and the next moment, you are cruising through the icy fjords of Glacier Bay, watching glaciers calving and seals playing on the ice. These two parks will definitely give you the best of both worlds when it comes to natural beauty and outdoor activities, making them perfect destinations for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation or an epic solo adventure, Bryce Canyon and Glacier Bay have something for everyone. Keep reading to learn more about these two national parks and what they have to offer.

Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve are both popular destinations for hiking, but the types of trails and difficulty levels vary greatly between the two parks.

Bryce Canyon National Park has a variety of hiking trails, from easy, wheelchair-accessible walks to strenuous backcountry treks. Some of the easiest hikes in the park include the Rim Trail, which is a paved, accessible trail that offers stunning views of the park’s rock formations, and the Queens Garden Trail, which is a short, 1.8-mile hike that leads to a natural amphitheater of hoodoos. On the other hand, some of the more strenuous hikes in the park include the Peekaboo Loop Trail, which is a 5.5-mile loop that takes hikers through a narrow slot canyon, and the Fairyland Loop Trail, which is an 8-mile hike that takes hikers through a variety of different landscapes.

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve also has a variety of hiking trails, but the difficulty level of the trails is much higher than that of Bryce Canyon. The park is known for its rugged wilderness, and the trails can be steep, rocky, and challenging. Some of the easiest hikes in the park include the Bartlett Cove Trail, which is a short, 1-mile hike that leads to a beach and offers views of the park’s glaciers, and the West Beach Trail, which is a 2-mile hike that leads to a beach and offers views of the park’s glaciers and wildlife. On the other hand, some of the more strenuous hikes in the park include the Reid Glacier Trail, which is a 9.4-mile hike that takes hikers to the base of a glacier, and the Muir Glacier Trail, which is a 6.5-mile hike that takes hikers to the base of a glacier and offers views of the park’s rugged wilderness.

In summary, Bryce Canyon National Park offers a variety of hiking trails from easy, wheelchair-accessible walks to strenuous backcountry treks, with the easiest hikes being the Rim Trail and the Queens Garden Trail, and the most strenuous hikes being the Peekaboo Loop Trail and the Fairyland Loop Trail. Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve also offers a variety of hiking trails, but the difficulty level of the trails is much higher than that of Bryce Canyon, with the easiest hikes being the Bartlett Cove Trail and the West Beach Trail, and the most strenuous hikes being the Reid Glacier Trail and the Muir Glacier Trail.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail 2.59 mi 623.20 ft loop Moderate 5/5
Fairyland Loop Trail 7.38 mi 1,541.60 ft loop Moderate 5/5
Peekaboo Loop Trail 5.19 mi 1,453.04 ft loop Moderate 5/5
Navajo Loop Trail 1.40 mi 459.20 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Wall Street and Queens Garden Loop Trail 3.09 mi 577.28 ft loop Moderate 5/5
Sunset Point to Sunrise Point 1.10 mi 82.00 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Mossy Cave Turret Arch and Little Windows Trail 1.00 mi 118.08 ft out and back Easy 4/5
Queen Victoria via Queen’s Garden Loop 2.10 mi 406.72 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Tower Bridge Trail 3.39 mi 826.56 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Wall Street and Queens Garden Loop to Peekaboo Loop (Figure Eight Trail) 6.29 mi 1,498.96 ft loop Moderate 5/5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Bartlett Cove Forest Loop Trail 1.10 mi 111.52 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Bartlett River Trail 6.89 mi 875.76 ft out and back Easy 3/5
Bartlet Lake Trail 5.89 mi 465.76 ft out and back Easy 3.5/5
Tlingit Trail 1.10 mi 65.60 ft out and back Easy 3.5/5
Point Gustavus 12.47 mi 387.04 ft out and back Moderate 4/5

Wildlife in Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve are both home to a diverse array of wildlife. While both parks offer unique and interesting wildlife viewing opportunities, the types of animals, birds, and plants that can be seen in each park are quite different.

At Bryce Canyon National Park, visitors can expect to see a variety of mammals such as mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn. The park is also home to many species of birds, including the American dipper, the common raven, the gray jay, the great horned owl, and the peregrine falcon. Among the reptiles, visitors may spot the desert horned lizard, the garter snake, and the western skink.

In contrast, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is home to a wide range of marine mammals, including humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, and seals. Visitors may also spot porpoises and dolphins. The park is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 200 species of birds, including the bald eagle, the black oystercatcher, the common loon, the harlequin duck, and the marbled murrelet.

Bryce Canyon National Park is also known for its unique and diverse plant life. The park’s high elevation and dry climate provide a habitat for a variety of cacti and succulents, such as the pinyon pine, the Utah juniper, and the prickly pear cactus. Other common plants in the park include the Mormon tea, the yucca, and the wildflowers.

On the other hand, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve has a variety of plant life, such as Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and western red cedar. The park is also home to several species of mosses and lichens, which thrive in the damp coastal environment.

In conclusion, both Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve offer visitors the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife and plant life. However, the types of animals, birds, and plants that can be seen in each park are quite different. Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its mammals, birds and diverse plant life, while Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is known for its marine mammals, birds, and coastal plant life. Visitors to either park can expect to see a wide variety of wildlife and plants that are unique to the area.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.

Birds

Bryce Canyon National Park Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Mallard Mallard
Canada Goose Canada Goose
Lincoln’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
American Robin American Robin
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker Northern Flicker
Merlin Merlin
Barn Swallow Barn Swallow
Savannah Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron
Hermit Thrush Hermit Thrush
American Kestrel American Kestrel
Bald Eagle Bald Eagle
Song Sparrow Song Sparrow
European Starling European Starling
Northern Pintail Northern Pintail
American Wigeon American Wigeon
Green-Winged Teal Green-Winged Teal

Mammals

Bryce Canyon National Park Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Little Brown Bat
Big Brown Bat Deer Mouse
Bobcat Black Bear
Striped Skunk Porcupine
Little Brown Bat Red Fox
Deer Mouse House Mouse
Raccoon Mountain Lion
Black Bear Mink
Porcupine Mule Deer
Silver-Haired Bat Gray Wolf
Hoary Bat Short-Tailed Weasel
Red Fox Snowshoe Hare
Long-Tailed Weasel River Otter
House Mouse Masked Shrew
Mountain Lion Water Shrew
Mule Deer Red Squirrel
Common Gray Fox Montane Shrew
Long-Legged Myotis Long-Tailed Vole
Long-Eared Myotis Lynx
American Badger Wolverine
Ermine Marten
California Myotis Northern Flying Squirrel
Snowshoe Hare Grizzly Bear

Fish

Bryce Canyon National Park Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
Brook Trout Rainbow Trout
Brook Trout
Longnose Sucker
Lake Trout
Northern Pike
Burbot
Silver Salmon
Chinook Salmon
Slimy Sculpin
Threespine Stickleback
Sockeye Salmon
Pink Salmon
Chum Salmon
Dolly Varden
Cutthroat Trout
Arctic Grayling

Amphibians

Bryce Canyon National Park Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
Northern Leopard Frog Wood Frog
Tiger Salamander

Beautiful Landscapes in Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its unique and colorful hoodoos, which are tall, thin spires of rock that have been shaped by erosion. These hoodoos, which can reach up to 150 feet tall, come in a variety of colors, including red, orange, and pink, making for a truly spectacular sight. The park also features a variety of other natural wonders, including the Bryce Amphitheater, a natural bowl-shaped depression that is home to thousands of hoodoos, and the Bryce Point Overlook, which offers panoramic views of the amphitheater and the surrounding landscape. Additionally, the park has a variety of hiking trails, including the easy Rim Trail and the more challenging Peekaboo Loop, which takes visitors deep into the heart of the hoodoos.

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, located in Alaska, is known for its glaciers and rugged coastline. The park is home to several tidewater glaciers, which are glaciers that reach the sea and calve large chunks of ice into the ocean. Visitors can take a boat tour to see these glaciers up close and watch as they calve, sending ice chunks the size of houses crashing into the ocean. The park also features several fjords, which are narrow inlets of water that are surrounded by steep cliffs. These fjords offer breathtaking views and are home to a variety of wildlife, including seals, whales, and eagles. In addition to its glaciers and fjords, the park also has a variety of hiking trails, including the easy Glacier Bay Beach Trail and the more challenging Bartlett Cove Trail, which takes visitors to the top of a mountain for panoramic views of the park.

Things To-Do and Activities in Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve are both popular national parks that offer a wide variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. However, the types of activities that are popular at each park are quite different due to the distinct differences in the landscape and environment of each park.

At Bryce Canyon National Park, one of the most popular activities is hiking. The park has a wide variety of hiking trails that range in difficulty, from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry trails. Visitors can hike to the rim of the canyon to take in the stunning views, or they can explore the hoodoos, which are the park’s signature rock formations. Other popular activities include horseback riding, stargazing, and wildlife viewing.

On the other hand, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is known for its spectacular glaciers and fjords, and as such, many visitors come to the park to see them up close. The park offers a wide variety of boat tours that take visitors through the park’s waterways to see the glaciers and the wildlife that lives in the area. Visitors can also explore the park by kayak or canoe, or take a flightseeing tour to get a bird’s-eye view of the park. Fishing and camping are also popular activities in the park.

In conclusion, while both Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve offer a wide variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, the types of activities that are popular at each park are quite different. Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its hiking trails, horseback riding, stargazing, and wildlife viewing, while Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is known for its boat tours, kayaking, flightseeing, fishing, and camping. Both parks are great destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, and visitors can choose the activities that best suit their interests and abilities.

Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

The seasonal weather at Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve can greatly affect the best time of year to visit each park.

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southern Utah, and the weather is generally mild, with warm summers and cool winters. The park’s elevation ranges from 6,620 feet to 9,115 feet, and temperatures can vary greatly between the bottom of the canyon and the rim. Summer temperatures can reach up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter temperatures can drop to below freezing. The park receives most of its precipitation in the form of snow during the winter months, and the trails can be icy and slippery during this time. Spring and fall are considered the best times to visit the park, as the weather is mild and the wildflowers and fall foliage are at their peak.

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is located in Alaska, and the weather is generally cold and wet, with mild summers and cold winters. The park’s elevation ranges from sea level to over 15,000 feet, and temperatures can vary greatly between the coast and the mountains. Summer temperatures can reach up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter temperatures can drop to below freezing. The park receives most of its precipitation in the form of rain during the summer months, and the trails can be muddy and slippery during this time. The park’s glaciers are most visible in the summer months, when the snow and ice have melted, and the best time to visit the park is between June and September.

In summary, Bryce Canyon National Park is best visited in spring and fall when the weather is mild and the wildflowers and fall foliage are at their peak. Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, on the other hand, is best visited in the summer months between June and September, when the weather is mild and the glaciers are most visible.

Family Friendliness of Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Both Bryce Canyon National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve are great places to visit with children, but they offer different types of experiences.

Bryce Canyon National Park is a great option for families because it has a variety of easy hiking trails that are suitable for children, as well as several scenic overlooks that offer breathtaking views of the park. Additionally, the park offers ranger-led programs and educational activities that are designed for children and families. The park also has a campground and several picnic areas, making it a great place to spend a day or a weekend.

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is also a great option for families, but it may be more challenging to visit with young children. The park is only accessible by boat or plane, and boat tours can be quite long, making it a better option for children who are comfortable with long boat rides. The park also has a variety of hiking trails, but many of them are more challenging than the trails at Bryce Canyon National Park. The park also offers ranger-led boat tours and other educational activities that are suitable for children, but the park is not as developed as Bryce Canyon, with limited facilities.

Both parks offer beautiful natural scenery and opportunities for outdoor activities, but Bryce Canyon National Park may be the more family-friendly option with its shorter trails, educational programs and more facilities. Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is also a great option for families, but it may be more challenging to visit with young children.

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