Bryce Canyon National Park vs Great Basin National Park

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Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park are both natural wonders, each offering a unique and breathtaking experience for visitors. Bryce Canyon is known for its hoodoos, colorful spires of rock, that rise from the ground like sculptures. Great Basin, on the other hand, is home to the ancient bristlecone pines, some of the oldest living organisms on Earth. Both parks offer a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking to stargazing, and are perfect for nature enthusiasts looking for a new adventure. Whether you’re looking to explore a desert landscape or a mountain range, these two parks have something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to explore two of America’s most beautiful national parks.

Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park offers a variety of hiking trails that range in difficulty, from easy rim walks to strenuous overnight backpacking trips. Some popular hikes include the easy Queens Garden Trail, a 1.8-mile round trip that leads to the iconic Queen Victoria formation, and the more challenging Peekaboo Loop, a 5.5-mile round trip that offers stunning views of the park’s hoodoos.

Great Basin National Park also offers a range of hiking trails, from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry treks. Some popular hikes include the easy Bristlecone Pine Trail, a 0.5-mile round trip that takes visitors through a grove of ancient bristlecone pines, and the strenuous Alpine Lakes Loop, a 12-mile round trip that takes hikers through rugged terrain to beautiful alpine lakes.

In summary, both Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park offer a wide range of hiking trails that cater to different levels of difficulty. Visitors to Bryce Canyon can enjoy scenic rim walks and view the iconic hoodoos, while visitors to Great Basin National Park can explore ancient bristlecone pines, alpine lakes and rugged terrain.

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 Great Basin National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Wheeler Peak Trail via Stella Lake Trail 8.18 mi 2,906.08 ft out and back Hard 5/5
Bristlecone Pine Glacier Trail 4.49 mi 1,059.44 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Alpine Lakes Trail 2.69 mi 469.04 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Lehman Cave 0.40 mi 45.92 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Bristlecone and Alpine Lakes Loop 5.29 mi 1,013.52 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive 23.25 mi 3,857.28 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Baker Lake Trail 10.38 mi 2,669.92 ft out and back Hard 4.5/5
Teresa Lake 1.50 mi 305.04 ft out and back Moderate 5/5
Baker Lake-Johnson Lake Loop 12.87 mi 4,365.68 ft loop Hard 4.5/5
Lexington Arch Trail 2.89 mi 1,118.48 ft out and back Moderate 4/5

Wildlife in Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its diverse array of wildlife, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk, and pronghorn. The park also supports a variety of bird species, such as golden eagles, peregrine falcons, and turkey vultures. In addition to these larger animals, visitors can also spot smaller mammals like squirrels and chipmunks, as well as a variety of reptiles and amphibians. The park also has a wide variety of plant life including pinyon pine, juniper, sagebrush, and various wildflowers.

Great Basin National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife including mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and mountain lions. The park is also home to a large population of bat species including the Townsend’s big-eared bat, the spotted bat, and the western small-footed bat. Birds commonly seen in the park include the American dipper, the white-tailed ptarmigan, and the great horned owl. The park also supports a wide variety of plants, including sagebrush, aspen, and coniferous forests. Visitors may also spot wildflowers such as the sagebrush buttercup and the Great Basin wild rye.

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

Birds

Bryce Canyon National Park Great Basin National Park
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 Great Basin National Park
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Muskrat
Big Brown Bat Big Brown Bat
Bobcat Bobcat
Striped Skunk Striped Skunk
Little Brown Bat Little Brown Bat
Deer Mouse Deer Mouse
Raccoon Raccoon
Black Bear Porcupine
Porcupine Silver-Haired Bat
Silver-Haired Bat Hoary Bat
Hoary Bat Red Fox
Red Fox Long-Tailed Weasel
Long-Tailed Weasel House Mouse
House Mouse Lion
Mountain Lion Mink
Mule Deer Mule Deer
Common Gray Fox Gray Fox
Long-Legged Myotis Gray Wolf
Long-Eared Myotis Long-Legged Myotis
American Badger Long-Eared Myotis
Ermine Badger
California Myotis Ermine
Snowshoe Hare Californis Myotis

Reptiles

Bryce Canyon National Park Great Basin National Park
Gophersnake Racer
Terrestrial Gartersnake Greater Short-Horned Lizard
Prairie Rattlesnake Rubber Boa
Common Sagebrush Lizard Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard
Greater Short-Horned Lizard Eastern Collared Lizard
Side-Blotched Lizard Eastern Fence Lizard
Nightsnake Long-Nosed Snake
Striped Whipsnake Desert Spiny Lizard
Tree Lizard Western Fence Lizard
Western Whiptail
Western Skink

Fish

Bryce Canyon National Park Great Basin National Park
Brook Trout Rainbow Trout
Brook Trout
Brown Trout
Mottled Sculpin
Speckled Dace
Cutthroat Trout

Amphibians

Bryce Canyon National Park Great Basin National Park
Northern Leopard Frog Tiger Salamander
Tiger Salamander Woodhouse’s Toad
Red-Spotted Toad
Canyon Treefrog

Beautiful Landscapes in Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its hoodoos, which are colorful spires of rock that rise from the ground like sculptures. These hoodoos are formed by the erosion of limestone and sandstone and are a unique and breathtaking sight. Visitors can explore the hoodoos on the park’s many hiking trails, including the popular Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop trails. In addition to the hoodoos, the park also offers a variety of other natural wonders such as the Bryce Amphitheater, a natural amphitheater carved out of the rock, and Inspiration Point, a viewpoint that offers panoramic views of the hoodoos.

Great Basin National Park is known for its ancient bristlecone pines, which are some of the oldest living organisms on Earth. These trees can live for thousands of years and are found in the park’s high elevation forests. Visitors can hike to the bristlecone pines on the park’s Bristlecone Pine Trail. The park also offers the opportunity to explore the Lehman Caves, which is a limestone cave system with intricate and colorful rock formations. In addition to the bristlecone pines and Lehman Caves, the park also offers a variety of other natural wonders such as the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, which offers views of the park’s mountain ranges, and the Stella Lake Trail, a trail that circles around a mountain lake.

Things To-Do and Activities in Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park offer a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Some popular activities at Bryce Canyon include hiking, stargazing, and wildlife viewing. The park features a number of scenic hiking trails that wind through the colorful hoodoos and offer breathtaking views. The park’s dark skies make it an ideal spot for stargazing and the park offers ranger-led stargazing programs during the summer. Visitors can also see a variety of wildlife including mule deer, elk, and bighorn sheep.

Great Basin National Park offers similar activities such as hiking, stargazing, and wildlife viewing. The park’s most popular hike is the Lehman Caves tour, which takes visitors through the intricate limestone caves. The park also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as backpacking, horseback riding, and fishing in the park’s alpine lakes. Great Basin is also home to a variety of wildlife including pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and black bears. Additionally, visitors can also enjoy stargazing and ranger-led programs during the summer.

Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park have vastly different seasonal weather patterns. Bryce Canyon, located in southern Utah, has hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is during the spring and fall when the temperatures are milder and the crowds are smaller. On the other hand, Great Basin National Park, located in eastern Nevada, has much cooler temperatures and heavier snowfall. The best time to visit Great Basin is during the summer months of June through August when the snow has melted and the temperatures are milder.

Visiting Great Basin National Park during the winter months can be challenging due to heavy snowfall and extreme cold temperatures. While the park’s higher elevations offer great opportunities for winter sports, it also poses danger to visitors who are not prepared for such conditions. It’s also important to note that many of the park’s roads and trails may be closed or inaccessible during the winter.

Bryce Canyon’s main hiking trails are relatively easy and can be hiked by most visitors, with an exception of some steep and rocky terrain. Some of the most popular trails include the easy 2.8-mile Rim Trail and the challenging 8.9-mile Riggs Spring Loop Trail. On the other hand, Great Basin National Park offers a variety of hiking trails with varying difficulty levels. Some of the easiest trails include the 2-mile Bristlecone Pine Trail and the 2.5-mile Lehman Creek Trail. The toughest hike in Great Basin is the 13-mile Wheeler Peak Trail, which climbs over 3,000 feet to the summit of Wheeler Peak.

Family Friendliness of Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park and Great Basin National Park are both great destinations for families, but they offer different types of experiences. Bryce Canyon is known for its striking hoodoos and vibrant sunsets, and is a popular spot for hiking, stargazing and scenic drives. It also has a variety of easy and moderate trails that are suitable for families with children, such as the Mossy Cave Trail and the Rim Trail.

Great Basin National Park, on the other hand, is a more remote and rugged destination, known for its impressive limestone caves, ancient bristlecone pines and alpine scenery. There are several family-friendly trails, such as the Bristlecone Pine Trail and the Glacier Trail, but these trails are longer and more strenuous than the trails at Bryce Canyon. Great Basin is also a great destination for stargazing, as it is one of the darkest parks in the country.

Overall, both parks are family-friendly and offer unique experiences, but Bryce Canyon is a better option if your family is looking for shorter and more accessible hikes, while Great Basin is a better choice if your family is looking for a remote and rugged outdoor adventure.

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