Bryce Canyon National Park vs. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Bryce Canyon National Park and New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon National Park Overview

Hoodoos (irregular columns of rock) exist on every continent, but here is the largest concentration found anywhere on Earth. Situated along a high plateau at the top of the Grand Staircase, the park’s high elevations include numerous life communities, fantastic dark skies, and geological wonders that defy description.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Overview

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a beautiful and diverse destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in West Virginia, this expansive park spans more than 1,700 square miles and features rugged mountain scenery, winding rivers, picturesque waterfalls, steep canyons, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. With so much to see and do, New River Gorge is the perfect choice for anyone looking to get outside and explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re interested in hiking or biking along scenic trails or rafting or kayaking down rushing rivers, New River Gorge has something to offer everyone. So why not plan your next trip today? Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, New River Gorge is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Get outside and discover what New River Gorge has to offer!

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Bryce Canyon National Park Hiking Trails

Bryce Canyon National Park is a hiker’s paradise, offering trails of varying difficulty that wind through some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. For those looking for an easy hike, the Rim Trail provides panoramic views of Bryce Canyon without any significant elevation gain. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Fairyland Loop descends nearly 800 feet into the canyon, passing by towering hoodoos and colorful rock formations. And for those looking for an even greater challenge, the Peekaboo Loop climbs to the top of Bryce Point, providing hikers with an breathtaking birds-eye view of Bryce Canyon. No matter what your hiking level, Bryce Canyon National Park has a trail that’s perfect for you.

Best Hikes At Bryce Canyon National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Peekaboo Loop, Wall Street, and Rim Trails 572.7192 5 out and back 4.5
Yovimpa Point 1.8288 1 out and back 4
Paria View 23.7744 1 out and back 4
Rainbow Point, Yovimpa Point, and Bristlecone Loop 36.8808 1 loop 4
Sheep Creek and Swamp Canyon Loop 243.84 3 loop 4
Hat Shop via Under the Rim Trail 294.7416 3 out and back 4.5
Piracy Point 17.9832 1 out and back 4
Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail 189.8904 3 loop 5
Under the Rim Trail: Bryce Point to Whiteman Bench 945.7944 7 point to point 4
Whiteman Bench to Mud Canyon Spring 128.9304 1 out and back 4

Hiking Overview at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

New River Gorge National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. The park, which is located in southern West Virginia, features more than 50 miles of trails that wind through a variety of terrains. While all of the trails offer stunning views of the New River Gorge, each one has its own unique challenges.

For those looking for an easy hike, the Fayetteville Trail is a great option. This two-mile trail winds through a forest and offers gentle elevation changes. The trail can be accessed from the Fayetteville Visitors Center and is perfect for families or those who are new to hiking.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the New River Gorge Trail is the longest and most difficult trail in the park. This 31-mile trail follows the New River from one end of the gorge to the other. Along the way, hikers will need to navigate steep cliffs, narrow ledges, and deep ravines. The New River Gorge Trail is only recommended for experienced hikers who are properly prepared for a multi-day adventure.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail 598.932 7 out and back 4.5
Medano Lake Trail 697.992 3 out and back 4
Montville Nature Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp Trail 80.772 3 out and back 3.5
Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake 1079.9064 3 out and back 4
Wellington Ditch Trail 47.8536 1 out and back 4
Dunes Overlook Trail 143.8656 3 out and back 4
Pinion Flats Campground Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
High Dune Trail 191.7192 5 out and back 5
High and Star Dune Loop 403.86 3 loop 4.5

Wildlife at Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, from the small and elusive Pika to the majestic elk. With over 150 species of animals, Bryce Canyon is a veritable paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. The park also boasts an impressive variety of plants, with over 1,000 different species. Whether you’re looking for a rare bird sighting or just want to enjoy the beauty of the natural world, Bryce Canyon National Park is sure to offer something for everyone.

Wildlife at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

At New River Gorge National Park, you can expect to see a wide range of beautiful wildlife. Whether you’re gazing at towering trees or trekking through muddy marshes, you are sure to encounter an array of animals and plants along the way. Some of the most common species include deer, foxes, squirrels, turkeys, wild turkeys, salamanders, snakes, lizards, hawks, eagles, crows and blue jays. Additionally, New River Gorge is home to many different types of flora including ferns, mosses, conifers and deciduous trees. Whether you’re exploring on your own or partaking in one of the park’s many guided tours and hikes, New River Gorge has something to offer for all nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike!

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Bryce Canyon National Park Weather Considerations

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah, and it is known for its hoodoos. Hoodoos are formed when an area of rock is more resistant to erosion than the surrounding rock, and over time, the softer rock is worn away, leaving behind the more resistant rock. Bryce Canyon National Park has an average elevation of 8,000 feet, and as a result, the weather can vary considerably throughout the year. The park experiences cold winters with snowfall, and summers are typically hot and dry. Spring and fall are generally the best times to visit Bryce Canyon National Park because the weather is milder. Late summer and early fall can also be a good time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park because the hoodoos take on a reddish hue as the sun sets.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Weather Considerations

New River Gorge National Park is a great place to visit any time of year, but the best time to go depends on what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interested in hiking, the spring and fall are ideal because the temperatures are moderate and there’s less chance of rain. However, if you’re looking to whitewater raft, the summer is the best time to visit since that’s when the water level is at its highest. On the other hand, winter can be a magical time at New River Gorge National Park, especially if you’re hoping to see some snow. So whether you’re looking for adventure or peace and quiet, be sure to check the New River Gorge National Park weather forecast before planning your trip.