This section of Bryce is called Water Canyon, even though the water flow is not natural. In the 1800's the pioneers dug an irrigation ditch from the East Fork of the Sevier River to Water Canyon. This provides nearby communities with needed water but it changed the geology of the canyon by washing away hoodoos. The result is a nice wide path to walk and magnificent hoodoo's high up on the canyon walls. The stream of water flowing through the canyon makes this a unique hike among Bryce Canyon's vast desert hoodoo landscape.
At a Glance Photo album: Mossy Cave Pictures Map: Bryce Canyon Trail Map Day hike: Yes Distance: .9 miles round trip Average hiking time: 1 hour Difficulty: This is a great family hike without much
elevation change. Sun exposure: Full Sun. It can be hot in the summer
in the middle of the day Trail conditions: Wide sandy trail. Trailhead: On highway 12 just outside the main section
of Bryce Canyon. Drive 4 miles east of the junction of highways 12 and 63. The
Mossy Cave Trailhead sign is on the right. Trailend: Same as trailhead Trail Access: Limited due to winter snow Best season: April to October Elevation gain: 150'
Mossy Cave - Water Canyon - Mossy Cave is found just outside the main section of Bryce Canyon, on the
northern side of the park. Drive 4 miles east on Highway 12, past Highway 63
(main road to Bryce Canyon) to locate the small pull-out (on the right side
of the road between mile posts 17 and 18) for the trail parking area. There is
a small brown sign indicating the Mossy Cave Trail.
This is a great hike for kids that the entire family will enjoy. The start
of the trail lacks much elevation change and a charming bridge crosses over the
stream. Shortly after the river, the trail branches right and left. Take the
right fork first which leads to the Mossy Cave grotto. The grotto or cave is
a shallow alcove filled with moss. Dripping water feeds the moss and provides
a delightful retreat from the summer sun. Drier years, even though the alcove
is spring-fed, it tends to be dry in the cave. In the winter, the cave is often
filled with icicles. Return back down the trail, taking the right fork this time. The trail will
pass the the stream and waterfall. Limestone would have been rapidly eroded,
but beneath this year-round steam is a layer of dolomite. The waterfall is a
wonderful place to stop and view the pinnacles or hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. The
window above the fall is quite interesting. It is possible to follow the path
along the stream for a longer hike.
Directions to Bryce Canyon
From Salt Lake City: Travel south on Interstate 15 past Beaver to UT 20. Exit on UT 20. Turn south on UT 89 and travel past Panguitch. Follow UT 89 to UT 12. Travel along UT 12 through Red Canyon to Bryce Canyon. Turn south on UT 63 to enter the park. From Las Vegas: Travel Interstate 15 past St. George to Exit 16. Drive through Hurricane, Utah. Follow Utah Highway 9 through Hurricane and to the only stop light in LaVerkin. Turn right at the stop light. Continue on Highway 9 to the south entrance of Zion National Park. Drive through Zion to the junction of UT 9 and US 89 at Mt. Carmel Jct. Turn north on UT 89, then exit on UT 12. Follow UT 12 through Red Canyon, turning south on UT 63 to enter Bryce Canyon.
These hoodoos are a small pocket of rocks found along the Mossy Cave Trail. The trail have the only stream found in Bryce Canyon and it makes
the Mossy Cave Trail delightful. Dolomite lines the layer beneath the stream
making the stream a possibility. There is also a small cave along the trail
Lodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park
Contact Tanya to report errors: Email