Bryce Canyon the second-most ‘picturesque’ of the national parks, study says

Three of the state’s national parks factor into the top five.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Alese Rhodes from Tri-cities, Washington takes photo at Sunset Point, at Bryce Canyon National Park, Wednesday May 6, 2020. A new study shows Bryce Canyon has the second-most Instagram posts per square mile, behind only Gateway Arch in Missouri.

In terms of sheer popularity, Bryce Canyon is mid-tier among the 63 national parks in the United States. Its 2.35 million visitors in 2022 ranked 15th overall.

As a social media influencer, though, it is apparently elite.

“Bryce Canyon is absolutely out of this world,” a photographer whose handle is @happylustig posted on Instagram in April. “I’ve been to a bunch of national parks, and this one is hands down the most unique Towering orange hoodoos in a rounded amphitheater make this spot particularly cool.”

She wrapped the post with the hashtag #brycecanyon, adding to the more than 729,000 other Instagram posts that have tagged the park. According to a report released this week, that makes Bryce the second-most Instagrammable national park per square mile.

Gateway Arch in Missouri is the “most picturesque” of the national parks, according to data pulled by travel information site Places To Travel, blowing away the competition with 123.44 hashtags per acre. Bryce comes in with a mere 20.32 hashtags per acre. Still, that gives it bragging rights over Mighty 5 neighbors. Zion, which averaged 9.69 hashtags per acre, was fourth and Arches (8.72 hpa) was fifth.

Size apparently plays an outsized role in the rankings, and the smaller the better. In fact, four of the five smallest national parks made it into the top 10. Gateway Arch is the smallest of the 63 national parks, encompassing just 90.9 acres. Also on the list is Arkansas’s Hot Springs (sixth; 5,548 acres), American Samoa (eighth; 8,256) and Indiana Dunes (ninth; 15,067).

Yosemite had the most mentions of any park in the top 10, but it is also the largest on the list and came in 10th. Zion, at 147,237 acres, is the second largest among the 10 and had the second-most mentions. Arches has the third most acres (76,679) and had the fourth-most tags.

Bryce Canyon is 35,835 acres. It had the ninth-most tags of all the state parks and the third-most among those that finished in the top 10 hashtags per acre.

Despite its apparent abundance of beauty, however, it is still possible to take a bad picture at Bryce. On Flickr, ejhartley68 published a midday shot of two misshapen hoodoos beneath a flat, cloudless sky. His caption?

“Ugly rocks.”

IMG_2305  Hoodoos Bryce canyon