That's a long way for me to say that we started our trip by spending 2 days in Bryce Canyon National Park. It was my first time visiting this park, and I was stunned at the otherworldy natural orange rock formations (called "hoodoos"). The hikes were far more challenging than I expected, due to the change in elevation. The air in Bryce Canyon is really thin and I just wasn't used to it. A camelback is a must, for sure.
Despite the increase in elevation, the temperatures soared into the high 90's (F), and even broke 100 one day. Unlike other national parks I've been to, Bryce Canyon has an entrance that's very close to town.
For these reasons, I would suggest staying in a nearby hotel if you can. They're reasonably priced and offer a much-needed respite from the heat after spending your days hiking and exploring. There's a local rodeo in Bryce Canyon City that's apparently a must-see, although we didn't make it to the show this visit. The nearby Bryce Canyon Resort also offered great live music and beer around a fire pit at night.