You have to blink a few times fast to make sure you are seeing what you are seeing when you visit Bryce Canyon National Park. That’s because the combination of fairy chimneys, amphitheaters, and beautiful pink and orange rock will make you feel like you’ve traveled to another planet. Bryce Canyon National Park sits on Utah Scenic Byway 12.
Get on this highway in Utah and just the drive alone will give you some of the most stunning landscapes you will see in your life. The 2.5-hour drive between Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most gorgeous drives on this scenic highway. Bryce Canyon is also right next to the larger Zion National Park, which means you can combine a visit to Zion, Capitol Reef, and Bryce Canyon national parks for your holiday.
Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is full of short and long hikes for all skill levels. You can explore Bryce Canyon by visiting an outlook or hiking for the day. The US is full of national parks, but Bryce Canyon National Park has likely has got to be one of the most unique. You may want to check out this tour of US National Parks from Las Vegas. It explores the Grand Canyon South Rim, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands. Take 7 days to explore the best scenery, history and road trips in the USA.
That’s because of the rock formations that sit in the park and these types of formations are found in few other places around the world. Most people visit national parks for the wildlife, forests, rivers, and climbing, but a visit to Bryce Canyon National Park is often inspired by the pretty pink spyres that make you feel like a kid wandering exploring a giant pink planet.
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As with many other national parks, you can stay overnight but you will have to get a permit. You can get a permit from the park’s visitors center. There are many short and easy hikes in the part that you can do so you don’t need to stay overnight if you don’t want to. Up next we’re going to tell you all about the 12 best Bryce Canyon Hikes You Have to Do. Visit the Bryce Canyon National Park Website for conditions, closures and permit information.
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This is one of the best Bryce Canyon hikes for landscape views of the whole park. The Rim Trail can be a steep climb in sections with an elevation gain of 1754 feet and looking over the rim isn’t for the faint of heart. The steep descent takes some energy and patience as well.
The Rim Trail distance is 5.5 miles long. (11 miles return hike) The Rim Trail will give you stunning views of the Bryce Canyon National amphitheater. You can get to the Rim trail by taking the free park shuttle in the summer months.
The Rim Trail can be accessed from Fairyland Point or from Bryce Point, which can be accessed on the park’s shuttle. The Rim Trail probably gives you the best views of the spires and hoodoos of the whole amphitheater. You can take the Navajo Loop Trail, the Queen’s Garden Trail or the Fairyland Loop trail down into the amphitheater if you want to.
You can book a guided hiking tour of Bryce Canyon if you don’t want to hike on your own. This tour takes you to the best viewpoints, slot canyons and hoodoos as a local guide shares their expertise.
Sunrise Point – Sunset Point Trail
For an easy hike and a flat one too, this one-mile hike with stunning views of Bryce Canyon National Park is perfect. The trail begins at Sunset Point and goes to Sunrise Point. You walk along the rim of the garden and the walk from one point to the other is just ½ a mile.
Along the way, you get expansive views of the canyon and thousands of hoodoos. You can also time it so that you start your walk at sunrise or end it at sunset. Also, know that this trail is paved and wheelchair accessible in the winter months. It’s also the only trail in the park that you can take your pets on.
Looking for something different to do in Bryce Canyon? Take a horseback ride through Red Canyon where you’ll admire the red rocks of Losee Canyon in Red Canyon while exploring the old hideouts of Butch Cassidy.
Tower Bridge Trail
The Tower Bridge trail is one of the most popular with folks hiking in Bryce Canyon. That’s because it gives you a taste of the different terrain of Bryce Park and makes it one of the best hikes. The trailhead sits at Sunset Point and from there you can hike out to Trail Bridge. This an 8-mile hike and you won’t be looping.
You’ll be dropping down 950 feet and get that elevation gain back as you hike up in a clockwise direction. There are chances of seeing snakes and other wildlife when you hike on the trail. To make it easier on your feet, wear hiking boots.
Where to Stay at Bryce Canyon
Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn – the closest accommodations to Bryce Canyon National Park. Plus it has Indoor and Outdoor Swimming Pools and Spas.Bryce View Lodge – Just 3 miles (5.8 km) from Bryce Canyon this is an ideal location at an affordable price. Bryce Pioneer Village – 4.7 miles (7km) from Bryce Canyon National Park and offers cabins or hotel rooms.
Bryce Point to Sunrise Point
Think of this hiking trail as the buffet of all trails in Bryce Canyon National Park. This hike is 3.5 miles long and will give you a taste of a lot. You can get dropped off at Bryce Point and from there take the pretty hike to Sunset Point and on to the Navajo Loop Trail which will take you below the rim.
Then you get to drop down into Wall Street, where you will finally understand what an ant feels like in that space between the two pieces of a sidewalk. From there you’ll head to the Queen’s Garden hoodoo and after that, you’ll trek along to Sunrise Point.
The Queen’s Garden Navajo Loop is considered a moderate hike. It can get slippery so if you have balance issues it would be a good idea to have sticks and hiking boots.
Queen’s Garden Trail and Navajo Combination Loop
The Queen’s Garden and Navajo Trail come together to make a 2.9-mile loop. It has a 629-feet elevation change and gives you views of some of the most iconic points in Bryce Canyon National Park. To do the Queen’s Garden Navajo Loop, you can park your vehicle at the Sunset Point Parking Lot and head onto the Navajo Trail. Sunrise Point is the trailhead for the Queen’s Garden Trail where you c
If you come here early enough, it is the perfect spot to see one of the most magical views in the park as the sun rises and lights up all the hoodoos. From the parking lot, you’ll head towards Wall Street, which is essentially a narrow point in the canyon.
From the rim of the canyon, you’ll be able to see Thor’s Hammer, which is one of the famous hoodoos in the park because it looks like the hammer is about to drop any minute. From here you’re going to get on the Queen’s Garden portion of the loop and there you will see the Queen Victoria hoodoo. The Two Bridges hoodoo will also be along here too.
Navajo Loop Trail
The Navajo Loop Trail is also its own loop and you can do it without including the Queens Garden Trail. If you want to get down to business and go from canyon rim to valley floor then the Navajo Loop Trail is one of the best out of all of Bryce Canyon’s hiking trails for you. You can get to this spectacular hike from Sunset Point and then go down through the slot canyon of Wall Street and down to the Bryce amphitheater floor.
As you climb down you’ll see Thor’s Hammer and the Two Bridge’s rock formations. The trail is a 1.4-mile loop but it’s a steep trail back which is why it is often called a more difficult hike than other trails.
Mossy Cave Trail
This is one of the prettiest trails in Bryce Canyon National Park and its only one of the easiest. The Mossy Cave trail distance is 1 mile long and you can reach it from the Mossy Cave Trailhead. The trail takes you along a stream and to a grotto. At one point along your path, you have the choice of continuing along the stream.
If you continue with the stream, you will end up at a waterfall and if you go left you, will head into the natural grotto. Although the Mossy Cave Trail is a short hike, you do get a chance to get up close and personal with the hoodoos without actually have to climb down into the Bryce Canyon NationalPark amphitheater.
Bryce Point to Bryce Canyon Lodge
If you’re visiting Bryce Canyon National Park with family members of varying ages, taking the Bryce Point to Bryce Canyon Lodge trail along the canyon rim is a good idea. It is a 2.5-mile hike of a portion of the Rim Trail with a descent of 300 feet.
You can get everyone on the park shuttle and get dropped off at Bryce Point. From here you can walk along and take in the hoodoos and spires of the Bryce Canyon National Park amphitheater. You will pass Inspiration Point on your hike before you end up at Bryce Canyon Lodge. Despite the jaw-dropping views, this is one of the easiest hikes in Bryce Canyon.
Hat Shop Trail
This is one of the most underrated canyon hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park. Of course, everything is going to be underrated when comparing it to views of the Bryce Canyon National Park amphitheater with ancient pink fairy chimnies, Wall Street, grottos, and the sun rising and setting over all of it.
But let’s get back to the Hat Shop Trail. The trail is 2-miles long with a 1500-feet elevation change. Your trailhead is Bryce Point which can be reached by shuttle. from Bryce Point, you’re going to experience a different part of Bryce Canyon National Park. This part is woodsy and there is no spine of the spyres.
Instead, you’re going to hike up a group of geographical formations that are the orange pinnacles with white boulders on top that are the hats that this trail was named after. It’s a fun trail but on the way back you’re going to have a steep climb as it is uphill most of the way.
The Bristlecone Loop
Bristlecone Point is certainly not one of the crowded trails in Bryce Canyon National Park. That might have to do with the fact that it’s very high up at and you’ve got to drive to the trailhead at Rainbow Point. However, the views from Rainbow Point are just spectacular and the views of Bristlecone pine trees beautiful.
When you get to Rainbow Point, you’ll be climbing up to the highest point in Bryce Canyon National Park at 9100 feet when you get into the thick of the Bristlecone pines. Some people come to the area just to see the Bristlecone pines. Do you know that the oldest ones in the park are 1500 years old?
Bristlecones look unique and can hold onto their pine needles for almost half a century. You can see them during your hike. In fact, hiking in this part of Bryce Canyon National Park can be as difficult or as easy as you want.
The entire park can be seen from lookouts, but hikes like the Bristlecone Loop give you a chance to experience the elevation gain and bring you from the heat of Utah up into the cool temperatures. It’s a good idea to get some hiking boots for the Bristlecone Loop to make it more comfortable for you.
Sheep Creek and Swamp Canyon Trail Loop
This loop trail is 4.1 miles long and is considered moderate to difficult hikes in Bryce Canyon because of the steep climbs at the higher points on the trail. There is an elevation change of 650 feet. The Swamp Canyon Trail is a 1.3-mile trail that has an elevation change of 650 feet. The trailhead is located at Swamp Canyon Overlook. From here you’re going to be heading out on the rim of the Sheep Creek Canyon.
You’ll be wandering across forest and valley and return along the Swamp Canyon Trail. Although you don’t see much of the hoodoos until the ends of the trail. The wildflowers and meadows in the canyons provide a whole different experience. You can also get a good view of the Bruce Canyon Amphitheatre.
Fairyland Loop Trail
The Fairyland Loop Trail is a day hike as it is 8-mile long but it is well worth it as you are walking up close and personal among the hoodoos. The trailhead sits at Fairyland Point which you can reach via shuttle, alternatively, you can also get on the trail from the north campground.
But if you’re not actually staying at the campground then Fairyland Point would be your best bet. The road to the trailhead however is closed in the winter so then you’ll have to get to the trail from Sunrise Point. You will experience an elevation change of more than 2000 feet.
The Fairyland Loop hike will take you between Fairy Point and Sunset Point. Sunset Point can also be reached via shuttle. It will take around 5 hours and because of that is one of the more difficult hikes in Bryce canyon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best hikes at Bryce Canyon?
The best hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park will take you from the canyon rim and around it. This will give you expansive views of the whole park.
What should I not miss in Bryce Canyon?
You cannot miss hiking down into Bryce Canyon. One of the best Bryce Canyon hikes is the Navajo hike which will take you from the canyon rim down to the canyon floor. The Navajo trails bring you right into the hoodoos rather than just viewing them from above from the rim.
The incredible rock formations get even more incredible when you are wandering among them. And although all of the national parks in the US are beautiful, these rock formations give you an other-worldly experience.
What can you do in Bryce Canyon in one day?
You can explore the slot canyon called Wall Street in Bryce Canyon as well as get close and personal within the hoodoos. Bryce Canyon can easily be explored in a day with one of the Navajo hikes of the Navaho trail and the Queen’s Garden Trailfqueens
. A combination of the two is just over 4 miles and will take you about 5 hours.
How long is the hike to Bryce Canyon?
If you take a hike directly from the rim into the canyon it will take you about 2 hours. You can make that hike longer by combining a few trails like the Mossy Cave Trail and the Rim Trail if you’re ready to experience a full day at Bryce Canyon National Park.
How to Get to Bryce Canyon National Park
The closest airport to Bryce Canyon is the Cedar City Regional Airport. You can fly from Las Vegas or Salt Lake City to this airport. There is a closer and smaller airport Bryce Canyon Airport that is for charter planes.
We visited Bryce Canyon on a road trip through the American Southwest. Check out CarRentals.com for price comparisons form the the city you are leaving from.
The drive to Bryce Canyon is 4 hours from Las Vegas and 4 Hours from Salt Lake City. Car rentals can be picked up at Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. Check price comparisons here.
Why not combine a road trip to Bryce Canyon National Park with the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park to see some of the most amazing scenery in the United States?