Bryce Canyon exceeded my expectations. Just like many natural landscapes of the world, pictures did not do justice and the Bryce Canyon hikes were the highlight of the day spent exploring the National Park.
Bryce Canyon Hikes and Exploration of the Park in 1 Day
Bryce Canyon is located in southwest Utah. This makes it convenient to visit in a day if you are staying at one of the many other national or state parks that are within a couple hours drive.
Sunrise/Sunset Point on the Rim Trail ⇑
Start your day early and make it to sunrise point for you guessed it, sunrise. This viewpoint offers a beautiful, colorful vista of the canyon as the sun casts an early morning glow on the red rock hoodoos. Once you feel like you’ve seen enough, continue walking the flat, paved Rim Trail from sunrise to sunset point.
Navajo Loop Trail ⇑
After sunset point find the trail head for Navajo Loop and begin your decent down into the canyon. You’ll get panoramic views of the valley below and will soon see a series of switchbacks that you must head down to reach the canyon floor. These are much easier going down as they are going up.
At the bottom, the landscape changes and you’ll feel like you’re in a forest mixed with hoodoos. Continuing on the trail, through the canyon, you’ll enter what is called the ‘silent city’, which is rows of crowded pink, orange, and brown hoodoos.
Queen’s Garden Trail ⇑
You’ll continue on the trail until you see signs for Queen’s Garden Trail, connect with this trail and eventually it will ascend up out of the canyon to your starting point at sunrise point. The combined hike is about 3 miles total.
Drive Scenic Road (Natural Bridge ⇑)
Time to eat! Jump in the car and drive to the end of the scenic road and picnic Yovimpa or Rainbow Point. Drive back the scenic road and stop off at Agua and Ponderosa Canyons, Natural Bridge, Farview Point, Paria View, Bryce Point, and Inspiration Point as they will all be on the right side of the road.
Check the Visitors Center on your way out and give yourself a pat on the back as you’ve seen, you came and you conquered!
More Bryce Canyon Hikes
Bristlecone Loop Trail
This easy 1 mile hike starts at the end of the parkway at Rainbow or Yovimpa Point. You’ll stop at viewpoints and see bristlecone pine trees along the way, hence the name of the trail.
Mossy Cave Trail
This trail technically isn’t in Bryce Canyon Park. Its located just off Highway 12, northwest of Tropic. Hike up Water Canyon where the stream flows year round. 1 mile round trip.
Peekaboo Loop Trail
Located in the southern part of Bryce Amphitheater. This 5.5 mile hike takes you through the amphitheater floor and gets you up and close to Bryce’s unique rock structures. This trail connects with Navajo and Queen’s Garden Trail. This is also the only trail shared with horses and hikers, so watch your step. The trail starts at Bryce Point.
Hat Shop Trail
This hike takes you down under-the-rim trail 2 miles each way. Its downhill on the way in but on the way out its all uphill. The trail takes you to an area filled with corroded spires. This makes for a great day hike. The trailhead starts at Bryce Point. This is also the name of the shuttle stop.
Riggs Spring Loop Trail
A more challenging day hike. About 8.5 miles round trip taking you through aspen trees, hoodoos, and meadows. There is a backcountry campground located about halfway down the trail.
This is the longest Bryce Canyon hikes. 23 miles from Bryce Point to Rainbow Point. The hike takes you below the cliffs where you can see the rim from below. This trail takes multiple days to finish. There are four trails that connect to under-the-rim making it possible to hike this trail in a series of day hikes.
Where to Stay
If you’re looking to stay the night, there is the North campground right in Bryce National Park with showers! All sites are first come first serve.
#JESSATRAVELTIP you can pay to use the showers even if you’re not staying at the campground. We used them after our full day at Bryce and it was worth it! 7 minutes of hot water, the best $6 we spent the whole trip!
- Sunset Campground
- Bryce Canyon Pines Campground
- Ruby’s Inn Campgrounds
Best Western PLUS Ruby’s Inn– Its the best bang for your buck and has a fun gift shop and restaurant to grab dinner at after your long day of exploration and only located 1 mile away!
Bryce Canyon Log Cabins– All cottages feature a balcony with a view. Located 15 minutes away from Bryce Canyon. Each equipped with a mini fridge, micro wave and has barbecue facilities.
Check out more hotel options, prices, and reviews here.
Where to Eat
There are not a ton of dining options available and I love to picnic when I visit National Parks but if you want to dine in, here are a few options to check out.
Lodge at Bryce Canyon– Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menus are geared towards ‘healthy eating’ and are designed with vegetarian, low-fat, and gluten-free options based on mostly sustainable ingredients organically grown or raised. It’s also reasonably priced. This is by far the best food you’ll get around here. I did not personally stay here but the accommodations looked like something I would stay at the next time I visit.
Cowboy Buffet and Steak Room– This restaurant is located at Ruby’s Inn and is always busy. Open daily from 6:30-9 it provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. It is family style western dining offering sandwiches, steaks, and a buffet with a salad bar. The gift shop at Ruby’s is a great place to grab a souvenir or unique trinket.
Looking to travel to more National Parks than Bryce Canyon?
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