Bryce Canyon exceeded my expectations. Just like many natural landscapes of the world, pictures did not do this park justice.
Bryce Canyon National Park is smaller in size (a 17 mile scenic drive traces the length of the park) making it possible to explore in 1 day. Of course if you have more time, I recommmend spending multiple days exploring the park as there are several Bryce Canyon hikes that are worth checking out.
*I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post including Amazon and Airbnb that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling, coffee ☕️ and let's be real...probably wine 🍷. I thank you in advance.
Where is Bryce canyon National Park?
Know Before you go to Bryce Canyon National Park
- Bryce Canyon entry fee is $35 per vehicle and is valid up to 7 days and unlimited shuttle use.
- Bryce Canyon is open all year round making it possible to explore in the winter.
- Bryce Canyon elevation around the rim varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet.
- Never hike without these essentials.
Best Day hikes in Bryce Canyon & Exploration in 1 Day
Sunrise/Sunset Point on the Rim Trail bryce canyon
Start your day early at sunrise point to view a majestic Bryce Canyon 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 trailhead for Navajo Loop which is a popular Bryce Canyon hike. Begin your decent down into the canyon.
On the way down you get panoramic views of the valley below and will soon see a series of switchbacks that lead you down to the canyon floor. These switchbacks are much easier going down compared to going up.
At the bottom of the Navajo Loop trail, the landscape changes and you’ll feel like you’re in a forest mixed with hoodoos.
Continuing on the Navajo Loop trail, through the canyon, you enter what is called the ‘silent city’, which are rows of crowded pink, orange, and brown hoodoos.
Queens Garden Trail
You’ll continue on the Navajo Loop trail until you see signs for Queen’s Garden Trail which is one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon Nationa Park.
Connect with this trail and eventually it will ascend up out of the canyon to your starting point at sunrise point. The Navajo Queens Garden loop combined is about 3 miles total.
If you only have one day these are the best Bryce Canyon day hikes that you can enjoy while still being able to explore the rest of the park by driving the 17 miles scenic road.
Drive Scenic Road (Natural Bridge) ↑
Time to eat! Jump in the car and drive to the end of the scenic road and picnic at Yovimpa or Rainbow Point. Yovimpa and Rainbow Points are located at the end of the 17 mile scenic road south of the visitors center.
The views are incredible and this is the highest elevation of the park sitting at 9,115 feet so if you are visiting Bryce Canyon in the winter make sure you are dressed warm. Yovimpa Point and Rainbow Point are short walk apart from each other but both offer different views.
Drive back towards the visitors center 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.
Make sure you 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 Bryce Canyon National Park in 1 day!
Have more time? Make sure you check out these Bryce Canyon hiking trails.
More of the best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
Easy Hikes in Bryce Canyon
Bristlecone Loop Trail
The Bristlecone Loop is an 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.
This is one of the easier Bryce Canyon family hikes.
Mossy Cave Trail
Technically not in the National Park, Mossy Cave Trail is one of the easier hikes near Bryce Canyon.
Located just off Highway 12, northwest of the town of Tropic. Hike up Water Canyon where the stream flows year round. The trail is 1 mile round trip.
Moderate Bryce Canyon National Park Hikes
Peekaboo Loop Trail
Located in the southern part of Bryce Canyon Amphitheater. The peek a boo loop in Bryce Canyon is a 5.5 mile hike takes you through the amphitheater floor and gets you up, close and personal to Bryce’s unique rock structures.
The trail connects with Queen’s Garden, Navajo Loop 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 below under-the-rim trail 2 miles each way. Its downhill on the way in but on the way out its all uphill.
The Hat Shop trail takes you to an area filled with corroded spires. This is one of the best day hikes in Bryce Canyon. The trailhead also starts at Bryce Point. This is also the name of the shuttle stop.
Difficult Bryce Canyon Hiking Trails
Riggs Spring Loop Trail
One of the more challenging Bryce Canyon day hikes, the Riggs Spring Loop Trail is about 8.5 miles round trip. The trail takes you through aspen trees, hoodoos, and meadows.
There is a backcountry campground located about halfway down the Riggs Spring Loop trail.
This is the longest trail of all the Bryce Canyon hikes. 23 miles from Bryce Point to Rainbow Point. The Under-the-rim trail takes you below the cliffs where you can see the rim from below.
This hike 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 in Bryce canyon
There are not a lot of options for lodging directly in Bryce Canyon but there are several towns within an hour or less to stay that will put you in a great location to explore Bryce Canyon on a day trip.
Below are the best places to stay within Bryce Canyon. Looking for unique digs? Check out these 12 epic and unique places to stay in Utah.
Places to Stay Near Bryce Canyon
Best Western PLUS Ruby’s Inn
Bryce Canyon Log Cabins
Best Western PLUS Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
The Best Western PLUS Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel is one of the newer hotels in the area. Located across the street from Ruby’s, this accommodation is only 10 minutes to the entrance of Bryce Canyon National Park.
All rooms are equipped with microwaves, refrigerators and A/C. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. This Bryce Canyon hotel has some of the best amenities compared to other hotels in the area. These include a fitness center, large pool, hot tub and an above average breakfast buffet.
Glamping Near Zion & Bryce Canyon
If you’re looking for where to stay near Zion and Bryce then why not glamp in a yurt. The stay is located up on the East side of Zion National Park which is closer to Bryce Canyon and Arches.
The accommodations have access to many of the resort amenities including breakfast, swimming pools, hot tubs, billiards table and a ping pong table.
Camping Near Bryce Canyon
If you’re looking to stay the night, the North campground is located inside Bryce National Park and has showers! All sites are first come first serve.
#JESSATRAVELTIP you can pay to use the Bryce Canyon 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!
More Campgrounds Near Bryce Canyon
where to eat near Bryce Canyon
There are not a ton of restaurants near Bryce Canyon, so I usually opt for picnics and staying at a place that has my own kitchen 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.