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A Guide to Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah's Scenic Landscape

From Utah's vast salt flats and stunning red rock formations to the best powder in the world, it's no secret that Utah has incredible sights and recreation. This landlocked state truly has an outdoor adventure for every type of traveler. However, nothing compares to the majesty and impressiveness of Utah's National Parks.

Even as the temperature drops and snow flurries, you can still get your walking shoes out, gas up your trailer, and come visit any of Utah's Parks. Bryce Canyon National Park is at the top of the list for a year-round adventure worth checking out.

Here is a helpful guide to exploring Bryce Canyon National Park:

Bryce's Unique Terrain

One of the most intriguing things about Bryce Canyon is the striking flame and orange-colored hoodoos. Hoodoos are tall spires of rock formed by erosion. The natural hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park create a truly unique, otherworldly landscape that isn't seen anywhere else.

Trail Options:

Bryce Canyon Amphitheater

One of the most popular spots to visit in Bryce Canyon is the Amphitheater. The unique circular shape comes from the seasonal drainage of water and melting snow. The incredibly popular Amphitheater is one of the most convenient spots in the Park and is accessible by car or shuttle.

Rim Trail

The Under the Rim trail is the signature backpacking experience of Bryce National Park and offers experienced hikers a challenge. This hike is one-way and covers approximately 23 miles. Hikers will need a backcountry permit to hike this trail and completion will take 2-3 days depending on experience level.

The trail covers the length of the park from Bryce Point up to Rainbow Point. As the name implies, you spend the majority of the hike underneath the rim of the Amphitheater amongst the tall, towering hoodoos.

Southern Scenic Drive

The Southern Scenic Drive is a perfect option for travelers wanting a passive viewing experience of the Canyon and offers incredible sunset panoramas. Driving from end to end of the Southern Scenic Drive without stopping, will take you about 2-3 hours. You'll pass the Amphitheater during your first 3 miles of the drive and there are convenient overlooks to pull into for premier photo-taking.

Queen's Garden & Navajo Loop Combination

The Queen's Garden & Navajo Loop Combination is arguably the most popular hike at Bryce and one of the best hikes for first-timers. This hike is moderate in difficulty and gives visitors a beautiful descent into the Amphitheater amongst the hoodoos. This area features iconic switchback paths and towering canyon walls along the Navajo Trail Loop. The hike is 2.9 miles and will take most hikers 2-3 hours to complete.

Fairyland Loop

The Fairyland Loop is another popular hike that takes you along the plateau rim near Boat Mesa with striking views of unique hoodoos and the Amphitheater. You can begin this hike at Fairyland Point or on the Rim Trail at the Tower Bridge trailhead. With this particular hike, there is no shuttle pick-up when you finish, so you will need to hike back to your starting point.

Bristlecone Pine Loop

The Bristlecone Loop is a beautiful and simple hike that meanders through thickly forested areas reaching elevations over 9,100 feet. This 30-60 minute hike takes you through the highest portion of the park, passing breathtaking bristlecone pines up to 1,800 years old.

Sunset Point to Sunrise Point

This one-hour, beginner-friendly hike is the easiest hike at Bryce Canyon, according to the Park Service. Hiking Sunset Point to Sunrise Point will take you around the rim of the Amphitheater, giving you a top-down view of the iconic hoodoos below.

Wall Street

Wall Street, Bryce's only slot canyon, is a short and unique hike that is worth checking out when you visit. To reach Wall Street, you'll need to start from either the Navajo Loop trailhead at Sunset Point or from the Queen's Garden trailhead at Sunrise Point. Depending on which point you start at will determine if you descend into Wall Street toward the beginning of your hike or climb out of Wall Street toward the end of your hike.

Currently, Wall Street is closed due to falling rocks covering the narrow pathways in the canyon. The beloved trail most likely won't reopen until the risk of falling rocks is reduced and pathways are cleared.

Non-Hiking Activities at Bryce Canyon

If you're not an avid hiker or don't have time to hike for multiple days, you can still enjoy Bryce Canyon in all its glory!


Bryce National Park is open 24/7 365 which means you can hang out even when the sun goes down. Bryce's high elevation, clean air, and remote location make Bryce one of the best spots for star gazing boasting some of the darkest skies in the country.

Bryce Canyon officially gained International Dark Sky Gold Tier status in 2019. Experience mesmerizing full moons and unparalleled views of the Milky Way on a clear night at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding at Bryce Canyon is an excellent way to see the Canyon without putting too much strain on your body. You can book a horse riding tour through Bryce Canyon with a quick Google Search. Guided trail rides typically begin in April and run through October 31st, depending on the weather.

Watch the Sunrise/Sunset

One of the best parts about Bryce Canyon is the amount of drivable overlooks. You can kick off your hiking shoes and park at any of the overlooks and watch the sun rise or set. For the best sunrise and sunset overlooks, check out the (aptly-named) Sunrise/Sunset Point.


Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Bryce Canyon is when there is nice weather and it isn't too crowded. The Spring and Fall months in Southern Utah are beautiful and have ideal hiking weather. To avoid the crowds, pass on visiting during peak season (late May-September).

Like most National Parks, Bryce Canyon National Park is open 24/7 year round. However, the Park's Visitor Center has reduced hours in the wintertime and is closed on major holidays. For updated and timely information about the Park during the year, check with the National Park Service. The Park offers an optional shuttle during peak season, April to October.

What To Bring

  • Water

Temperatures in southern Utah can quickly climb over 100 degrees during the summer so water is your best friend when you're out and about. Consider investing in a hydration backpack or battery-powered misting fan so you can stay cool during your hike. Bring energy-replenishing snacks to munch on like trail mix, jerky, protein bars, nut butter, or crackers.

  • Sun Protection & Clothing

If you're hiking in hot conditions, wear moisture-wicking clothing that will keep you cool along with a hat or bandana to protect your head. Utah can quickly become chilly so be sure to pack an extra jacket if you're visiting during colder months. Make sure to bring good-quality shoes to avoid blisters and give yourself support as you walk.

  • First Aid

Anything can happen to you, a loved one, or a stranger while being out in nature's playground. Bring extra Band-Aids, gauze, burn gel, alcohol wipes, Neosporin, tweezers, sunscreen, and other essential first aid items you're prepared for anything.


You can pick from three different pass options and purchase your pass online or in person. Some National Parks are experimenting with reservation systems to lessen the crowds, however, Bryce Canyon National Park does not currently require a prior reservation to enter.

Standard Pass ($20-35)

Valid for one visit to one National Park, ($30 for a motorcycle, $20 for a bicycle or walk-in).

Annual Pass ($70)

Valid for entry into Bryce Canyon National Park for 12 months from purchase.

America the Beautiful Pass ($80)

This is the best option for hiking enthusiasts and travelers visiting multiple parks in the country as it will save you a good deal of money. This pass covers entrance fees and standard amenity (day-use) fees at lands managed by many National Parks and Recreational Lands.

Riverside Ranch

Hiking around Bryce Canyon is no joke and will tire you out, especially if you're hiking for multiple days. Riverside Ranch offers guests three convenient options including a spacious RV Park with big-rig pull-through sites, relaxing camping spots, and a luxurious western-themed motel. Riverside Ranch is the area's best option because of its convenient location to Bryce Canyon National Park, just 30 minutes away.

Located in Hatch, UT, Riverside Ranch offers more than just a relaxing place to stay but is also near exciting excursions like ATV and moto rides, hiking, fishing, dining, and the Nation's best outdoor sights. Enjoy a peaceful night's sleep and rustic refuge at the Riverside Ranch in Hatch, UT.