PeaceJoyAustin

Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Bryce Canyon National Park

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  • The largest collection of hoodoo rock formations in the world
  • Activity centers around the grand Bryce Ampitheater area
  • View the canyon from above or hike into it

When To Visit: Year-round

Climate: Hot in summer, cool in spring and fall, cold with some snow in winter

Location: Southern Utah 1 hour from Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon is without a doubt one of the most awe-inspiring places on Earth. The sheer number of rock formations gathered in such a small space makes for an unbelievable area to explore. Despite its high elevation, it is wonderful to visit year-round – the hoodoo rock formations look incredible covered in snow.

Photo: Inspiration Point Overlook

What To See & Do in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is a very accessible park – much of its beauty can be seen from viewpoints just off the park roads. To get the full experience, try one of the park’s hikes that takes you down into the majestic Bryce Ampitheater. I’ve listed Bryce Canyon’s best hikes below in order of scenic beauty. Note that some hikes can be combined for longer loops.

Bryce Canyon Hikes

  1. Queens Garden Trail

    • 1.8 miles round trip, out & back, 1-1.5 hours, 320 foot elevation gain
    • The easiest trail into the canyon with excellent hoodoo views
    • Take a short side trail at the end to see a queen-shaped rock
  2. Navajo Trail
    • 1.3 mile loop, 45 minutes-1.5 hours, 520 foot elevation gain
    • A gorgeous journey into the Bryce Ampitheatre
    • Pass through a slot canyon
  3. Peek-A-Boo Trail
    • 5.5 mile loop, 3-5 hours, 1,627 foot elevation gain
    • Walk through the southern end of the canyon
    • Pass the Cathedral and Wall of Windows rock formations
  4. Fairyland Trail
    • 8 mile loop, 4-6 hours, 1,725 foot elevation gain
    • Panoramic views of Bryce Ampitheater
    • Begin at Fairyland Point to avoid the steepest portion of the hike
  5. Tower Bridge Trail
    • 3 miles round trip, out & back, 1.5-2.5 hours, 870 foot elevation gain
    • Goes through Bryce Ampitheater
    • Ends at the dramatic Tower Bridge rock formation
  6. Hat Shop Trail
    • 4.6 miles round trip, out & back, 2-4 hours, 870 foot elevation gain
    • See stunning hat-like rock formations – hoodoos with caprocks perched on top
    • Walk by the lovely Pink Cliffs
  7. Mossy Cave Trail
    • 0.8 miles round trip, out & back, 1-1.5 hours, 300 foot elevation gain
    • Passes a tranquil creek and rock alcove and ends at a small waterfall
  8. Riggs Spring Trail
    • 8 mile loop, 4-6 hours, 2,972 foot elevation gain
    • Passes several natural springs and aspen groves
  9. Swamp Canyon Trail
    • 4.3 mile loop, 2-3 hours, 880 foot elevation gain
    • Explores a quiet canyon with forest and hoodoos

Where To Stay & Eat in Bryce Canyon

There are no food services within the park boundaries, but there are many eateries (including sit-down and fast food) in the towns of Bryce and Tropic just outside the park.

There are two campgrounds in the park – North and Sunset, which are both first-come, first-serve. North is open year-round while Sunset closes between fall and late spring.

The Bryce Canyon Lodge is the only hotel in the park, but there are several others in the towns of Bryce and Tropic just outside the park.

Nearby Side Trips from Bryce Canyon

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Landscape Arch in Arches National Park

Zion National Park: Centered around incredible Zion Canyon just over an hour from Bryce Canyon, this popular national park lies at the junction of three ecological regions, allowing for a unique array of animal and plant life. Read more.

Arches National Park: This stunning and wildly underrated park 4 hours away has the highest concentration of arches in the world – over 2,000! Read more.

Four Corners Monument: 5 hours southeast, this is the only place in the country where you can stand in four states at once. Read more.

 

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