Bryce Canyon is a series of large natural amphitheaters with thousands of multi-colored rock pinnacles called “hoodoos.” These formations shine brilliantly under sunny skies but glow most exquisitely under the soft light of the rising or setting sun.
Visitors often drive through the 20-mile-long park, stopping to take in scenic viewpoints. You’ll be astonished by the contrast between the red rock formations and the vibrant blue sky.
There are endless trails, sites, and activities to enjoy in Bryce Canyon, though its worth the trip for the view alone. It’s a breathtaking sight to gaze over the towering hoodoos as the sun rises on this stretch of unique Utah landscape. But, there are also a lot of unique ways to enjoy the views in this national park.
These are some of the most popular things to do and see in Bryce Canyon National Park.
- Bryce Canyon Main Viewpoints
- Bryce Canyon, America’s Most Unique National Park
- Bryce Canyon – Yovimpa & Rainbow Points
- The History of Bryce Canyon’s Namesake
- Bryce Canyon South End
- Geology – Bryce Canyon – Grand Staircase
- Erosion in Bryce Canyon
- Bryce Canyon History
- Bryce Canyon Wildlife Viewing
- 5 Favorite Bryce Canyon Spots
- Weird things you never knew about Bryce Canyon National Park: Part 2
- Weird things you never knew about Bryce Canyon National Park
- Visitors – Bryce Canyon Country
- Insider’s Guide to Bryce Canyon
- How to Become a Junior Park Ranger at Bryce Canyon National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park – Now an International Dark Sky Park
- Five Popular Movies Shot in Bryce Canyon National Park
- Outdoor Enthusiast’s Guide to Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon itself is huge! But the national park includes a variety of unique angles from which to experience the canyon as well as some more secluded scenic areas that you don’t want to miss. Hiking is a popular way to explore Bryce Canyon, all year round.
There are trails available throughout the park for hikers of all skill levels. Some trails are short and stay mainly in the upper areas for overlooking the canyon. Others go deep into the canyon and provide more of a challenge. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can find the perfect hike for you.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
Don’t let a little snow or cooler temperatures stop you from enjoying the beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park! Many visitors enjoy strapping on some skis or snowshoes and trekking across the same trails available for hiking during the warmer months.
Some areas are not accessible when there is snow, but many still are. Snowshoes are generally permitted on the same trails available for hiking during warmer months; however, cross-country skiing is limited to the Rim Trail and other ski trails on the plateau.
Winter is actually a great time to visit Bryce Canyon Country. The crowds are usually a little smaller, but the views are even more incredible when the sunlight sparkles on the snow-covered hoodoos and canyon walls. Just be sure to dress warm!
Another fun and unique way to explore the canyon and surrounding area is by horseback. If you’re not an experienced rider or don’t have horses of your own, you can book a guided ride through the canyon and surrounding area with local outfitters.
Many visitors pull in horse-trailers from far and wide to do some trail riding in one of the most beautiful and scenic areas in the West. Please follow all guidelines if bringing your own horse or mule.
Tourists and locals visit Bryce Canyon National Park for a variety of reasons and in a wide variety of ways. Here are the things you should know about visiting Bryce Canyon.
Visitors must pay a fee to access the park. You have the option to buy regular passes that allow access for up to 7 days or extended use passes.
The price for these passes depends on the vehicle you use to enter the park or if you walk in on foot.
- The fee for one private vehicle and its occupants is $35 (7 days)
- The fee for an individual on foot or bicycle to enter the park is $20 (7 days)
- The fee for a motorcycle is $30 (7 days)
Extended Use And Special Passes
- An annual pass to Bryce Canyon National Park is $70
- The “America the Beautiful Annual Pass,” which allows access into any National Park or Federal Recreation Land, is $80.
- The “America the Beautiful Senior Pass” is $20 annually or $80 for a lifetime pass and is for ages 62 and older.
You can purchase any of these passes at the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park.
Please note, the “America the Beautiful Access Pass” is free to permanently disabled U.S. residents. For more information on passes, visit www.nps.gov/brca.
Campgrounds and Fees
There are two campsites available inside Bryce Canyon National Park—North and Sunset Campgrounds. Setting up camp here puts you a rock throw away from the tall, majestic hoodoos and red-rock amphitheater that make Bryce Canyon National Park famous.
Both campgrounds have around 100 camping sites each with fresh water and flush toilets available. The North Campground is closer to the visitor center and the Sunset Campground is closer to Bryce’s most popular hiking trails. Both are surrounded by the sweet smell of Ponderosa pine.
Sunset Campground is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The North Campground is open all year. It allows reservations from May 27th to October 1st and first come, first serve from October 2nd to May 26th. Camping is $20 a night per tent site. One group campsite is available by reservation only at Sunset Campground. Some pull-through motor-home sites are available.
If you think running water is way too civilized when camping, you can take your backpack and be a backcountry camper. Choose from eight campsites along Under-the-Rim Trail or four campsites on the Riggs Spring Loop Trail. Camp only at designated sites and Leave No Trace. Dispersed camping and open fires are not permitted inside the park.
To camp in the backcountry, a backcountry camping permit is required. Backcountry permits are $10/permit + $5/person. You must be over the age of 16 to obtain a permit. Stays can be up to 14 days, and permits can be reserved up to 48 hours in advance. Permits are issued at the Visitor Center from 8 am to 6 pm or one hour before the Visitor Center closes (whichever is earlier).
Whether you come from near or far, there is plenty of travel information available for you at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center.
The visitor center is open year-round!
- Summer hours are 8 am to 8 pm
- Spring/fall hours are 8 am to 6 pm
- Winter hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm
Check the visitor center for times of ranger-led walks & talks.
Interpretive programs are offered throughout the year, weather permitting.
Shuttle service is included in the price of your entrance fee to the park. The Bryce Canyon shuttle runs from mid-April through mid-October and stops at various scenic locations, lodging, and service areas along its route.
You are welcome to drive your vehicle within the park, but we recommend saving gas and taking the shuttle instead of fighting the hustle and bustle of traffic yourself.
Limited shuttle service is also available to get you to Bryce Canyon National Park from the nearby lodging sites.
Bryce Canyon Tours
If you’d prefer to explore the national park on your own, that’s just fine, but keep in mind that there are some exciting and unique ways to see Bryce Canyon and the surrounding area with a guided tour. They are great for tourists or even just locals who want to see Bryce from a new perspective!
Commercial tour fees are based on vehicle capacity for all tour groups and bus companies. Group size is determined by vehicle seating capacity, not the number of actual people in the vehicle.
- Vehicles with a seating capacity of 26 or greater will be charged a flat fee of $150
- Vehicles with a seating capacity of 16-25 seats will be charged a flat fee of $60.00
- Vehicles with a seating capacity of 7-15 seats (Passenger Van) will be charged a flat fee of $50.00
- Vehicles with a seating capacity of 1-6 seats will be charged a fee of $30.00 plus a per person fee of $15.00 for those over 16 years (not to exceed $50)
Stargazing And Astronomy Tours
Bryce Canyon is beautiful in the daytime, but seeing it at night is a completely different experience! Free of light pollution, the night sky above Bryce Canyon National Park has the Milky Way on full display with over 7,500 visible stars. The starlight shining down is so bright, you’ll still see your shadow on the ground in the middle of the night.
On Wednesday and Friday evenings from May to September, trained park rangers and volunteers provide detailed astronomy presentations. You can also enjoy guided night hikes during each month’s new moon. These exclusive night-time activities at Bryce Canyon are limited to a relatively small number of people, so you’ll want to make sure to book your spot early. The hoodoos at night are still beautiful but in an eerie sort of way!
Between Memorial Day and October 1st, trained park rangers and volunteers provide guided night sky viewing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Another option is to book a private night sky activity through Dark Ranger Telescope Tours.
During the Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival, more night hikes are available along with telescope-viewing sessions. These unique Bryce Canyon experiences are fun for the whole family.
For a little extra adventure, you can also experience Bryce Canyon from the sky! Aerial tours are available through Bryce Canyon Airlines. You can choose from a variety of aircraft, including helicopters and open-cockpit biplanes. Learn more about Bryce Canyon aerial tours.
Dogs in Bryce Canyon National Park
While dogs are not allowed on the unpaved trails of Bryce Canyon, there are many other trails in the area where you and your dog can explore together. Check out the best dog-friendly hikes in Bryce Canyon Country!