June 30, 2014
Bryce Canyon’s iconic hoodoos and majestic red rock landscape draws more than a million visitors each year. Learn how to make the most of your visit to Bryce Canyon National Park!
Start your Bryce Canyon National Park trip at the visitor center, located about 1.5 miles inside the main entrance. The visitor center boasts a museum with interpretive displays about Bryce Canyon’s unique geology, Native American and pioneer history, and wildlife. The visitor center is the place to obtain back-country permits, chat up the rangers, and get info and maps. There’s also a gift shop and restrooms. Be sure to catch the award-winning short film about Bryce Canyon, shown every half hour. The visitor center is open year round except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Rim Road Drive/ Rim Trail
The 20-mile scenic Rim Road through the park gives a great overview of Bryce Canyon’s majestic beauty, and it’s a great option if you only have a few hours to see the park. The Rim Road Drive leads to 16 scenic overlooks including these visitor favorites:
Sunrise Point and Sunset Point — appropriately named for best viewing times
Bryce Point — also perfect for watching the sun rise
Natural Bridge — actually a natural arch, located about halfway along the scenic drive
Rainbow Point — the furthest overlook from the visitor center and the highest point in the park
To fully take in all the Bryce Canyon National Park has to offer takes more than a scenic drive, so take your time and plan to stay for a couple of days. The Rim Trail is a lengthy 11-mile round trip along the rim from Fairyland Point to Bryce Point, connecting all the scenic overlooks in between. This is a great way to see the hoodoos and views from the rim, without being confined to your car. Both the scenic drive and Rim Trail lead to several hiking trailheads.
Take a Hike
Some of the best experiences at Bryce Canyon come from descending the hiking trails into the amphitheaters and walking amongst the hoodoos. There are several trails designed for day hikes including the very popular Navajo Loop Trail, a moderately difficult 1.3-mile roundtrip loop that descends 520 feet in less than a mile. Descend into the amphitheater from the rim at Sunset Point via a series of switchbacks, head through Wall Street where you’ll see ancient Douglas Fir trees, then loop back up to the rim or connect to Queen’s Garden (4.9 miles total) or Peekaboo (2.9 miles total).
Easy/short hikes include Upper Inspiration Point (about half-mile along the rim), Mossy Cave Trail (great for families at just 1 mile round trip), and Bristlecone Pine (another family-friendly, 1-mile hike), and the 3.8-mile Hat Shop Trail. Lengthier hikes include Peekaboo Trail, a steep 5.5-mile round trip shared horse trail that begins at Bryce Point; Fairyland Loop, a strenuous 8.3-mile hike that leads to Campbell Canyons and Boat Mesa; and Tower Bridge Trail, another 8.3-mile hike that spurs of Fairyland Loop. Just keep in mind whenever you’re hiking down into the amphitheaters that you’ll also have to hike back up!
Read more about the Insider’s Guide to Bryce Canyon National Park – here.