15 Incredible Bryce Canyon Hikes

Are you ready to hike some of the most breathtaking trails the American Southwest has to offer? Bryce Canyon hikes offer awe-inspiring amphitheaters, whimsical hoodoos, and panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Did you know that Bryce Canyon is the largest collection of hoodoos in the world? Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, Bryce Canyon has a trail that will fit your fancy.

I have hiked many of Bryce Canyon’s trails over the course of several visits to the park. While Bryce Canyon is the smallest of the Mighty 5 National Parks in Utah, it’s one of the most unique. Being a bit more remote, I have found Bryce Canyon to be less crowded than the other Utah parks I’ve visited.

On my most recent trip, I was on a tight timeline and was able to see all the highlights within Bryce Canyon in under 2 days.

From easy hikes to challenging backcountry treks, I’ve rounded up 15 incredible hikes that showcase the best of Bryce Canyon. Each trail offers a unique slice of this geological wonderland, so you can immerse yourself in the park’s natural splendor.

Ready to explore the otherworldly landscapes and uncover the secrets of the hoodoos? 

Let’s dive into the best hikes in Bryce Canyon that’ll make your visit truly unforgettable. 🏞️

Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Bryce Canyon is April-May or September-October when the weather is still warm during the day and the crowds are smaller. It’s also possible to visit during the summer, but expect more crowds and warm afternoons.

Where To Stay: There are several options for lodging inside of the park, including two campgrounds and Bryce Canyon Lodge. There’s also several options for places to stay in Bryce Canyon National Park just beyond the park’s entrance, including hotels and vacation rentals.

How To Get There: The closest airports to Bryce Canyon are either Salt Lake City (SLC) or Las Vegas (LAS), both are just 4 hours from the park. I find Las Vegas typically has cheaper airfare and car rentals than Salt Lake City.

How To Get Around: You can drive your own vehicle in the park or utilize the free shuttle service. The shuttle can be picked up inside the park entrance at the visitor center or, if parking is limited, there are also pickup locations outside of the park in town. The shuttle operates April-October.

Reservation System: Bryce Canyon has no reservation system for park entry. Reservations for camping and backpacking are required.

Safety: Bryce Canyon sits at 9,000 feet of elevation so it’s not uncommon for hikers to feel tired and become dehydrated more easily. Make sure to pack lots of water – the park recommends at least 1 liter of water every two hours. 

The elevation also means temperatures can fluctuate quickly, as much as a 40℉ difference in a few hours. Always wear layers, even in the summer months. 

Additionally, Bryce Canyon is home to Mountain lion and Great Basin rattlesnake, so be sure to stay alert while hiking.

Be cautious of lightning. Summer storms are common in the afternoons. If you hear any thunder make sure you are away from the plateau rim (the most dangerous spot during a storm).

Entrance Fees: The Bryce Canyon entrance fee is $20 per person, or $35 per vehicle. An Annual Entrance pass is available for $70, or you can purchase an annual American The Beautiful National Park Pass for $80 which will get you into all National Parks.

Best Time Of Year To Visit Bryce Canyon

The best time of year to visit Bryce Canyon is April, May, September, October when the weather is cooler and there are fewer crowds.

Spring – Spring is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon if you’re looking for fewer crowds. Keep in mind that the free Bryce Canyon shuttle does not start running until April.

Summer – Summer in Bryce Canyon can be hot, so be sure to pack lots of water and sunscreen. You should also be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms and crowds.

Fall – Fall in Bryce Canyon is a great time to visit for comfortable temperatures and uncrowded hikes. The free shuttle stops running in October so plan accordingly.

Winter – Expect cold temperatures if visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in winter. Due to its high elevation temperatures rarely get above high-30’s during the day. Snow is common in Bryce Canyon, although it rarely accumulates.

Snow in Bryce Canyon amphitheater

Tips For Bryce Canyon Hikes

Be prepared for elevation – Bryce Canyon sits around 9,000 feet above sea level. Hikers with respiratory illness or asthma may have a harder time at these elevations.

Bring more water than you think you need – Dehydration is more common at elevation so be prepared with lots of water. The park recommends 1 liter of water for every 2 hours of activity.

Wear sunscreen and reapply – You’re much closer to the sun, and there’s not much shade or shelter so sunscreen is a must! Don’t forget to pack it with you on longer hikes so you can reapply.

Invest in a good wide brimmed hat – I used to think these were goofy but I’ve since found one that I love and wear it religiously when hiking in the desert. I love that these provide me with protection from the sun, but they also provide some respite from the heat, too.

Wear layers – Daily temperatures in Bryce Canyon can fluctuate by 40-degrees. It’s important to pack or wear layers, even during the hot summer months. One thing I’ve noticed is that in the desert, once the sun goes down the heat disappears very quickly.

Pack your rain gear – Rain storms are common during the summer so be sure to pack a rain shell or coat in case you get caught in the weather.

Orange hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park

15 Best Bryce Canyon Hikes

For being one of the smaller National Parks, Bryce Canyon still has a ton of beautiful hikes for visitors. There are 65 miles worth of trails in the park. Most of the best Bryce Canyon hikes start from the canyon rim, which means you’ll start downhill and return with the uphill half. 

I highly recommend rationing your water with this in mind. During my trip to Bryce Canyon it was easy to drink up most of my water on the first half of my hike without realizing the second half was the harder part.

Most of the hikes in Bryce Canyon start from Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Bryce Point or Rainbow Point. I found it easiest to plan hikes by pairing hikes based on trailhead so I could avoid having to find a new parking space (which can be difficult during peak season).

Bryce Canyon Hikes Map

Easy Hikes in Bryce Canyon

A majority of the easy hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park stay above the rim and offer incredible views of the canyon.

1 Bryce Point Trail

  • Distance: 0.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 26 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Bryce Point
  • Highlights: A wheelchair accessible trail leading to a 180+ degree view of Bryce Amphitheaters of various hoodoos.
Bryce Point hiking trail in Bryce Canyon National Park on a sunny day with green trees in the foreground

This 0.2-mile journey is accessible to all, including those with wheelchairs, ensuring everyone can witness the grandeur of the Bryce Amphitheater. As you hike this short path, you’re treated to a 180+ degree view that encapsulates a stunning array of hoodoos, spires, and natural sculptures that are iconic to the park.

The Bryce Point Trail is perfect for those seeking a quick adventure with maximum visual payoff, offering one of the most comprehensive and breathtaking overlooks in the entire park. Whether you’re catching the sunrise at Bryce Canyon or watching the play of shadows at sunset, this trail is a must-visit for a quintessential Bryce Canyon experience.

I found Bryce Point Trail to be a great way to stretch your legs while driving the Southern Scenic Drive.

2 Mossy Cave Trail

  • Distance: 0.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 121 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Mossy Cave Trailhead, along Rt 12
  • Highlights: A short hike leading to a mossy overhang and a small waterfall.
River running along Mossy Cave hiking trail in Bryce Canyon National Park

The Mossy Cave Trail is a delightful and easy 0.9-mile round trip hike that offers a refreshing change of pace from the more difficult trails of Bryce Canyon National Park. It starts outside of the park entrance, along Rt 12. In the summer months you can even see a waterfall! 

Rushing waterfall along Mossy Cave trail in Bryce Canyon National Park

The path is relatively flat with just a slight 121-foot elevation gain, making it suitable for families and hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, you’ll enjoy the sight of whimsical hoodoos and the Tropic Ditch—part of the park’s pioneering history. This is the only Bryce Canyon hike that starts below the rim and is labeled as easy. 

The Mossy Cave itself provides a tranquil spot to relax and enjoy the sounds of nature. This hike is a hidden gem that showcases the park’s diverse landscape, offering a glimpse into the lush side of Bryce Canyon’s predominantly arid environment.

3 Bristlecone Loop Trail

  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Elevation Gain: 88 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Rainbow Point
  • Highlights: Walk through ancient bristlecone pine forests with views of the Great Basin.
An ancient Bristlecone pine tree on Bristlecone Loop hiking trail in Bryce Canyon National Park

The Bristlecone Loop Trail is a gentle 1-mile loop that whisks you away through some of Bryce Canyon’s most enchanting high-altitude scenery. With an elevation gain of just 88 feet, this easy trail is perfect for anyone looking for a leisurely walk with a touch of natural wonder. 

Starting at Rainbow Point, the highest part of the park, the trail meanders through ancient forests dotted with Bristlecone Pines, some of the oldest living organisms on Earth. In fact, the oldest Bristlecone pine in Bryce Canyon is believed to be 1600 years old!

As you hike, you’ll be treated to stunning views over the grand expanse of the Great Basin, with the vivid contrast of the forest against the park’s famous red rock formations.

4 Sunset Point to Sunrise Point Trail

  • Distance: 1.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 82 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Sunset Point Parking Lot
  • Highlights: A scenic, paved path connecting two of the park’s most famous viewpoints.
View of Bryce Amphitheater from Sunset point hiking trail in Bryce Canyon

The Sunset Point to Sunrise Point Trail is a scenic, paved path that stretches 1.1 miles between two of Bryce Canyon National Park’s most iconic vistas. With a minimal elevation gain of 82 feet, this easy trail is accessible and enjoyable for hikers of all levels, including those with strollers or wheelchairs. 

As you journey from the dramatic overlook of Sunset Point to the expansive views at Sunrise Point, you’re enveloped by the park’s stunning amphitheater and its labyrinth of spires and hoodoos. The trail offers continuous, unobstructed views of the park’s unique geological formations.

My favorite part about this hike is that it’s dog friendly! Me and my dog, Oscar, enjoyed stretching our legs here.

Moderate Bryce Canyon Hikes

Moderate hikes in Bryce Canyon are a great way to experience the rim as well as descend into the canyon and get up close and personal with the hoodoos.

5 Navajo Loop Trail

  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 515 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Sunset Point
  • Highlights: Descend into the amphitheater, walk among the hoodoos, and experience the famous Wall Street section.
Navajo Loop trail switchbacks

The Navajo Loop Trail is one of Bryce Canyon’s classics, offering a moderate 1.5-mile trek that takes you into the heart of the park’s stunning amphitheater. 

With a 515-foot elevation gain, this trail starts and ends at Sunset Point, looping down through the canyon’s extraordinary formations. Hikers are surrounded by towering hoodoos, including the park’s famous Thor’s Hammer, and the trail’s centerpiece, Wall Street—a narrow, switchback path flanked by colossal cliff walls.

Navajo Loop Trail is home to the iconic switchback views you often see associated with hiking in Bryce Canyon.

Note: A portion of Navajo Loop Trail (the Wall Street section) has been closed due to a rockslide for several years, making it impossible to complete the loop in the current condition. This trail can still be completed as an out-and-back or combined with Queens Garden Trail.

6 Queens Garden Trail

  • Distance: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 459 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Sunrise Point
  • Highlights: Offers close-up views of the park’s famous hoodoos and the Queen Victoria rock formation.
Interior rim wall at Bryce Canyon

The Queens Garden Trail is a moderate 2.1-mile journey that descends into a wonderland of hoodoo formations within Bryce Canyon National Park. Beginning at Sunrise Point, the trail gently winds down with an elevation change of 459 feet, leading you through a maze of towering spires and natural sculptures. 

The path is named for one of its most famous rock formations, Queen Victoria, which, from the right angle, resembles a statue of the real Queen Victoria. 

I found this to be the least difficult hikes into the canyon. The trail’s combination of accessibility and stunning rock formations makes it a favorite for first-time visitors and those looking for a surreal and photogenic hiking experience.

7 Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail

  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 649 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Sunset Point
  • Highlights: Combines Navajo Loop Trail and Queens Garden Trail for an incredible 3.1 mile loop into the lower canyon.
View along Queens Garden trail hike in Bryce Canyon

Merging the best of both worlds, the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail offers a combined 3.1-mile loop that is considered a quintessential Bryce Canyon experience

With an elevation gain of 649 feet, this moderate Bryce Canyon hike begins at Sunset Point, descends into the amphitheater through iconic and dramatic switchbacks, and then connects with the serene and picturesque Queens Garden Trail. 

Me hiking Queens Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon

In my experience, I thought it was easiest to complete this hike by walking counterclockwise around the loop. This way I started by descending down the steep Navajo Loop switchbacks and then gradually walking back up to the rim via Queens Garden Trail.

8 Tower Bridge Trail

  • Distance: 3.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 826 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Sunrise Point
  • Highlights: A hike to a natural bridge and great views of the China Wall.
Bryce Canyon hiking trail into the canyon along the rim

The Tower Bridge Trail is a moderate 3.4-mile round trip hike that takes you from the Sunrise Point area deep into the Bryce Canyon amphitheater. With an elevation gain of 826 feet, the trail offers a moderately challenging trek that rewards you with stunning views and geological wonders. 

As you navigate the path, you’ll encounter the impressive China Wall, a natural formation reminiscent of the Great Wall of China. 

The trail culminates at the Tower Bridge, an awe-inspiring natural arch that stands as a testament to the park’s erosional creativity.

Note: Tower Bridge Trail follows a portion of Fairyland Loop Trail. If you already have plans to hike that route you can skip this trail as it’s redundant.

9 Hat Shop Trail

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 967 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Bryce Point
  • Highlights: Unique hoodoo formations topped with stones that resemble hats.
Hat shop trail hoodoos in Bryce Canyon

The Hat Shop Trail is a distinctive 4-mile round trip hike that showcases Bryce Canyon’s unique geology with a moderate challenge. Starting from Bryce Point, hikers descend 967 feet into the canyon, where they are greeted by the trail’s namesake feature: a collection of hoodoos adorned with boulder caps that whimsically resemble hats. 

This less crowded hike in Bryce Canyon offers a peaceful trek with opportunities to observe these peculiar formations up close, providing a different perspective from the more frequented overlooks.

10 Sheep Creek/Swamp Canyon Loop

  • Distance: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 892 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Swamp Canyon Overlook
  • Highlights: A combination of two trails showcasing diverse plant life and geological features.
Tall hoodoos along interior canyon hike at Bryce Canyon

The Sheep Creek/Swamp Canyon Loop is an engaging 4.5-mile trail that offers a moderate hike through some of Bryce Canyon’s less frequented but equally stunning landscapes. With an elevation gain of 892 feet, this loop trail begins at the Swamp Canyon overlook and takes hikers through a diverse array of environments. 

The path leads through meadows, pine forests, and the distinctive hoodoo formations that Bryce is known for, but with a sense of solitude that can be hard to find on the more popular trails. Along the way, the trail offers glimpses into the Sheep Creek and Swamp Canyon backcountry areas, which are rich in plant and animal life.

11 Peekaboo Loop Trail

  • Distance: 5.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,528 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Bryce Point
  • Highlights: A longer hike among the hoodoos with stunning views and opportunities to see the park’s wildlife.
Hiking along the canyon rim at sunset in Bryce Canyon

The Peekaboo Loop Trail is a 5.1-mile journey that invites hikers into the heart of Bryce Canyon’s extraordinary amphitheater. With a challenging elevation gain of 1,528 feet, this trail is considered moderate to strenuous, but it rewards the effort with some of the most spectacular views in the park. 

Setting out from Bryce Point, hikers are treated to an immersive experience, winding through towering hoodoos, vast amphitheaters, and natural windows that frame the stunning scenery.

The trail’s name, “Peekaboo,” hints at the playful nature of the path, as it reveals unexpected vistas and intimate encounters with the park’s iconic rock formations. 

12 Fairyland Loop Trail

  • Distance: 7.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,555 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Fairyland Point
  • Highlights: A less crowded trail offering panoramic views of the park and a diverse landscape.
Bryce Canyon looking magical and dusted with snow

The Fairyland Loop Trail is an enchanting 7.9-mile trek that offers a moderate to challenging hike with an elevation gain of 1,555 feet. This trail, less popular than other hikes in Bryce Canyon, begins at Fairyland Point and takes you on a magical journey through a landscape that truly lives up to its name. 

The path meanders through a stunning array of hoodoo formations, with panoramic views that extend over the amphitheater and beyond. Along the way, the terrain offers a sense of solitude and escape, making the Fairyland Loop Trail a favorite for those seeking a quieter, yet visually rich hiking experience in Bryce Canyon.

The road to Fairyland Point is closed to vehicles in the winter, so save this one for the warmer months, or plan to add an additional 1 mile hike each way from Rt 63.

Note: Fairyland Loop Trail also includes the full out and back Tower Bridge Trail, so skip that one if you’re already planning to hike Fairyland Loop.

Bryce Canyon Hikes Rated Hard

If you’re looking for a more challenging hike in Bryce Canyon National Park then you should consider one of these epic trails. Additionally, backpacking in Bryce Canyon is permitted on either the Riggs Spring Loop Trail or the Under-The-Rim Trail.

13 Riggs Spring Loop Trail

  • Distance: 8.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,853 feet
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead: Rainbow Point
  • Highlights: A backcountry experience with a variety of landscapes and overnight camping options.
Natural window formed in rock at Bryce Canyon overlooking the Bryce Amphitheater and hoodoos at sunrise

Riggs Spring Loop Trail is an 8.6-mile trek that presents a challenging but rewarding adventure with an elevation gain of 1,853 feet. Beginning at Rainbow Point, the highest overlook in Bryce Canyon, this trail offers a journey through diverse landscapes, including dense forests, subalpine meadows, and the park’s signature hoodoo formations. 

The loop takes you into the less-visited southern backcountry of the park, providing a sense of wilderness and solitude. Along the way, the trail passes by Riggs Spring, a refreshing oasis and a good water source for backpackers. 

This hike is ideal if you’re seeking a full-day or overnight backcountry experience, with opportunities for camping and wildlife viewing in some of the park’s most remote areas. Keep in mind that backcountry camping in Bryce Canyon requires a permit.

14 Rim Trail

  • Distance: 10.7 miles (can be done in shorter sections)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,587 feet
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead: Fairyland Point (or Bryce Point if hiking in reverse)
  • Highlights: Walk along the rim of the amphitheater for continuous views of the hoodoos below.
Scenic views from Bryce Canyon Rim trail

The Rim Trail offers one of the most accessible yet expansive experiences in Bryce Canyon National Park, stretching 10.7 miles along the rim of the amphitheater. Sadly, portions of the Rim Trail were closed during my most recent visit to Bryce Canyon but I can’t wait to hike this epic trail on my next trip. 

With an elevation gain of 1,587 feet, it’s rated as hard due to its length, but hikers can tackle shorter sections for an easier hike. The trail connects many of the park’s main overlooks, including Fairyland Point and Bryce Point, allowing for customizable hikes with continuous, breathtaking views of the hoodoos and spires below. 

Whether you’re looking for a full-day hike or just a quick peek at the canyon’s grandeur, the Rim Trail is an excellent choice, offering panoramic vistas and the flexibility to explore as much or as little as you like.

Note: If you start from Fairyland Point, the trailhead is located before the fee station in Bryce Canyon National Park. The 1 mile road from Rt 63 to Fairyland Point is closed to vehicles during the winter as it’s not plowed or maintained.

15 Under-the-Rim Trail

  • Distance: 22.4 miles (can be done in shorter sections)
  • Elevation Gain: 4,366 feet
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead: Rainbow Point (Or Bryce Point if hiking in reverse)
  • Highlights: The longest trail in the park, offering a comprehensive experience of Bryce Canyon’s backcountry.
Hiker in Bryce Canyon descending into the canyon on a trail

The Under-the-Rim Trail is Bryce Canyon’s longest and most adventurous trek, stretching 22.4 miles through the park’s backcountry. With a substantial elevation gain of 4,366 feet, this trail is considered hard and is best suited for experienced hikers. 

It can be tackled in sections for shorter day hikes or as an epic multi-day backpacking journey, starting from Rainbow Point and extending to Bryce Point. 

This trail dives deep into the canyon, offering an intimate experience with the park’s stunning geology, serene forests, and expansive wilderness. Hikers on the Under-the-Rim Trail will find solitude and a true wilderness experience, as well as opportunities for camping at designated backcountry sites.

Where To Stay Near Bryce Canyon National Park

Given that the park is fairly remote, there isn’t an overwhelming number of options for places to stay near Bryce Canyon National Park. There are three options for staying in Bryce Canyon National Park and several options for hotels and vacation rentals nearby.

Where To Stay In Bryce Canyon National Park (Inside The Park)

North Campgrounds 

The North campgrounds in Bryce Canyon National Park offers 100 campsites which are available on a first-come, first-serve system (Oct-May) and via reservations (May-Oct). Reservations can be made 6-months in advance. 

No sewer, water or electrical hookups are available for RVers. A fee-based dump station is available nearby, and the cost is included in your campsite rental. Potable water is also available to fill up your tanks.

Flush toilets are available, but you’ll have to drive to Sunset campgrounds for coin-operated laundry and showers (summer only).

During the winter only Loop A is open for campers.

Road through natural rock bridge in Bryce Canyon

Sunset Campgrounds 

Sunset campgrounds offer 99 campsites for RVs and tent campers. Advance reservations cannot be made at this campground, sites are only available first-come, first serve. As a summer-only campground, sites are available from April 15 – October 31.

No sewer, water or electrical hookups are available, but water can be obtained from the dump station near North campgrounds. Coin-operated shower and laundry facilities are available during summer months, but this campsite closes in the winter (Nov-Apr).

Bryce Canyon Lodge 

If you’re looking for a treat, consider making a reservation at Bryce Canyon Lodge. The lodge, and its cabins, were designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, a famous park architect, and built in the mid 1920’s.

Log cabins at Bryce Canyon Lodge

The lodge and its dining room are open to the public. If you’re hoping to catch some sunrise hikes at Bryce Canyon the lodge is the best place to stay.

Where To Stay Near Bryce Canyon National Park (Outside The Park)

Ruby’s Inn (Best Western Plus)

Just a stone’s throw from the park entrance, Ruby’s Inn offers the closest accommodations outside of Bryce Canyon, complete with rustic charm and modern amenities.

Dragonfly Motor Lodge – Panguitch

Nestled in the nearby town of Panguitch, Dragonfly Motor Lodge provides a cozy and budget-friendly basecamp for your Bryce Canyon adventures.

Bybee’s Steppingstone Motel

Bybee’s Steppingstone Motel is a quaint and comfortable retreat offering personalized service and a homely atmosphere, a short drive from Bryce Canyon.

Happy Trails BnB

Happy Trails BnB is a welcoming bed and breakfast where warm hospitality and hearty breakfasts fuel your exploration of the surrounding natural wonders.

Bryce Country Cabins

Bryce Country Cabins features charming, private cabins that serve as your personal gateway to the great outdoors, blending rustic aesthetics with comfort.

Bryce Canyon Country Inn

The Bryce Canyon Country Inn provides a peaceful and convenient lodging experience, with spacious rooms and easy access to the region’s scenic attractions.

What to Pack For Hiking Bryce Canyon

Water – Bryce Canyon is a high-desert climate. The elevation and dry air will dehydrate you quickly. Bring ample water and do not plan to find any water refilling stations on most of the hiking trails.

Sunscreen – Because of the elevation and lack of shade the sun can be particularly strong at Bryce Canyon National Park. If you’ll be spending time outdoors hiking you definitely want to wear a strong sunscreen and plan to reapply throughout the day.

Layers – Temperatures fluctuate significantly in Bryce Canyon. An increase of 40-degrees can occur between sunrise and the early afternoon, so pack layers to keep warm.

Good Hiking Boots – Hiking paths in Bryce Canyon can have fairly uneven ground and be rocky. Additionally, Bryce Canyon is home to rattlesnakes, so proper footwear to protect you is crucial. My favorite hiking boots of all time are my Danner Inquire Chukka Mid Hiking Boots – I’ve hiked hundreds of miles in mine and they’re still in great condition and very comfortable. I also love that they don’t have to be broken in and are perfect right out of the box.

Wide Brimmed Hat – This is a must-have for desert hikes. My Outdoor Research Oasis Sun Hat is a staple item for me. I bought it for the sun protection but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the heat protection it provides as well.

Day Pack with Water Bladder – A simple water bottle will also do, but I prefer a day pack with a 3L water bladder because it allows me to sip water constantly vs having to stop, pull out my water bottle, drink, and repack. I find with a water bottle I drink far less because of how inconvenient it is, which leads to more post-hike headaches and dehydration. Having a water bladder is the best way to stay hydrated during a long hike.

Trekking Poles – I swear by my trekking poles and I’m convinced they make me hike faster (probably because I’m less worried about foot placement knowing I’m stabilized by two additional points). I also love that they take the pressure off of my knees and give me arms more of a workout. Good trekking poles are lightweight and collapsible so they can fit in a suitcase or backpack.

Things To Do Besides Hiking In Bryce Canyon

While Bryce Canyon National Park is renowned for its stunning hikes through crimson-colored hoodoos and awe-inspiring amphitheaters, there’s a treasure trove of activities to do if you’re looking to experience the park from a different angle. 

Stargaze and Astronomy Programs

Due to its high elevation (over 9,000 feet above sea level), the clean dry air and lack of light pollution, Bryce Canyon, designated as a Dark Sky Park, is one of the best places in the world to see the night sky. 

Milkyway above Bryce Canyon National Park

In fact, it’s one of the darkest places in North America accessible by paved roads which makes this an ideal opportunity to stargaze.

Dark Rangers in Bryce Canyon offer guided night hikes so you can see the moonlit hoodoos and maybe even the Milky Way stretching across the sky with naked eyes, binoculars, or telescopes. 

The park’s astronomy programs are a highlight, offering ranger-led night sky viewings and educational talks that delve into the wonders of the universe. During these programs, you can slide from the natural amphitheater of hoodoos to the cosmic amphitheater of stars, planets, and galaxies, making for an unforgettable nocturnal adventure.

Telescope viewings are offered between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Full Moon hikes are also offered by lottery at the visitors center.


Backpacking in Bryce Canyon National Park is an immersive journey into the heart of Utah’s wilderness, offering a more secluded and intimate encounter with the park’s unique landscape. The park provides several backcountry trails that are perfect for multi-day treks, such as the Under-the-Rim Trail and the Riggs Spring Loop Trail, which lead you through a maze of towering hoodoos, serene meadows, and panoramic overlooks. 

Backpacking in Bryce Canyon, tent glowing from lantern at night

Permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips, ensuring a well-preserved and uncrowded experience.

As of December 2022, can now be made online up to 3-months in advance. Previously, permits could only be made in-person at the visitors center up to 48-hours in advance.

Horseback Ride on Bryce Canyon Trails

Horseback riding in Bryce Canyon National Park is a time-honored way to explore the rugged beauty of the park’s landscape, offering a unique vantage point from the saddle. 

Woman horseback riding in Bryce Canyon National Park

I took a guided horse tour through Bryce Canyon on my first trip to the park. It was one of my favorite experiences to date. However, the horses love to eat the vegetation which grows on the side of the trail. I was so nervous about how close my horse was to the cliffside, but luckily he was very sure-footed!

Guided tours lead you along dusty trails, weaving through the silent grandeur of towering hoodoos and along the rim of the amphitheater. These rides, suitable for all experience levels, range from short one-hour excursions to half-day adventures, allowing visitors to connect with the Old West heritage of the region. 

Local outfitters provide knowledgeable guides and well-trained horses, ensuring a safe and memorable journey through this striking terrain. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced equestrian, horseback riding in Bryce Canyon is an enchanting way to experience the park’s natural wonders at a leisurely pace, just as early explorers once did.

Southern Scenic Drive

The Southern Scenic Drive is a great way to see Bryce Canyon National Park, especially if you’re tight on time. It’s an 18-mile drive along the rim of the canyon and ends at the park’s highest elevation at Rainbow and Yovimpa Points. Highlights along this route include Natural Bridge and Agua Canyon.

View of Natural Bridge from scenic overlook along Souther Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon National Park
Natural Bridge

The route extends from the park’s amphitheater area to its southernmost viewpoints, offering a series of pull outs with spectacular vistas. 

The drive culminates at an elevation of over 9,000 feet, providing panoramic views that stretch for miles. 

Accessible year-round, the Southern Scenic Drive is a must-do for anyone looking to experience the grandeur of Bryce Canyon beyond the main tourist spots.

I experienced driving the Southern Scenic Drive in my DIY camper van – it was a perfect way to stop and see the beautiful sites. And even though I completed this drive just after the season ended, in October, I didn’t have much trouble finding parking for my larger vehicle.

FAQs About Bryce Canyon Hikes

What can you do in Bryce Canyon in one day?

You can do Bryce Canyon in one day and see all of the highlights, drive the Southern Scenic Drive and hike the best trails, like Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail.

Here’s the perfect itinerary for 1 day in Bryce Canyon.

How much time should you spend at Bryce Canyon?

You should spend between one and three day sat Bryce Canyon National Park. With a one-day itinerary you can see the entire park from each of the viewpoints, drive the Southern Scenic Drive, and hike one or two of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon.

With three day sin Bryce Canyon you can spend more time exploring hiking trails deeper in the canyon, getting up close to hoodoos.

A vast horizon of hoodoos glowing int he sunset light at Bryce Canyon

How long is the scenic drive in Bryce Canyon?

The Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon is 18-miles long and can be driven in 30 minutes. I recommend you plan for 2 hours so you can stop at the pullouts and enjoy the views and a few short hikes along the way.

What is the best hike at Bryce Canyon?

The best hike at Bryce Canyon is Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail. While these are technically two out-and-back trails, they connect to each other and form a 3.1 mile loop – making them the perfect combination hiking trail.

Which is better Zion or Bryce Canyon?

Choosing between Zion or Bryce Canyon National Parks is like picking between two stunning gems; each has its unique allure and offers different experiences.

Zion National Park is known for its dramatic landscape with steep red cliffs, forest trails along the Virgin River, and (my favorite) the famous Angel’s Landing hike, which provides panoramic views of the park’s expansive canyons. Zion is generally more popular and can be quite busy, especially during peak seasons. It’s a paradise for those who enjoy challenging hikes and want to explore deep canyons and high plateaus.

Bryce Canyon National Park, on the other hand, is famous for its otherworldly hoodoos—tall, thin spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins. The park offers a more relaxed experience with easier, more accessible trails that allow you to walk among the hoodoos. Bryce is at a higher elevation, which means cooler temperatures and potentially more comfortable hiking conditions in the summer.

Here are some considerations to help you decide:

  • Activities: If you’re into strenuous hikes and rock climbing, Zion might be more up your alley. For leisurely walks and stunning, accessible viewpoints, Bryce is fantastic.
  • Crowds: Zion tends to be more crowded than Bryce. If you prefer a quieter experience, Bryce might be the better choice.
  • Scenery: Zion offers deep canyons and high plateaus, while Bryce is known for its unique hoodoo formations and expansive vistas.
  • Accessibility: Bryce has a series of viewpoints all along the rim that are easily accessible by car, making it great for those who prefer less hiking.
  • Time of Year: The best time to visit each park can vary due to weather conditions, especially considering Bryce’s higher elevation. Bryce Canyon can be a good option for warm summer months, whereas Zion National Park is best visited during off-peak months to avoid crowds.

Ultimately, the better park is the one that aligns most closely with your interests, physical ability, and what you want to get out of your visit. Some visitors choose to visit both parks since they’re relatively close to each other, about a 1.5-hour drive apart, making it possible to experience both spectacular landscapes in a single trip.

A view down into the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater from along the rim of the canyon

How difficult is Queens Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon?

The Queens Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon is an easy to moderate hiking trail. It’s the least difficult trail in Bryce Canyon that descends from the rim into the canyon, so it’s a good option for anyone wanting an easier hike while also being able to explore the canyon floor.
Queens Garden Trail is an out-and-back trail, so you can complete as much or as little as you’d like. Keep in mind that the majority of elevation gain is right at the start of the trail, so a shorter hike doesn’t really save you much elevation difficulty.
Many people combine the Queens Garden Trail with Navajo Loop Trail. For the easiest route, start with Navajo Loop Trail and descend into the rim along the steep switchbacks before continuing to Queens Garden Trail and the modest incline back to the canyon rim.

How long is the Bryce Canyon hike?

The Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park is a scenic path that follows the rim of the amphitheater. It offers some of the most breathtaking views of the park’s famous hoodoos. The full length of the Bryce Canyon Hike, Rim Trail, from Fairyland Point to Bryce Point, is about 5.5 miles one way. However, many visitors choose to hike portions of the trail since there are several access points along the way, such as Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point.

For those looking for a shorter walk, the section between Sunrise and Sunset Points is an easy, paved trail that is about 1 mile round trip and offers some of the most iconic views of Bryce Canyon. Remember, the Rim Trail is at a high elevation, over 8,000 feet above sea level, so it’s important to be prepared for the effects of altitude and to carry plenty of water.

Are Pets Allowed On Bryce Canyon Hikes?

No, pets are not allowed on most hikes in Bryce Canyon. However, pets are allowed on any paved surface in the park, including overlooks and the trail between Sunset and Sunrise points, campsites and picnic areas.

Pets are not allowed in public buildings, on the shuttle bus or any unpaved trails.

The Best Bryce Canyon Hikes – Ranked Best to Worst

  1. Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail
  2. Fairyland Loop Trail
  3. Navajo Loop Trail
  4. Peekaboo Loop Trail
  5. Sunset Point to Sunrise Point Trail
  6. Mossy Cave Trail
  7. Queens Garden Trail
  8. Tower Bridge Trail
  9. Bristlecone Loop Trail
  10. Rim Trail
  11. Bryce Point Trail
  12. Sheep Creek/Swamp Canyon Loop
  13. Hat Shop Trail
  14. Riggs Spring Loop Trail
  15. Under-the-Rim Trail
Benefits Of Traveling Alone

Written by Claire Fleming

I’m a travel enthusiast who spends half the year in my self-built camper van with my dog, Oscar, and the other half at my home in Raleigh, North Carolina or on international adventures.

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