Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most beautiful US National Parks. In this article, you’ll read all about the best viewpoints, hiking trails, and practical tips.
Bryce Canyon National Park: an introduction
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in the US state of Utah and is one of the most spectacular national parks in Southwest USA. Why? The landscape of Bryce Canyon is unique and something you hardly see anywhere in the world. The landscape looks like something out of this world, with interesting red rock formations and lots of hoodoos. The park is best known for its many viewpoints (one is even more beautiful than the other) and the beautiful trails for you to explore. In this article, you can read all about a visit to Bryce Canyon.
There are 63 National Parks in the United States. Check out the full list.
How do you get to Bryce Canyon National Park?
Most people visit Bryce Canyon on a road trip in Southwest USA. The most popular airports to start a road trip in Southwest USA are Las Vegas (4 hours drive), Salt Lake City (4 hours drive), and Los Angeles (8.5 hours drive to Bryce Canyon). Check Skyscanner for the cheapest airline tickets.
By car to Bryce Canyon
To get to Bryce Canyon you need a rental car, there is no public transport. When you travel to the US from Europe, it is smart to rent a car through a European website such as AutoEurope, Alamo, or Sunny Cars, then you can be sure that all necessary insurance is included.
Tip: Do you really don’t want to rent a car? Then use Las Vegas as your base to explore Southwest USA, and take an organized tour to Bryce and Zion Canyon.
A visit to Bryce Canyon National Park costs $ 35 (for 1 car with less than 15 occupants, valid for 7 days). Do you plan to visit multiple national parks in the United States? Then an America the Beautiful annual pass is almost always the cheapest option. This pass costs $ 80 and is valid for one year for all National Parks (and many National Monuments) in the United States of America.
Check this page for the most current entry fees to Bryce Canyon.
The best time to visit Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon is open year-round. Due to the high altitude (over 2500 meters or 8200 feet), the temperatures can vary enormously. For example, there is a chance of snow between October and April. Usually, the road and viewpoints will always remain open, but hiking trails may be closed during that period.
In the summer months (July and August) it can get very warm during the day, about 25 to 35 degrees Celcius (from 77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit). In the evening it cools down considerably.
If you want to hike in Bryce Canyon, I would recommend visiting the park between April and October. Do you only want to see the viewpoints? Then you can do that all year round.
How much time do you need for Bryce Canyon National Park?
Bryce Canyon is not a huge national park in terms of attractions. There is a scenic drive (the Rim Road), from the entrance to the southernmost point in the park, which is 29 kilometers long (18 miles). You can easily visit all viewpoints in half a day. If you also want to go hiking, I would spend at least a full day at Bryce Canyon National Park. Do you really want to take long walks? Then you need two days.
Where to stay in Bryce Canyon National Park
There are several places to spend the night in and outside the park.
In the park: The lodge at Bryce Canyon
The most comfortable place to spend the night in the park is The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. This lodge is right on the canyon and it is only a few minutes’ walk to the most famous viewpoints: Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, and Bryce Point. It is advisable to book a room at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon well in advance.
In the park: camping
There are two large campgrounds in Bryce Canyon National Park:
- North Campground: Open all year round. It’s a first come, first serve campground, so it is not possible to reserve a spot.
- Sunset Campground: Open from April 15 to October 31. You can reserve a campsite between May 20 and October 15, the rest of the year it is first come, first serve.
A campsite at these campgrounds costs $ 20 (maximum 10 people, of which maximum of 6 adults).
Tip: bring a warm sleeping bag when you go camping in Bryce Canyon. It cools down considerably at night (even in summer).
Read more: Everything you need to know about camping in the USA
Outside the park: Bryce or Tropic
Do you prefer to sleep in a hotel or lodge just outside the park? Then book something in Bryce or the village of Tropic. It is not far to drive to the park from both villages, so you are never far away. You can book a hotel room through Booking.com or a nice house through VRBO or Airbnb.
Tip: have you never booked anything through Airbnb? Then use this link to sign up and you will receive a substantial discount!
Where to eat in Bryce Canyon
There are a couple of places to eat in Bryce Canyon:
Both restaurants are located near Sunrise and Sunset Point. These restaurants are not open all year round, so be sure to bring some snacks. There are also several restaurants in Bryce and Tropic.
The most beautiful viewpoints in Bryce Canyon National Park
The viewpoints are the main people for many people to visit Bryce Canyon. There are fourteen viewpoints! They are all on the same side of the road, so it is advisable to drive all the way down Rim Road to the southernmost viewpoint (Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point) and visit the viewpoints one by one from there. In that case, all the viewpoints will be on your right side.
In my opinion, these are the most beautiful viewpoints in Bryce Canyon National Park:
Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point
These two viewpoints are located at the very end of Rim Road. The landscape at Rainbow Point is characteristic because of the “dip” and the red hoodoos seem to form a kind of edge (this can be clearly seen in the photo above).
From Rainbow Point, it is only a few minutes walk to Yovimpa Point. From here you can see the beautiful forest and crazy rock formations. On clear days you can even see the Kaibab Plateau and Navajo Mountain in Arizona (100 miles away).
In Bryce Canyon, you can see several stone arches, of which the Natural Bridge is the most impressive. The arch is made of bright red rocks and the view under the bridge is beautiful.
The viewpoints around the amphitheater
The most famous place in Bryce Canyon is the amphitheater. Full of bright red hoodoos, hiking trails, and endless beautiful views. You can view the amphitheater from four viewpoints: Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point.
Hiking in Bryce Canyon
There are many great hiking trails in the park. These are some of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon:
- Combination of the Queens Garden Trail and the Navajo Loop: This is the most popular hike in Bryce Canyon and you walk through the amphitheater. This is a moderate trail. You have to climb and descend quite a bit. The walk is 4.6 kilometers (almost 3 miles) long and takes about 2-3 hours.
- Rim Trail: The Rim Trail passes the amphitheater between Fairyland Point and Bryce Point. You can make it as long as you want. There is little difference in height, it is a fairly easy hike. If you want to walk the entire trail, it is 18 kilometers or 11 miles (9 kilometers one way). However, you can also shorten it by walking back whenever you feel like it.
- Fairyland Loop Trail: A beautiful 13-kilometer (8-mile) hike on the north side of the park, which is considered strenuous as there are many elevation changes. You follow a short part of the Rim trail and then go into the canyon.
Check this page for all hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park.
More information about Bryce Canyon National Park
Do you really want to know everything about Bryce Canyon? Check the official website for the most up to date information or get one of these travel guides:
Lonely Planet Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks
Grand Canyon, Bryce, & Zion: A Photographic Travel Guide to the National Parks of the Southwest
A trip to Southwest USA
Bryce Canyon National Park is a great stop on a trip in Southwest USA. Are you going on a trip here? Then it is useful to also read these articles:
- The perfect itinerary for a road trip in Southwest USA
- Zion National Park: The Ultimate Guide
- The beautiful national parks in Utah
Do you have any questions about Bryce Canyon or a trip to Southwest USA? Then leave a message below this article.
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