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Bryce Canyon National Park Hiking Trips

If you’re looking for unique destination for your next hiking trip, Bryce Canyon National Park is the park that should be on your list to visit. Despite its name, Bryce Canyon National Park isn’t actually a canyon, but rather a collection of naturally formed amphitheaters.

4 Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon

The best way to experience Bryce’s amphitheaters and unique geology is to hike through the park. Don’t miss these trails!

  1. Rim Trail – Up to 5.5 miles one way with a half mile of paved trail between Sunset and Sunrise Points. An obvious choice when looking for a long stroll at sunset.
  2. Navajo Loop Trail with Queen’s Garden Trail – One of the Bryce classics, it is a 2.6 mile loop with -/+ 623 ft elevation. It begins at Sunset point looking down on the Hoodoos and this route, down and back, offers the best views of the main Bryce amphitheater as well as of Thor’s Hammer and Wall Street. It can be very hot so don’t forget to bring plenty of water.
  3. Peekaboo Loop Trail – A great choice for birders and wildlife enthusiasts, it is a 5.1 mile loop from Bryce Point with about -/+ 1,558 ft elevation. There are more trees on this side of the park, and more rock on the Fairyland Loop side. Together they give a Bryce hiker a well rounded perspective of the area.
  4. Fairyland Loop Trail – For those who enjoy a bit more exercise, this trail is 7.4 mile loop with +/- 1,545 ft elevation. It’s typically a blissful 4-5 hr jaunt through the hoodoos but be aware that there is little shade. Bring at least 2 liters of water per person and wear a hat for sun protection.

Click here for a map of Bryce Canyon National Park.

 

Bryce Canyon Hiking FAQ

Where is Bryce Canyon?

Bryce Canyon is located in Southern Utah, east of Zion National Park off of National Scenic Byway 12.

Are there Things to Do in Bryce Canyon?

Bryce is a great destination for hiking, photography, wildlife viewing, road biking the scenic park road, mule rides, and lots more fun activities in the surrounding area including horseback riding, ATV adventures, mountain biking at nearby Thunder Mountain trail, and of course camping under the stars.

How do I get to Bryce?

The easiest way to get to Bryce Canyon is to fly into Las Vegas and rent a car. This also makes it possible to visit other beautiful sights in the region including Zion National Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and more!

Why is it called Bryce Canyon?

The name “Bryce” comes from a man named Ebenezer Bryce who settled in the area with his family in the late 1800s. Their homestead was just below the main Bryce amphitheater. Locals in the area referred to the unique rock formations as “Bryce’s Canyon.”

Bryce Canyon Camping

Before embarking on any Bryce Canyon hikes, you will probably need to decide on lodging. There are two campgrounds in Bryce Canyon.

North Campground 

Open year round, and has SHOWERS is nearby the Visitor Center

Sunset Campground 

Closed mid October – mid April

If you’d rather sleep in a warm bed, you would be advised to try and get a reservation at the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge, though it is competitive to reserve rooms here since it is the only hotel in Bryce Canyon National Park.

The town of Tropic is just outside of Bryce and has many inns and hotels for you to choose from. The Bullberry Inn is the best B&B in town, or another recommendation would be The Hills to rent a one bedroom apartment. Maps for the campgrounds can be found here.

 

Geology of Bryce Canyon

Headward erosion causes the amphitheaters to recede, leaving fins of soil that slowly whittle away to become many spire-like formations called Hoodoos (up to 200 feet high). While Bryce is not the only place with Hoodoos in the world, it has one of the highest concentrations of them. The result is an alien landscape with columns of stone rising from the orange and tan slopes. As if it wasn’t already super interesting to look at, there are also many natural arches, bridges and windows. The elevation of the park is generally between 8,000-9,000 ft.

Bryce Canyon is out of the way, so while you’re in the area it is the perfect opportunity to see other nearby utah hiking spots like Zion National Park, or even to make a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Staircase

For the geology buffs, Bryce Canyon is the start and the youngest of 5 massive layers of formations that make up The Grand Staircase. The Grand Staircase is a wonderfully displayed geological record spanning from 100 million years at the top of the Staircase to almost 2 billion years (including the “basement”, Vishnu Schist) at the bottom. The record tells a story in colorful brilliance of ancient sand dunes, of great seas that were here before the desert, and of the shocking voyage that our continental plate has made; currently sailing West over an ocean of magma and lifting the Staircase miles into the sky. It contains a wealth of plant and animal fossils that can teach us more about how Earth has developed, what it was like before humans were here to see it, and based on those findings and the trends discovered we are able improve the accuracy of our predictions about Earth’s future. What is buried helps us to make sense of what we find at the surface. The Grand Staircase stretches across millions of acres from Bryce to the The Grand Canyon, and this American treasure is well worth exploring.