Bryce Canyon, a photographer’s dream destination and a hiker’s paradise, is one of the most unique national parks in the United States. With distinct red rock pillar formations, called hoodoos, found in high concentration across the park; this truly makes it a magical site to behold.
Although not as expansive as the Grand Canyon and can easily be covered in just one day, it does not fall short at all when it comes to providing magnificent views at every other point.
With so much to do in the park, we know how important it is to have the perfect plan! But worry not, we’ve got you covered. Follow this guide to the tee to get the most out of your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, and leave all your worries behind.
How to Get to the Park
Since Bryce Canyon is only a 2.5 hour drive away from Zion National Park, we suggest combining the two together in one trip. Read all about the amazing things to do at Zion National Park from our guide below:
The cheapest and the closest airport to the park is the Las Vegas McCarran Airport. It’s only a 3 hour drive away from the park, thus making it an optimal choice.
Best Time to Visit
We went to the park around the Memorial Day weekend and I can say that the weather was pretty good except for a major snow storm that hit one day. But hey, the views after a snow storm have their own charm, don’t they?
However, if you’re someone who’d rather be hiking in warmer weather then I’d suggest July – September is the best time to visit. The views will be just as great, only without the snow.
How Many Days Needed at the Park
We do agree that you could see the entire park in just one day, but we wouldn’t recommend you do that. Because you won’t be able to enjoy the park’s beauty to the fullest neither would you be able to do some of the most stunning hikes. Unless you’re in a real time crunch and still want to see this beautiful park, we do not recommend covering it all in a single day.
The ideal number of days needed to fully explore this park is 2-3 days.
How to Travel Inside the Park
Similar to all other National Parks, parking can be a real problem with only limited spots available inside. It’s usually recommended to use the park shuttle, which takes you to every single major attraction in the park. And it’s a convenient way to travel too, as you can enjoy all the views!
Park your car at the Shuttle Station, the shuttle stop located outside the park. And hop on to the bus which will take you inside the park. The shuttles run between 8 am to 7:30 pm.
What to Do in the park
There are just so many things to do in the park and we understand that it can get quite overwhelming when you begin planning because who doesn’t want a perfectly planned trip. Hence, we are giving you a day-by-day guide for Bryce Canyon National Park, so throw all your stress away.
Start at Bryce Point
The highest point in the park, with an elevation of 8300 ft, Bryce Point surely provides some amazing views of the canyon covered in hoodoos. Starting your exploration from Bryce Point is the perfect thing to do since most of the hikes start here and you’ll want to tackle them earlier in the day itself.
Do the Bryce Amphitheater Hike
This is a 5.5 mile one-way trail that can be started either from Bryce Point, which then ends at Sunrise Point, or you can do it in the opposite direction. However, we recommend starting it from Bryce Point because this way a major part of the trail will be downhill, thus making it a moderately easy hike. But, if you’re someone who enjoys their things hard-earned, then go ahead with the strenuous climb and start it from the Sunrise Point!
Throughout the trail you’ll find some of the most awe-inspiring views of the hoodoos. The hike goes across parts of the canyon that has the highest concentration of hoodoos. The view is simply breathtaking!
Do the Navajo Trail
Towards the end of the Bryce Ampitheater trail (that is, if you started this hike from Bryce Point), you will come across an intersection; following one would take you to the Queen Garden trail and subsequently the Sunrise Point, and if you go in the other direction, it will lead you to the Sunset point through the Navajo trail.
Navajo trail is a 1.4 mile loop trail that takes you to the bottom of the canyon. During the trail, you will pass through the famous “Wall Street” and thereby come across a narrow section of switchbacks between cliffs, which makes it quite a difficult climb.
You will also see some amazing hoodoo formations on your way like the famous Thor’s Hammer and the Silent City. Or broaden your imagination and spot one of your own! Don’t forget to share with us what you found!
Enjoy the Views at Sunrise Point
The Navajo Loop trail can also be extended another mile onto the Queen’s Garden trail, which consequently leads to the Sunrise point, but honestly the Queen’s Garden trail just isn’t worth it. By now, you would have seen far more amazing hoodoo formations around than you would see on that trail. So we’d suggest you rest a little after the tiring Navajo loop trail and take the shuttle to the Sunrise point to enjoy some amazing sunset (yes, you read it right, sunset!) views there.
We decided to skip the park shuttle on this day and took our car instead since we wanted to see the Natural Bridge and the shuttle doesn’t go there.
Praise the Sunset Point Early in the Morning
Honestly, we loved the views from the Sunset Point more than those from the Sunrise Point.
Even though some might say the views from either points are pretty much the same – hoodoos, but there’s something about the symmetry among the hoodoo formations at the Sunset Point that we absolutely loved; it gave us a sense of satisfaction! Hence, we decided to visit the Sunset Point again on day 2 first thing in the morning to avoid the crowd. (We did go there on the first day as well after the Navajo trail, remember?)
We absolutely enjoyed the views in the morning when the area was not brimming with tourists and it seemed like we had the whole canyon to ourselves.
Absorb the Views at Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point is another jaw-dropper that is best seen in the morning when it is free from the crowds. Reach there early and gaze in awe at the beautiful red and white landscape laid out in front of you!
Now, this area actually consists of three viewpoints – a Lower, Middle and Upper Inspiration Point, you can say. We feel that the best of the three was the Lower Inspiration Point since there was no barricade and you could get beautiful pictures without any obstruction there. But, feel free to hike all the way to the top, because why not!
Drive to the Natural Bridge
We had heard so much about this natural rock formation creating an arch and we definitely wanted to see it.
It is a 15-minute drive from Inspiration Point and is located along the road that travels to the far south end of the park towards the Rainbow Point.
Be sure to stop here as the view will not disappoint at all. The Natural Bridge is sculpted from one of the reddest rocks that creates a magnificent contrast against the dark green Ponderosa forest below! And we loved it even more covered in snow!
We also drove all the way south till the Rainbow Point, but honestly the views there are nothing compared to Inspiration Point and it can be skipped if you’re in a time crunch.
Gawk at the Beautiful Night Sky
Bryce Canyon is known for its beautiful dark and clear skies, so watching this spectacular sky late at night should definitely be on your list.
The best locations to view the night sky are the Paria Point and Bryce Point. And the best time to get these magical views are around 11 pm to midnight.
The park also offers a Night Sky Program every Saturday and Tuesday where a ranger takes you to the best viewing location for that night. But you will have to go to the Visitor Center to sign up for it in person.
Hike the Fairyland Loop Trail
Located in the northern end of the park much before the park entrance, this 7.4 mile loop trail that is rated as difficult is the only trail in the park that offers a chance to see wildlife.
Start the trail early since the Fairyland Point, the place where the trailhead is located, has very limited parking spots. This trail will take you through some stunning scenery and then into the canyon. You will also come across a beautiful rock formation resembling the Tower Bridge. So don’t forget to spot it!
This trail is considered difficult because of its length and the elevation changes you’ll be going through. Be sure to carry plenty of water, snacks and a light jacket along with you!
Where to Stay?
The best place to stay would be the Ruby’s Inn because it’s the closest lodging option to the park entrance. It also offers a lot of fun activities such as Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking etc. But because of its popularity it gets sold out in the blink of an eye! So we actually ended up staying at Americas Best Value Inn & Suites in Tropic, UT.
The lodge itself is pretty dated and needs updation but turned out fine for us since we only really needed a lodge to sleep at night and were out and about for most part of the day. But what we really loved was its location. It is only a 15-minute drive from the park’s North Entrance and is only a 10 minute drive from Shuttle Station.
We also specifically liked this area since it was at a lower elevation and as we mentioned earlier, the park was hit by a heavy snow storm when we were there, but this area had no sign of snow. It was such a relief!
- Remember to carry plenty of water to stay hydrated and some snacks to re-energize as you’ll be going into the canyon and doing long hikes.
- Bryce Canyon is one of the parks where most of the attractions are accessible by shuttle or car, so you’ll often find huge crowds there. Remember to start early in the day to beat the rush!
- It is always a good idea to carry a light jacket because it is usually cooler inside the canyon.
- Be sure to check the weather in advance for your trip. We had scorching hot sun one day and a heavy snow storm the very next day.
- Check for trail closures daily before beginning your day because rock fall occurs quite often leading to many trails being closed. Navajo Loop Trail was affected by heavy rockfall this year (2019) as well.
Now, it’s time for you to pack your bags and have a superb hoodoo-filled experience!
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63 thoughts on “How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Bryce Canyon National Park – A Complete Travel Guide”
Bryce canyon is on my bucketlist and I would have had no idea where to even begin. Zion and grand canyon are also on my list. From what you’re saying I should be able to fly to Vegas get a car and head to grand canyon then head to Bryce and Zion all in about 2 weeks? Is that reasonable?
2 weeks is good but remember that Grand Canyon is huge so for it you’d need around a week itself. I would suggest doing Zion first, then Bryce and then Grand Canyon and back to LAS airport.
I was wondering if that would be a better way to do it. Thank you! Sounds like I might have to add an extra few days on lol.
Wow I feel like I’m there already. Thank you for the insight. I will definitely plan to go with a friend
I’m hoping to hit all the parks in Utah next summer so this article will help me a lot. Thanks!
Bryce Canyon National Park is on my bucket list! I would definitely get lost, but your directions make it seem simple enough! Great photos!!
Thanks for all the tips to how to plan a trip to Bryce Canyon. It looks like paradise.
Yes and thank you! This is the perfect guide especially as we were talking about going during the coming weeks
yes and thank you. This is the perfect guide as we were just discussing a trip in the coming weeks
I am always envious of people living in the US because they have so many national parks to visit! Bryce Canyon looks superb, I love the colours and I would really want to hike their sometime. The view of the canyon from the Inspiration Point is breathtaking and although I would prefer to visit in the summer, the park looks gorgeous covered with snow as well!
Bryce Canyon National Park looks like such an amazing place to visit! Though I’ve never had the opportunity to go myself, this seems like a place that would be the perfect spot for an adventure.
omg the place is out of this world!!! Just gorgeous!!! I would love to go hike there and I will do it soon.
I’ve always wanted to visit Arizona! When I finally get there I will absolutely check out this National Park!
Thank you for the great tips. The pictures look amazing and breath taking x
your pictures are stunning! I hope to visit this place in the next future!
This is an excellent guide! I love how you shared all your tips, I would love to visit there and see this gorgeous canyon!
I’ve been to only Grand Canyons South Rim and couldn’t make it to Bryce Canyons on my last trip. Your pictures are just breathtaking and hope to visit there soon!
We’ll be visiting the park in
september, Thank you for this post, I only wanted to stay one day, but after reading this we will be staying a day longer!
Those views are so beautiful. I would love to visit here someday, this guide was very detailed!
Thanks for the great tips. I’ve never been but it looks amazing. 2-3 days doesn’t seem like it is enough to take in all the wonders and the surroundings.
The canyon seems like a great place to visit. I have never visited but would like to based on your review and images!
Such an awesome guide. I have been wanting to take a trip to Southern Utah, and after seeing all your photos, I’m not going to be waiting for the summer.
This sounds like such an under-rated Park with much to see and enjoy. I love the red rock formations and the stunning vistas that you photographed from different locations in the park are truly breathtaking.
Arizona looks so beautiful..! I will definitely visit this park when I get the chance to visit here.
Thanks for these stunning pictures, the park looks great..! I love how detailed you are with your experience.
Never been to a canyon, I’m not sure if the one in Baguio in Mines View Park is considered a canyon. I wonder, is it hot in there?
How beautiful! Thanks for the tips, I think I need to go in between the hot and cold season!!
Thanks for sharing this travel guide. I am adding this place to my over flowing bucket list and I don’t how I miss this place. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. BTW you captured some amazing pictures
Wonderful guide for Bryce Canon. I have to admit, this isn’t one of the places I’d pick when it comes to planning my vacations but after reading this, I’d love to experience what you can do here.
Thanks for sharing this travel guide. It’s quite insightful
two or three days to explore it? Gosh, it is so huge? And, how was the hotel where you stayed?
wow this looks really gorgeous! I have never been there but I think I need to look into it!
I’ve never heard of the Bryce Canyon before. My parents drove up to the Grand Canyon today in Arizona. Looks so beautiful.
wow this is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this travel guide.
I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Bryce Canyon before! It looks like such a beautiful place to visit 🙂
These formations look amazing and the nightsky is really unique! We hope we will get there someday as we love hiking!
The view is breathtaking and is really a photographer’s dream to be there, and capture these scenic views. This place is unbelievably huge if we need 3 days to explore it. Thank you for this guide.
The place looks so beautiful and exciting to explore! planning it will make the trip even more exciting, I would very much like it. Totally sets me up for travel mood
Bruce Canyon Park seems like a great place to visit. I have never visited but would like to based on your guide!
This is so beautiful, the aerial view is breathtaking. Lovely pictures, I feel like visiting now.
I love Bryce Canyon. We went a few years ago and had a great time. Though I would love to get back and take some star photos. Your picture of the Milky Way rising is beautiful!
Wow, truly stunning landscape! Completely jealous!
We are planning a trip soon – I shared this with my partner because it looks like such a good time away! Thanks for sharing!
Truly this place is magnificent, riches in wonderful, cultural places like these. I usually heard stories of my friends about their trip and it was splendid.
The pictures here are all so amazing. I would love to travel there one day, the area seems really interesting. Thanks for sharing!
Oh wow, what a stunning trip! That looks like such a great time. We’ll have to put it on our bucket list.
That view is so breath takingly beautiful !
I love your pictures!!! Definitely adding this to my bucket list
I have never heard of Bryce before but after reading this I Want to visit!
Great recommendations you have here for Bryce Canyon National . It is in my bucketlist
It looks so beautiful, amazing photo’s by the way. I think I would get lost there so I’ll need more than 2-3 day to explore.
Woww! What a beauty! I love visiting national parks and trekking.
OMG… that trip was planned awesome.
Thanks for the great tips.