Updated: Jul 24
If you ever get the chance to go to Southern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is a MUST SEE. I got the opportunity to go this past July, but unfortunately only had one day to take in all that the park had to offer. The park is so big, it truly is not possible to see everything in just one day, but we tried to see as much as we could, and I was definitely satisfied with what we were able to see. In this post I will go through sort of our 1-day Bryce Canyon itinerary, as well as add some suggestions that we received from others.
If you only have one day to explore the park make sure you get there early! The shuttles start running at about 8:30am and run every 15 minutes. Personally, we found it easiest to park at the base of the park by the visitor's center and take the shuttle to any viewpoints we wanted to see, and I'm glad we made that decision. Each viewpoint we arrived at, the parking lots were full by about 9:00am, so in my opinion, it's only worth parking at these viewpoints if you plan on spending the whole day in that area.
If you are planning on hiking and actually going down into Bryce Canyon as opposed to just around the rim, I highly suggest the Queen's/Navajo Combination Loop. This trail is ranked as moderate, which was definitely appropriate, but it certainly was not a hard hike. The loop is about 3 miles total and took us about 2.5 hours. This hike allowed us to walk down into the canyon and see all of the different rock formations, but also took us back up through the canyon to see the beautiful views of the hoodoos, including the most famous one, Thor's Hammer.
After finishing the Combination Trail hike, we chose to do a 20 mile scenic drive along Highway 12. This drive allowed us to view Bryce Canyon from all different angles, and stop at several viewpoints along the way, including Farview Point, Natural Bridge, Agua Canyon, Ponderosa Canyon, Rainbow Point, and Yovimpa Point to name a few.
After this drive, we decided to head out of the park for a little while and grab dinner in the surrounding town. The shuttle will take you out of the park to this town, and take you back in. Upon coming back into the park, we wanted to catch the sunset, and if you're anything like me and love sunsets, of course you want to know the best areas to watch them! Many think that Sunset Point is the best place to watch the sunset, however, upon talking to the park ranger, he actually suggested we head over to Inspiration Point if we wanted to truly catch the best sunset.
Of course there are several other quicker rim trail hikes in Bryce Canyon that would be best if you're coming with younger children, or only have a few hours to spend at the park, but if you have a full day this is the itinerary that worked for us! Click here if you wanna see my Bryce Canyon Photo Gallery!
Thanks for reading, and remember, there's always more to be explored!
*All pictures taken by me on my iPhone XR
*For more information on Bryce Canyon hikes: https://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm