Ah-Bryce Canyon, one of my favorite, if not favorite National Park that I have visited thus far (Probably an unpopular opinion)! This park truly makes you feel like you're on a different planet, especially the deeper down into the canyon you go. Surrounded by red rocks, vistas, and hoodoos, it is an experience like no other. This post will break down all that Bryce Canyon has to offer, hopefully to make your trip there easier!
Address: Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce Canyon, UT 84764
Bryce Canyon is located in Southwest Utah.
Hours: Bryce Canyon National Park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays!
Weather: As with anywhere, the weather at Bryce Canyon is dependent on the time of year that you visit. I have only been to Bryce Canyon in the summer time, and have noticed that temperatures here are about 20 degrees colder than the surrounding areas in southwestern Utah. In my opinion, the summer time was an ideal time to visit, as it was a cool 65-70 degrees, which made for excellent hiking weather. Bryce does get much colder early in the morning, and at night, however, with temperatures dropping below freezing from the months of October - May. December - February offer the coldest, and snowiest months for the parks, however, snowfall is possible as late as April. As with other places around the area, afternoon thunderstorms are prevalent during the summer months, specifically July and August.
Private Vehicle: $35.00 (Valid for 7 days)
Per Person (bicyclists, hikers, pedestrians without a car, etc.): $20.00 (Valid for 7 days)
Bryce Canyon Annual Pass: $40.00
America the Beautiful Annual Pass: $80.00 (Good for all National Parks)
Military Pass: Free Annual Pass to all National Parks for Active Duty Military, US Military Veterans, and Gold Star Family Members
4th Grade Pass: Free pass for 4th Graders for duration of school year
Senior Park Pass (62+): $20 Annual Pass to any National Park or $80 Lifetime Membership
Access Pass: Free Lifetime Pass to any National Park for US Citizens with permanent disabilities
Volunteer Pass: Free Annual Pass to any National Park for volunteers with 250 service hours with federal agencies (agencies must participate in Interagency Pass Program)
Pets are permitted throughout certain paved parts of the park incuding campgrounds, parking lots, paved roads, paved viewpoints (except piracy point), and on the paved trail section of the Rim Trail between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point. Pets must be behaved, cannot be left unattended, and leashed at all times. Owners are responsible for picking up after their pets (Leave no Trace!!!) Pets are not allowed on the actual trails, or unpaved sections of the park, in public buildings, or on the shuttles. The only exception to these rules are ADA recognized service animals.
Parking and Getting Around:
As with any National Park, parking fills up FAST! My advice (this worked for us the first time we went) is to get to the park early before the first shuttle even starts running. We parked at one of the parking lots across from the visitor's center essentially as soon as you get into the park. We then took the shuttle bus to each destination that we wanted to go to. In my opinion, it is not worth it to circle around and hope somebody is leaving the viewpoint you want to see or trail you want to hike, when there is a perfectly good shuttle bus system. The shuttle bus runs from 8am to 6pm and stops at 15 different stops throughout the park. Since we intended to stay to watch sunset, however, we did have to catch one of the last shuttle busses back to our car, but by the time we finished dinner in town and came back into the park, there was much more parking available near the viewpoint we wanted to go to.
Bryce Canyon offers an 18-mile scenic drive that has pull offs for stops at various different viewpoints throughout the park, including Fairview Point, Natural Bridge, Rainbow Point, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Black Birch Canyon, Rainbow Point, and Yovimpa Point.
Bryce Canyon offers a plethora of hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult. Below is a brief breakdown of the different trails. Visit the national park website (nps.gov) for a full description of each!
Sunset to Sunrise (1 mile, approx. 1 hour)
Rim Trail (1-11 miles, 1-7.5 hours)
Bristlecone Loop (1 mile, approx. 1 hour)
Mossy Cave (.8 miles, approx. 1 hour)
Queen's Garden (1.8 miles, approx. 1-2 hours)
Navajo Loop (1.3 miles, approx. 1-2 hours)
Queen's/Navajo Combination Loop (2.9 miles, approx. 2-3 hours) *
Tower Bridge (3 miles, approx. 2-3 hours)
Sheep Creek/Swamp Canyon (4 miles, approx. 3-4 hours)
Hat Shop (4 miles, approx. 3-4 hours)
Fairyland Loop (8 miles, approx. 4-5 hours)
Peekaboo Loop (5.5 miles, approx. 3-4 hours)
Navajo/Peekaboo Combination Loop (4.9 miles, approx. 3-4 hours)
The Figure 8 Combination (6.4 miles, approx. 4-5 hours)
Bryce Amphitheater Traverse (4.7 miles, approx. 3-4 hours)
* This is the trail I recommend if you're only there for a day. The loop is somewhat difficult (hint: switchbacks do not make it easier!!! Also do this trail backwards, starting with Wall Street, a local recommended that to us, and we were glad we did that) This trail provides a level of difficulty without being impossible for less experienced hikers. It doesn't take too long, and allows plenty of time to see other parts of the park.
Bryce Canyon offers two campgrounds: North Campground and Sunset Campground. North Campground is first come, first served, and Sunset Campground accepts reservations during peak season, otherwise it is also first come, first served. RVs are $30 per site per night, and Tents are $20 per site per night. There are also several backcountry camping locations, however, I am not super familiar with backcountry hiking/camping, so in order to prevent providing false information, I recommend you check out the backcountry hiking section of the national park site under Bryce Canyon.
I hope you enjoyed reading about one of my favorite National Parks, and I hope this encourages you to visit this beautiful place! Feel free to leave a comment with anything you would like to add, or if I left something out. As always, please practice the LNT principles when visiting the National Parks :) Thanks for reading, and remember, there's always more to be explored!
Map of Bryce Canyon National Park: https://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/upload/2020-Bryce-Canyon-Visitor-Guide.jpg