The Can’t Miss Hikes in Bryce Canyon that will leave you breathless
Bryce Canyon is a national park located in a small town by the same name. Bryce Canyon is known for its natural beauty, scenic views, and numerous activities. The canyon is full of thousands of vibrant red, orange, and pink rock formations that have been formed by water and wind for millions of years.
Needless to say, the hikes in Bryce Canyon are unreal and breathtaking.
While hiking in Bryce Canyon throughout these ancient rock formations is one of the main activities to enjoy, there are several other things you can do, including camping, horseback riding, skiing, snowshoeing, and more.
While you can access the majority of this park via car, the best way to explore is doing one of the many hikes in Bryce Canyon. Ranging from less than a mile to 12+ miles, hiking in Bryce Canyon leaves no shortage of beauty that can be explored.
Psst: We have a bunch of guides about Utah’s National Parks. See the most popular posts below:
Table of Contents
- About Bryce Canyon National Park
- Where to Stay in Bryce Canyon National Park
- How to get to Bryce Canyon
- Bryce Canyon Hiking Tips / Gear
- Map of Bryce Canyon Hikes
- Hikes in Bryce Canyon
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October through April has its advantages too, though. It’s not as crowded as the spring or summer months and you have the option to go cross country skiing or snowshoeing if you’d like!
However, no two hoodoos look the same. Some hoodoos are 5 feet tall while others are 50 feet tall. Some are thick and some are thin. (Seriously, out of the gutter.)
One thing all hoodoos have in common, though, is their history. Hoodoos started out as a big plateau, but rain, snow, and wind have slowly, and we mean “slowwwwly”, eroded the rock formations for millions of years, leaving the unique tall spires that we see today.
If you enter on foot or by bicycle, the fee is $20. (Kids 15 and under are free). If you enter on a motorcycle, the fee is $30. All regular passes are good for 7 days.
If you want a pass that will last a little longer, you have the option of buying the Bryce Canyon National Park annual pass which is $70 and good for 1 year from the time of purchase.
For the best bang for your buck, and a no-brainer if you’ll be visiting several national parks over the course of a year (or the Mighty Five parks in one trip), opt for the Interagency Annual Pass which gets you access to all National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Army Corp of Engineers sites that have an entry fee.
It’s $80 for a full year – even better, you can include two different names on the card to expand the use between different people, so long as one person in your party is listed on the card.
We would stop to take in the beauty and marvel at the formations, and it would be absolutely silent. Deafeningly quiet. It’s truly a surreal (and maybe even eerie) feeling to be surrounded by such awe and beauty, and something we don’t get too often…true silence.
It’s been said that the acoustics in and around Bryce Canyon rival that of a recording studio because of the pureness of the sound. Having experienced it, we can definitely see why!
However, rooms fill up fast and it can get quite expensive, so you might want to consider staying outside of the park if you’d like to save some money.
Accommodations in Bryce Canyon National Park
Photo Credit: Lodge at Bryce Canyon
Keep in mind that some things close in the winter, like the general store and restaurant. However, the lodge rooms are available throughout the year. We recommend making a reservation no matter what time of the year it is, just to be on the safe side.
Hotels Outside The Park
Staying in Bryce
Bryce Canyon City, or Bryce, is right outside of the park entrance. This town has a few hotels and restaurants and, during the summer, you can enjoy many activities like rodeos, horseback riding, and ATVing.
There’s also a Bryce Canyon shuttle that makes stops in Bryce throughout the spring and summer, so that’s a great option to use if you want to go to and from the park without having to worry about parking.
Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn
Photo Credit: Best Western
The rooms at Ruby’s inn are the perfect place to come back to after you’ve been exploring the hikes in Bryce Canyon all day. They’re clean, comfortable, and modern. Each room includes air conditioning, a TV, free WiFi, and much more.
Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
The Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel is a casual hotel located only about a mile from Bryce Canyon National Park and it offers a wide range of amenities to keep you comfortable during your stay like complimentary breakfast in the mornings, an outdoor pool, a hot tub, a 24-hour fitness center (in case you didn’t get in enough hiking in Bryce Canyon), a laundromat, free parking, free WiFi, and more.
The rooms at the Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel aren’t lacking either. Each room comes with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV, and some rooms even have a sitting area as well.
Staying in Tropic
About 15 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park sits the small town of Tropic. Tropic is a great option if you want to stay in a quieter town with less tourists but still be close to Bryce Canyon National Park. Plus, Tropic has a few different restaurants that include foods like pizza, BBQ, and more.
Bryce Pioneer Village
Bryce Pioneer Village is a cozy hotel located only about 10 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park. Here, you can enjoy a delicious meal from the hotel’s restaurant, take a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool after hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park, or relax around the fire pit.
A wide variety of rooms are available including cabins, family suites, motel rooms, and RV and campsites. Each room comes with a flat-screen TV, free WiFi, daily maid service, and more.
If you’re heading to Bryce Canyon National Park from St. George Regional Airport, the drive will take around 2.5 hours.
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Airport (LAS), also known as McCarran Airport, is the 9th busiest airport in the United States. LAS includes many popular airlines like American, Delta, United, Southwest, Allegiant, and much more. The airport flies to and from numerous cities all over the world, which makes traveling fast and easy.
Driving from Las Vegas Airport to Bryce Canyon National Park takes about 4 hours by car. There are also a few guided tours available that include round-trip transportation from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon. Plus, stunning views are guaranteed (if you stay awake) during the scenic road trip!
Practice “Leave No Trace”
If you’re unfamiliar with “Leave No Trace”, it means to keep the land as you found it. Don’t leave trash. Stay on the marked trails. Don’t feed/pet wildlife.
Sunscreen, layers, and hats
The sun and weather can be intense on hikes and shade isn’t always available. Always carry sunscreen with you. You’ll never catch us without it.
Water, water, water
Don’t underestimate how quickly the body can dehydrate on a hike. We typically hike with our hydration bladders and suggest a minimum of 1 gallon per person, per day, depending on the length/difficulty of your hike(s).
For more tips and what to buy, read our Packing for a Day Hike guide. We’ve included all the essentials you might need, no matter what type of weather/hike you are planning for.
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- Distance: 6.4 miles round trip, loop
- Elevation gain: 510 ft – 1,030 ft
- Trailhead: There are two trailheads. One is at Sunset Point and the other is at Sunrise Point
Something unique about the Figure 8 Trail is that it combines the Navajo Trail, the Peek-a-Boo Loop, and the Queens Garden Trail all together so you get to experience three different trails at once. Keep in mind that the Figure 8 Trail can be somewhat difficult at times, but the views are absolutely worth it!
Throughout your hike, you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of hoodoos, each one unique. On the Peek-a-Boo Loop, we recommend heading to the left for stunning views of the Wall of Windows. Once you’re on the Navajo Trail, you’ll reach Wall Street, where there’s plenty of shade.
Since the Figure 8 Trail has two possible trailheads that are connected, you can take either one. However, we recommend starting from the Sunrise Point trailhead if you want to avoid the numerous switchbacks of Wall Street.
- Distance: 1.5 miles round trip, loop
- Elevation gain: 515 feet
- Trailhead: Sunset Point
The Navajo Loop Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Bryce Canyon. It only takes about 1-2 hours but it still includes so much scenery.
You’ll start at Sunset Point and travel by switchbacks to gradually make your way down to the floor of Bryce Canyon. During the final portion of the trail, make sure to watch out for Thor’s Hammer, one of the park’s famous hoodoos.
The Navajo Loop Trail has two sides: Two Bridges and Wall Street. Keep in mind that Wall Street sometimes closes during the winter months, but Two Bridges stays open the entire year.
- Distance: 5.5 miles round trip, loop
- Elevation gain: 1,600 ft
- Trailhead: Bryce Point
The Peek-a-Boo Loop trail is one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon if you’re looking for a more strenuous hike. You’ll start at Bryce Point and eventually make your way down to the bottom of the canyon floor.
Along the way, you’ll travel on many switchbacks that offer amazing views of hoodoos, Silent City, Boat Mesa, and more.
A unique part about the Peek-a-Boo Loop trail is that it’s one of the most peaceful hikes in Bryce Canyon because it doesn’t receive as many visitors as some of the other trails.
The Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail is also shared with horseback riders, so be sure to give them the right of way and watch your step!
- Distance: 1.8 miles round trip, out and back
- Elevation gain: 646 ft
- Trailhead: Sunrise Point
The Queen’s Garden Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Bryce Canyon because it’s short and easy to follow. The hike starts at Sunrise Point and goes through many steep declines.
You’ll see many hoodoos and even some greenery. Towards the end of your hike, you’ll reach terrain that’s more forest-like.
A nice thing about the Queen’s Garden Trail is that it becomes snow-free faster than the other trails in the park. However, that also makes it quite crowded from March through October.
- Distance: 8 miles round trip, loop
- Elevation gain: 1,320 ft
- Trailhead: Fairyland Point, which is at the northside of the park
The Fairyland Loop Trail is one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon if you’re looking for a long, somewhat strenuous trail. You’ll start at Fairyland Point and then work your way down 900 feet to the bottom of the valley and then circle Boat Mesa.
You’ll see hoodoos like Tower Bridge and China Wall along the way, and you’ll also see plenty of wildflowers.
Keep in mind that this hike is quite long, taking 4-5 hours to complete. There are also multiple elevation changes which makes it quite strenuous. Be aware of snakes on the trail as well.
- Distance: 0.8 miles out-and-back
- Elevation gain: 118 ft
- Trailhead: Right under the Pink Cliffs
The Mossy Cave Trail sits right along the park’s boundary, making it the northernmost hike in Bryce Canyon. It’s also one of the only hikes in Bryce Canyon where you’ll start the hike with a climb, and end the hike with a descent.
The trail begins right off of Highway 12 at the trailhead that’s under the Pink Cliffs. Throughout your hike, you’ll be able to see hoodoos up close, a grotto, a cave, and even a small waterfall that sits on a spur path.
This hike is very green in the summer, with lots of moss. In the winter, you’ll see icicles.
The Mossy Cave Trail is short and easy and you don’t have to go through multiple elevation changes to see beautiful scenery, which makes it one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon.
- Distance: 1 mile round trip, loop
- Elevation gain: minimal
- Trailhead: Located at end of park road at the parking area for Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point
Short spurs off the trail allow you to head out to Yovimpa Point and Rainbow Point for some stunning expansive views of the canyon, valley, and forest below.
We’d recommend starting on the Rainbow Point side of the loop and head clockwise so the majority of your walk will be flat or downhill. If you’re worried about elevation gain, just start at one of the two points and walk back and forth between the two since most of the elevation change is on the southern portion of the trail.
- Distance: 4.5 miles out and back, loop
- Elevation gain: 892 ft
- Trailhead: To get to the trailhead, go past the pay station at Bryce Point and look carefully for the Swamp Canyon trailhead. It will be on your left
The Sheep Creek to Swamp Canyon Trail differs from the other hikes in Bryce Canyon in that you’ll encounter more greenery than you will hoodoos (though there’s still some of those, too!). You’ll start off the hike by crossing a meadow and then descend down to forested land.
Towards the end of the hike, you’ll head up Swamp Canyon, which has some hoodoos and great views of the surrounding canyon because of the sparse forest.
The Sheep Creek to Swamp Canyon hike is rated as moderate in difficulty as there is decent elevation gain and takes 3-4 hours to complete. Be aware of any wildlife that you may encounter on the trail, like bees and deer.
This trail isn’t as well-marked as some of the others in the park, as this is more backcountry in nature than some of the other Bryce Canyon hikes, but there is a pretty well-defined trail (via lots of footprints) to keep you on the right path.
- Distance: 4 miles out and back, not a loop
- Elevation gain: 967 ft
- Trailhead: Bryce Point
The Hat Shop Trail is one of the least-visited hikes in Bryce Canyon, making it a quieter, more peaceful hike.
It’s also easy to follow.
You’ll start off at Bryce Point and eventually come to a fork where you’ll take a right.
Then, you’ll reach a ridge that goes around Merrill Canyon. There’ll be another ridge on the south where you’ll see large, orange hoodoos that appear to be wearing stone “hats” on their head, hence the name of this hike.
Even though this trail is ranked as easy to moderate, it can get quite difficult at times because of the steep descent – which also means the return hike is 100% uphill. Come prepared.
- Distance: 5.5 miles out and back
- Elevation gain: 1,587 ft
- Trailhead: Fairyland Point (but you can also start at Bryce Point)
If you’re looking for some easy hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park, the Rim Trail is the trail for you. The Rim Trail is unique in that you don’t have to go down into Bryce Canyon to experience it (though you definitely should if you can).
You’ll start at either Fairyland Point or Bryce Point and make your way around the rim of the canyon amphitheaters. Along the way, you’ll get terrific views of Silent City, Wall Street, Boat Mesa, and more.
The nice thing about the Rim Trail is that most of the other hikes in Bryce Canyon start along the rim, so you can easily add another trail to your hike if you’d like.
- Distance: 22.4 miles, point to point
- Elevation gain: 4,366 ft
- Trailhead: Bryce Point or Rainbow Point
If you’re looking for a long, challenging hike, you need to check out the Under-the-Rim Trail.
Due to its length and location in the backcountry of Bryce Canyon National Park, it’s a quiet and peaceful hike during which you’ll traverse through meadows, forests, and high elevations along the way.
You can start at either Bryce Point or Rainbow Point, but we recommend starting at Rainbow Point since it starts at a higher elevation and descends down towards the end of the hike – less climbing for your weary legs.
- Distance: 8.6 miles, loop
- Elevation gain: 1,853 feet
- Trailhead: Yovimpa Point
The Riggs Spring Trail has fewer hoodoos than other hikes in Bryce Canyon, but it’s still beautiful due to its lush forests and views of the red cliffs. You’ll start out at Yovimpa Point and take a right when you reach the junction.
You’ll head down towards Yovimpa Pass, where you’ll get to see amazing views of the red cliffs. Continue down beneath the rim and you’ll eventually encounter the peaceful pine forest.
You’ll come across a stream where you will turn left and get views of the red cliffs that will get better and better as you climb.
Keep going and you’ll see impressive views of the pink cliffs and Rainbow Point before heading back towards the parking lot.
Keep in mind that other hikers will be camping on the trail and watch out for bears (bear spray is recommended). Also, don’t drink from the stream unless you’ve purified the water.
Where to next?
Overall – Hiking in Bryce Canyon
The best thing about the numerous hikes in Bryce Canyon National park is the variety of trails. Whether you’re in the mood for a short hike or long hike, beginner or advanced, peaceful or busy, there’s a trail out there waiting for you.
Bryce Canyon isn’t huge either, so you can explore several trails in just a couple of days. Plus, there are plenty of accommodations, both inside and outside of the park, for you to come back to after you’ve spent the day exploring the hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park.
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