Bryce Canyon National Park is one of Utah’s precious five parks, with unprecedented rock formations. Can you take in the view from the rim? Sure! But to truly experience the park’s majesty you need to lace up your hiking boots and head into the canyon.
During your visit to Bryce Canyon, you’ll find short and easy hikes and long difficult ones — as well as everything in between. There is no shortage of trails in Bryce Canyon. We had a wonderful time exploring this Utah park, and we can’t wait to share our favorites with you.
Here are 13 best hikes in Bryce Canyon that we think everyone should experience with their families!
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY NEAR BRYCE CANYON
- Best Near the Park. Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn is the closest lodging to Bryce Canyon National Park (only 1 mile away) and is the perfect place to base your exploration of this beautiful area. They offer rooms and a RV park and campground. It also offers plenty of fun experiences like horseback riding, ATV rides, and more.
- Best Cabins and Entertainment. Bryce Pioneer Village at Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the top-rated hotels, lodging, and attraction destinations in Tropic UT. The accommodations include both motel rooms and cabins. With 13 acres of property, Bryce Pioneer Village offers plenty of room to escape and find a quiet spot to relax. Enjoy shows at the showdowns Restaurant and Dinner Theater!
- Best Glamping Tents. Wander Camp Bryce Canyon is a rustic glamping accommodation, under open skies, located approximately 15 minutes (by car) from Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor’s Center. They offer an immersive outdoors experience while including a few more amenities than traditional camping, but still operating off-grid. Family tents available!
BRYCE CANYON RIM TRAIL
Distance: 10.7 miles
Elevation Change: 1,587 feet
Sure, you could drive the rim…admiring the canyon’s beauty from various stops along the edge. But if you are able, walking the rim is a rewarding way to take it all in.
Check the bus schedule. There is a shuttle (seasonally) at the end of the trail which will bring you back to the parking lot, which makes this only a 5+ mile trip instead of nearly 11. If you don’t want to hike the entire rim, then try the 2.5 mile trek between Sunset Point and Bryce Point.
Read More: UTAH NATIONAL PARKS ROAD TRIP : 10 EPIC DAYS TO EXPLORE THE MIGHTY 5
Looking for more ways to explore Bryce Canyon National Park? Try one of these activities!
- Experience a Guided ATV Tour of Bryce Canyon National Park. Go on the ATV adventure of a lifetime during a 1-hour tour. Experience the thrill of the off-road ride as you admire the breathtaking views of the Bryce Canyon Rim.
- Enjoy a 3-Hour Horseback Ride in Red Canyon. Set off on a scenic 3-hour horseback ride on the Losee Cayon trail in Red Canyon. Ride with an experienced guide and marvel at the views of the wonderful red rocks of the canyon.
- Take a Scenic Wagon Ride to the Rim. Make great western memories on this memorable wagon tour through Dixie National Forest to the rim of Bryce Canyon National Park. Admire the spectacular views and enjoy the great cowboy stories from your friendly tour guide.
BEST HIKES IN BRYCE CANYON: FAIRYLAND LOOP TRAIL
Distance: 7.8 miles
Elevation Change: 1,545 feet
At the time we did this hike it was the longest hike my boys had ever done. I was very proud of them, especially with this elevation gain. But here’s the truth…I can’t imagine having visited Bryce without doing this hike! We did it counter clockwise, which has also been recommended by a number of park rangers. My only tip is to bring a camera and more water than you think you will need.
Fairyland Point is NOT located inside the fee area of the park.
Read more: Bryce Canyon with Kids- The Best Hikes, Activities, & More!
TOWER BRIDGE TRAIL
Distance: 3.4 miles
Elevation Change: 826 feet
Be aware that you can’t get close to the bridge, but it’s still worth the walk. Hiking the Fairyland Loop? This is a short spur trail. Otherwise, enjoy this shorter version with the view. You’ll be able to take in the hoodoos and sandstone walls along the way.
PEEKABOO LOOP TRAIL
Distance: 5.2 miles
Elevation Change: 1,453 feet
Start at Sunset Point and make your way to the canyon floor on what is one of the park’s most popular hikes. You’ll catch glimpses from the rim, and take in some of the best views of the hoodoos.
If you want to make this into a longer hike, connect with the Queens Garden Navajo Loop trail (mentioned below). AllTrails calls this moderate; the park site calls it strenuous…both are so-named because of the rapid incline. During the summer months you’ll want to start early in the day.
This trail is also one of a few equestrian trails in the park, so be on the lookout for horses while you hike.
NAVAJO LOOP AND QUEEN’S GARDEN TRAIL
Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation Change: 646 feet
The trail begins with Navajo Loop Trail where you’ll catch outstanding views of the canyon. It also includes a walk through Wall Street with a zig-zag of towering walls you’ll want to go down and not up! (That’s counter clockwise)
Near the end you’ll find yourself in Queen’s Garden, with hoodoos galore and fun rock formations. Don’t forget to say “cheese” under the arches and look for the rock that resembles Queen Victoria in her vintage attire. You can also see Thor’s Hammer from this trail, so keep a look out for that famous hoodoo as you enter/exit.
BEST HIKES IN BRYCE CANYON: FIGURE EIGHT TRAIL
Distance: 6.3 miles
Elevation Change: 1,499 feet
The hike to do in Bryce is The Figure Eight…either in part (as we’ve divided them above) or in a single hike as you’ll find here. From the soaring walls along the Wall Street switchbacks to the rock formations of Queen’s Garden, to the rim views along the Peekaboo Loop. It’s not easy, but it is absolutely the best way to see this national park.
MOSSY CAVE TRAIL
Distance: 1.0 miles
Elevation Change: 118 feet
Mossy Cave (see our pic!) is outside the main entrance of the park, and with the short distance you may be inclined to skip it. Don’t!
A bridge, waterfall, cave and arch make this an all-in-one trail that everyone in the family will enjoy.
SUNSET POINT TO SUNRISE POINT
Distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation Change: 82 feet
Can you drive from one point to the other? Sure. But this short, flat hike is paved…easy for all ages, and it’s close to the Bryce Canyon Lodge.
You’ll see colorful views from the rim, as well as glimpses into the Queen’s Garden (but you won’t be able to make out the Queen rock formation from here). If you walk out to the most prominent overlook on Sunset Point, you will also be able to see into Wall Street on the Navajo Loop.
A great alternative for people who can’t do (or don’t have time to do) the hikes with large elevation changes.
RAINBOW POINT, YOVIMPA POINT, AND BRISTLECONE LOOP
Distance: 1.3 miles
Elevation Change: 121 feet
This hike begins at the Southern-most part of the park that you can drive to. This area of the park also “wows” with unmistakable rock formations, but it also includes more trees than you see in the canyon in other parts of the park.
Unlike the section of this trail covered below, this extra 1/3 mile includes a hike to Yovimpa Point where you can see the Grand Staircase — a layered rock formation. Each layer is a different color and named as such: Pink Cliffs, Grey Cliffs, White Cliffs, Vermilion Cliffs, and Chocolate Cliffs.
BEST HIKES IN BRYCE CANYON: BRISTLECONE LOOP TRAIL
Distance: 1.0 miles
Elevation Change: 88 feet
Again, at the Southern-most part of the drivable portion of Bryce, Bristlecone Loop showcases amazing rock formations with Bristlecone pine trees…some up to 1800 years old! You’ll also see Blue Spruce, Douglas-fir and White Fir — homes to numerous birds and forest creatures.
HAT SHOP VIA UNDER THE RIM TRAIL
Distance: 4.0 miles
Elevation Change: 967 feet
If you want a closer look at the Grand Staircase we mention above, then hike this trail to the Hat Shop — balanced-rock hoodoos cluster along the trail’s edge which are topped by grey boulders.
This hike begins by descending into the canyon for 2 miles, and then climbing back out when you reach the Under-the-Rim backcountry Trail.
Looking to camp? This trail is how you get to the backcountry camping sites, just be sure to first grab a permit from the park.
SHEEP CREEK AND SWAMP CANYON LOOP
Distance: 4.5 miles
Elevation Change: 892 feet
Sheep Creek is another option for hiking the forested part of the canyon, but without the elevation change of the hike above. In order to get the hardest part over with, take the loop counter clockwise. It’s not the “quintessential” Bryce hike, but it’s a lovely hike for avoiding the crowds and seeing some wildlife.
RIGGS SPRING LOOP TRAIL
Distance: 8.6 miles
Elevation Change: 1,853 feet
Again, this backcountry trail is on the Southern part of the park, featuring rock formations and forestry you won’t see along the rim. You’ll want to get a permit from the park, as you’re likely hiking this as part of an overnight hiking adventure rather than a day hike.
Bring your own water or a water filter, as the river access at the halfway point is not potable.
BRYCE CANYON HIKING FAQ
What are the can’t-miss hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park?
If you have limited time at Bryce Canyon National Park, there are a couple of hikes you don’t want to miss. The Queen’s Garden/Navajo Loop and the Bryce Rim Trail are two hikes that are popular for good reason, and you won’t want to miss them!
What is the hardest hike in Bryce Canyon?
The Fairyland Loop is the toughest day hike in Bryce Canyon because it is the longest and most strenuous. With that said, it’s amazing and our kids were able to do it with us. We are so glad we made time for this one.
Do you need bear spray at Bryce Canyon National Park?
There are black bears at Bryce Canyon, but it’s pretty rare to see one u002du002d especially on the popular trails. However, it’s always a good idea to carry bear spray with you on the backcountry trails.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO UTAH
- YOUR UTAH VACATION
- KANAB: 12 Mind-Blowing Things To Do In Kanab (Plus Day Trips)
- PARK CITY: Your “Things to Do in Park City” Family Fun Itinerary
- HYATT CENTRIC PARK CITY: Your “Ski With Kids” Logistical Treasure
- UTAH NATIONAL PARKS: Plan a Breathtaking Trip to See the Utah National Parks
WHERE TO STAY NEAR BRYCE NPS
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