Bright orange hoodoos, towering spires, and gorgeous valleys cover this area of southern Utah. We fell in love with this national park on our latest road trip to all 5 Utah national parks. Berty and I were greeted with the most unexpected but beautiful weather during our few days visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, all inclusive with rain, snow, and glowing sunrises!
If you are planning your own trip to Bryce Canyon, we are sharing camping tips, what things to see, and how you can get the most out of this amazing southern Utah gem. We want to share with you how you can plan an adventurous trip out here too!
5 Things To Do At Bryce Canyon National Park
1. Go Camping In The Park
If you are looking for the full-immersion experience in the park, we highly suggest staying at one of Bryce Canyon’s two in-park campgrounds: North Campground and Sunset Campground. Staying here gives you easy access to hiking trails, viewpoints, and a short drive after a long day of hiking. Besides a few RV sites, the North Campground is first come, first served, so arrive early to claim a spot. Sunset Campground allows up to 20 site reservations, but the rest of their 86 sites are first come, first served. North Campground is open all year, while Sunset Campground is open from Mid-May to Mid-October. Once you claim that spot, read this post for easy camping meal ideas for quick food on the go!
Didn’t get a spot in time for your next trip? Read this article that covers 7 campgrounds to stay at near Bryce Canyon National Park.
2. Take A Hike
Bryce Canyon is an accessible place for hikers at every skill level. There are so many hikes to choose from and every trail has its own unique features and things to see. If you are hiking in the summer, make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen/sun protection. There is very little shade in the canyon! During our time in the park, we only had time to hike the Queen’s Garden loop, but here are some suggestions for other hikes:
- Short/Easy Hikes: Rim Trail (from sunrise to sunset point), Queen’s Garden Loop, and Mossy Cave Trail
- Moderate Hikes: Navajo Trail, Swamp Canyon Trail, and Tower Bridge
- Long and/or Difficult Hikes: Fairyland Loop Trail, Riggs Spring Loop Trail, Peek-A-Boo Trail
Other Utah Hikes: 10 Amazing Hikes In Arches National Park
3. Take A Scenic Drive To All The Pullouts
The Bryce Canyon Scenic drive is a 19-mile (38-mile round trip) road with stunning vistas and viewpoints practically around every corner. From the Visitors Center all the way to the end of the road at Rainbow Point, there are thirteen viewpoints and overlooks to easily occupy an entire afternoon.
If you don’t have time to spend the night at Bryce Canyon National Park, but still want to see the park, the scenic drive is a great option for a day tour. Give yourself plenty of time (an entire morning or afternoon at least) and make sure to charge your phone and camera batteries – you’ll be taking tons of pictures!
4. Catch A Sunrise Or Sunset
Catching a sunrise or sunset at Bryce Canyon National Park is an essential activity for any time of the year. Visit the well-named Sunrise and Sunset Point to see the canyon light up in a spectacular way. Both viewpoints are connected by a short 0.5-mile trail and both trails are wheelchair accessible. If you are visiting in the winter months, make sure to dress warmly because mornings in the high desert canyon can get very cold!
Read More: Our Complete Travel Photography Gear List
5. Learn About The History/Geology At The Visitor Center
Discover how Bryce Canyon National Park was formed and is currently being formed at the Visitors Center. Here, you will find that the hoodoos (these towering pinnacles in the park) are not shaped by wind as many would think, but rather by water, ice, and gravity. The constant freezing and thawing of the canyon paired with the inevitable nature of gravity form these spires over time. This is what also makes Bryce Canyon unique in the world!
We had quite the run-in with weather on our last trip to Bryce Canyon. One day it was a snow blizzard with a 15 degree (f) night, and the next day we were sweating on our hike through the hoodoos. Because of this, we learned that you need to be prepared for all kinds of weather when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park. The high elevation of the canyon (or really, it’s just a huge natural amphitheater) creates a cooler environment. If you are planning to take a trip to all 5 Utah national parks, make sure to pack for warm and cold weather climates.
What do you suggest doing at Bryce Canyon National Park? Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
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