Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah – The Complete Guide

Who I am
Elia Tabuenca García
Author and references

Bryce Canyon is a full plate for lovers of adventure and outdoor activities. Its area offers different options of trails and viewpoints with unbelievable views. The sunset, then, is beautiful. Find out all about the park here.

O Bryce Canyon National Park is located in the state of Utah in the western United States. The park is home to surprising scenarios, mainly carried out by hoodoos, irregular rocks formed by the effect of nature.

From the Bryce viewpoints, along the extensive amphitheatres, you can see a red sea formed by these rocky columns. They are also called spiers or fairy chimneys, which come in a variety of sizes and shades. It is there, on the Colorado Plateau, the region in which the park is located, that the largest concentration of hoodoos on the planet is located.

And if you're as curious as I am, you'll love to know that this art is a natural phenomenon caused by water. This is due to a process of freezing and thawing, which takes place throughout the year. The snow penetrates the cracks and begins to form the fissures that naturally carve the stones. And when the sun's rays invade these cracks – and give the landscape an orange glow, what you see is a contrast of colors and textures so intense that it's impossible not to connect with nature.

The view alone is worth all the “effort” to get there. pure poetry.

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Panoramic View of Bryce Canyon National Park | Travel tips

Stories and Legends of the Bryce Canyon Region

The stories of Bryce Canyon say that the region was formerly occupied by the Paiute Indians. They explored the Paunsaugunt Plateau for hunting and for growing food. It is from them that the legend around the hoodoos was born. The rock formations were nothing more than people who had been turned into stones by the hands of a vengeful god, who punished all those who were considered “evil”.  

It was only after 1850 that the region began to be occupied by researchers. Most were Mormons, who sought fertile ground for agriculture and animal husbandry. One of these Mormon settlers was Ebenezer Bryce, who settled in the area in the late XNUMXth century. He contributed greatly to the development of the region. Therefore, that space began to be called “Bryce Canyon”, giving rise to the name of the park.

Enjoying the view of this amazing place! | Travel tips

Now let's take all your doubts and what you need to know to visit Bryce Canyon - schedules, how to get there, parking, where to stay and much more:

How to get to Bryce Canyon

By car:

Bryce Canyon is located between Scenic Byway 12 and UT-63. Its area is about 420 km from Las Vegas and 400 from Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah. My script was from Kanab (Utah). From there to Bryce Canyon, I drove about an hour through the natural settings that make up the view from Highway 89..

Very good road to drive, without potholes, without tolls, with most of it in two lanes and everything very well signposted. Then, there were a few more kilometers driven alongside the canyons of the famous Scenic Byway 12.

But if you want more details, on the Park's website you have access to routes from different points on the map. It is worth mentioning that there are several gas stations along the route. In addition, an important tip for anyone traveling between US states is to always keep an eye on the time zone. The time can change only when crossing a border. For example, when I crossed from Utah to Nevada, I gained an hour on the clock.

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By bus:

If you don't have a car, one way to visit Bryce Canyon is with companies that offer tours to US national parks. From Las Vegas, there are plenty of options, including day trips. In this link you can find a good list.

By airplane:

The major airports near Bryce Canyon are Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. There are closer options at smaller airports such as Cedar City and St. George, both in Utah. Anyway, to get to the park you will need to take a good stretch of road. And it's really worth taking the car journey from Vegas, the roads are scenic, and you can even combine a visit to Bryce Canyon with other parks that exist along the way, or close to it.    

What to Pack for Bryce Canyon

The rule is clear! To visit Bryce Canyon, you cannot miss two essentials for hiking in the sun: water and sunscreen. If you want to protect yourself even more, it's worth bringing a cap or hat and a change of clothes and accessories with UV protection.

Taking care of food is also important, as you will spend a lot of energy. It doesn't hurt to have a good breakfast and put some cereal bars and fruit in your backpack. Not to mention that these items don't weigh anything. Oh and don't forget your camera, I'm sure you will take beautiful pictures. 

Don't forget the camera to take beautiful photos | Travel tips

How does Bryce Canyon work?

Business Hours: 

Bryce Canyon is open 24 hours a day, all year round except Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving. What do change are the Visitor Center hours, which vary according to the season. From May to September – in summer – the visitor center is open from 8 am to 20 pm. In October and April, it remains open from 8 am to 18 pm. In winter, between the months of November to March, the hours are from 8 am to 16:30 pm. During the cold, it is also possible that the roads remain temporarily closed due to snowstorms. 

Transport within the Bryce Canyon:

Bryce Canyon not only has a free transportation system, it encourages its use. It is a way of contributing to the reduction of the number of vehicles circulating inside the park, with the purpose of preserving the natural space and not polluting the air.

The bus (shuttle) takes visitors to the main trails and viewpoints. But riding the shuttle is not mandatory, as it does not cover the entire park. Therefore, the areas can also be accessed by private vehicles.

Shuttle opening hours:

In the summer between May and September the shuttle remains active longer, running from 8 am to 20 pm. In October and between the months of April and May the opening hours are reduced from 8 am to 18 pm. On the Park's official website you can check all the routes and possible changes in timetables throughout the year.

Parking inside Bryce Canyon:

The main car park is located outside the park. You can park and take the shuttle at the station next to Ruby's Inn, located on the left side of the road, before the entrance to the park or Ruby's Campground. In addition, there are small parking lots at each point, but this option is not always advisable because in high season or on weekends, the parking lots are full. 

How much and where to buy Bryce Canyon tickets 

Tickets, as well as annual passes, can be purchased at the entrance to Bryce Canyon. Keep an eye on the Park's official website for possible price changes.

There are different ticket options to enter Bryce Canyon. For those on foot or by bike, the price is $20 per person (those who are 15 years old or younger do not pay admission). Per vehicle, the value is $35 with admission for all passengers included. There is also a $30 motorcycle fee for one or two passengers. All these tickets give you access to the park for seven consecutive days and include unlimited use of the shuttle.

If you are planning to visit other National Parks in the region, my tip to save all the tickets is to buy the American National Parks Annual Pass. The fee is $80 and allows the pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single private vehicle to enter federally operated recreation sites across the country, more than 2000 locations. It's a great economy, and you can buy it online, on the official website here

When is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon

To be precise, my visit to the park was on the 28th of September, at the turn of the season, from summer to autumn. I was right there on the edge, since all the places I looked indicated that the best time to visit the park is between June and September in summer. In the other months, the temperature drops considerably and remains below zero, especially in January.  

How many days to stay at Bryce Canyon

It is possible to experience different attractions at Bryce Canyon in just one day. You can combine several itineraries, starting with the sunrise that can be seen in the Sunrise Point and close the day with the sunset at Sunset Point or Inspiration Point – where I most recommend. All this alternating horseback riding, visits to viewpoints and a lunch break.

Sunset Point | Travel tips

What to do in Bryce Canyon – 3 tips for your itinerary 

Before starting to explore the Park, the first thing that should be done when arriving at Bryce Canyon – as in any other park – is to go straight to the Visitor Center. There, you get maps and directions for all possible activities.

1) Hike the trails of Bryce Canyon 

The trail we took was the Queens Garden what together with The Navajo Loop Trail – one of Bryce's most popular. The map indicated that the journey could be completed in two to three hours, but I did it easily in less than two.

I chose to do the trail clockwise, to follow the guidance of one of the park's guides. To be honest, I don't know if it would make much difference. What I can say is that this is a quiet trail with shady spots along the way, due to the rocks and some trees. It is beautiful, as it extends through the hoodoos and canyons that form memorable views. The only tense point is at the end of the trail, where you take a very heavy zigzag climb. Even with that, it is worth putting the Queens Garden e The Navajo Loop in the script.

The Navajo Loop Trail – Our Chosen

Look at this look at The Navajo Loop Trail | Travel tips

Bryce Canyon also offers other trail options, including the Riggs Spring Loop – one of the most extensive. THE Under-the-Rim Trail – covering the area of Rainbow Point ao Bryce Point. It is on this path that you can find the Natural Bridge – It is a very famous tourist spot – it is a junction of rocks that form an arch, like a bridge. You can see well from the Natural Bridge viewpoint. 

To discover all the Bryce Canyon trails click here  – the trails are divided by degree of difficulty.

One of the most famous spots – the Natural Bridge | Travel tips

2) Visit the Bryce Canyon viewpoints with incredible views

On my way back from lunch, I made the itinerary of the viewpoints – there are more than 13 throughout the trip. I started with the last one, the Rainbow Point and followed to the Inspiration Point, where I stayed to watch the sunset. The view from there is definitely privileged. Not to mention the natural spectacle formed by the red sky over the natural amphitheaters. Unforgettable! 

All this is part of an area called Bryce Amphitheatre – the most visited region of Bryce Canyon. This is where the main attractions are located, such as the most popular trails and viewpoints. This large hoodoos amphitheater is crossed by a road called Highway 63, which offers wonderful views along the way.

The viewpoints I visited are part of the 18-mile Scenic Drive – a super accessible highway, with parking lots and restrooms. A hint: the points are located on the left side of the road, so the option of taking the route from the end to the beginning is much better. But there's no need to follow any order, each stop offers a different point of view of the landscapes.

In addition to the ones I described above, there are still other viewpoints, each with a unique view: Fairyland Point, Bryce Point, Farview Point, Piracy Point, Sunrise Point and Sunset Point – for those looking for privileged points for sunrise and sunset. The Black Birch Canyon, Ponderosa Canyon and Agua Canyon. To know all the places, trails and viewpoints check out the region map here

Sunset Point | Travel tips

3) Experience Bryce Canyon in a different way

It wasn't what I chose to do, but a different way to get to know Bryce Canyon is in upon a horse or a mule –  It's pretty cool and it's worth it for those who don't have a good physical preparation. 

Yes, in Bryce Canyon itself you will find companies that offer this type of tour, which can be done in the morning or in the afternoon, lasting 2 or 3 hours, depending on the route you choose. Regardless of the weather, cowboy-guides lead the tour by telling local stories and introducing the geology of Bryce Canyon.     

The company that operates the Bryce is this one, and you can make your reservation online. But it is also possible to hire there on the spot, just go to the Bryce Canyon Lodge or inquire at the Visitor Center. Be aware that this service is only available between the 1st of April and the 31st of October.

Take a look at this video and start dreaming about this super different Trip!

Onde comer no Bryce Canyon 

At Bryce Canyon there are very few restaurant options, I chose to eat outside the park. To celebrate my visit to the United States, I went for a hamburger, had ice cream and took the opportunity to get to know the city. A good option is the Bryce Canyon Pines Restaurant (Highway 12 mile marker 10) 

Where to stay in Bryce Canyon

Defining the place where you stay via depends on your travel itinerary. Mine involved the city of Kanab (Utah) which is an hour and a half drive from Bryce Canyon. There are other options for nearby cities besides the city of Bryce Canyon, as it has few accommodation options.

On the map below are some options besides Kanab. For example Tropic – 13 minutes by car, Panguitch and Hatch which are just 30 minutes away. Other cities a little further away such as Cedar City is 1h30 away and Duck Creek Village 50 minutes from the Park, are some options.

There is also the option of staying inside Bryce Canyon – there is space for tents and trailers. But beware, there are some rules and limits for staying there. When in doubt, visit the official website to learn about the possibilities and find out about the values.  

We chose for you 3 great options where to stay in Bryce Canyon:

The Hills Apartamento – Tropic

O The Hills is a 15-minute drive from Bryce Canyon. With wi-fi, parking, TV, full kitchen, air conditioning and views of the mountains.


Best Western PLUS Bryce Canyon – Bryce Canyon

The Best Western Bryce Canyon is located a 10-minute drive from Bryce Canyon. Offers breakfast, in-room coffeemakers, microwaves, refrigerators, and flat-screen TVs. The hotel also offers an on-site gym with an outdoor pool, Wi-Fi and laundry facilities.



Bryce Valley Lodging Chalé – Tropic

These charming Bryce Valley Lodging cottages with great value for money are 15 minutes from Bryce Canyon. All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen cable TV, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, microwave, fridge and tea and coffee making facilities. Parking is also included in the daily rate.


Did you like our tips? Tell us about your experience in the comments. 

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