Bryce Canyon National Park Things to Do

  • View From Paria Viewpoint
    View From Paria Viewpoint
    by Basaic
  • Paria Amphitheater
    Paria Amphitheater
    by Basaic
  • Sunset Point
    Sunset Point
    by Basaic

Most Recent Things to Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Visitors Center Museum

    by Basaic Written Jan 17, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Museum Displays
    4 more images

    There is a nice museum in the visitors center that shows the geology of the park, the history of the people that lived here, and the animals indigenous to the area. There are also activities aimed at kids here. There was an interesting story about the origin of Bryce Canyon from a Paiute Legend. "Before there were any Indians in the area the Legend People "To-when-an-ung-wa" lived here. They were bad, however, and Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them now; some standing in rows; some sitting down; some holding others. You can see their faces with paint still on them. The name of the place is "Agka-ku-wass-a wits" (Red Painted Faces)."

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Sidetracking

    by goodfish Written Nov 8, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Not having the time or stamina for some of the longer trails doesn't mean you can't explore bits of them. Some one-way or loop trails cross at junctions of others so it's easy to just wander a bit off course to see what's interesting in another direction. Others can be explored as far as you wish: just turn around and retrace your steps if you're tuckered or on a schedule.

    I veer off on intersecting or spur trails all the time - sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident - and find that there's nearly always something well worth the extra steps. That was definitely the case at Bryce!

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Bristlecone Loop

    by goodfish Written Nov 7, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is another easy one just about anyone can do. Bristlecone is a gentle trail at the highest point - 9115 feet - of the park and a loop through fragrant evergreen forest to expansive views of distant mountains, the Aquarius Plateau and the canyon below. Juniper, fir, spruce, Ponderosa and bristlecone pine - one the most ancient organisms on earth - line the path and provide bits of welcome shade on sunny summer days.

    The trail starts at Rainbow Point and is only a mile RT: great for families with young children. Add a little more to your hike by tacking on a short .2 mile walk to nearby Yovimpa Point.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Cruise the Scenic Drive

    by goodfish Updated Nov 7, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bryce Point

    Shuttles (see my transportation tip) are the recommended way to get around Bryce but you can drive 18 miles (one-way) of scenic road to a baker's dozen of panoramic, hoodoo-bristled overlooks. Almost all of them have handicapped parking spaces and ramps so this is a great way for persons with mobility challenges to enjoy a day at the park. You can find a helpful accessibility guide here:

    http://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/upload/Access_Guide_2009_web.pdf

    The drive heads south of visitor center and all of the viewpoints will be on your left - which can make for some frustrating waits to safely turn against traffic. It's easiest to go directly to the furthest points (Rainbow and Yovimpa) and work your way back, making right-hand turns into parking areas. And best to do your sightseeing out of the car: this is a busy road and windshield gawking could get you, or someone you're following, rear-ended. Posted speed limits are also strictly enforced so no lead-footing, OK?

    Viewpoint parking areas can be packed like sardines during high season so patience or hitting the road early is advised. Trailers are not allowed beyond Sunset campgrounds: leave yours at your campsite or at the shuttle staging area.

    Here are a couple of really nice virtual tours you can peek at before you go:

    http://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/virtualtour.htm

    http://www.nps.gov/featurecontent/brca/scenic_drive-final.swf

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Disabilities

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Navajo/Queen's Garden Loop

    by goodfish Written Nov 7, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Queens Garden
    3 more images

    If you have time to do just one hike into the canyon, this is the one. Navajo/Queen's Garden combines two routes into one great 3-miler down among the hoodoos. Starting at Sunset Point, Navajo Trail descends a series of switchbacks 550 feet into a narrow slot called Wall Street. From there it meanders along a dry wash to the junction with Queen's Garden: a whimsical wander around a wonderland of layered pinnacles and otherworldy formations. The trail then climbs 357 feet to Sunrise Point and a mere 1/2 mile rim-ramble back to your starting point.

    This is a really fun one for families and light hikers as you go down rather than up the steepest part, and you get a nice payoff for just a little bit of work. Take lots of water and some snackage for an al fresco lunch beneath the fairy stacks: goofing off is encouraged!

    Either trail can also be done by itself: Navajo as a loop (moderate 1.3 mile) and Queen's Garden (easy 2-mile) as an out-and-back.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Ramble the Rim

    by goodfish Written Nov 7, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Rim ramblin'

    If scrambling among the hoodoos isn't your thing, you can amble 5 and1/2 miles of rim from Fairyland to Bryce Point with three other overlooks in between. It isn't completely flat but not at all difficult- even a couch potato can do it. One 1/2 mile section (Sunrise to Sunset Point) is paved and wheelchair/stroller-friendly, too.

    You don't have to do the whole thing, either. Shuttles stop at four of the five rim-hike overlooks - Bryce, Inspiration, Sunset and Sunrise Points - so by starting and ending at any of these, you can knock off a couple of miles and hop the bus back to your car.

    Click the "View Map" button on the left side of the green bar under the website banner to see where this trail goes and distance between viewpoints.

    Related to:
    • Disabilities
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Good stuff to know before you go

    by goodfish Updated Nov 7, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Here's a little bit of practical info about the park to get you started - otherwise, the NSP website will cover everything you need to know.

    Fees: $25 per vehicle or $12 per bike or motorcycle - good for 7 days
    The park also has a handful of free days where an entrance fee is waived:

    http://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm

    Hours: The park is open 24/7 but the Visitor Center has changing seasonal hours, and some roads will be closed in winter due to snow:

    http://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/hours.htm

    Hotels: Bryce Canyon Lodge is the only accommodation within the park - open April 1 - Nov. 14th:

    http://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/lodging.htm

    The park lodge fills far in advance and rates are steep but a click of "Bryce Canyon County" at the bottom of the lodge page (link above) will give you a host of other options.

    Campgrounds: There are two, open seasonally, with showers, restrooms and coin-op laundry
    Reference the website for more info on fees, services, etc:

    http://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

    Free seasonal shuttle service:

    http://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/shuttle.htm

    Other: The General Store at Sunrise Point (open April 1 - November 14) is run by the lodge and has groceries, restrooms, firewood and a snack bar with pizza, sandwiches, soups, etc. - best option for more inexpensive meals within the park. The only other restaurant (open same dates) is also at the lodge. If you're on a budget, I recommend loading the car with water and picnic items as food within National Parks tends to be on the high side.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Camping

    Was this review helpful?

  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Mossy Cave

    by Segolily Updated Sep 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is an easy trail good for young children as there are not any steep cliffs and the trail is fairly level. It is not otherwise a must do in my opinion though there are some nice hoodoos and arches here as well.

    There is usually a waterfall at the end. This is a man made waterfall and the waterway provides water for the town of Tropic. The building of the channel by early settlers in order to provide a way to live in the valley is a tale of courage and determination.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Take a horse ride

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Another way to get into the hoodoos is to take a horse ride. I haven't done this, though it seems like it would be fun.

    There are several companies which offer rides. The one into the park is operated by the Canyon Trail Rides concessionaire. The rides have an outstanding safety record and are considered one of the best horse rides in southern Utah.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Horse Riding

    Was this review helpful?

  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Rainbow Point and Bristlecone Pine Trail

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    Rainbow Point is the end of the road...also the end of the mountain top. There are expansive views of the surrounding Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Powell Point, the highest elevation in the area and more. There are picnic tables and pithouses. It is a wonderful place to relax.

    The 1 mile Bristlecone pine trail is fairly level and leads along the rim. It is a wonderful way to appreciate more this special place. Taking a walk allows you to listen to the birds, feel the wind on your face, smell the pine, see the rock colors, catch a glimpse of the elusive Bristlecone pine.

    The Bristlecone pine grows in isolated areas, just below tree line where conditions are harsh. They have been found to be over 3,000 years old and are believed to be the longest lived single organism on earth. The one at the end of the trail looks pretty dead, but even then it would still be valuable due to the tree ring record. I saw a few younger ones along the way.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Enjoy the Scenic Drive

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    South of the main amphitheater is the 12 mile scenic drive. This follows the rim of the mountain and does, at times, hug the rim fairly closely. It is a nice drive through the plateau top Pondorosa Pine forest. You can see deer and rabbits, prairie dogs and more. There are several viewpoints all along the way. Since they are on the east side of the road it is easier to drive to the end and stop at them along the way back.

    The most dramatic of the stops is at the Natural Bridge. The ground is much too steep to glimpse this from any other angle, but the viewpoint works just fine.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Take a look at the Visitors Center

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is where you'll get the layout of the park, get all the up to date information on the trail conditions, get your questions about the geology, flowers and prairie dogs answered. It is here that you can get shuttle schedules, sign up for ranger led hikes, get the schedule for ranger talks and astronomy particulars. It is a must do stop.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Hike the Rim Trail

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The 5.5 mile Rim trail goes from the Fairyland trailhead along the rim of the canyon to Bryce Point. If you start at Bryce Point you will be mostly downhill. The most common area to walk is the approximately 2 mile stretch from Sunrise to Inspiration Points. Every step along the way changes the angle and light on the hoodoos and they are magical.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Hike the Navajo to Queen's Garden Loop

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    The best way to see the park besides walking along the rim is to take a hike down into the midst of the hoodoos. My favorite hike down is the Wall Street section of Navajo loop. Sometimes it is closed due to rock fall. But if it is open it is a wonderful slot canyon section of the park where light can make the rocks glow, where trees can grow straight and tall.

    On the other second half of Navajo loop is a natural bridge reaching across the walls.

    To get to Queen's Garden you take the Under the rim trail through Ponderosa Pine and Utah Juniper.

    Then the side trip in to see the Queen sitting on her throne allows more time to speculate on other shapes and forms. Heading up the trail there are plenty of great places to stop and rest. A bridge or two to go under all the while marveling at the yellow and pink, orange and coral colors in the rock.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Look for Hoodoos

    by Segolily Written Sep 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    Hoodoos are fun. They are spires of rock standing up into the sky eroded away into fanciful, intriguing, whimsical, and unusual shapes. At Bryce you get a whole mountainful and they look in some cases like the Qin terrecotta soldiers, or the goblins from fairytales, or lions, or rabbits, or queen's sitting in their gardens.

    The largest area of hoodoos in Bryce is in the Main Amphitheater. This can be seen from the Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce Points. Inspiration has two viewpoints and it is definitely worth it to make the steep slog up to the higher one. It is aptly named, truly inspirational.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Bryce Canyon National Park

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

91 travelers online now

Comments

Bryce Canyon National Park Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Bryce Canyon National Park things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Bryce Canyon National Park sightseeing.

View all Bryce Canyon National Park hotels