Utah’s five national parks all offer gorgeous views of Southern Utah’s red rock landscape. But the hoodoos and rock formations that fill the canyon make Bryce a can’t miss experience! Bryce Canyon’s many hikes offer the best opportunity to view these spectacular natural formations. To help you decide which trails to take, we’ve compiled this list.
What is the best hike in Bryce Canyon?
Navajo Loop Trail
By far the most popular Bryce Canyon hike is the Navajo Loop Trail. Although this is a short hike, it tops the list because of its accessibility and beauty. The 1.4 mile trail winds up and down the canyon free of obstacles, making it very family-friendly.
The biggest reason the loop is so popular is because of the stunning views it offers of the craggy hoodoos, both from the rim and floor of the canyon. The hike begins on the rim at Sunset Point, and then slowly takes you down into the canyon itself. Some of the best views in the park can be seen from the upper part of the trail, as it overlooks the entire canyon before you hike down into it.
Once in the canyon, you will see some most popular formations in the park: Twin Bridges, Thor’s Hammer, and Wall Street. And if you are looking to see more of these cool craggy rock structures, you can easily combine the Navajo Loop Trail with the Queen’s Garden. That turns this hike into a 3-miler, and gives you an intricate look at the formation that resembles Queen Victoria.
What Other Hikes Should I Do?
Fairyland Loop Trail
Another favorite Bryce Canyon trail is the 8-mile long Fairyland Loop Trail. Much longer than the Navajo Loop, this trail also offers both breathtaking views of the whole canyon from the rim and the individual hoodoos down below. Because of the change in elevation along the loop (2,300 feet), parts of the trail offer unique eye-level views of the formations that you can’t find on most other hikes. If you enjoy longer or more strenuous hikes, this is a must-do!
Peekaboo Loop Trail
About 2.5 miles shorter than the Fairyland Trail, this moderate trail is a great option for a day hike. Unlike many other Bryce Canyon hikes with a sudden, drastic elevation change, the Peekaboo Loop Trail alternates between climbs and then walking downhill as you descend and ascend back out of the canyon, so it can be a bit of a workout. However, the views make it well worth it!
Named for the natural arches you can peek through as you walk, this hike winds between an incredible variety of hoodoos and other rock formations throughout the journey. Not only that, but it will also take you by some popular formations: The Hindu Temples, the Wall of Windows, and the Cathedral. Bryce Canyon’s varied and stunning natural beauty is on full display on the Peekaboo Loop Trail.
Sunrise Point to Sunset Point
And don’t worry if longer hikes aren’t your thing. The most iconic views can be seen on the shortest Bryce Canyon hike, the trail from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point. Part of the paved rim trail, it’s great if you are short on time or just want to get the best views of the canyon from above. At .5 miles, it’s accessible to everyone, so you can enjoy the beauty with both young kids and grandparents.
One more thing--make sure to bring your camera! This family-friendly trail is one of the best trails for pictures. It offers stunning views of the white and orange hoodoos throughout the canyon, as well as the distant mountains on clear days. There’s no better place to pose for a family photo!
What is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park?
While most visitors view and hike the canyon in the warmer months: April-October, many of the hikes listed here can also be done in the winter.
If you are willing to hike in a coat and hat, the striking contrast between the white snow and the red hoodoos and canyon walls makes winter hiking well worth the colder weather.
Where should I stay at Bryce Canyon National Park?
Despite the relative remoteness of Bryce Canyon, there are many options for lodging nearby.
If your family prefers traditional lodging, The Lodge at Bryce Canyon, Best Western PLUS Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel, and the Bryce View Lodge are just some of the many great hotel choices. The Lodge is the only one in the park itself, but the others are within a mile or two of Bryce and on the park’s shuttle route.
If camping is more your thing, there are many options as well. The park offers two campgrounds with around 100 campsites each--the North Campground and the Sunset Campground. The North Campground is on a first-come, first-serve basis, but the Sunset Campground will take reservations during the summer if you want to plan in advance.
And if you want something in-between tradition camping and paying for a nice hotel room, a yurt could be just your thing! A large tent-like structure, a yurt offers most modern conveniences like a queen bed, fan, refrigerator, and sometimes even cable tv. Many of the yurts are as close as 25 minutes to the park.
For those who are more adventurous, backcountry camping could be a great idea. If you are planning a backpacking trip in the park, you can set up camp without a campsite--just make sure to get a permit from the Visitor Center.
Whether you want to view Bryce Canyon from the rim, or spend multiple days hiking or backpacking in the park, you will be blown away by Bryce’s majestic beauty. So pick the hike that works for you, lace up your boots, and enjoy the best that mother nature has to offer!