Bryce Canyon Hikes – Top 12 Bryce Canyon Hikes You Shouldn’t Miss!

Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its spectacular beauty and a dozen of amazing hikes. The most prominent feature of this huge National Park is the Bryce Canyon, which is not actually a canyon. It is instead a series of giant amphitheaters which somehow developed naturally over time.

Bryce is uniquely identified for the geological formation of hoodoos, which are formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of sedimentary rock. Rocks in the park have a striking combination of red, orange, and white colors.

If you’re wondering “How many hikes are in Bryce Canyon National Park?” here’s the answer. There are a total of 16 hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park, offering different levels of difficulty and elevation gains.

Bryce Canyon National Park has dramatic scenery that attracts hikers. From Sunrise or Sunset Points, you can enjoy the view of the main amphitheater and see the trails winding through the canyon, surrounded by a bowl of glowing orange and gold hoodoos. In the fairyland forest of towering hoodoos, hard-packed paths wind their way along ridges. Surrounded by the magnificent stone formations are numerous pine trees which are dwarfed by the stone formations. Other than all this, there’s a lot more to see in Bryce Canyon.

What to See in Bryce Canyon?

Well, there’s a lot to see in Bryce Canyon. Plenty of hikes to explore and the spectacular views of sunrise and sunset are all worth it!

You can see Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos, spires, and sandstone fins best by hiking through the park. With so many trails interconnected, it is easy to hike for the whole day, without ever leaving the main road. The trails branch off to new discoveries and landmarks all along the way. The trails of Bryce Canyon will not disappoint you, whether you’re on a family outing or setting off on your own.

As a hiker, Bryce Canyon National Park offers many trails that cross over each other and can be connected for a variety of distances and levels of difficulty. These trails can all be combined with short excursions along trails that connect them, such as Navajo Loop, Peekaboo Loop, and Queen’s Garden.

There are plenty of opportunities to explore Bryce Canyon as a hiker, climber, mountain biker, and canyoneering, but the park is best known for its extraordinary viewpoints. Viewing this amazing geology up close and personal is an experience quite unlike any other.

What to See in Bryce Canyon

Tips for Hiking

If you’re planning on a trip to the amazing Bryce Canyon, here are some tips we’d love to give you.

Do Not Miss the Sunrise Views – Starting your day with the stunning views of sunrise is the best way to start your adventure at the Bryce Canyon. The sun spreading its rays all over the hoodoos and shades of orange and gold are a real treat!

Go Hiking Early in the Morning – We recommend you start your hike early in the morning. You’re most energetic and fresh during the early hours of the day so it would be a good start. Also, parking could be really difficult to find if you’re late. If you arrive early, you could park your vehicle easily.

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Wear Sunscreen – Sunscreen is a must. Days could be super-hot sometimes and the direct rays of the sun could really burn or tan your skin. There’s hardly any shade you’ll find in Bryce Canyon and so, protection is important. Do wear sunscreen and sunglasses.

Carry Along Water – You could get really thirsty while hiking through the canyon. Do not forget to carry plenty of water with you even if you’re sure the weather would be fine, and you won’t really need much water. Because you definitely will need water to drink.

Wear Hiking Boots – You should definitely wear hiking boots on a hike to Bryce Canyon. No doubt, the trails are pretty much well-maintained but still, the uneven surface, rocks, and untextured soil could be a hurdle. So, wear proper boots.

Prepare Accordingly with the Temperature – The weather changes unexpectedly in Bryce Canyon. Go prepared for extreme heat, thunderstorms, and chilly days too. So, do check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. Also, carry along some clothes if the weather seems doubtful.

Below the Rim Are the Best Views – We strongly advise going beneath the rim of Bryce to experience the best hiking. There’s nothing like seeing the hoodoos towering over you from the valley floor. Think the lookouts above the canyon provide the best views? Think again. Because you might be wrong.

What to Pack for the Best Hike in Bryce Canyon?

To make your hiking a memorable experience, you must go prepared with all the essentials with you. Here are a few things you must pack for your hiking trip in Bryce Canyon.

  1. An extra pair of clothes
  2. Hiking boots
  3. Re-useable water bottle
  4. Trekking Poles
  5. Icebreaker Base Layer
  6. Yaktrax

What to Pack for the Best Hike in Bryce Canyon

1. An Extra Pair of Clothes

While you’re going for a hike, make sure you have an extra pair of clothing in your backpack. It should include a pant, a shirt, a jacket or sweater and a pair of socks as well. You might not need to change if the weather conditions go in your favor, but it is always better to go prepared.

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2. Hiking Boots

If you’d be driving from far to Bryce Canyon, you might not want to wear hiking boots during the drive. And that’s fine. But make sure you carry them with you. Because hiking won’t be a nice experience if you’re not prepared accordingly.

3. Re-Useable Water Bottles

Make sure you carry along with re-useable water bottles and plenty of water with you. Avoid using plastic bottles and throwing them there. When you’ll have re-useable water bottles, you’ll know you don’t have to throw them away!

4. Trekking Poles

When you’re packing stuff for your hiking trip, do pack the trekking poles as well. They are a hiking essential you’ll definitely need. They provide a great balance and protect your knees whether you’re hiking up the hill or walking back down the steep hills.

5. Icebreaker Base Layer

For a hiking trip in winter, you’ll definitely have to deal with a lot of snow everywhere. If you’re not wearing an icebreaker base layer, do pack it in your backpack. They’ll keep you warm throughout your trip.

6. Yaktrax

Again, in winters, it would be impossible to walk through the trails due to excessive snow. So, make sure to pack a pair of Yaktrax if you’re planning a hiking trip to Bryce Canyon in winter.

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Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is great because it has so much to offer from the easy flat trails along the rim to the epic adventures within. You can hike virtually every one of them in just a few days if you’re a big hiker! Let’s dive into the 12 best hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park

  1. Rim Trail
  2. Queen’s Garden Trail
  3. Navajo Trail
  4. Queen’s/Navajo Combination Loop
  5. Mossy Cave Trail
  6. Fairyland Loop
  7. Sheep Creek/ Swamp Canyon
  8. Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail
  9. Bristlecone Loop
  10. Tower Bridge
  11. Hat Shop
  12. Sunset Point to Sunrise Point

1. RIM TRAIL

About – A Bryce Canyon adventure is not complete without sweeping views of the hoodoos, so do not skip the Rim Trail. As the path descends from the top of the amphitheater to the Rim trail, there are amazing views everywhere you turn.

This trail traverses around Bryce Amphitheater’s rim for 11 miles roundtrip, offering views of the Park’s famous landmarks: slot canyons, fins, and hoodoos. We would recommend Rim Trail should be your first choice if you have only time for one trail.

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park - RIM TRAIL

With your park admission fee, you’ll have access to the Rim Trail. Even though it is an easy trail, still, do bring plenty of water and sturdy hiking shoes. The Rim Trail is also accessible from several shuttle stops, depending on where you wish to hike.

  • Distance – 5 and a half miles
  • Elevation – 1754 feet
  • Difficulty – Easy to Moderate
  • Hiking Time – 3 to 4 hours
  • Trailhead – Fairyland Point or Bryce Point

2. QUEEN’S GARDEN TRAIL

About – There are lots of hoodoos on the Queens Garden Trail, which is also an under-rim trail with absolutely stunning views. It descends straight into the canyon, and with every step, you get closer to the breathtaking scenery. With a steep downhill followed by some flat hiking, however, it is the easiest trail into the Canyon. The return trip is almost entirely uphill, but it’s not too difficult or steep.

Queens Garden Trail, Bryce Canyon Park

The trial concludes with a collection of hoodoos including one that appears to show Queen Victoria on her throne and is the main reason behind the trial named ‘Queen’s Garden Trail‘. Also, as you move down further, below some trees, there are some logs that have been placed handily to provide a shady vantage point for taking in the scenery.

  • Distance – About 1.8 miles
  • Elevation – 357 feet
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Hiking Time – Around 1 hour
  • Trailhead – Sunrise Point

3. NAVAJO TRAIL

About – While you walk through the amphitheater and through the Navajo Trail below Sunset Point, you will see multi-hued hoodoos rising up all around you. In general, the two hikes are similar, except that the Navajo hike has a higher grade and more elevation gain. This out-and-back trail is similar to Queen’s Garden in also that it requires a steep climb back to reach Sunset Point.

Navajo Loop Trailhead

Those looking for a challenging hike can take advantage of the Navajo Trail. It would definitely be an excellent choice for them. You’ll also find popular hoodoos along the way, including Thor’s Hammer. You’ll find plenty of people on this trail section, as it is one of the most popular and hence, busiest in Bryce Canyon. Try hiking this trail as soon as sunrise begins to avoid the crowds.

This trail also includes ‘Wall Street’. This narrow path has zigzags that lead from the canyon rim to its bottom. There are no crowds at the end of Wall Street, which means that most people miss out on some of the most dramatic parts of the trail, including the short but dramatic slot canyon and another series of zig-zags on the way back up. We recommend you not to miss out on the famous Wall Street.

  • Distance – About 1.3 miles
  • Elevation – 550 feet
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Hiking Time – Almost 1 hour
  • Trailhead – Sunset Point

4. QUEEN’S/NAVAJO COMBINATION LOOP

About – Among the most popular hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park, the Queen’s Garden-Navajo Loop combination runs through the park’s most spectacular section. It begins by taking in spectacular views from the rim, then descends along the ridges into the canyon, and follows hoodoo-shrouded paths.

QUEEN’SNAVAJO COMBINATION LOOP

If possible, begin your hike at Sunrise Point or Sunset Point and work your way clockwise. Sunrise Point leads to the Queen’s Garden trail, which winds down the canyon with stunning views around every bend. The trail then merges with Navajo Loop and begins ascending gradually.

Sunset Point can be reached via two trails at the end of Navajo Loop; Wall Street is the most popular, while Two Bridges is the second possibility. In both cases, the climb continues with switchbacks, resulting in rapid elevation gain.

  • Distance – 2.9 miles
  • Elevation – 600 feet
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Hiking Time – 2 hours
  • Trailhead – Sunrise Point

5. MOSSY CAVE TRAIL

About – There is technically a cave at the end of this hike, but it’s more of a moist overhanging shelf. There is something beautiful about this easy trail with its waterfall and river running through the hoodoo-covered hills.

The path follows the river for most of the way and crosses a bridge at one point before ascending to the mossy cave. There also comes is a split at one point along the way. An overlook with a view of the falls and river is to the right of the cave and on the left is the cave itself.

MOSSY CAVE TRAIL

If you visit here in winter, you’ll experience a true winter wonderland here that we bet you wouldn’t have seen before. You’ll see icicles hanging everywhere with some breathtaking views along the way.

  • Distance – About 0.8 miles
  • Elevation – 200 feet
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Hiking Time – 30 minutes only
  • Trailhead – Highway 12, 4 miles East

6. FAIRYLAND LOOP

About – As the trail descends into the canyon, amazing views begin to unfold, and the awe-inspiring panoramas seem to get more stunning as the trails progress. Countless hoodoos will be visible as you descend into the canyon. There are a number of quiet trails in Bryce Canyon, especially the Fairyland Loop. The reason for this may be partly because it is the longest trail in addition to the Rim Trail.

FAIRYLAND LOOP

Fairyland Point marks the beginning of the trail, which descends rapidly to the canyon floor. You’ll see spectacular views as you climb and descend steeply. There are many ups and downs on the trail, but there are also plenty of flat sections, so you’re never climbing for too long periods of time. Enjoy views of the Chinese Wall at the end of your hike and then continue your hike back along the Rim Trail.

  • Distance – Almost 8.0 miles
  • Elevation – 1716 feet
  • Difficulty Level – Tough
  • Hiking Time – 4 to 5 hours
  • Trailhead – Fairyland Point

7. SHEEP CREEK/ SWAMP CANYON

About – This trail is located further on the Southern side of the park, away from Bryce Amphitheater and the crowds. Despite the difficulty of this trail, it still provides views of extraordinary rock formations. For those looking to experience Bryce Canyon backpacking without the crowds, the Swamp Canyon trail is the perfect option.

Starting from Swamp Canyon Overlook, this trail is moderately difficult and is connected to the Under-the-Rim backpacking trail, forming a loop.

SHEEP CREEK SWAMP CANYON

Hiking this trail should be done in a clockwise direction. The trail passes through some steep stretches, often in solitude. We recommend you hike this trail in an out-and-back fashion rather than a loop.

Rather than hiking through meadows near the road, enjoy the spectacular canyon views instead. Travel counterclockwise for approximately 2.5 miles before turning around. The scenery will be great, and you’ll avoid that boring stretch of road as well.

  • Distance – About 4.0 miles
  • Elevation – 647 feet
  • Difficulty Level – Moderate
  • Hiking Time – Around 3 hours
  • Trailhead – Swamp Canyon

8. PEEK-A-BOO LOOP TRAIL

About – Peekaboo Loop can only be accessed by either the Queens Garden Trail or the Navajo Loop, so you need to include those distances in your hike. As you leave the Navajo or Queens Garden Trail, you’ll find yourself ascending a sand track and entering some of Bryce Canyon’s most impressive scenery. The most magical area of the park if you ask us.

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park - PEEK-A-BOO LOOP TRAIL

Everyone’s favorite is the Peekaboo Loop Trail. While the hike is longer than most of the others among the hoodoos, it’s a good way to see Bryce Canyon without being overwhelmed by the traffic of the Navajo Trail.

The ‘Wall of Windows is one of the many spectacular views along this steep trail. Along the park’s scenic drive, Bryce Point is a pretty much popular viewpoint along this trail. The trail descends along the canyon floor in a quick clockwise direction from this point. Following the winding path through the amphitheater, you’ll have to climb 1,500 feet back up to Bryce Point.

  • Distance – About 5.5 miles
  • Elevation – 1571 feet
  • Difficulty Level – Hard
  • Hiking Time – Around 3 to 4 hours
  • Trailhead – Bryce Point

9. BRISTLECONE LOOP

About – It is unusual to see bristlecone pine trees in this area of Utah, but this hike gives you the opportunity to see the beauty of these ancient trees, which are some 1,800 years old. There are blue spruce, Douglas fir, and white fir trees along the trail, and there are incredible views of the canyon as well. There may also be birds and other wildlife to observe. So, you’ve got a lot to see and love about this Trail.

BRISTLECONE LOOP

Located at the highest point in the park, Rainbow Point, the hike to Bristlecone Pines begins at the south end of the park. There can be a difference in temperature here and snow usually lingers longer than in other parts of the park. For this reason, in the winter and early spring, this hike may not be accessible.

  • Distance – 1.0 miles only
  • Elevation – 200 feet
  • Difficulty Level – Easy
  • Hiking Time – About half an hour
  • Trailhead – Rainbow Point

10. TOWER BRIDGE

About – Under the rim of Tower Bridge is an impressive rock formation. The trail follows the Fairyland trail for a short segment, before veering off to the spectacular Stone Bridge. Sunrise Point marks the beginning of the trail, which snakes down into the canyon to offer beautiful scenery among the hoodoos and Bristlecone Pines.

Bryce Canyon Tower Bridge Trail

Tower Bridge is a round-trip trail that passes landmarks including the Chinese Wall. The longer Fairyland Loop Trail also offers views of the Tower Bridge. There are several trails leading directly to Tower Bridge that are a great alternative to the longer hike starting at Fairyland Point.

So, you may also consider this track through Fairyland Point. This three-mile hike passes through hoodoos and an interesting stone wall called the Chinese Wall, while bristlecone pines can be seen along the way.

  • Distance – About 3.0 miles
  • Elevation – 802 feet
  • Difficulty Level – Moderate
  • Hiking Time – About 2-3 hours
  • Trailhead – Sunrise Point

11. HAT SHOP

About – A hike like this would be great anywhere else in the world, but in Bryce, it is only good. It is not as spectacular as the other trails that are below the rim, although there are some spectacular views and rock formations.

Hiking the Hat Shop Trail Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

During the hike, there are precariously perched white rocks perched on top of hoodoos that give the Hat Shop its name. Past the hoodoo formations, the trail descends dramatically into the canyon. The return trip is clearly visible 1,000 feet up when you turn around at the bottom.

In each direction, you’ll see different views of the Canyon from different points. You may also want to stop along the way to see some amazing views of the Kaiparowits Plateau and Paria River Valley.

It is a challenging, steep trail that is rough on the knees. Considering how much better the other hikes are, we wouldn’t suggest this hike for your first trip to Bryce Canyon. However, it is perfect for visitors who are returning to Bryce Canyon for the third or fourth time.

  • Distance – About 4.0 miles
  • Elevation – 1,075 feet
  • Difficulty Level – Hard
  • Hiking Time – 3-4 hours
  • Trailhead – Bryce Point

12. SUNSET POINT TO SUNRISE POINT

About – The place to go for a quick, easy walk in the park if you have limited time. Part of the Rim Trail, this paved walking path stretches along the canyon’s top and overlooks the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater and one of Utah’s most stunning scenic vistas.

The walls and floor of the canyon are covered in burnt orange and cream banded hoodoos, with distant mountains visible in the background. The Navajo Mountain, 80 miles away, can be seen on a clear day.

SUNSET POINT TO SUNRISE POINT

Through this trail, Navajo Loop Trail is to the right, and Queen’s Garden Trail is to the left. From this trail, you can also see sections of the Queen’s Garden trail that wind along ridges. There is plenty of room for great photo opportunities on this half-mile stroll.

  • Distance – 1.0 miles only
  • Elevation – 34 feet
  • Difficulty Level – Easy
  • Hiking Time – Half an hour
  • Trailhead – Sunset Point Parking Lot

To read a little more about the types of trails, you may visit here.

Is hiking in Bryce canyon difficult?

There are many trails in Bryce Canyon, offering all levels of difficulty of hiking. Many of these trails are pretty easy to hike, while some are moderate, and some are actually difficult to hike and require a person to be a professional hiker. Depending upon how good and experienced a hiker you are, you can choose a hiking trail accordingly.

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Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon

Based on our personal research May through September are the best months to visit Bryce Canyon. The temperature remains moderate with a few chilly nights. We would recommend you avoid extremely hot summer days as well as extremely cold winter days for a pleasant trip to Bryce Canyon.

Here’s an idea of how Bryce Canyon’s weather is during different seasons. If you’re planning your trip, plan accordingly.

Summer – Summers are usually great for hiking in Bryce Canyon until and unless it’s extremely hot. Remember that summer rains are a common thing during July, and you might be exposed to lightning. There could also be heat thunders. So, if you think you’re near to experiencing one, get back to your car.

Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon

Winter – Winters get extremely cold in Bryce Canyon. Temperature falls below 0 degrees and cannot even imagine the intensity of cold. Snow usually starts as early as October and adds heavenly views to the Bryce Canyon but at the same time, makes the hiking way too difficult.

Fall – High-elevation areas like Panguitch Lake and Boulder Mountain typically see their fall colors peak from mid-September through early October. Overall, the Fall months are pretty much pleasant in Bryce Canyon.

Spring – Spring is also chilly and cold, much like early winters. So, the spring months aren’t moderately warm, rather they’re on the colder side because snow is expected from March through April in Bryce Canyon.

Does it Snow in Bryce Canyon?

Yes. Winters could be extremely cold and snowy with temperatures falling as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though March is typically the snowiest month, snowstorms can occur from October to April.

Is Bryce Canyon Worth Visiting?

Definitely yes. Bryce Canyon feels like a completely different world when you’re standing in there, somewhere between the huge hoodoos, covered in red, orange, and gold shades, giving you vibes of a naturally made amphitheater. The sunrise and sunset views make you want to live there forever and enjoy the spectacular beauty of nature.

The amazing hiking trails, further, provide you with the best scenery and landscape views and make Bryce Canyon worth exploring!

Bryce Canyon Hikes – Final Sey

Bryce Canyon has some of the best and most popular hikes in North America, it is no exaggeration. That is quite something for a small park, and Bryce Canyon has it all. If you’re a hiking freak and love to experience different hikes, Bryce Canyon is your place to go!

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