Bryce Canyon National Park is an enchanting place full of unique red rock towers (known as hoodoos) and spectacular views. Hiking is a special way to experience the magic of this national park, and this article is here to help you find the best easy hikes in Bryce Canyon!
No matter your age, ability, or skill level, there is a fabulous hike in Bryce Canyon for you. The best easy hikes in Bryce Canyon are Mossy Cave, the Bristlecone Loop, and the Rim Trail. And, if you don’t mind a little challenge, a hike on the Queens Garden Trail will not disappoint!
My name is Ash, and I’m a former park ranger. I think that this park is best seen from the trail, which is why I’m so excited to share the best easy hikes in Bryce Canyon with you. Let’s talk about your hiking options!
What are the Best Easy Hikes in Bryce Canyon?
Bryce Canyon has four awesome easy hikes, each one providing a unique experience to see the gorgeous views that the park is famous for!
The Mossy Cave Trail
The Mossy Cave Trail is a short but unique hike in Bryce Canyon. Several red rock hoodoo formations tower above your head as you follow this trail. The hike travels to a moss-draped alcove with dripping water (the Mossy Cave), but you’ll also find a picturesque waterfall nearby!
This is a great trail to start with if you don’t typically do much hiking. It’s located in the lower elevations of the park, so you won’t feel the fatigue set in as quickly as some other Bryce Canyon trails. If you’re bringing kids, this trail is fun enough to keep them moving at a good pace — and short enough in case they start complaining!
Mossy Cave Trail Information
Distance: 0.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 200 feet
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Pets Allowed: No
Mossy Cave has recently become an extremely busy hike in the park. Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., you may not be able to get a spot in the parking lot. Parking along the road isn’t permitted, and you will get ticketed.
Sadly, plants are being trampled and there has been an increase in trash. Please stay on the trail and leave the area better than you found it — this is a great opportunity to teach your children about protecting beautiful places!
The Mossy Cave Trail is located along Scenic Highway 12, approximately 2 miles west of the town of Tropic.
The Bristlecone Loop Trail
The Bristlecone Loop Trail is often overlooked because it doesn’t provide as many of those quintessential Bryce Canyon hoodoo views. But the amazing thing about this trail is that you’re hiking among trees that are hundreds or thousands of years old!
This hike is perfect for anyone who loves a quiet walk in the forest. There are lots of good opportunities to spot beautiful birds (I always see Steller’s Jays on this trail) and squirrels or chipmunks (please don’t feed them). Looking for wildlife is a good way to encourage your kids to keep hiking.
Bristlecone Loop Trail Information
Distance: 1 mile roundtrip
Elevation: 200 feet
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Pets Allowed: No
Technically, the Bristlecone Loop isn’t wheelchair accessible, although the trail’s hard surface makes it a possibility in a wheelchair with a helper. There are some grades that are too steep to be ADA compliant, however, so use this trail with caution.
You’ll be hiking in the highest elevations of Bryce Canyon here (9100 feet above sea level), so take your time and drink lots of water so that the altitude doesn’t cause stress on your body. Enjoy the peaceful trees and sweeping vistas along this trail!
The Bristlecone Loop is located at the very end of the park’s scenic drive. You can start the loop at either Rainbow Point or Yovimpa Point.
The Rim Trail (Between Sunrise and Sunset Points)
The Rim Trail travels the edge of what’s known as the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater. This is the main “canyon” that contains those famous towering rock formations called hoodoos. The park’s most dramatic viewpoints are located along the Rim Trail, making this trail one of the very best easy hikes in Bryce Canyon.
The Rim Trail is great for anyone who loves a relaxing stroll with spectacular views, particularly around sunrise or sunset when the light hits the canyon perfectly. If you have kids, keep them close because this trail has plenty of steep drop-offs. The portion of the Rim Trail between Sunrise and Sunset Points is paved, flat, and wheelchair accessible — your whole group can get out and enjoy the views together!
The Rim Trail (Between Sunrise and Sunset Points) Information
Distance: 1 mile roundtrip
Elevation: 0 feet
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Ok, so the Rim Trail is actually 11 miles roundtrip, but most people don’t hike the whole thing. If you want to hike the whole thing, please note that it is NOT dog-friendly, kid-friendly, or wheelchair accessible.
The portion of the Rim Trail that I’m referring to as an easy hike is the paved section between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point. This paved portion is the only part of the Rim Trail that is dog-friendly and wheelchair accessible. You’ll enjoy phenomenal views of Bryce Canyon from this section of the trail. so be sure to bring your camera!
Start your walk along the Rim Trail from either Sunrise Point or Sunset Point and follow the paved trail that connects them. These viewpoints are located about one mile south of the visitor center near the Bryce Canyon Lodge.
The Queens Garden Trail
If you’ve seen enough of the hoodoos from above and are itching to hike down among them, there is a trail for that! The Queens Garden Trail is the easiest way to reach the bottom of the canyon.
Just because it’s the easiest way into the canyon doesn’t mean it’s an easy trail. The hardest part of going down is coming back up! But if you’re looking for the least strenuous way to stand next to those hoodoos, this is the way to go.
The Queens Garden Trail is the perfect way to challenge yourself and your group. It’s short enough that it will only take an hour or two to complete, not so difficult that you won’t enjoy it, and beautiful enough to make up for any discomfort!
The Queens Garden Trail Information
Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 350 feet
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Pets Allowed: No
The Queens Garden is great for families. In addition to the beautiful views, there are several tunnels that help kids to feel like they are on a big adventure. In my experience, it’s usually the adults that feel the elevation gain the most…my kids are usually urging me along!
When you get to the bottom of the canyon, you’ll find a short side (spur) trail that takes you to the base of the hoodoo known as Queen Victoria. After seeing the queen, you can return the way you came or connect to another trail that travels along the bottom of the canyon. The Navajo Loop is the most popular trail to connect with the Queens Garden (though if you think you want to complete both trails and would like to keep it as easy as possible, I recommend starting with the Navajo Loop and coming out on the less-steep Queens Garden Trail).
This trail begins at Sunrise Point, which is located about one mile south of the visitor center near the Bryce Canyon Lodge.
The Shared-Use Path (Honorable Mention)
Bryce Canyon’s Shared-Use Path isn’t really a hike, but it may be something that interests you. This path runs 18 miles from Red Canyon all the way up to Inspiration Point. It’s fully paved, wheelchair accessible, and dog-friendly.
You won’t get any spectacular views of the canyon on the Shared-Use Path like you will on the Rim Trail, but it’s a great option for biking or walking.
Traffic and crowding in Bryce Canyon can be terrible.
Did you know that there is only one parking space for every four cars that enter the park?
Are you hoping to see the best sights without getting stuck in traffic, circling parking lots, or being surrounded by people?
Stay ahead of the crowds with this Bryce Canyon Itinerary. You will see all of the can’t-miss spots, plus get lodging and dining guides, driving directions, and insider tips!
What are the Best Easy Hikes Near Bryce Canyon?
If you’re looking for some additional easy hikes in the Bryce Canyon area, you’ll find several other options within an hour’s drive of the park. Red Canyon, Kodachrome Basin State Park, and Cedar Breaks National Monument provide even more easy hiking options!
Easy Hikes at Red Canyon
If you’re coming to Bryce Canyon on Highway 12 from Panguitch, you’ll drive right past the Red Canyon area of the Dixie National Forest. Red Canyon is only 15 minutes from Bryce Canyon, and it has a visitor center and a small network of trails that showcase some beautiful hoodoo formations.
The easiest trails that I recommend hiking at Red Canyon are the Pink Ledges Trail (0.7 miles roundtrip with 150 feet of elevation gain) and the Birdseye Trail (1.8 miles roundtrip with 250 feet of elevation gain).
These trails at Red Canyon are family-friendly and dog-friendly (leashed), but they’re not wheelchair accessible.
Easy Hikes at Kodachrome Basin State Park
Kodachrome Basin State Park is a stunning park located just 30 minutes from Bryce Canyon. It’s fun to explore the colorful and interesting rock formations here, and you’ll find some fabulous easy hiking trails to keep you busy!
The Angel’s Palace Trail (1.5 miles roundtrip with 230 feet of elevation gain) is my favorite easy trail in Kodachrome Basin State Park. It is dog-friendly (leashed) and kid-friendly, though there are some steep drop-offs so you’ll want to keep your kids close.
The Panorama Trail (3 miles roundtrip with 260 feet of elevation gain) is longer than your typical easy hike, but because it doesn’t gain very much elevation, it’s doable for most people! This trail is dog-friendly and kid-friendly — they’ll love the Secret Passage. Get a map of Kodachrome for this one because this trail can turn into a 6-mile loop if you take a wrong turn.
Kodachrome Basin State Park does have one lovely wheelchair-accessible trail. The Nature Trail (0.4-mile loop with 25 feet of elevation gain) is paved and has some interesting interpretive signs that showcase the fascinating things in the park. This trail is also kid-friendly and dog-friendly.
Easy Hikes at Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument is about an hour away from Bryce Canyon, but it boasts similar views of hoodoos in a small amphitheater. This park is often overlooked, so you’ll enjoy smaller crowds and fascinating geology while you’re here!
The Sunset Trail is the perfect trail if you’re looking for something your whole group can do. It travels from the Point Supreme Overlook to the Sunset Overlook, which are two of the park’s most beautiful and popular viewpoints. This hike is 2 miles roundtrip and paved with minimal elevation change. It’s wheelchair accessible, kid-friendly, and dog-friendly (leashed).
The Alpine Pond Nature Trail is another fabulous easy hike option in Cedar Breaks. It’s also 2 miles roundtrip, but it gains 180 feet of elevation and is not wheelchair accessible or dog-friendly. It is kid-friendly though, and you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the red rocks and meadows in this area.
Hiking Regulations to Know Before You Visit the Bryce Canyon Area
To protect this beautiful place and leave it better than you found it, please follow these regulations:
- Do not climb the hoodoos! These hoodoos are quickly eroding and can be unstable and dangerous. It also causes unnecessary erosion that can permanently damage the beautiful landscape.
- Stay on the trail. Please don’t make your own trail or follow trails that other people have made. Following these trails can harm the plants, animals, and rock formations.
- Don’t feed the wildlife. These animals need to be able to find food on their own in order to survive the harsh winters. They often become aggressive and transmit diseases to humans if fed.
- Thunderstorms in the park can be deadly. If you hear thunder, seek shelter immediately — standing on the rim at Bryce Canyon is extremely dangerous if lightning is nearby.
- Pets are not allowed on any park trails except for the paved section of the Rim Trail. If you bring your pet to the park, they must be leashed and picked up after at all times.
What are the Best Longer Day Hikes in Bryce Canyon?
If you’re able to hike longer distances and are feeling extra adventurous, Bryce Canyon has two phenomenal longer trails that travel into the hoodoos. These trails are not easy by any means, but if you’re looking for a challenge, consider hiking either the Peek-a-Boo Loop or the Fairyland Loop.
The Peek-a-Boo Loop
The Peek-a-Boo Loop travels through some of the most dramatic hoodoo views in the park — if you can only hike one long trail, make it this one! My favorite way to get to the Peek-a-Boo Loop is via the Navajo Loop/Queens Garden Trail. You can see all three trails by combining them to make the Figure 8, which is 6.4 miles with 1500 feet of elevation gain.
The Fairyland Loop
The Fairyland Loop is one of those magical hikes where you feel like you’re the first one to discover a special place. This loop is less dramatic than the Peek-a-Boo Loop, but there are so many interesting and beautiful things to see along the way. The trail is 7.8 miles roundtrip with 1600 feet of elevation gain.
This park (and the surrounding area) has so many spectacular things to offer. I hope you enjoy these easy trails in Bryce Canyon National Park — happy hiking!
More Bryce Canyon Trip Planning Information
Bryce Canyon Itinerary — a detailed hour-by-hour sightseeing schedule.
How to Get to Bryce Canyon — the best airports and roads in the area.
How Many Days Should I Spend in Bryce Canyon? — itinerary ideas.
The Best Time to Visit — what to expect during each month of the year.
Weather, Hours, and Closures — important weather info and common closures.
Where Should I Stay? — the best options in and around the park.
All About Camping — learn about the park’s campgrounds and how to get a site.
The Best Things to Do In Bryce Canyon — activities for your whole group.
10 Things You Can’t Miss on Your First Visit to Bryce Canyon — the top 10 spots.
The Ultimate Bryce Canyon Trip-Planning Guide — everything you need to know.
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