Bryce Canyon is a small national park that sits high on a plateau in the Utah desert. But don’t let the small size of this park fool you — there is so much to do in this captivating area full of vibrant red rock and stunning vistas.
My name is Ash, and I’m a former park ranger and Utah native. I’ve grown up visiting this national park, and I’m excited to share the best things to do in Bryce Canyon with you.
This article includes information on family activities, hiking, biking, winter activities, and so much more.
Keep reading (or if you want to fast-forward, click on the links below) to find the perfect activities for your specific interests!
The Top 10 Things To Do in Bryce Canyon
When you visit Bryce Canyon for the first time, you want to be sure to see all of the highlights! Combat your fear-of-missing-out with this list of the top things to do in the park.
If you make it through this top ten list, you can relax knowing that you’ve had a well-rounded, complete tour of Bryce Canyon!
When you are ready for more detailed information on the top things to do, including driving directions and trip planning help, click over to this list of things you can’t miss on your first visit to Bryce Canyon.
Inspiration Point is easily one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the park. From up here, you’ll be gazing directly out at the Silent City, which contains an enormous amount of the stunning red rock hoodoos that make Bryce Canyon so unique.
Inspiration Point sits at about 8100 feet above sea level and consists of three different viewing areas.
The Rim Trail
Bryce Canyon’s Rim Trail follows the edge of the amphitheater and provides 11 miles of phenomenal canyon views! It connects Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration, and Bryce Points, which are the park’s most famous viewpoints, so you can easily walk between them for as little or long as you want. The 0.5-mile section between Sunrise Point and Sunset Point is paved.
Sunset Point offers the perfect view of the red rock hoodoos up close, allowing you to easily see the formation known as Thor’s Hammer as well as the entrance to Wall Street. The amazing Navajo Loop Trail begins here, and you’ll also love the daily ranger programs that take place at this overlook.
The Navajo Loop Trail
Bryce Canyon’s Navajo Loop Trail is 1.3 miles of absolute perfection as it travels into the heart of the hoodoos. Along the way, you’ll pass through Wall Street (a narrow pathway between the hoodoos) and see the small arches known as Two Bridges. You can easily make this trail into an even more epic adventure by connecting it with the Queens Garden or Peek-a-Boo Loop Trails when you reach the bottom of the canyon.
Sunrise Point isn’t only a fabulous place to go to see a sunrise — it’s also the starting point for the famous Queens Garden Trail. This viewpoint provides beautiful views of several unique rock formations. In addition to seeing the park’s many hoodoos, you’ll also have views of Boat Mesa and the Sinking Ship. This viewpoint is conveniently located near the park’s only lodge, the general store, and the North Campground.
Natural Bridge is one of several arches in Bryce Canyon National Park, and it was formed by a combination of rain, ice, and gravity. You can see Natural Bridge along the park’s 13-mile Scenic Drive, which travels from the amphitheater to the very south end of the park (which sits at 9100 feet above sea level). There are several beautiful views of Bryce Canyon and the nearby Grand Staircase along this drive.
The Queens Garden Trail
The 1.8-mile Queens Garden Trail is the easiest way in and out of the Bryce Canyon amphitheater, so if you’re hoping to hike among the hoodoos, this is a great option. You’ll drop down below the rim and hike through several small tunnels until you reach the regal Queen Victoria hoodoo! If you want to extend your hike, you can easily connect this trail to the Navajo Loop Trail when you reach the bottom of the canyon.
Fairyland Point is a lesser-known viewpoint in Bryce Canyon, making it a fabulous place to enjoy the views without the crowds. Enjoy the views of the Sinking Ship as you look out at the hoodoos below, and keep your eyes peeled for deer, ponderosa pines, and wildflowers in this area. If you’re looking for an epic hike, this overlook is the starting point of both the Fairyland Loop and the Rim Trail.
The Mossy Cave Trail
The trail to Mossy Cave is only 0.8-miles, but in that short amount of time, you’ll get to see both a waterfall and a dripping cavern. The water that flows through this area is actually flowing through an irrigation ditch that was constructed in 1892 by the pioneers that settled in this area. This ditch continues to provide water to the nearby communities, in addition to beautifying the area around Mossy Cave!
If a birds-eye view of the hoodoos is what you’re hoping for, Bryce Point is where you need to be! This viewpoint sits high above the amphitheater at 8300 feet above sea level, and you’ll love the full views of this breathtaking section of the park. Bryce Point is famous for its dramatic sunrises and grand vistas.
For more trip-planning information (including driving directions) on each of these stops, check out this list of things you can’t miss on your first visit to Bryce Canyon.
How long does it take to see the top ten things in Bryce Canyon?
You’ll want at least one full day of sightseeing to get through this list, but you’ll have to move fast! I suggest at least 1.5-2 days to see the top 10 sights in the park. If you’re able to give yourself at least 2 full days, you’ll be able to see best things in Bryce Canyon without any stress.
If you’d like more help, I have a whole article devoted to helping you figure out how many days to spend in Bryce Canyon.
Planning a trip to Bryce Canyon can be overwhelming.
How do you make a solid plan if you’ve never been to the park before? How do you keep everyone in your group excited and engaged?
You can spend hours on the internet searching for things to do, but you still won’t find the insider tips and first-hand knowledge that I’ve gained from working as a park ranger.
If you’re hoping to see the best sights without getting stuck in traffic, circling parking lots, or being surrounded by people, check out 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!
Bryce Canyon has an adventure for every age and skill level! Now that we’ve covered the top 10 things to do in the park, it’s time to dig deeper into your own personal interests.
Things to Do in Bryce Canyon With Kids
Bryce Canyon is a fabulous kid-friendly national park. You’ll find several fabulous short hikes and lots of easy-to-get-to viewpoints.
The Bristlecone Loop, Mossy Cave, and the paved portion of the Rim Trail are the easiest trails in the park. To learn about these trails, as well as some other fantastic options just outside of the park, check out the best easy hikes in Bryce Canyon.
If you’re looking for the best viewpoints in the park for kids, I suggest visiting Fairyland Point, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, and Natural Bridge. By getting to those five, you’ll hit the best viewpoints without overdoing it!
Don’t forget to pick up a Jr. Ranger book at the visitor center. These books have activities that your kids can complete to earn their very own ranger badge. This is a great way to keep them engaged and excited about Bryce Canyon — you’ll probably even learn something too. I know I always do!
Things to Do in Bryce Canyon if You Love to Hike
If you love to hike, you’ll be thrilled with Bryce Canyon’s longer trail options. The Figure 8, the Fairyland Loop, and the Under-the-Rim Trail provide amazing views and the chance to explore parts of the park that many people never see.
The Figure 8 is the trail I recommend if it’s your first time to Bryce Canyon and you want to see the most dramatic hoodoos in the park. This route covers the Navajo Loop, the Peek-a-Boo Loop, and the Queens Garden Trail over 6.4 miles.
The Fairyland Loop is a peaceful route that travels through the northernmost section of hoodoos. This trail isn’t as dramatic as the Figure 8, but it definitely provides more solitude and wider views of the surrounding area. This trail is 8 miles roundtrip.
The Under-the-Rim Trail is a fantastic trail if you’re hoping to backpack in the park. This trail travels approximately 23 miles from Rainbow Point to Bryce Point, but you’ll find several connecting trails if you’d like to shorten the route.
If you’re looking for another epic hike in the Bryce Canyon area, check out Calf Creek Falls. This waterfall is about 1.5 hours from Bryce Canyon along Scenic Highway 12, but it is absolutely spectacular!
Do you love to have a plan?
Get the inside scoop for your upcoming vacation —> this itinerary is the most detailed, epic, and easy-to-follow guide to the park!
Things to Do in Bryce Canyon if You Don’t Want to Hike
If hiking isn’t something you’re able to do or wanting to do in Bryce Canyon, you can still see a lot of the park! Driving to the viewpoints, horseback riding, or taking a bus tour are some great alternative options for your time here.
You can easily see the beauty of the Bryce Canyon amphitheater from the park’s many viewpoints. Fairyland Point, Sunset Point, Lower Inspiration Point (there are three levels to this overlook), and all of the stops along the park’s Scenic Drive don’t require any hiking. Sunrise Point, Bryce Point, and Paria View do require a short walk along a trail to reach the viewpoint.
To get down among the hoodoos without hiking, consider horseback riding. Guided trail rides leave from the park daily during the summer, and it’s a great way to see the Peek-a-Boo Loop or the dedicated horse trail.
If you like the idea of a guided tour, the park offers a Rainbow Point Guided Shuttle Tour that travels along the Scenic Drive. This can be a fun way to see the viewpoints without having to drive your own vehicle.
Winter Activities in Bryce Canyon
Winter in Bryce Canyon is absolutely magical — just wait until you see the red rock hoodoos covered in snow! If you like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or sleigh rides, you’ll love the winter months in this park.
Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are the most popular winter activities in Bryce Canyon, and you’ll find several groomed trails in the area. Park rangers even lead snowshoe hikes as conditions permit. If you’d like to spend some time out in the snow, you can rent gear at Ruby’s Inn or bring your own.
The Bryce Canyon Winter Festival is held yearly in February! This festival includes live demos, tours, crafts, yoga, contests, and food. This festival is held at Ruby’s Inn, just outside the park entrance. Even if you don’t visit during the festival, you can still find fun winter activities here all season, including ice skating and sleigh rides.
Things to Do in Bryce Canyon if You Love Ranger Programs
Participating in ranger programs can greatly enhance your experience in Bryce Canyon. You’ll learn interesting facts, meet other travelers, and connect with someone who loves the park and knows it well! Bryce Canyon has phenomenal ranger programs, including geology talks, guided hikes, and night sky viewings.
Bryce Canyon is famous for its breathtaking night skies, and many ranger programs revolve around that. Rangers bring the telescopes out several times a week to talk about the stars — this is one of the best ranger programs in the NPS! If you’re passionate about the night sky, Bryce Canyon also holds an annual Astronomy Festival, or you can join a full moon hike that’s offered twice each month.
Other evening programs are held nightly at either the visitor center or the North Campground. These programs can range in topics, and you’re guaranteed to learn something interesting. Stop in at the visitor center to see the schedule and topics available while you’re there.
Daytime ranger programs include Geology Talks (learn about hoodoos at Sunset Point or the Grand Staircase at Yovimpa Point) and Rim Walks. Be sure to pick up a Jr. Ranger book for your kids — there are special programs just for them as well!
Wheelchair-Friendly Things to Do in Bryce Canyon
You’ll be able to enjoy many of the beautiful amphitheater views if you’re visiting Bryce Canyon in a wheelchair. The Shared-Use Trail and the paved portion of the Rim Trail are accessible, as well as most of the magnificent roadside viewpoints.
The best wheelchair-friendly trails in the area are The Rim Trail and the Shared-Use Trail in Bryce Canyon, the Nature Trail in Kodachrome Basin, and the Sunset Trail in Cedar Breaks. You can find out more about each of these trails in this article.
Most viewpoints in the park have handicapped parking stalls and ramps. The official Bryce Canyon website has detailed information about each viewpoint and its accessibility.
Things to Do in Bryce Canyon With Your Dog
Bryce Canyon’s viewpoints, the paved portion of the Rim Trail, and the Shared-Use Path are all dog-friendly destinations in the park.
For more information on things to do with your dog in and near Bryce Canyon National Park, check out this detailed article: Is Bryce Canyon Dog-Friendly?
High Adventure Activities in Bryce Canyon
If you’re looking for something to get your adrenaline going, consider ATVing, horseback riding, or taking a helicopter tour in Bryce Canyon.
ATVing is popular in this area, and you can bring your own, rent one, or go on a guided tour. If you sign up for a guided tour, I recommend the 3-hour tour of Casto Canyon.
Horseback riding is another popular way to experience the Bryce Canyon area. Guided trail rides leave from the park daily during the summer, and it’s a great way to see the Peek-a-Boo Loop or the dedicated horse trail.
If you’d love to see Bryce Canyon from the air, strap on your seatbelt and head out on a helicopter tour of the area. You’ll get spectacular photo opportunities as you enjoy this truly unique way of seeing the park.
Things to Do in Bryce Canyon if You Love to Bike
If you love to bike, you’ll find several great options in and near Bryce Canyon. Check out the Shared-Use Path, Thunder Mountain, Casto Canyon, or Dave’s Hollow for some epic biking!
The Shared-Use Path is the best biking option in the park. This paved path is actually 18 miles total, with 5 of those miles being in the park (the remaining 13 miles connect the park to nearby Red Canyon). This is the perfect option for you if you prefer road biking. For something extra fun, join in on the Canyon 2 Canyon Bike Ride held every August.
Bike rentals and guided tours can be found here.
Things to Do Near Bryce Canyon
The area around Bryce Canyon is full of places to see and things to do. If you’re hoping to see a few more national parks, Zion and Capitol Reef are close by! Other places that might pique your interest include Kodachrome Basin State Park, Scenic Highway 12, Red Canyon, and Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Most people combine Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park in the same trip because they are only separated by 1.5 hours of driving! Zion National Park is one of the most visited parks in the nation, and with trails like Angels Landing and the Narrows, it’s easy to see why.
Lesser-known Capitol Reef National Park is 2.5 hours from Bryce Canyon. This park has orchards and delicious fruit pies, beautiful hiking trails, and adventurous backcountry roads.
Kodachrome Basin State Park has several fun hiking trails, a great campground, and lots of photo opportunities. And the best part is that it’s only 30 minutes from Bryce Canyon.
Scenic Highway 12 is the road that connects Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef. As you drive this route, you’ll find fabulous places to fish, Native American ruins, dramatic cliffs on both sides of the road, petrified wood, and a gorgeous waterfall.
Red Canyon is just 20 minutes outside of Bryce Canyon, so you’ll still be hiking among the red rock here. There are trails for mountain biking and hiking, and everything is open for leashed dogs. The campground at Red Canyon is a fantastic alternative to camping in Bryce Canyon.
If you love the scenery in Bryce Canyon but are hoping for smaller crowds, Cedar Breaks National Monument is the perfect place to go. This area is only about an hour from Bryce Canyon, and you’ll find a few hiking trails and viewpoints as you explore this charming red rock amphitheater.
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.
10 Things You Can’t Miss on Your First Visit to Bryce Canyon — the top 10 spots
The Best Easy Hikes — the perfect trails for kids, wheelchairs, and beginners.
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