When you’re looking for an adventure that makes you feel like you’re on a different planet, Bryce Canyon should be at the top of your list. With its bright red hoodoos (we’ll get into what those are in a minute) and soaring pink cliffs, Bryce is one of the most unique places on Earth.
And while the views from the rim are definitely breathtaking, to really appreciate all that Bryce has to offer, you need to get down into the canyon and explore some of the amazing trails. From easy strolls to challenging hikes, there’s something for everyone in Bryce.
Here are seven of the most popular hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park:
- Sunset Point to Sunrise Point
This is one of the most popular (and therefore crowded) hikes in Bryce, but it’s also one of the most beautiful. The 3-mile round trip hike takes you along the rim of the canyon, past some of the most iconic hoodoos in the park. Although one of the most popular, the Rim Trail is an extra wide path and always plenty of room to view into the canyon.
The trail is relatively flat and easy to follow, making it a great choice for families or anyone looking for an easy hike with incredible views.
- Queen’s Garden Trail
If you’re looking to be surrounded by soaring hoodoos, this 2.2-mile loop hike takes you down into the depths of Bryce Canyon. The trail is named for a rock formation that many visitors think bears a resemblance to Queen Victoria.
The first part of the trail is a gentle descent into the canyon on a paved path. Once you reach the bottom, the real fun begins. The trail loops around, giving you the opportunity to explore some of Bryce’s most popular trails, including Wall Street and Two Bridges. The walk up and out is moderate to strenuous.
- Navajo Loop
You may choose to link the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden, an intersection at the bottom of the canyon is well marked.
This is another great option for anyone looking to explore Bryce’s hoodoos up close. The Navajo Loop is a 1.3-mile loop that takes you down into the canyon and then back up to the rim.
The trail gets its name from the fact that it follows a section of an old Navajo sheep herding trail. Along the way, you’ll see some of Bryce’s most popular hoodoos, including Thor’s Hammer and the Three Sisters. The hike up and out is moderate to strenuous.
- Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail
It’s easy to see why this 5.5-mile loop hike is one of the most popular in Bryce Canyon. The trail takes you through a variety of landscapes, from open meadows to towering hoodoos.
One of the best parts of the hike is the “peek-a-boo” section, where the trail winds through a narrow slot canyon. This section can be a bit challenging, but it’s definitely worth it for the views.
- Wall Street Trail
This 1.8-mile round trip hike is perfect for anyone looking for a challenge. The trail gets its name from the fact that it follows a narrow slot canyon with towering walls on either side.
The hike can be a bit strenuous in parts, but the views are definitely worth it. Just be sure to bring plenty of water, as there is little shade on the trail.
- Mossy Cave Trail
This hike is located outside of the park and along the route to Tropic, Utah.
The parking lot for this trail head is small, and the rotation of cars in and out is often the trail is short and a parking spot generally opens up every 5 to 10 minutes.
This 3-mile round trip hike takes you to one of Bryce’s most popular attractions, Mossy Cave. The cave itself is fairly small, but it’s the journey to get there that’s really impressive.
The trail follows a beautiful stream through a canyon of towering hoodoos. Along the way, you’ll pass by a 30-foot waterfall and several small grottos.
- Tower Bridge Trail
This 2.5-mile round trip hike takes you to one of the most popular viewpoints in Bryce, Tower Bridge. The bridge itself is a natural rock formation that spans a narrow slot canyon.
The trail to get there is fairly easy, making it a great choice for families or anyone looking for an easy hike with stunning views.
What Makes Bryce Canyon So Popular?
It’s time to talk about hoodoos: Bryce Canyon is otherworldly because of these strange, spindly rock formations. Erosion over time has created fins, slots, and windows in the soft limestone that make up Bryce’s geology. The result is an awe-inspiring landscape of colorful cliffs, pillars, bridges, and canyons. No two hoodoos are alike—some stand alone, while others cluster together in groups. The Bryce Amphitheater, the main canyon at Bryce, is full of these natural wonders.
Sunset Point and Sunrise Point are the two most popular viewpoints in the park for good reason. From either one, you can see a great cross-section of hoodoos in every color of the rainbow. The best time to see them is early in the morning or late in the day, when the sun casts a warm glow on the rocks.
Bryce Canyon is also popular for its night sky—it was designated as a Gold-Tier Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. This means that it has exceptionally dark skies, making it a great place to stargaze. The best time to see the stars is during the new moon phase, when there’s no moonlight to drown out the light of the stars.
How to Make the Most of a Bryce Canyon Trip
Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, there’s no shortage of things to do in Bryce Canyon. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:
- Attend a ranger-led program: Bryce Canyon offers a variety of ranger-led programs, from stargazing to Junior Ranger activities. These are a great way to learn about the park and its history.
- Get up early: The best time to see the hoodoos is in the morning, when the sun casts a warm glow on the rocks. Be sure to get up early to catch the best light.
- Do a guided tour: The best way to make the most out of your trip is with a guided tour. Forget about trying to navigate the park on your own—a tour guide will show you all the best views and tell you everything you need to know about Bryce Canyon. You can avoid the crowds, the heat, and the hassle by finding a tour guide company that knows the park inside and out.
- Take your time: Bryce Canyon is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. There’s no need to rush from one viewpoint to the next. Take your time to explore the different trails and soak in the unique landscape.
Explore a “New World” with Utah Luxury Tours
Bryce Canyon is an incredible place that should be on everyone’s bucket list. By following these tips, you’re sure to have a trip that you’ll never forget. Ready to start planning your Bryce Canyon adventure? Utah Luxury Tours offers both small group tours and custom, private luxury tours of Bryce Canyon and other Utah national parks.
No matter your budget, you can experience all the most popular sights and attractions with a small group tour led by one of our guides. If you’d like to customize your tour, you can work with a guide that will design a private route just for you and your group and be with you every step of the way. Contact us today to get started!