Must-Dos at Bryce Canyon National Park
The US’s National Parks System preserves some of the country’s most impressive and unique landscapes, and most of these parks have so much to do that you’ll never feel like you’ve seen everything. However, real life means that (unfortunately!) we can’t often stay in the parks for as long as we’d like to, so we have to prioritize those things we absolutely must see and do when visiting a national park.
Bryce Canyon National Park, located in southern Utah in the western United States, is a must-visit location for any nature-lover. If you’re traveling to Bryce Canyon, check out our list of can’t-miss activities below so you can make sure to get the most out of your visit.
Take in the scenery from one of Bryce’s viewpoints
Bryce Canyon National Park has the ultimate in jaw-dropping overlooks. And not just one or two, either: if you drive from the visitor’s center out to Rainbow Point, you can stop at no less than 13 additional viewpoints on your way back, each offering a new and unique view of Bryce Canyon’s iconic hoodoos.
Hoodoos are what make Bryce Canyon the destination it is today– large spires of red sandstone that have been steadily eroded over thousands of years by wind, rain, and snow. These fantastically-shaped towers of rock fill Bryce Canyon and offer plenty of material for the imagination.
If you have to choose just a couple viewpoints to stop at, we recommend Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, and Natural Bridge– the last of which offers sweeping views of Bryce Canyon’s 85-foot naturally-sculpted rock arch.
Switch up your perspective with a hike to the bottom of the canyon
Although viewing the canyon from on top of the rim is spectacular enough in itself, if you’re able, it’s also worth it to take a short hike down into Bryce Canyon itself for a totally different view. There are various short trails located within the main area of Bryce Amphitheatre, by which you can walk among the hoodoos. It’s truly an otherworldly experience to travel through what feels like Mars and walk through the carved red tunnels.
Queen’s Garden trail is an easy descent down, and Navajo Loop, another favorite, leaves from the popular Sunset Point and is a 3-mile moderate hike. On this loop you can spot 700-year-old Douglas Fir trees and feel small as you walk through the impressive Wall Street gorge.
See Bryce Canyon at different times of day (or night!)
Although Bryce Canyon is impressive pretty much anytime, part of the wonder of this place is how much it can change with the light. If your visit allows it, make sure you make a plan to watch either the sunrise or sunset over the canyon. This is pretty easy to do, since Sunset Point and Sunrise Point are locations made just for that purpose. It’s a memorable experience to watch the sun slowly rise over the horizon, light stretching over the hoodoos and casting long shadows that trick the eyes. From Sunrise Point, you can also see Thor’s Hammer, one of Bryce Canyon’s most famous hoodoos– named for its resemblance to the thick hammer wielded by the mythical Norse god Thor (or the Avenger Chris played by Hemsworth, as your kids would know him).
You might not think to explore Bryce Canyon by night, but the sun setting actually brings a host of new opportunities for adventure in the park. No vacation to Bryce Canyon National Park can be complete without some stargazing! Because of the park’s remote location and lack of light pollution, the night sky above the canyon is a wonder. On a clear night, you can see the entire Milky Way, count up to 7500 stars (if you can stay awake that long!), and even spot the planets of Jupiter and Venus shining brightly enough to cast their own nighttime shadow.
The park rangers at Bryce Canyon National Park regularly offer night hikes, full moon hikes, and astronomy activities where the whole family can learn from park rangers and take a look through their powerful telescopes.
Note that by no means is this an exhaustive list. No matter what your interests, Bryce Canyon has something for everyone, from camping and backpacking to trail riding and fine dining to sledding and cross country skiing in the winter.
In addition, be sure to check the National Park Service’s website to be aware of current conditions, upcoming events, and any closures before you visit.
Plan your trip
National Park Express is an easy, cost-effective, and stress-free option to get you to Bryce Canyon and other top outdoors destinations in the southwest US. Check out our tour options to Bryce Canyon leaving from Las Vegas, Nevada here.
If independent travel is more your thing, you can combine a visit to Bryce Canyon with some of the other world-class destinations in the region like Zion National Park, Escalante, Kanab, Antelope Canyon, or Grand Canyon by taking advantage of our easy shuttle system linking these amazing destinations to each other as well as the hubs of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City.
For more information or for any questions you may have, contact us today.