Hiking in Bryce Canyon | Where and How
Bryce Canyon offers you a wide range of hiking trails for your next vacation
There are so many special sights to see in Bryce Canyon National Park. The entire area is full of gorgeous natural wonders, like geological formations, plant life, and wild animals. Getting to explore this magical landscape is a once in a lifetime experience. And there is no better way to enjoy this area than by taking a hike along one of its many scenic trails. Not only will hiking in Bryce Canyon give visitors terrific exercise, it will also give them a new appreciation for the landscape.
When hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park, there are a few important things to consider. Since there are so many different places to hike, it is important to pick the right hiking trails. Hikers should know what materials they should bring along to make the hike as safe as possible. It is also nice to know what to expect during the different seasons. Lastly, there are a few important pieces of information that will help hikers avoid any serious mistakes during their trip. Once all these things are considered, every visitor can have a fantastic time exploring the Bryce Canyon landscape.
Hiking is, by far, the most popular activity to enjoy in Bryce Canyon. The entire park landscape lends itself to enjoyable hiking experiences. There are many popular trails throughout Bryce Canyon National Park. Some trails are great for the whole family and others are reserved for skilled hikers. The most popular trails in Bryce Canyon are Navajo Loop, Queens Garden, Peek-A-Boo Loop, and Fairyland Loop. In addition to these popular trails, there are many other trails of varying lengths and skill levels. Each trail offers a different set of challenges, scenic views, and experiences. Exploring the many trails while hiking through Bryce Canyon is the best way to enjoy the beautiful park.
Bryce Canyon offers a wide range of hikes, from an easy paved hike along the rim of the canyon to a strenuous multi day hike among the hoodoos. Below is a list of each hike, many of which connect to each other and can be combined into your own unique and exciting hike.
Bryce Canyon Hikes
Best Hiking in Bryce
Throughout the park, there are many different trails to hike. The trail that visitors choose will be based on their experience level, how long they would like to hike for, and what they would like to see during their hike. Each hike has something special to offer hikers. Some have incredible views of the landscape, some have challenging obstacles to conquer, but all will give hikers memories that will last a lifetime.
Mossy Cave Trail
Length: .9 miles (1.5 km)
Altitude Climb: 300 feet (91 m)
This quick, simple hike is perfect for visitors of all ages. Mossy Cave is an out and back trail that is less than a mile long. The short trail leads to Mossy Cave and, during the wetter months, there is a small waterfall that cascades down the rocky canyon. This short hike will provide a gorgeous look at what makes Bryce Canyon so special without visitors having to break a sweat during a strenuous hike.
Scenic Rim Trail
Total Distance: 5.5 miles (9.16 km)
Climb: 1754 feet (535 m)
This long trail that leads hikers along the rim of Bryce Canyon can be as easy or as strenuous as guests would like. Some areas of the 11-mile-long round trip hike are very difficult to traverse. However, many sections of this trail can be easily walked by most visitors. Hikers can explore the entire Rim Trail, which can take many hours, or just hike small sections of the trail. The panoramic views and incredible customizability of Rim Trail make it a can’t miss adventure.
Distance:1.0 miles (1.6 km)
Climbing: 195 feet (59 m)
The southernmost trail in the park, this trail will take you through a forest of Bristlecone Pines, which can live up to 1,800 years. Throughout the trail you will be able to see vistas that range as far as the four corners area.
You can reach this trail by the famous Rainbow Point. This hike wonders through deep Bristle cone covered Forrest along far south end of Bryce Canyon. The shade of the mature Pine Trees can give you a more pleasant mid day hike during the summer months.
Top Hat – The top Hat trail takes you to vantage points where you can see the famous Top Hat formations. These are Hoodoos that have rock formations sitting on top of them resembling a top hat. These are truly one of a kind and a must see for hikers of all skill set and age.
Tower Bridge – This trail begins at Sunrise Point and head along the Fairyland Loop Trail, it passes a famous rock formation that looks much like an old English bridge, with two giant holes that makes the formation appear to be suspended in air! So many of Bryce Canyons Hoodoos and formations are truly unique but this is a common favorite and a must see formation. Its better for photographs as well as to view in the morning or evening when the sun will shine and light up through the massive hole in this hoodoo formation.
The Under-the-Rim Trail (extends 23 miles from Bryce Point to Rainbow Point and has eight backcountry campsites)
The Riggs Spring Loop Trail (8.8 miles round trip)
Yovimpa Point has four backcountry sites. Both trails drop below the rim of the plateau and lead through forested areas. A backcountry permit is required for all overnight hiking. Permits are available at the Visitor Center for $5.
Trails which wind down below the rim through the rock formations include:
Fairyland Loop (8 miles round trip)
One of the more difficult hikes in Bryce Canyon, Fairyland Loop is eight miles long and will test hiker’s limits every step of the way. This loop trail has vast elevation changes and takes most experienced hikers around five hours to complete. While the hike may be difficult, the rewards are well worth the effort. Throughout Fairyland Loop, the high elevations give incredible views of the Bryce Canyon landscape, and there are hoodoos in view during most of the trip. Fairyland Loop truly shows the best of Bryce Canyon.
Peek-a-boo Loop (4.8 or 6.8 miles round trip)
This strenuous loop takes hikers along the rocky terrain of Bryce Canyon in a nearly five-mile-long hike. The most difficult portion of Peek-a-Boo Loop is the steep descent to the bottom of the canyon. Most hikers will complete this hike in about four hours. The sights and challenges this hike offers are some of the most incredible that can be found in Bryce Canyon.
Queen’s Garden (1.8 miles round trip)
Another easy trail for all hikers, Queens Garden is just under two miles long and will take most hikers one or two hours to complete. The hoodoos that make up the Queens Garden will surround hikers during this journey, making them feel as though they are on another planet. Get up close and personal with these amazing rock structures that Bryce Canyon is famous for during a leisurely walk along Queens Garden.
Navajo Loop (1.5 miles round trip) More Info
This scenic trail is perfect for every visitor. At just over a mile long, Navajo Loop takes the average hiker about one hour to complete. Along the way, this trail has many incredible things to see. From towering hoodoos, like Thor’s Hammer and the Silent City, to incredible canyons and wildlife, Navajo Loop has a little bit of everything for every hiker.
Essential Hiking Materials
Going into anything unprepared is a recipe for disaster. While hiking may seem straightforward, there is more to it than simply walking along a trail. Proper hiking requires specific gear to ensure hikers are safe during their trip. Before heading out on a hike, visitors should make sure to have these necessary pieces of gear. Once guests are prepared for their hike, they are one step closer to having an amazing experience in the natural landscape of Bryce Canyon National Park.
The basic materials needed for hiking include:Hiking Boots or Shoes
Basic First Aid Items
Hiking Through the Seasons
Bryce Canyon National Park experiences all four seasons throughout the year. While some seasons are more temperate than others, even the harshest months are a great time to visit Bryce. Each season has its pros and cons, but, in the end, there is never a bad time to see this amazing part of the country.
WinterThis season is the coldest and, as a result, the least crowded time in Bryce Canyon. For those who would like to see Bryce Canyon without the crowded trails, winter is a great choice. However, because of ice and freezing temperatures, some trails can be closed during the harshest winter days. Visitors who don’t mind a bit of a chill will find the snow-dusted hoodoos and quiet serenity of Bryce Canyon in winter to be the most magical trip they have ever experienced.
SpringSpring can be an unpredictable season in Bryce Canyon. Early spring tends to be quite chilly, while later spring may experience higher temperatures and precipitation. Despite the variations in temperature during spring, there are many amazing things to see during this season. Increased wildlife activity, blooming plants, and smaller crowds are all wonderful parts of visiting Bryce Canyon in spring. This is a lovely time of year to get out and explore the natural beauty of Bryce Canyon.
SummerThis tends to be the hottest and busiest season in Bryce Canyon. Temperatures can become sweltering, especially during the afternoon. Though the weather is usually tolerable, some visitors find Bryce Canyon in the summer to be much too hot. Also, because of summer break and family vacations, trails often experience much higher traffic in the summer. While the heat and large crowds may scare some visitors away, the summer is still a terrific time of year to hike in Bryce Canyon.
FallThe most temperate time of year, fall may be the best time to visit Bryce Canyon. The scenic landscape is even more stunning, with the foliage changing color, wildlife is still very active, and temperatures are comfortable throughout the day. Crowds tend to lessen during fall, as well. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy Bryce Canyon and all its beautiful views.
Important Hiking Information
Once hikers have picked their hiking location and secured the appropriate hiking gear, there is still one more important aspect of hiking to be aware of. There are certain rules, regulations, and courtesies that go along with hiking in Bryce Canyon. All hikers should be aware of any permits needed, active closures, and the proper conservation and treatment of the land and its inhabitants. By minding these rules, both hikers and the environment will be properly protected.
PermitsWhile most of the trails in Bryce Canyon can be hiked without having to worry about a permit, they are necessary for some areas of the park. Specifically, those wishing to hike overnight and camp in the backcountry will need to obtain permits. Permits can be purchased from the visitor’s center for a small fee. It is very important that anyone wishing to spend the night in the backcountry of Bryce Canyon goes through the proper procedures to avoid breaking park rules and endangering themselves and their party.
ClosuresInformation on trail closures is available at the visitor’s center. During harsh weather or for wildlife conservation purposes, small parts of the park may close temporarily. It is each hiker’s responsibility to be aware of any closures during their stay. Also, it is important to keep in mind that closures are issued for a reason and ignoring closures can have dire consequences.
ConservationIt is everyone’s hope that the nation’s parks will be available for many generations to come. But, without visitors who respect the lands, that will not be possible. Each hiker should make sure they never leave anything behind and only take away memories and photos from their trip. Littering, interacting with wildlife, and taking pieces of the landscape as souvenirs are activities that will ruin Bryce Canyon over time. Every visitor should play a role in the conservation efforts of the park and strive to keep Bryce Canyon beautiful.