With unforgettable viewpoints, mesmerizing colors and adventurous hikes, Bryce Canyon National Park is desert paradise. Whether it be via the many scenic drives or on foot, Bryce Canyon offers unique scenery thanks to the spectacular hoodoos, aka “Fairy Chimneys”.
Despite being one of the smaller national parks in Utah, there many amazing things to do in Bryce Canyon and it is a must-stop on your travels. The park’s amphitheater is otherworldly and can be explored by anyone on foot. While the top viewpoints in the park are a great way to start and end the day, as the sun works its magic on the landscape.
In this post, we'll cover:
12. Rainbow Point
Beginning with a stunning 18 mile drive, Rainbow Point offers an unforgettable overlook of Bryce Canyon National Park. The hike to the point will see you walking through the highest elevation in the park, allowing for brisk temperatures away from the desert floor.
Along the way, you’ll pass by Bristlecone pines before quickly finding yourself at the lookout. From the park’s southern tip, you may be able to see as far as Arizona on a clear day. Because of the panoramic views, Rainbow Point is a popular spot in Bryce Canyon National Park to see a dazzling sunset.
Bring a rug, some snacks and cozy up as the sun falls. Some may argue that coastal sunsets are the best kind, but there’s something special about one in the desert. The red rocks sparkle against the sun and the Belt of Venus shines through.
11. Mossy Cave Trail
As one of the most picturesque hikes you’ll find here, the Mossy Cave Trail is one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park. Short and sweet, the trail is only a mile long, beginning at the Mossy Cave Trailhead.
Following the clear stream which stands out among the red rocks, you will soon come to a fork in the path. Head left to explore a small cave or continue along the creek to a beguiling waterfall.
Throughout the hike, trekkers will have magnificent views of Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos, the natural skinny rock formations that soar up from the valley floor. The trail is rated easy and is very popular. Consider ticking this one off early in the day.
10. Peek-A-Boo Loop
Popular trails are popular for a reason, but sometimes you just want to escape the crowds. While visitors flock to the simple treks in the park, why not go further out into the wilderness and see Bryce Canyon away from the noise?
The Peek-A-Boo Loop trail is only three miles long but is rated as moderate to difficult. Those wanting to walk the trail will need to first complete a two mile connector trail. Thankfully, you’ll trek past the Wall of Windows, the Three Wise Men and Cathedral formations.
Along the Peek-A-Boo trail, hikers will have to contend with some steep inclines but will be rewarded with uninhibited views. Plus, take epic photos with no wandering strangers.
9. Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive
One of the best ways to get your bearings or simply escape the sun is to complete the impeccable Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. The drive hits up some of the top highlights in the park, taking you right up to towering hoodoos and to the canyon itself.
The scenic drive covers 38 miles and can be completed in under an hour. However, with 13 viewpoints throughout, you’ll be stopping plenty to admire the views and let your camera go to work.
The scenic drive will also pass by many attractions listed here, including Rainbow Point, Sunrise Point and Bryce Point along with several campgrounds and the Visitor Center.
8. Sunrise Point
Along the Queens Garden Trail (listed below), Sunrise Point offers some of the most spectacular views in the park. The breathtaking scenery will put your camera into overdrive, with views of the Sinking Ship along with Boat Mesa.
Naturally, Sunrise Point is the perfect place to start your day. Get up early, put a fresh set of batteries in your headlamp and get walking along the Queens Garden Trail. Time your hike to arrive right before the sun appears on the far eastern horizon.
As the day’s first light shines through, see the canyon come to life, with the oranges and reds dancing in the early morning light. From Sunrise Point you can also enjoy incredible hikes to Sunset Point and Bryce Point.
7. Fairyland Loop
One of the best day hikes to do in Bryce Canyon National Park is the Fairyland Loop. The eight mile trail begins at Fairyland Point and will see you walk alongside iconic hoodoos on your journey between Fairy Point and Sunset Point.
The moderate hike can be accessed via the park’s shuttle system and those staying at the North Campground can simply walk from there. However, in the winter, the access trail is closed, so you will have to start the Fairyland Loop from Sunset Point.
Beyond the hoodoos, the real highlight of the hike is Tower Bridge. Named after its similarities to London’s Tower Bridge, the amazing formation stands tall above the surrounding landscape. The bridge is a common turnaround point, cutting the loop trail in half.
6. Bryce Canyon Visitor Center
Exploring a park’s visitor center is always a great way to get acclimated, but we won’t blame you for ticking off a trail or two before everyone arrives. However, no trip through the park would be complete without visiting the informative Bryce Canyon Visitor Center.
Far from a place to get information on trails and experience (although it’s a handy center for that), the visitor center dives into the park’s history. Featuring an extensive museum, learn how the historic hoodoos and mesas were formed, from exhibits to multimedia areas.
Once you know all about Bryce Canyon, peruse the gift shop for a great way to remember your travels.
5. Queens Garden Trail
In order to see Sunrise Point, you’ll need to begin on the Queens Garden Trail. But once the sun has risen, continue along to experience another top hike in Bryce Canyon National Park.
The Queens Garden Trail is only 1.8 miles long and the trip down to the spectacular canyon can be done by all skill levels. After seeing the famous Queen Victoria Hoodoo rise through the pine trees, next up is the Two Bridges Hoodoo.
Because of the short length packed with inspiring sights, many hikers choose to combine the trail with a hike along the Navajo Loop Trail. In total, hikers will walk three miles.
4. Bryce Point
Sunrise Point aside, one of the best places to watch the sunrise in Bryce Canyon National Park is at Bryce Point. As the sun hits the surface, the first rays bounce off the hoodoos and mesas, creating an eye-popping glow. The access trail is only 0.2 miles out and back, making the point one of the easiest to arrive at in the park.
Bryce Point also happens to be one of the tallest overlooks in the park. Hikers will be rewarded with far-reaching views not just of the local scenery but well beyond the canyon. Because of the trails’ length, the hike is popular with families and is a great hike to take the kids on.
The point can be accessed via the park’s shuttle system and connects to a multitude of fantastic hikes. Including the Rim Trail and the Peek-A-Boo Loop.
3. Sunset Point
Featuring the renowned Thor’s Hammer and the beginning of the Navajo loop Trail, Sunset Point offers epic views of the park’s main amphitheater. The canyon spreads in a semi-circle like a blend of an ancient Greek and modern Broadway theater.
From Sunset Point, you can end the day by watching the sun fall over the Bryce Amphitheater. The color contrasts are spectacular, with the still-shining reds clashing with the dark shadows. The amphitheater goes to another level in the winter, when the powdery white adds yet another element.
Although Sunset Point is along the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive, there are several ways to arrive. You can hike from Sunrise Point, Bryce Point and from the Queens Garden Trail.
2. Navajo Loop Trail
Exploring the Bryce Amphitheater is one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park. Waste no time on the Navajo Loop Trail as you immediately descend from the canyon’s rim down into the valley.
Beginning at Sunset Point, start off by walking through the Wall Street slot canyon, a sign of the amazing scenery to come. As the slot ends, the amphitheater opens up and welcomes you with arms stretched wide. As you hike down to the valley, you’ll pass Thor’s Hammer and the Two Bridges.
It’s popular to complete this hike along with the Queens Garden Trail, however, you can complete the Navajo Loop Trail all on its own. The 1.5 mile trail may be short, but the incline at the end adds to the difficulty.
1. Inspiration Point
Where other points are named after their east or west facing views, Inspiration Point provides both epic sunrises and sunsets. Whether you’re on your way in or out of Bryce Canyon, be sure to devour the views at Inspiration Point. A birds-eye view of hundreds of hoodoos, red rock landscape and white limestone awaits those that make the journey.
Looking north enjoy vistas of the dense rock walls otherwise known as the Silent City. Continue along until you spot the flat-topped Boat Mesa and the ponderosa forest beyond. Arriving at the point is easy, with parking on-site while the shuttle also stops here. However, you can also arrive at Inspiration Point via the Rim Trail.