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13 of the Best Hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park

(Last Updated On: November 20, 2021)

Known for its incredible hoodoos, Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah is one destination in the United States that you won’t want to miss. The best hikes at Bryce Canyon make people never forget this park because they allow you to get up close to the hoodoos!

By the end of this post, you’ll know all of the top hikes in Bryce Canyon that you won’t want to miss out on. Plus, no matter your hiking level, you’ll be able to hike one of the best trails in Bryce Canyon, even if you’re just a beginner. Whether you’re making a road trip or live near the park, it’s worth doing at least one of these hikes.

Below, learn all about the very best hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park.

the ampitheater of hoodoos in bryce canyon

Navajo Loop Trail

Length: 1.5 miles

Average Time: 1 to 2 hours

Starting Point: Sunset Point

Trail Level: Moderate

First up is the famous Navajo Loop Trail, one of the top hikes in Bryce Canyon. Most people rank this as their favorite hike out of all hikes in every US National Park, so know it truly is one that you’ll never forget.

The Bryce Canyon Navajo Loop moderate-level trail is only 1.5 miles long and starts and ends at Sunset Point, one of the top spots to check out. Despite being so short, it does have 515 feet of elevation gain, much of which is gained during switchbacks.

The Navajo Loop Trail features one of the most popular hoodoos in the entire park, Thor’s Hammer. It’s aptly named because it looks just like Thor’s Hammer! Other iconic parts of this trail include Wall Street and the Two Bridges.

Most people will start at Sunset Point and go straight to Wall Street, so consider doing the opposite and heading to the Two Bridges side. Because this is one of the more popular best hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park, consider doing the hike right in the morning or right before the sun goes down to have little to no other hikers on the trail with you.

Keep in mind that this trail is best done between April and October because Wall Street closes for the season once it gets cold and snowy. Rockfalls become more possible as it gets colder deep in the park, but you can do an out and back hike in the winter just using the Two Bridges side.

view of the hoodoos from a distance

Queens Garden Trail

Length: 1.8 miles

Average Time: 2 hours

Starting Point: Sunrise Point

Trail Level: Easy

Another of the Bryce Canyon National Park best hikes is Queen’s Garden. This is often referred to as the most accessible trail to take if you want to get up close to the hoodoos without doing a super tricky trail. Round trip to see the Queen’s Garden, it’s only 1.8 miles.

Many people opt to combine this trail with the Navajo Loop Trail, making it close to 3 miles in length. This is a trendy combo of the trail and is great if you have more time to spend in the park!

Queen’s Garden starts right at Sunset Point, along with most other trails in the park. It’s relatively easy though it does have some steep spots. The main attraction of the trail is Queens Garden, which the trail is named after. This is a set of hoodoos that will genuinely take your breath away.

The trail starts with a pretty gradual descent right down into Bryce Canyon. As you get closer to the bottom, the hoodoos get larger and larger! Seeing them up close for the first time is truly magnificent because they look so different from far away.

Unlike some other trails on this list, Queen’s Garden is a great trail if you’re visiting Bryce Canyon with kids. This trail, in particular, is known for its incredible rock formations and fun walkways shaped like arches that will truly amaze children.

girl looking out at the viewpoint in bryce canyon

Fairyland Loop Trail

Length: 8 miles

Average Time: 4-5 hours

Starting Point: Sunrise Point

Trail Level: Moderate

Another of the best hikes at Bryce Canyon is the Fairyland Loop trail. It’s a moderate trail that has its own parking lot, but most people will drive to the Sunrise Point lot to start because there are way more parking spots there.

While it is rated as moderate, note that parts of the trail are pretty steep; however, it’s nothing too tricky for a path of this length. If you’ve hiked longer trails before, you’ll be perfectly fine hiking the Fairyland Loop.

The majority of people will take about four to five hours to hike the entire Fairyland Loop, but if you hike briskly and enjoy hiking a lot, it may take you closer to three hours. However, there are many great spots along the way to stop and take in the view, which is why most people tend to take longer.

For the most part, this is a reasonably unpopular trail just because of its length. Most people tend to opt for something like the Navajo Loop Trail instead because it doesn’t take as much work to get the same amazing views. Because of that, this is an excellent, unvisited trail if you prefer to get away from the crowds.

Along the way, you’ll spot popular destinations throughout the Fairyland Loop trail like the Tower Bridge and the China Wall. You’ll want to bring your camera!

Because this is a longer trail, you’ll want to be sure that you bring a water bottle too. At a minimum, it’s recommended that each person who visits Bryce Canyon, especially in the summer, drinks one gallon of water.

mountains in bryce canyon

Mossy Cave Trail

Length: 0.8 miles

Average Time: 30 minutes

Starting Point: Near Mossy Cave Parking lot

Trail Level: Easy

One of the best Bryce Canyon easy hikes is the Mossy Cave Trail! It’s technically part of the park, but the trailhead is located outside of the park. It also starts right with a climb and then ends with going downhill, which most other hikes in the park aren’t like.

Even though the trailhead is outside of the regular park, you still are required to have a park pass or to have paid the entrance fee to do this hike. 

It’s less than a half-mile one way before you get to the Mossy Cave, so it’s another hike where you don’t have to do a whole lot to get to a fantastic view. Families who are visiting the park tend to like this hike the most.

It’s beautiful no matter the time of year. This trail gets covered in icicles in the winter, and it’s magical to see them set against the bright orange rocks. Meanwhile, in the warmer months, there are tons of vivid colors and moss.

Recently, the Mossy Cave Trail has grown in popularity, so it can be hard to get parking at the trailhead. You’re only allowed to hike this trail if you can get a spot right in the Mossy Cave Trail parking lot.

Because of its popularity, it’s recommended that you hike this trail before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to avoid crowds and get parking. If you get there and the parking lot is full, you have to move on to a different trail to hike.

cliff face in the middle of the national park

Bryce Canyon Rim Trail

Length: 10.7 miles

Average Time: 5-7 hours

Starting Point: Fairyland Point or Bryce Point

Trail Level: Moderate

Another of the best hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park is the Bryce Canyon Rim Trail. Despite being a super long trail round trip, it’s pretty moderate. There isn’t even much elevation gain as most of the trail is flat, making it not super complicated.

This is one of the best hiking trails in Bryce Canyon because it allows you to see all the hoodoos from above. Truthfully, most people won’t hike the whole thing. Instead, they’ll decide to walk just certain portions of it when they get to certain parts of the park.

You can start at either Fairyland Point or Bryce Point; it’s entirely up to you. You can also opt to make the whole hike round trip (10.7 miles) or do half of it to make it a shorter hike since it is an out and back trail. 

It’s super easy to do half the hike as a shuttle bus will bring you back to where you parked so you can get back to your car quickly. When hiking a trail like this, definitely make use of the shuttle if you can!

Many spots along the Rim Traill are worth seeing, including all famous viewpoints: Sunrise Point, Bryce Point, Sunset Point, and Inspiration Point. Each of these is marvelous, and it’s excellent walking the Rim Trail to be able to see them.

Keep in mind that most of the trail is not paved, though part of it is near Sunrise Point. The rest is just gravel that’s pretty hard and well-marked so that you won’t get lost along the hike. Start early in the morning to avoid crowds that are commonly at the viewpoints throughout the day.

orange sandy rocks under a blue sky

Sunset Point to Sunrise Point

Length: 1.1 miles

Average Time: 30 minutes

Starting Point: Sunset Point

Trail Level: Easy

Easily one of the best trails in Bryce Canyon is Sunset Point to Sunrise Point, and that’s just because of its popularity and spectacular views. If you are only spending one day in Bryce Canyon and you’re on a time crunch, then make sure this is the hike you do.

Not only is it super short at just a little over one mile long, but it’s also relatively flat. There isn’t much elevation gain, and you’ll have a spectacular view of the Bryce Amphitheater from above. 

Plus, each of these points is aptly named because these are the best spots in the park to catch the sunrise and the sunset. Do the hike right in the morning or later at night to fully enjoy it for what it’s famous for.

The trail is open year-round, and no part of it closes. It’s relatively easy to do with children (but it is along the edge of the cliff, so be careful!), and dogs are allowed to use the trail as long as they are walking with you on a leash.

This is one of the very few trails in the park that’s paved, so it’s impossible to get lost on it. Plus, it’s one of the very best spots in the park to see the hoodoos for the first time. Truly breathtaking!

view from the hike of trees and orange mountains

Bristlecone Loop Trail

Length: 1 mile

Average Time: 30 minutes

Starting Point: Rainbow Point

Trail Level: Easy

If you’re looking for some of the best hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park, don’t miss out on Bristlecone Loop Trail. It’s a reasonably underrated trail in the park, which makes it one of the best Bryce Canyon hikes.

Bristlecone Loop Trail begins right at Rainbow Point, is around 9000 feet above the park, and is one of the highest trails in the area. It features the fantastic bristlecone pines that you can see throughout the park but even better from this trail.

With less than 100 feet of elevation gain, it’s genuinely not a super challenging Bryce Canyon hike. It’s great for all skill levels and is most popularly hiked in the summer months. It’s a loop trail, too, so you’ll see different views the entire way.

Remember that because this hike is super high up, it can get pretty windy depending on the time of year. Dress appropriately for the weather when you visit and pack layers.

One thing to note is that recently there was some fire damage in this part of the park, so some trees have been burned. However, the hike is still worth doing because of its incredible views and easiness compared to other hikes in the park.

Riggs Spring Loop Trail

Length: 8.6 miles

Average Time: 1-2 days (most people turn this into an overnight trip with camping one night)

Starting Point: Yovimpa Point

Trail Level: Hard

One of the more difficult best hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park is the Riggs Spring Loop Trail. Unlike other best hikes in Bryce Canyon, this trail doesn’t feature as many hoodoo views as the others because most of it is through the trees.

It’s not popularly hiked, so there aren’t often many people on the trail, making it a great one if you want to get away from the crowds. Most people who have hiked it say that they rarely ever see even one other group hiking it during their time on the trail.

The best way to hike the Riggs Spring Loop Trail is to hike it clockwise, so then you’re working towards the best views of the hike. Otherwise, you’ll see all the best views right at the beginning, which can be a little bit disappointing as a hiker!

Keep in mind that this is another part of the park that was recently burned, so some of the trees aren’t there anymore. Despite that, nature lovers will still absolutely love hiking this trail.

bryce canyon hoodoos in winter

Hat Shop Trail

Length: 4 miles

Average Time: 2-3 hours

Starting Point: Bryce Point

Trail Level: Moderate

The Hat Shop Trail is a unique trail that you won’t want to miss, leading to many hoodoos that look like they have hats hanging on top of them! The trail is very aptly named.

It’s four miles round trip starting at Bryce Point. The trail is seemingly easy when you start as it begins with a descent. However, the hike back can be pretty tricky as it is mostly uphill, which is something to keep in mind if you choose to do this hike. The elevation change is close to 1000 feet.

If you hike the Hat Shop Trail, one of the best hikes at Bryce Canyon, be sure to bring hiking boots and also consider bringing hiking poles. The trail has loose rocks, so be sure to look out for yourself for safety, especially if the weather isn’t the greatest when you go.

One thing that makes the Hat Shop Trail so great is that it’s one of the lesser-visited hikes and viewpoints in the park. For the most part, you won’t see many other people doing the trail, unlike the Navajo Loop.

orange pinnacles by trees

Swamp Canyon Loop Trail

Length: 4 miles

Average Time: 3-4 hours

Starting Point: Swamp Canyon Trailhead

Trail Level: Moderate

The Swamp Canyon Loop Trail is another of the lesser-visited Bryce Canyon National Park hikes. It’s great if you’re looking to get off the beaten path to explore another part of the park without as many people.

The trail has about 650 feet of elevation gain and brings you right down to the bottom of the canyon, so the views are incredible. It’s also right near the Under the Rim Trail, one of the more strenuous hikes to do in the park.

The best way to do this hike is to go counterclockwise. There are many hoodoos along the way, but not as many as you may see on other trails in the hike. However, the solitude you get from this trail alone is worth it!

Depending on the time of year, this trail is known to get pretty muddy and wet. Make sure you bring appropriate clothing and wear hiking boots to make the hike as easy on yourself as possible. 

If you want to avoid the parts of the trail that aren’t as interesting, consider doing an out and back hike instead!

bryce ampitheatre under a blue sky

Peekaboo Loop Trail

Length: 5.2 miles

Average Time: 2-4 hours

Starting Point: Bryce Point

Trail Level: Moderate

One of the most interesting and best hikes at Bryce Canyon is the Peekaboo Loop Trail! It’s 5.2 miles round trip and begins right at Bryce Point. The beginning part of the trail is relatively challenging because it drops pretty quickly until you reach the floor of the canyon.

Along this trail, you may also run into horseback riders. As always, be sure to move out of the way to let them by, mainly because they usually are on a tour.

Some restrooms are available for use at the bottom of the trail, unlike some other trails on this list. It is a pretty strenuous trail overall because of the elevation change, which is 1500 feet. It’s not an easy trail to do and is on the harder side of moderate.

Most people who have hiked this trail say that it’s not any more difficult than Navajo Loop Trail or the Queen’s Garden, it’s just a bit longer overall and a lot less trafficked.

orange and yellow cliff face

Tower Bridge Trail

Length: 3.4 miles

Average Time: 2-3 hours

Starting Point: Sunrise Point

Trail Level: Moderate

The Tower Bridge Trail is one of the best hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park and is one of the more popular ones. It has about 800 feet of elevation gain and is an out and back trail, so you will descend and ascend the same height.

The views along this hike are impeccable, and you can even see the mountains pretty clearly in the distance. Try hiking it in the evening around sunset for the best views possible of seeing the warm colors radiate against the orange rocks.

Along the trail, there are many spots to pull off and relax in case you get tired. The hike can be kind of tricky because of the elevation, but it’s a lot easier if you hike it counterclockwise instead!

Similar to some of the trails listed later on this list, the Tower Bridge Trail is relatively empty for the most part, so you won’t see many other hikers. It’s a great trail to get away from the crowds.

Be careful doing this hike if it recently rained or is raining when you visit Bryce Canyon National Park. You do have to walk right through water a few times, and it can get pretty tricky if there’s too much water in the stream.

viewpoint from the trail with orange pinnacles

The Figure 8 Combo Trail

Length: 6.4 miles

Average Time: 4-5 hours

Starting Point: Sunrise Point

Trail Level: Moderate

Last but not least is one of the best hikes at Bryce Canyon, the Figure 8 Combo Trail! This trail combines three of the most popular hikes in the park: Queens Garden, Navajo Loop, and the Peekaboo Trail. 

The trail starts with hiking the Queens Garden Trail, which is 1.8 miles if done just one way. Start at Sunset Point and make your way to the Queens Garden. Once you reach Queens Garden, continue onto the Peekaboo Loop Trail.

You’ll be walking right on the canyon floor for the most part, and there are places where the hike is a little steep as you gain and lose quite a bit of elevation along the way. Be on the lookout for Fairy Castle Rock and Boat Mesa!

In the end, connect back to Navajo Trail. You’ll be gaining a lot of elevation during this part of the trail as you finish it off, about 500 feet total. There are many switchbacks on the Navajo Trail, but the views are incredible, so you won’t even mind hiking it.

Overall, this trail can take, on average, anywhere from three and a half to four and a half hours. It can take a bit longer, too, if you make lots of stops along the way or aren’t used to longer hikes.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you find out the best hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park for your next trip to southern Utah. Each one is completely worth doing; it just depends on the time you have at the park and your skill level.

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5 Comments

  1. These hikes look incredible! I’d love to visit Bryce Canyon and admire the incredible landscape. The views from Bristlecone Loop Trail are insane! Thanks for the great guide!

  2. We sure wish we had planned more time on our visit to Bryce Canyon to do more of the hikes. The views from the viewpoints were stunning. But I really would have loved to get closer to the rock features. I will definitely keep this post as a reference guide for our next visit. And plan to be in the area for several days.

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