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Whether you’re spending just one day in Bryce Canyon National Park or you’re lucky enough to spend a few, this is one of the most beautiful national parks you can visit in the USA. As part of Utah’s Mighty 5, it can be hard to find out the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.
From stargazing in the park to doing the best hikes in Bryce Canyon, there truly is something to do here for each type of traveler. Some of the things to do when visiting Bryce Canyon are included in your park pass, while others, like booking a sightseeing tour, cost extra but are so worth it.
Below, find all of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Stargaze in the Park
During your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, you absolutely can’t miss stargazing at night. As an International Dark Sky Park, Bryce Canyon is one of the best spots in the USA to stargaze, which is why it’s one of the top things to do at Bryce Canyon.
The easiest way to do this is to join a ranger program because they host special activities just for stargazing. The rangers host many different night activities; you can usually inquire about them right at the visitor center or check online.
You can also go to Bryce Canyon and completely stargaze on your own! There are so many open spots throughout the park where you can park for the evening just to watch the stars. You definitely won’t want to forget your camera for a trip like this.
Here are a few of the best places to see the stars in the park on your own:
- Bryce Point (this is our personal favorite spot – we always stargaze here.)
- Sunrise Point
- Sunset Point
- Fairview Point
- Inspiration Point
- Natural Bridge Overlook
Many of the points have parking right near them, so you can easily park your car and wait until the sky gets clear to do the short hike to the viewpoint, where you can then watch the stars.
These are especially great spots to go if it’s cold because then you can stay warm in your car and pop out to stargaze!
Truly, stargazing in the park is one of the best things to do at night in Bryce Canyon.
As you continue throughout this list, don’t forget to download the USA National Park Checklist to track your progress as you visit more parks!
Grab Souvenirs at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center
No trip to any of the Utah National Parks is complete without seeing the visitor center, especially at Bryce Canyon. Here, you can learn all about the Bryce Canyon hoodoos, the perfect introduction to the park.
The Visitor Center isn’t located far from the entrance, and there are many parking spots. As long as you aren’t visiting during peak time, it should be pretty easy to find a place to park. Otherwise, consider stopping at the visitor center first thing in the morning.
The rangers usually give tourists a map right when they enter the park, but if you didn’t get one, the visitor center is also where you can grab a Bryce Canyon attractions map.
In addition to having tons of information about the park, you can also shop and peruse the many souvenirs in the visitor center. You can find everything from t-shirts to posters made by artists that you can bring home.
If you’re a collector of the parks stamps and have a parks passport, you can get a stamp here. Be sure to stop at Zion National Park and Capitol Reef National Park, too, while you’re in the area, so you can also get those stamps!
Take in the View from Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point Bryce Canyon is one of the most popular viewpoints, so visiting it is one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.
It also offers one of the very best views that you can get of the Bryce Amphitheater, which is the main attraction in Bryce Canyon National Park.
It may seem confusing, but Inspiration Point actually has three different viewpoints. The easiest one to get to has its own pull-off just 1.5 miles away from the Visitor Center.
The best way to get to the top view at Inspiration Point is to park up at Bryce Point and hike part of the Rim Trail. The Rim Trail is approximately 5.5 miles, but you only have to hike 1.5 miles to get to Inspiration Point from Bryce Point.
Once you get there, you’ll truly be in awe of the view because there are so many hoodoos in this one spot. Note that the Bryce Canyon shuttle service to get to Bryce Point is only in use during the peak of the year, so you’ll have to plan wisely if you’re visiting in the off-season.
Go on a Scenic Drive
If you’re wondering what to do in Bryce Canyon, you absolutely must go on a scenic drive. The best scenic drive in Bryce Canyon is Highway 12. The drive, in total, is about 20 miles long and will go right by all of the top viewpoints in the park.
This is the perfect way to spend a day in the park if you’re on a time crunch because you can drive the road and pull off at different Bryce Canyon must-see viewpoints along the way. Note that while the drive does have true beauty, the main point of the scenic drive is to see the views!
Round trip, this drive would take about three hours in total, but it’s totally worth it. It’s also great for those who don’t like heights that much because you won’t really be hiking; you’ll just be parking in the different lots and walking to the points.
If you’re on a time crunch, be sure to see spots like Bryce Point, Sunrise Point, and Sunset Point.
A much longer time will allow you to visit the other national parks in Utah too, which is considered to be one of the best scenic drives in the world! You can tack on Capitol Reef, Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands.
Hike the Fairyland Loop
As one of the best Bryce Canyon hikes, the Fairyland Loop is one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park. This is not an easy trail at all because of its length of 8 miles, but it truly is one of the best ways to see all of the park’s highlights on foot.
On average, the trail takes 4 to 5 hours to hike fully, and it has a trail level of moderate. The most popular spot to start the course is right at the Sunrise Point parking lot because there’s a higher chance of finding parking there.
Start right at the famous Sunrise Point to get started. Parts of the trail can be steep, which is something to keep in mind, but it’s nothing too complicated if you can handle other trails in the park, like the Navajo Loop Trail.
While this is one of the more well-known trails in the park, it’s not popularly hiked compared to Queens Garden and the Navajo Loop. Because of that, likely, you won’t see many other people on the trail, especially if you are visiting in the offseason!
Catch the Sunrise at Sunrise Point
Sunrise Point is the most well-known viewpoint, and it offers one of the best landscape views, which is why catching the sunrise there is one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Because this is one of the most popular spots to visit in the park, you need to get there early if you want to catch the sunrise there. The earlier you get there, the higher chance you have of getting close to it with your parking and getting a better spot to sit at the viewpoint.
It’s best to get there about 30 minutes before the sun rises to ensure that you can get a great spot. It’s okay to bring a flashlight, too, to make sure that you can easily watch your footing on your walk over to the viewpoint when you get there.
Watch the Sunset at Sunset Point
Similar to Sunrise Point, you’ll want to catch the sunset at Sunset Point! It’s actually located right near Sunrise Point, so it’s pretty easy to get to. Just park at the nearby parking lot and walk out to watch the beautiful colors of the sky change over the hoodoos in Bryce Amphitheater.
In comparison to the morning, catching the sunset may be a bit busier than seeing the sunrise because more people tend to still be in the park at this time. As you watch the sunset, though, you’ll notice that more people keep leaving the park, leaving all the great views to you!
A great idea to catch the sunset is to head into town and grab a quick to-go meal or even make a sandwich and pack a picnic. Grab a blanket to sit on, eat your dinner, and enjoy the views.
Be sure also to bring a camera because the views are incredibly magnificent, and you’ll definitely want to document it.
Visit Wall Street on the Navajo Loop Trail
Wall Street is one of the most iconic spots in Bryce Canyon National Park, and the best way to see it is by hiking the famous Navajo Loop Trail. Out of all the hikes in Bryce Canyon, this is the one that’s the most well-loved.
It’s only 1.5 miles long and, on average, takes no more than two hours to hike in total. It starts right at Sunset Point and features tons of switchbacks, Two Bridges, Thor’s Hammer, and of course, Wall Street.
You may be thinking, what the heck is Wall Street? It’s essentially a slot canyon located right along the trail. Overall, it’s not super long, but it does offer some of the best photo opportunities in Bryce Canyon.
You’ll visit Wall Street first by starting at Sunset Point, so it’ll be hard to miss.
The trail gets super busy beginning at 10 a.m. as more people visit the park, so definitely try to start the hike right after catching the sunrise or wait and do it much later in the day as the sun is beginning to set to avoid the crowds.
If you’re visiting Bryce Canyon in winter, unfortunately, Wall Street will most likely be closed.
Have a Blast on a Sightseeing Tour
Going on a sightseeing tour is a great way to experience the park with a guide if you can afford to. This way, you can ensure that you’ll be seeing all of the top places in the park, and you’ll learn so much along the way!
The most popular of these tours is the Bryce Canyon National Park: 3-Hour Sightseeing Tour. With an average rating of 4.8/5 stars, you can’t go wrong by booking this one! Tickets start at $45 per person.
Along the tour, you’ll visit many famous places in the park, including Natural Bridge, Thor’s Hammer, and the Cathedral. You’ll also go on a short hike in Fairyland Canyon and see the Bristlecone Pines that the park is so famous for, in addition to its hoodoos.
Plus, umbrellas, transportation, water, and snacks are all included in the ticket. Because this is a popular tour, definitely book as far in advance as possible to ensure that you can go on this magnificent tour during your visit to Bryce Canyon.
Marvel at Bryce Point
Known for being the most accessible spot to get to in the park, where you can see the most amount of hoodoos in one place, Bryce Point is one viewpoint you really can’t miss. It’s located a bit higher up in the park, which is why you can see so many hoodoos at once.
There’s a large parking lot right at Bryce Point where you can park and take a brief walk (less than a half-mile) to the viewpoint. A few trails run right off the outlook, too, so you can walk a short bit of those to see even more of the area.
Bryce Point is one of the more accessible spots in the park. If you’re visiting in the offseason, the parking lot usually is almost empty, so you can easily get a spot in the lot without trying too hard.
Note that because Bryce Point is so high up, be sure to stay behind the bars that were built for your safety. Don’t jump them just for a picture on Instagram; it’s not worth it!
Find the Natural Bridge
The Natural Bridge is an arch located in Bryce Canyon National Park! Many people think that all of the arches can only be found in Arches National Park, but truthfully, there is some sort of arch in each and every one of Utah’s Mighty 5.
To get to the Natural Bridge, head towards Rainbow Point. There’s a parking area that you can’t miss, just park there and take a quick walk to check it out. From this viewpoint, you can look down and see all the trees right through the arch; it’s pretty magical!
If you’re doing a scenic drive in Bryce Canyon, this is one of the more fun spots along the way because the view is so different than other ones that you can get in the park. It’s also not always super busy there, as most people stay in spots closer to the visitor center!
Snap a Picture at Rainbow Point
As one of the lesser-visited spots in Bryce Canyon National Park, most people don’t really know about Rainbow Point. Because of that, it’s one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park!
Looking out at the park from here, you can truly see everything all the way out into the distance. It’s just hoodoos and trees as far as the eye can see.
While you’re there, be sure to also stop at Yovimpa Point, which provides more of a glimpse into the nearby trees. It’s a stark comparison to what the rest of the park holds.
Out of every viewpoint in the park, this one is truly the highest at around 9000 feet! There are also restrooms here.
If you have extra time during your visit, the Riggs Spring Loop Trail is a great hike to do in this area. It starts right at Rainbow Point and goes right into the canyon. A more leisurely stroll called the Bristlecone Loop is also here, which is 0.8 miles.
Look for the Queens Garden on the Queens Garden Trail
Last but not least, one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park is to find the Queens Garden on the Queens Garden Loop Trail! Like the Navajo Loop Trail, this is one of the most popular hikes in the park, and the two are often combined for one long trail.
At 1.8 miles, this trail is rated as easy and starts right at Sunrise Point. On average, the route takes about two hours to hike round trip. This is one of the more accessible hikes to do if you want to get close to the hoodoos instead of seeing them in the distance.
At about the 0.9-mile mark, you’ll finally get to the Queen’s Garden, a set of extremely unique rock formations. Overall, the trail is pretty gradual, but it’s definitely easier getting to Queens Garden than coming back up from the canyon.
Best Bryce Canyon Hotels
Have you booked your Bryce Canyon hotel yet? Check out this map of accommodations below!
There are so many fun things to do in Bryce Canyon, no matter the time of year that you’re visiting. What fun activity do you most want to do during your trip?
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