According to 800zipcodes, Bryce Canyon National Park, located in southwestern Utah, is a somewhat smaller park compared to other national parks in the state. That doesn’t make it any less beautiful though! The park is best known for its ‘hoodoos’; these are columns of lime and sandstone. The impressive and sometimes even bizarre rock formations, situated in the shape of a kind of amphitheatre, are a beautiful picture. Although the name suggests otherwise, Bryce Canyon National Park is not a canyon! You can combine Bryce Canyon with a car tour or a camper tour. Check out our The Mighty five Camper tour, Western Impressions car tour, Highlights of the West Camper tour, Western Experience car tour or view an overview of all tours in Western America.
8 attractions in Bryce National Park
Because Bryce Canyon National Park is a relatively small park, there is a little less to do than in other national parks. In Bryce Canyon you can especially take beautiful walks; this is therefore the best way to enjoy the park. If you’re not done looking yet, you can set up your tent in the so-called ‘backcountry’ to spend the night. In winter, the peaks of Bryce Canyon are snowed under. Here is cross-country skiing!
1. Rim Road
In Bryce Canyon there is only one main road that is only 18 miles long: Rim Road. It runs from south to north along the canyon rim and ends at Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point, the highest points in the park. It is best to drive all the way down the road to the end and then turn around at the end point. All highlights are on the right side of the road. This makes it a lot easier to park and take your time at the viewpoints.
2. Rainbow Point en Yovimpa Point
It is best to start your visit to Bryce Canyon at Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point. Rainbow Point is the highest point in the park. On a clear day, you can see Kaibab Plateau, the northernmost point of the Grand Canyon in Arizona , to the south. Or, if you look closely, you can also see New Mexico in the distance . But you can also see the beautiful Amphitheater of the park itself from here. Yovimpa Point is especially nice because from here you can really see the rock layers that make up the park. The ‘Grand Staircase’ has several ‘steps’, all named after the dominant color of the stone. For example, you are now standing on the Pink Cliffs, but you also have a view of the White Cliffs and even the Chocolate Cliffs!
3. Natural Bridge
One of the highlights of Bryce Canyon is Natural Bridge. Although this name is somewhat misleading: it is actually more of an arch, more than 35 meters high. Natural Bridge is the epitome of the processes of nature: the arch was formed by rainwater and ice erosion. This process continues unabated. It is therefore definitely worth stopping here, if only for the view of the red arch with the dark green forests below.
4. Farview Point en Swamp Canyon
This viewpoint is not called Fairview Point for nothing, because you almost always have a view of tens of kilometers in the distance. Due to the high air quality you can see up to 130 kilometers away! From here you can also see the Kaibab Plateau of Grand Canyon in Arizona as a dot on the horizon. You also have a view of the Grand Staircase, in particular the Gray Cliffs. Sometimes you can spot ospreys from Fairview Point, which is really exceptional for this altitude. Near Fairview Point is Swamp Canyon. Here the views may be a bit less, but this area is also known for the many hoodoos that you can find here. Many hikes from the hinterland also pass here, so there is an opportunity to combine them.
5. Inspiration Point en Bryce Point
Bryce Point is arguably one of the park’s most popular spots. From here you can look out over Bryce Amphitheater. This valley is full of hoodoos in all kinds of red. During sunrise, these colors give a nice view over the valley; the combination of sun and shade makes it almost seem as if the valley is on fire! If you still want to walk during your visit, you can do so from here. Multiple hikes of varying difficulty pass through Bryce Point, including Under-the-Rim Trail and Peek-a-Boo Trail. From Inspiration Point you have a view of the massive rock formation called Silent City. Inspiration Point is also very popular due to its impressive height. So take into account possible crowds at both points.
6. Sunset Point
Sunset Point is fairly close to the park entrance. Although the name suggests otherwise, you can’t really see the sun set here. The sunrise here is very beautiful! It is therefore best to visit this point in the morning or in the afternoon for the best photos. To the south you have a view of Silent City, the rock formation; and to the north you can see Thor’s Hammer, a standalone large stone in the shape of a hammer. From Sunset Point you also have a nice view over the Bryce Amphitheater. Many hikes also start and end here, including Navajo Loop Trail and Queen’s Garden Trail.
7. Navajo Loop Trail
Navajo Loop Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the park, as it is a short walk at 1.4 miles. However, this does not mean that it is not a tough hike! It is a steep walk and therefore requires quite a bit of effort. Still, this walk through the maze of the inner canyon is a great way to experience the park’s surroundings up close. The walk mainly consists of sharp turns surrounded by the high walls of the canyon. You walk through Wall Street, where there are many tall Douglas firs, and then pass Thor’s Hammer again.
8. Fairyland Point
You can start or end your day at Fairyland Point. This viewpoint can be reached via Fairyland Road, a road just across the park boundary, but before the Park Entrance Station. At the end of the road you have a view of a fairytale amphitheater that lives up to its name: Fairyland Canyon. Ahead is a huge rock that almost looks like a ship, hence the name Sinking Ship. If you feel like stretching your legs, you can walk Fairyland Loop Trail here. Please note: this is a fairly intensive walk of about four to five hours. An advantage of this is that it is therefore reasonably quiet on the path.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bryce Canyon National Park
Wat te doen in Bryce Canyon National Park?
You can drive through Bryce Canyon National Park by car, but tourists who have previously visited the park recommend that you absolutely get out of the car and take one or more hikes. This way you can best enjoy the beauty of the park. If you prefer not to walk, you can explore the park by bike or you can join a horseback ride.
How long to Bryce Canyon National Park?
Because Bryce Canyon is a relatively small park, it is easy to visit in one day. You can drive past all viewpoints in a few hours. If you also want to take a walk, it is wise to consider staying overnight.
Hoe ver is Bryce Canyon National Park van Zion National Park?
These parks are not that far from each other. The distance between these two parks is only 80 miles (approximately 130 kilometers); a distance that takes about one and a half to two hours.
Can you drive through Bryce Canyon National Park by car?
Yes! There is one main road through the park: Rim Road. Keep in mind as you enter the park that all highlights are on the left side of the road. It is therefore best to drive all the way to the end of the park, and then turn around there. This way you can easily park on the right side of the road to stop at all the sights.
Where can I stay in Bryce Canyon National Park?
There is one hotel in Bryce Canyon: The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. This hotel has 110 rooms and is very popular. Booking in time is therefore recommended! If you prefer to sleep in nature, this is also possible. There are two camping spots with a limited number of places. You can also spend the night in the backcountry, but you need a permit for this.