Bryce Canyon National Park has one of the most striking landscapes with it’s hoodoo spires. It is an amazing park to visit whether you can only stop at the viewpoints or if you are up for hiking.
Bryce Canyon was created by ice-wedging. During the day, the snow and ice fell down in the cracks of the rock and then at night it would freeze and expand. That process created these amazing Bryce Canyon hoodoos.
The most iconic area of Bryce Canyon National Park is the areas of Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point. These are all within about ten minutes of the park entrance and are included in the shuttle stops. If you only plan to visit these viewpoints, you could possibly do Bryce Canyon in less than a day. I recommend at 1-2 days depending if you plan to do any hikes over a mile in length. You could easily spend even more exploring this majestic landscape!
Sunrise Point is on the far North of this main amphitheater and Sunset Point is on the South end. The parking lots connect and there is a paved path along the rim that goes between these two points.
From this point you can hike down the Queen’s Garden Trail or you can walk along the rim to Sunset Point.
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon, the only lodge inside the park is located here near Sunrise Point.
Sunset Point is one of the most spectacular viewpoints in the whole park.
Right from the rim there are incredible views! This is also an amazing place to hike down into the canyon. The Navajo Loop Trail begins here.
You can also connect the Navajo Loop with the Peekaboo Loop to make a longer hike.
Bryce Canyon at Night
Bryce Canyon is an official International Dark Sky location and is spectacular for night photos! These are a few I took around Sunset Point.
Here are a few taken at night illuminated by the nearly full moon before it set.
The next parking lot down is Inspiration Point. This is another must-see! The Lower Viewpoint is a walk up, but Inspiration Point hike to all the other viewpoints make it an easy 0.6 mile round trip hike.
Here are the views from the different viewpoints.
Bryce Point is a couple minutes further southeast. The Bryce Point Trail is an easy 0.2 miles and is wheelchair accessible. This viewpoint is out on a little peninsula, so there are 360° views of the canyon all around!
Here are a few views from Bryce Point.
Bryce Canyon Wildlife
There are many animals that make their home in Bryce Canyon.
The Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive is beautiful! It is 20 miles, so nearly 40 round trip. I definitely recommend going all the way to the end and making your way back to the park entrance. There are two main reasons:
1 – all viewpoints will be on your right side if you start that way
2- the most breathtaking views are near the entrance, so then it can get more exciting instead of anticlimactic.
Rainbow and Yovimpa Points
Rainbow and Yovimpa Points are the two at the end of the road. Rainbow Point can be seen with just a short walk from the parking lot.
Yovimpa Point is the opposite end of the parking lot. You can either take the sidewalk between them or take the 0.8 mile easy Bristlecone Pine Trail past pines that are up to 1,800 years old.
The Yovimpa Point is mostly the forest of pines that contrasts with the red rock.
Black Birch Canyon
This stop has some hoodoos and red and pink colored rock.
Natural Bridge is definitely worth the stop. There are no hiking trails, but the view of the arch with the pines below is very dramatic.
Agua Canyon is the next stop. It has a few hoodoos that look like castle turrets.
On a clear day you can see clear to Arizona. See the hill you can see just right of center, way off in the distance? That’s Navajo Mountain, 90 miles away in Arizona. The Black Mesas are sometimes visible and they are 160 miles away!
Swamp Canyon Viewpoint
This one has some hoodoos amidst the pines.
Paria View is the only viewpoint that faces west, so it would actually make a great one for sunset.
Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point
Now we are back to the main parts of Bryce Canyon that we started with.
The very last viewpoint, or the closest to the entrance of Bryce Canyon is Fairyland Point. It is a beautiful viewpoint. I would love to do the 8.0 mile loop hike!
Just outside Bryce Canyon National Park are a few other trails worth stopping for.
Mossy Cave Trail
Mossy Cave and Tropic Ditch Waterfall are only a few minutes outside the park. This is a one mile easy hike with big rewards.
Red Canyon is a section of Dixie National Forest and is west of Bryce Canyon. It has some beautiful hikes that are dog-friendly.
Pink Ledges Trail is a 0.7 mile easy loop.
Other Places to Explore
There are other hikes that may be worth exploring on your way to or from Bryce Canyon, depending on how you get there including Bullion Falls in Marysville, Hidden Haven Waterfall in Parowan, or Belly of the Dragon and Sand Caves in Kanab.
You may also want to pair a visit to Bryce Canyon with a trip to another nearby National Park, like Zion’s or Capitol Reef.