bryce canyon

Guide to Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park

Over two million visitors come to experience the otherworldly magic of Bryce Canyon National Park each year. Bryce Canyon is not a single canyon, but a series of natural amphitheaters or bowls, carved into the edge of a high plateau. 

The most famous of these is the Bryce Amphitheater, which is filled with irregularly eroded spires of rocks called hoodoos. 

With one-of-a-kind geology, wonderful access to beautiful views, and world-class hiking, Bryce Canyon is a perfect day trip or longer Southwest getaway.

Where Is Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah is located on Highway 63, Bryce, UT 84764.

Bryce Canyon National Park Hours

Bryce Canyon National Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round, but from October through May, some roads, campgrounds and other visitor facilities are closed or operate on reduced hours.

Bryce Canyon National Park Cost

The National Park service charges each private vehicle that enters Bryce Canyon. The fees are:

  • $35 for a passenger vehicle. 
  • $20 per person per person walk-in or bicycles
  • Visitors 15 and under admitted free

Visitors can also purchase a Bryce Canyon National Park Annual Pass for $70.

bryce canyon national park

Bryce Canyon Weather: When Is Best To Visit?

Because of its high elevation, the weather at Bryce Canyon in the fall, winter and spring can be quite variable. It's a good idea to check the current conditions on the National Weather Service website before your visit. 

Generally speaking, the best time to visit Bryce National Park is May through September. The elevation is bit higher than other parks in the region, averaging between 7,000-8,000 feet, so be prepared.

How to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon has one single 18-mile road that runs north-south. This road, which runs the entire length of the park, provides beautiful views into the Bryce Amphitheater from various vista points. 

The road allows visitors to see all angles of Bryce Canyon’s one-of-a-kind landscape.

The park’s four most popular overlooks (Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point) are all located along the first three miles of the  main road. 

These viewpoints are also trailheads for some of the park's most popular trails.

bryce canyon weather

How To Visit Bryce Canyon in One Day

If you are pressed on time and only have one day or just a few hours to explore the magical geology of Bryce Canyon, here are the “must do” activities:

  • Photograph the hoodoos at either sunrise or sunset – This is the largest collection of colorful, crazy look rocks in the entire world. The majesty is amplified at both sunrise and sunset!
  • Take a Guided Tour- A Bryce Canyon tour with a knowledgeable and experienced operator can pack all the views, hikes, and in-depth knowledge about the geology and human history of the region
  • Take a drive – Go on the scenic drive and visit the viewpoints. We suggest driving the full length of the main road (known as the Southern Scenic Drive) to Rainbow Point, Natural Bridge, and other viewpoints.
  • Relax at the awe-inspiring viewpoints – Bryce Canyon’s beautiful amphitheater opens up at gorgeous spots such as Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, and Inspiration Point. Settle in and just soak up the beauty!
  • Put on your hiking shoes- if you are short on time check out  the 1.1 mile, easy Sunset Point to Sunset Point route. If you have more time on your hands, lace up your boots and hit the Queens Garden & Navajo Combination trail.

Bryce Canyon Tour From Las Vegas

Rather than spending an entire day driving to Bryce Canyon, you can now fly from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon, Utah aboard aerial sightseeing aircraft! En-route on this Bryce Canyon Tour you will fly over Zion National Park and have an entire day to see the  Lower and Middle Amphitheaters of Bryce Canyon National Park before your afternoon return back to Las Vegas. You can also add a biking or hiking component to your trip if you like!

bryce canyon hikes

How To Get to Bryce Canyon National Park

The closest major airports to Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah are Las Vegas and Salt Lake.  

You can also fly to Bryce Canyon directly from Las Vegas on Scenic Airlines. These flights land at Bryce Canyon airport and offer scenic views of Zion National Park in-route. 

Most visitors drive to Bryce Canyon from either Las Vegas, Zion National Park, or from other locations in the Southwest.

Here are the main distances to Bryce Canyon National Park from various points:

  • Las Vegas, NV to Bryce Canyon National Park: 260 miles
  • Salt Lake City, UT to Bryce Canyon National Park: 270 miles
  • Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park: 75 miles
  • Capitol Reef National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park: 115 miles
  • Arches National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park: 245 miles
  • Canyonlands National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park: 260 miles
  • Grand Canyon National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park: 265 miles
  • Phoenix, AZ to Bryce Canyon National Park: 430 miles

Driving Directions To Bryce Canyon National Park from Las Vegas

To drive to Bryce Canyon National Park from Las Vegas, NV:

  • Take I-15 N toward Salt Lake City. 
  • Take exit 95 and head southeast on Hwy 20 to Hwy 89 south, then Hwy 12 east. 
  • Follow the signs to Bryce Canyon National Park.

The total length of this trip is about 260 miles. Las Vegas is a a great city to explore the regions National Parks from Tours from Las Vegas to National Parks are very popular along with flights to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.

Driving Directions To Bryce Canyon National Park from Zion National Park

To drive to Bryce Canyon National Park from Zion National Park:

  • Take Hwy 9 east toward Mt. Carmel Junction. 
  • Take Hwy 89 north for 43 miles, then turn right and head east on Hwy 12. 
  • Follow the signs to Bryce Canyon National Park.

The total length of this trip is about 75  miles.

sunset point bryce canyon

Bryce Canyon Shuttle

The free Bryce Canyon shuttle is available to transport visitors to the park’s trails and overlooks. It runs from April through October through the most iconic section of the park; the Bryce Amphitheater.

Bryce Amphitheater is where the largest collections of hoodoos, weathered rock spires, is found anywhere on Earth.  

The shuttle is free with park admission. Buses typically arrive at each stop every 15 minutes.

Visitors can board the shuttle before entering the park at the Shuttle Station in Bryce Canyon City (Stop 1) or at the Visitor Center (Stop 6).

horseback ride bryce canyon

Best Hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park

While a compact National Park  (35,835 acres compared to Zion’s 146,600 acres compared to the Grand Canyon’s  1.217 million acres) there are many scenic and memorable hikes to add to your bucket list when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park. 

The natural amphitheaters of this rare gem are full of the world’s largest concentration of eroded rock spires, called hoodoos, colorful plateaus, and forested viewpoints, making Bryce Canyon one of the most breathtaking landscapes you can hike in anywhere!

If you are short on time or hiking is not your thing, you should still check out the 1.1 mile, easy Sunset Point to Sunset Point route that grants you access to nearly all the most famous of Bryce Canyon's hoodoo views. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

Here are two additional hikes we strongly recommend:

Queen's Garden/Navajo Loop Combination Trail

This 2.9 mile hike is the most popular in Bryce Canyon. It runs along the rim, descends along the forested ridges, and winds you on a path through towering hoodoos and tight canyons. 

The total elevation gain on the Queen's Garden/Navajo Loop hike, which is rated as moderate,  is approximately 600 feet. Hikers can choose to two seperate starting points; Sunrise Point or Sunset Point. 

From these points, the Queen's Garden trail descends until it links up with the Navajo Loop, which begins a gradual climb back up before a series of switchbacks, near Wall Street and Two Bridges, returns hikers to the end point of the loop. The end will be  whichever point you did not start from.

Fairyland Loop Hike

At eight miles long, this is one of the longer hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park and is an immersive way to experience the largest concentration of hoodoos on the planet.

The color palette of Bryce is really on display for the duration of this classic hike; you are surrounded by the red, orange, and white of natural amphitheaters, eroded rock spires, and forested ridges!

The Fairyland Loop Hike involves more elevation gain, approximately 2,300 feet in total, than Queen's Garden/Navajo Loop and is labeled as strenuous by the National Park  

If you are looking for a longer hike in Bryce Canyon National Park, this is it!

bryce canyon shuttle

Bryce Canyon National Park Tours

Bryce Canyon is a smaller National Park with clearly defined trailheads and hiking trails. You can see most of the major sites on your own but an experienced Bryce Canyon tour guide can enhance the experience. 

When you sign up for a Bryce Canyon Day tour, you’ll be transported into the National Park by an experienced Bryce Canyon ground tour operator

Your experienced guide will take you to the most breathtaking viewpoints in the park, points such as Sunset Point, Bryce Point, and Fairyland Point, and educate you about the geology and history of the region.  Add in ground transportation, refreshments, and the option to add biking or hiking to your adventure, and you have a true VIP tour of this magical spot.

bryce canyon national park tour from las vegas

Bryce Canyon National Park Camping

There are two developed campgrounds within Bryce Canyon National Park. 

North Campground, which consists of 100 sites divided in four loops, is located across the road from the Visitor Center. North Campground is also close to the general store, and Fairyland Loop/Rim Trail. You can make a reservation here.  Loops A & B are for RV campers. Loops C & D are for tent campers. North Campground does not offer RVs sewer, water, or electrical hook-ups.  Potable water is available. A dump station is available in summer months. 

The second, Sunset Campground, has 99 sites in three loops.Tent sites cost $20 per night. RV sites cost $30 per night.  It is close to Sunset Point and has a shuttle stop at its entrance. It is closed in the winter and reservations during its opening season ( April 15-October 31) are on a first-come-first-served basis only.

It is located west of Sunset Point, approximately 1.5 miles south of the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center. There are no sewer, water or electrical hook-ups available.

Tips for Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park

Here are a few tips and advisories for visiting Bryce Canyon National Park:

  • Bring sunscreen and stay hydrated. The air is thin and dry with an elevation ranging from 7,500-9,200 ft.
  • Early morning temperatures are usually cold and temperatures rise dramatically as the day progresses. Please dress in layers or bring a jacket.
  • Hiking boots or a good pair of tennis shoes are recommended. Please no flip flops, sandals, or open-toed shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park

How many viewpoints are there at Bryce Canyon?

There are 13 viewpoints at Bryce Canyon National Park along the 18-mile road that runs north-south the entire length of the park.

What are some other things to do at Bryce Canyon National Park?

Hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and ATV adventures are all popular in the area and available in Bryce Canyon City.

How far is Bryce Canyon from Zion National Park?

It takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to travel from Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon and is just over 70 miles.

Is Bryce Canyon National Park dog friendly?

Pets are not permitted on any of the trails or in the backcountry in Bryce Canyon. Pets are only allowed on paved surfaces, including park roads and campgrounds, the Shared-use Path, paved viewpoints (all viewpoints except Piracy Point), and the 1/2 mile (0.8 km) section of Rim Trail between Sunset and Sunrise Points.

Can you see Bryce Canyon without hiking?

Bryce Canyon’s multiple viewpoints are accessible without hiking. All provide expansive views. Many of the park’s 13 viewpoints are right off the main park road.