Bryce Canyon National Park: The Complete Guide for 2020

Lauren Allain

Seattle, WA, USA

As if the word hoodoo isn’t cool enough, the park where you can find these towering geologic creations is even cooler. Hoodoo means “to bewitch, which is the exact effect that Bryce Canyon’s whimsical rock formations and winding trails will have on you. Bryce Canyon National Park is a treasure trove for those who like to explore national parks by foot, car, snowshoe and horse. While relatively small as far as national parks go (and much smaller than neighboring Zion National Park and Capitol Reef National Park), Bryce Canyon is among one of the best the US. has to offer.

Where is Bryce Canyon?

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Bryce Canyon National Park is situated on the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in south-central Utah. Along with Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef, it’s a part of Utah’s famous “Mighty 5 National Parks.” With a central location that can’t be beat, Bryce Canyon is an easy stop as you explore the rest of Utah’s national parks.

Driving from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Bryce Canyon is a straight four-hour drive from Las Vegas, leaving you plenty of time to leave your Sin City hotel at checkout and still get settled into your campsite in time for dinner. Take I-15 N to exit 95, turn right onto UT-20E. Turn right onto US-89S, left to stay on US-89S/Center Street in Panguitch, left onto UT-12E, right onto UT-63S and into the park! The visitor center will be on your right.

Driving from Zion to Bryce Canyon

A quick 1.5-hour drive northeast. Take Zion Mount Carmel highway east out of the park, then route 89 north until you get to route 12. Follow route 12 until you touchdown in Bryce Canyon. 

Bryce Canyon Weather

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Late April through early October is the high season for tourists, but also offers warm weather and the widest variety of tours, campgrounds, trails. If you’re looking to beat the crowds, Bryce Canyon’s off-season promises less people and seasonal changes like wildflower blooms and winter snow that transforms the park into a completely new experience. Just dress accordingly!

Bryce Canyon Hours

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

The park is open 24 hours a day year-round with the Bryce Canyon National Park visitor’s center open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Bryce Canyon National Park is under limited operations due to COVID-19. For current status and frequent updates, check out the park’s current conditions.

Bryce Canyon Entrance Fee

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Visitors to Bryce Canyon National Park are required to purchase a pass in order to enter the park. The best pass for you will be determined by your age, vehicle type, and how often you plan to visit national parks in the next year. For current and detailed information, check their website. A 7-day pass for one car plus all passengers is $35.

If you plan on visiting a few national parks this year, the best deal for most people is the Interagency Annual Pass, affectionately called the America the Beautiful pass. This allows unlimited access to all Federal fee areas for one year from the date of purchase. The standard fee for this is $80, but is discounted for seniors and free for active duty military, those with disabilities, and kids in the 4th grade.  

Bryce Canyon Facts

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

In 1924, this stretch of land was officially recognized as a Utah National Park. It was renamed Bryce Canyon National Park shortly after that in 1928. The park currently encompasses 35,835 acres of incredible geologic formations. The highest point of the park is Rainbow Point, standing at 9,105 feet, and is located at the end of the popular scenic drive through the park. Bryce Canyon is a stunningly picturesque landscape, comprising over 60 documented color variations of the rock. This is also an ideal place to breath in deep. Really deep because the park boasts some of the nation’s cleanest air. On days with the best air-quality, you can look over the Grand Canyon to Humphrey’s Peak — 150 miles away!

Bryce Canyon Lodging

Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel, Bryce Canyon City
Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Bryce Canyon Camping

Planning a night under the stars? Here are some of the best campgrounds and campsites inside and outside of Bryce Canyon National Park:

  1. North Campground (In Park)
  2. Sunset Campground (In Park)
  3. Yellow Creek
  4. Kings Creek Campground
  5. Cannonville / Bryce Valley KOA Holiday
  6. Ruby’s Inn RV Park & Campground
  7. Bryce Canyon Pines Campground
  8. Bryce Canyon Dispersed Campsite
  9. Red Canyon Campground
  10. Bryce View Campground

Bryce Canyon Hotels

If camping isn’t your thing, there are plenty of resorts, hotels, hostels, inns, cabins and B&Bs within a quick drive of Bryce Canyon National Park. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Stone Canyon Inn
  2. Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
  3. Ruby’s Inn
  4. Bryce Canyon Log Cabins
  5. Bryce Canyon Resort
  6. Bryce Canyon Villas
  7. Bryce Valley Lodging
  8. Grand Staircase Inn
  9. Bryce Country Cabins
  10. Bybee’s Steppingstone Motel

Bryce Canyon National Park Airbnb

With a lakefront view and a huge deck for BBQs, the Lake House at Bryce Canyon is great Bryce Canyon Airbnb rental. Room to sleep 10 and walking distance to restaurants and shops, this is the quintessential meaning of convenience. It’s a one-mile drive to the park entrance so you can go straight from hiking to BBQing in no time.

For more options, look to the nearby town of Tropic which includes the adorable River Stone Inn and Gallery. Here you’ll stay in a studio that features a dreamy reading loft and plants galore. Breakfast is served daily by the hosts and your shower features soap they made on site.

Bryce Canyon Tours

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Bryce Canyon offers a huge variety of ranger-led tours for you to get to know the park. Most offerings are during the high season of Labor Day through Memorial Day, but the park offers a reasonable number of options year-round. Some of our favorites are the spectacular two to three hour long full-moon night hikes held each full moon, and the half-mile ranger-led rim hike, perfect for getting acquainted with the local geology, flora and fauna. A great primer for enriching the rest of your time in the park and sounding really smart to anyone around you who hears you spilling all your knowledge. Check the official park website for the up to date schedule of offerings.

Bryce Canyon Hikes

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

In Bryce Canyon, skies are blue and beautiful hikes are plentiful. If you’re ready to stretch your legs (but not sure where to start), here’s a list of 10 of our favorite hiking trails in Bryce Canyon National Park

  1. Rim Trail
  2. Mossy Cave
  3. Navajo Loop
  4. Fairyland Loop
  5. Queen’s Garden
  6. Sunset to Sunrise
  7. Bristlecone Loop
  8. Peekaboo Loop
  9. Hat Shop
  10. Tower Bridge

Bryce Canyon Bucket List

Sign-up For a Full Moon Hike

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Don’t tell your parents, but you’re gonna need to sneak out after dark at Bryce Canyon for the ranger-led Full Moon Hike. No flashlights allowed! This hike is all about utilizing the bring moonlight to guide the way. But if you’re not totally sold on that, there’s a ranger with you too. Wear proper hiking boots for this one and due to popularity, spots for this hike are done in a lottery style at the visitor center.

Rent Snowshoes and Hit the Trails

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Winter may not seem like the ideal time to explore a National Park, but Bryce Canyon offers some fantastic winter activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. If you have no gear for this snowy wonderland, you’re in luck. Bryce Canyon offers a ranger-led snowshoe adventure that includes the snowshoes and poles. All you need to do is show up wearing snow boots and be willing to spend two hours hiking in deep snow while taking in an unforgettable landscape. 

Check Out the Annual Astronomy Festival

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

For a few days each June, Bryce Canyon hosts an annual Astronomy Festival packed full of the coolest nerd info about everything related to the sky we all live under. This festival is much more than stargazing. It’s building and launching model rockets, guided walks with experts, solar scope viewings, and talks from a panel of experts. If anyone in your family is slightly interested in astronomy, this is your golden ticket for Bryce Canyon enjoyment.

More Things to Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

Trek Through Slot Canyons on the Navajo Loop Trail

Navajo Loop Trail, Bryce
Navajo Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Hop on a Horseback Riding Tour with Canyon Trail Rides

Bryce Canyon National Park,
Canyon Trail Rides, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Get Off-the-Beaten-Path with American ATV Rentals

American ATV Rentals Bryce Canyon Country, Panguitch, UT, Panguitch
American ATV Rentals, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Sign Up for a Romantic Sleigh Ride with Ruby’s Horseback Adventures

Ruby's Horseback Adventures, Bryce Canyon City
Ruby’s Horseback Adventures, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Spark Wonder at Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point, Inspiration Point
View of Amphitheater from Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Hike Among the Hoodoos on Queens Garden Trail

Queens Garden Trail, Bryce
Queens Garden Trail hike, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Take Insta Pics at Bryce Canyon’s Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge,
Bryce Canyon Natural Bridge, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Watch an Epic Sunrise at Sunrise Point

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point, Bryce
Sunrise Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Shop Around in Old Bryce Town

Old Bryce Town, Bryce
Old Bryce Town, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.

Cross country ski the Fairytale Loop

Fairyland Loop Trail, Bryce
Fairytale Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, US.