Heading out on a Bryce Canyon National Park hiking trip?
Bryce Canyon is one of my absolute favorite parks in the American Southwest, and (dare I say) is my favorite destination in Utah. Yes, that’s saying something!
I visited Bryce Canyon National Park with the distinct purpose of hiking, and that’s exactly what I did. I spent a few days traipsing the trails so that I could give real advice about how to best experience the park.
Speaking of, given that many of the Bryce Canyon hiking trails are interconnected, many of the specific hikes overlap, but we’ll dive into that below.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- 🚶🏽 The 10 best hiking trails in Bryce Canyon (and what makes them special)
- ⌛ How long you should spend at the park
- 💼 What to pack
- 🚗 How to get around
- ✔️ And so much more!
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- The 10 Best Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Trail #1 – Navajo Loop Trail
- Trail #2 – Queen’s Garden Trail
- Trail #3 – Fairyland Loop Trail
- Trail #4 – Peekaboo Loop Trail
- Trail #5 – Sunset Point to Sunrise Point
- Trail #6 – Rim Trail
- Trail #7 – Tower Bridge
- Trail #8 – Bristlecone Loop
- Trail #9 – Mossy Cave
- Trail #10 – Sheep Creek/Swamp Canyon
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The 10 Best Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Length: 1.4 miles (2.25km)
- Elevation: 460 feet (140 m)
Ranked as moderate difficulty, The Navajo Loop trail is, quite frankly, one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done.
Starting out with the Instagram-famous Wall Street, the narrow path will take you down a series of switchbacks that will descend you into the canyon.
Though this corridor seems to be less of a “hike” and more of a backdrop for some seriously awesome photo-taking (I had to stop a few times for other people’s photos), it can be a tad demanding given the steep incline to the canyon floor. I recommend going slowly in this part, bring hiking poles if you have them and, as always, wear excellent hiking boots or shoes.
I wore runners and practically slipped all the way down.
The Navajo Trail is most often done with Queen’s Garden tacked on. The two together make a longer loop and will give you some diversity of sites.
This brings me to…
Trail #2 – Queen’s Garden Trail
- Length: 2 miles (3.2km)
- Elevation: 436 feet (133m)
An easy-moderate hike, The Queens Garden Trail is located right within the canyon and, as I mentioned above, is best reached via the Navajo Loop Trail.
On this part of the trek, you’ll find small hobbit-like doorways etched into the rock, which are great for exploring.
Trail #3 – Fairyland Loop Trail
- Length: 7.8 miles (12.6km)
- Elevation: 1545 feet (471m)
A moderate-difficulty trail, the Fairyland Loop is one of the longer hikes in Bryce National Park.
Filled with hoodoos, wildflowers, and views for days, the trail begins with a decline into the canyon and takes you through some incredible scenery.
I did find this trail one of the more strenuous hikes in Bryce, as although there is only 1545 feet of elevation gain, it can be steep in parts. It’s also quite a busy trail, especially in the summertime, so be prepared to share it with quite a few others.
Keep in mind as well that this is also very much a desert environment with no bathrooms and in high-elevation territory. Be sure to bring water!
This is one of the most popular trails in Bryce Canyon National Park, so start early if you can!
🔥 Tour alert! Looking to dive a little deeper into the local history and topography? This 3-hour Bryce Canyon National Park sightseeing tour will take you to some of the park’s best sites, give you a geology lesson, and teach you about the local organisms.
Trail #4 – Peekaboo Loop Trail
- Length: 3.5 miles (5.6km)
- Elevation: 1,000 feet (300m)
Easily accessed via the Queen’s Garden or Navajo Loops, the Peekaboo Loop Trail is a moderate, heavily trafficked trail. Featuring a river, this trail is often used for both hiking and horseback riding and offers absolutely stunning panoramas of the park.
Trail #5 – Sunset Point to Sunrise Point
- Length: 1 mile (1.6km)
- Elevation Change: 34 feet (10m)
Another heavily-trafficked trail in Bryce Canyon, Sunset Point to Sunrise Point is the paved portion of the Rim Trail, which features only 34ft/10m of elevation change, and is great for all skill levels.
Though it is paved and feels like less of a “hike” than other trails in the park, it’s dog and family-friendly and is a great way to see the Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre.
Trail #6 – Rim Trail
- Distance: 0-11 miles (0-17.7km) round trip
- Elevation: 1754 ft (535m)
Ranked as easy-moderate, this extremely photogenic hike will give you incredible views of the whole canyon. Tacked onto the end of the Sunset Point to Sunrise Point hike, this is a “choose your own adventure” kind of hike in that it can be as short or long as you’d like.
If you plan on hiking the entire route, then I’d recommend catching the shuttle back at the end (unless you want to walk the length back of course).
Trail #7 – Tower Bridge
- Length: 3 miles (4.8 km) round-trip
- Elevation gain: 950 feet (290 m)
Descending from the rim down into the Canyon, this out-and-back hike begins along the Fairyland Loop Trail and will give you excellent views of the China Wall. To reach the trailhead, simply trek along the branch to reach the Tower Bridge site.
As this is not a loop trail, you then have the option of going back to Sunrise Point or continuing along the Fairyland Loop Trail.
🔥 Looking for something a little different? This Bryce Canyon horseback riding tour in the Dixie National Forest is great for a new vantage point!
Trail #8 – Bristlecone Loop
- Length: 1 mile (1.6km)
- Elevation Gain: 200 feet (61m)
Reached via Rainbow Point at the southern end of Bryce Canyon, Bristlecone Loop is a forested trail that’s excellent for wildlife viewing and getting some shade. Characterized by Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, and White Fir, some of the trees along this route are up to 1,800 years old.
This is an easy hike great for most fitness levels.
Trail #9 – Mossy Cave
- Length: 1.3 km round-trip
- Elevation gain: 300 feet (91 m)
Located near Tropic, Utah on Highway 12, Mossy Cave Turret Arch and Little Windows Trail is a busy trek that features a waterfall and artificial stream. True to its name, you’ll encounter mossy overhang and beautiful arched hoodoos.
To be honest, the cave isn’t much in and of itself, but this is a short and easy hike that’s great to tack on to the rest of your hiking trip.
Trail #10 – Sheep Creek/Swamp Canyon
- Length: 4 miles (6.4km)
- Elevation Gain: 647feet (198km)
If you’re looking for a moderate-difficulty hike through the backcountry, then look no further than Sheep Creek / Swamp Canyon. This beautiful hike is relatively uncrowded and features some of the best hoodoo views and forests in the canyon.
For the best experience, it’s recommended that you do this route clockwise.
🔥 Wanna go off-roading? This 1-hour Bryce Canyon ATV adventure is perfect for a little extra thrill as you explore the park!
Bryce Canyon FAQ’s
How long do you need to hike in Bryce Canyon?
Honestly, there are enough hikes in Bryce Canyon to keep you occupied for a while. If you’re planning to visit Bryce as part of a longer Utah trip, then I recommend 2-3 days.
Are pets allowed in Bryce Canyon?
For the most part, pets are not allowed on Bryce Canyon’s hiking trails. That said, animals are allowed on paved trails and at viewpoints, campsites, and picnic areas. For more dog-friendly trails, head over to nearby Red Canyon.
How do I get around Bryce Canyon National Park?
The easiest way to get around Bryce Canyon is to take the free shuttle. This will allow you to hike at your leisure and not have to worry about finding parking.
That said, there are parking lots available at Bryce Canyon. When I went in October, I found that we were able to park at the most popular lots with ease, although in the summer the park does get much more congested.
What is the closest town to Bryce Canyon National Park?
The closest towns to Bryce Canyon are Bryce and Cannonville. That said, I personally stayed in the nearby town of Panguitch — I found it to be a great base at a significantly cheaper rate.
What should I pack for Bryce Canyon?