Featuring one of the most stunning natural landscapes in Southern Utah, there are some amazing things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.
In fact, Bryce Canyon sees over 2 million visitors every year, is spread out over 36,000 acres, and is home to an incredible number of hoodoos (naturally occurring rock spires).
My trip to Bryce Canyon immediately cemented it as one of my favorite national parks in the USA. I absolutely love Southern Utah, and every day that I woke up and was able to see those towering hoodoos was a seriously good one.
Between adrenaline rushes, family-friendly adventures, and leisurely activities, you won’t be short of things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Let’s dive in!
10 Best Things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
#1 – Take a Scenic Drive
If you’d prefer to see Bryce Canyon, Utah from the comfort of your vehicle, then taking a scenic drive through the park is the way to go!
In particular, the Highway 12 scenic drive cuts across the northern part of the park, while Highway 63 runs by the visitor’s center and major overlooks.
That said, if you’re not a driver, then the free shuttle does operate in the summer. It goes along Highway 63, through the campgrounds, and has great views of the major areas.
#2 – See the Sunrise at Bryce Point
While watching the first rays of light hit the hoodoos is definitely worth setting your alarm extra early, the best place to see the sunrise in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah is a bit of a debated topic.
Generally, the consensus is that if you hit up any of the major points along the Rim Trail, you’ll have an excellent view of the sun breaking over the horizon.
That said, parking yourself at Bryce Point will give you incredible panoramic views of the park and is perhaps the best vantage point. Sunrise Point and Inspiration Point are also great spots, but the special angle of Bryce Point makes it the golden ticket.
As for sunset, Sunset Point is, as the name suggests, a gem.
#3 – Go Hiking
An activity that could keep you busy for days, there are some amazing hiking trails in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Trails that give you panoramic views of the Bryce Canyon amphitheater, ones that take you down into the tallest hoodoos in the park, and trails that will have you out in the backcountry away from the crowds.
In particular, some of the best Bryce Canyon hikes are:
- Navajo Loop Trail (1.4 miles/2.25km) – Featuring Instagram-friendly Wall Street, the Navajo Trail begins at Sunset Point and will descend you into the amphitheater.
- Queens Garden Trail (2 miles / 3.2km) – Running adjacent to the Navajo Trail, Queens Garden will take you through some seriously impressive hoodoos and over to Sunrise Point.
- Fairyland Loop Trail (7.8 miles/12.6km) – Easily accessed via the Rim Trail, this hike will take you past Fairyland Point and Bryce Canyon Tower Bridge (a stunning natural bridge).
- Peek a boo Loop Trail (3.5 miles/5.6km) – Beginning at Bryce Point, the Peek a boo Loop can be accessed by the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden trails.
- Sunset Point to Sunrise Point (1 mile/1.6km) – The paved portion of the Rim Trail, the Sunset Point to Sunrise Point hike is great for all skill levels.
- Rim Trail (0-11 miles/0-17.7km) – Tacked onto the end of the Sunset Point to Sunrise Point hike, this will take you to the Inspiration Point and Bryce Point lookouts.
- Tower Bridge Trail (3 miles/4.8km) – An out-and-back hike that starts along the Fairyland loop and will give you awesome views of the China Wall.
Check out my full list of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon for more information.
Note: Keep in mind that some of the Bryce Canyon trails are steep (such as the Navajo Loop Trail and Queens Garden Trail), and you’ll require proper gear to keep yourself (and others) safe. I recommend wearing quality hiking boots, using hiking poles, and bringing along a water bladder reservoir.
#4 – Take a Horseback Riding Tour
Want a different vantage point while you visit Bryce Canyon, Utah? Then book a horseback riding tour!
This 1.5-hour Bryce Canyon horseback riding tour will take you through the Dixie National Forest and over to the north rim of the Bryce Canyon amphitheater.
Regardless of your horseback riding skill level, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful views of Boat Mesa, Sinking Ship, and the Fairyland Region of Bryce Canyon.
#5 – Snowshoe or Cross-Country Ski
If you’ll be traveling in the winter, then the best things to do in Bryce Canyon will be a little different.
Due to its elevation, Bryce Canyon does get snowfall in the winter months, and preparing for colder weather and activities is vital for staying safe in the park. If you plan on hiking, definitely bring along traction devices for your hiking boots and carry poles to keep yourself upright.
Or, take part in snowshoeing or skiing. Popular snowshoe trails in Bryce Canyon are the Rim Trail, Fairyland Loop, and Bristlecone Loop, and there are rangers available for guided tours.
Cross-country skiing is also allowed on specific trails within the park. Specifically on the Rim Trail, Paria Ski Loop, and Bristlecone Loop Trails. There are also plenty of maintained ski trails just outside of the park as well.
Snowshoes and cross-country skis can be rented at Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon City.
#6 – Set up Camp
Looking for a great place to stay while visiting Bryce Canyon, Utah? Then definitely consider camping!
Bryce Canyon has two campgrounds — North Campground (99 sites) and Sunset Campground (100 sites). Both of these camping locations are close to the Amphitheater, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, Lodge, and Visitors Center, which is super convenient.
When planning, keep in mind that North Campground is first-come, first-served, and Sunset accepts reservations 6 months in advance.
Because they tend to fill up fast, I’d highly recommend booking a reservation in Sunset Campground — especially if you’re coming in from out of town.
That said, backcountry camping is popular, and there are plenty of other campsites just outside of the park as well.
If you’re not into camping, then staying at the Bryce Canyon Lodge is always a good option.
#7 – Book an ATV Adventure
If you’re looking for a rush of adventure while you visit Bryce Canyon, then consider booking an ATV Tour.
This 1-hour Bryce Canyon ATV tour will take you off-roading while keeping you in charge of your own small quad. It’ll take you to a few of the major viewpoints in the park, and is a great way to see some top sights if you’re short on time.
Note: ATVs in Bryce Canyon can only be driven by guests who have a valid driver’s license and are over 16 years old. All guests (including passengers) must be at least seven years old.
Read More: My 20 Best Tips for Traveling on a Budget
#8 – Go Canyoneering
Do you love getting up close and personal with narrow passageways and dark spaces? Then put Canyoneering on your Bryce Canyon itinerary.
Generally referring to a mix of hiking, rock scrambling, and rappelling, canyoneering may not be for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely for those of you who love an adrenaline rush.
The American Southwest is one of the best destinations in the world for slot canyon adventuring, and there are some amazing Bryce Canyon Canyoneering tours available.
#9 – Stargaze
Did you know that Bryce Canyon National Park has official certification as an International Dark Sky Park?
It’s true! Due to its distance from major cities and the minuscule amount of light pollution within its borders, nighttime often brings chances to see up to 7500 stars, the milky way, Venus, and Jupiter.
Plus, there are some amazing Bryce Canyon stargazing tours you can take. On Wednesday and Friday nights, the park offers informational tours complete with telescopes. I recommend going to the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center and seeing what’s available.
For added fun, plan your visit to coincide with a full moon — there are specific full moon guided hikes that are a great way to experience the best of the Utah starry sky.
#10 – See Bryce Canyon from Above
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to see a US National Park from above, then taking a helicopter tour is your chance.
Taking an aerial tour in Bryce Canyon makes for a genuinely unique experience that will give you incredible views and a rush of adrenaline.
There are plenty of tour companies that you can book a tour through, but this one, in particular, will take you to both Zion and Bryce National Parks.
Read More: This Zion National Park Travel Guide is essential if you plan on seeing the park while visiting Utah!
Bryce Canyon National Park FAQ
How do you get to Bryce Canyon National Park?
To get to Bryce Canyon National Park, fly into either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City and rent a car. The park is 170 miles from Las Vegas and 311 miles from Salt Lake City.
What is Bryce Canyon National Park known for?
Bryce Canyon National Park is known for photography on Wall Street, the natural bridge, hoodoos, amazing viewpoints, the Navajo Loop Trail, Queens Garden Trail, Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, the Rim Trail, Queens Garden Trail, Peek a boo Trail, Rainbow Point, and Sunrise Point.
How long should you spend in Bryce Canyon?
One of the most scenic National Parks in the world, you should spend at least 1-2 full days in Bryce Canyon National Park.
What are the best viewpoints in Bryce Canyon National Park?
The best viewpoints from Bryce Canyon National Park are from Wall Street, Fairyland Point, Rainbow Point, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, and the Navajo Loop Trail.
Is Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon better?
Both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks are worth visiting, but Zion is great if you have more time, whereas Bryce Canyon is the place to go for a quick trip and to see hoodoos.
Are dogs allowed in Bryce Canyon?
Dogs are not allowed on most Bryce Canyon trails. If you plan on bringing your pet, refer to this dogs in Bryce Canyon guide first, or visit Red Rock Canyon instead.
That’s it for my top 10 Bryce Canyon activities!
Bryce Canyon is an absolutely stellar destination for all ages and is easily one of the most beautiful national parks in the American Southwest.
Enjoy Bryce Canyon!