Author: Connor Ursin, The National Park Travelers
Bryce Canyon National Park is a must-see in the collection of national parks and make up some of Utah’s stunning natural landscape.
It’s home to the largest collection of hoodoos (tall spires of rock that emerge from the canyon floor) on earth. Gravity-defying rocks and splashes of pinks and oranges captivate over two million visitors every year, making Bryce Canyon one of the most visited national parks in the country.
Far from major cities and in some of the highest elevations of the Southwest, Bryce Canyon also offers unforgettable stargazing and lots of wildlife to see.
From where to camp to the best Bryce Canyon hikes, we’ve got you covered. With our ultimate guide to exploring Bryce Canyon National Park, you’ll hit the trail with confidence.
Know Before You Go to Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is one of the smaller national parks found in Utah, so you can pack a lot in with just a few days staying there. If you have the time, combine your trip to Bryce Canyon with other surrounding areas.
You don’t need a reservation to get into Bryce Canyon, but you must have a recreational pass to enter. And you can purchase them in person or ahead of time. Digital passes will save you time.
Parking in Bryce Canyon is tough, so do your best to arrive early to stay ahead of the crowds. Once you park, there’s a free shuttle service that can take you to the park’s viewpoints, trails, and facilities.
Keep in mind that Bryce Canyon is 8,000 feet above sea level, so any type of weather can roll through with short notice. Depending on the time of year, plan ahead for dry heat, hard rainfall, snowdrifts, or colder temps.
Before you start hiking and exploring, visit the Bryce Canyon visitor center where you can learn about the area’s history, geology, flora, and fauna. Then check out the museum and hands-on exhibits to learn how the park’s iconic hoodoos were formed.
When to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is open 24 hours a day, year-round. May through September is the busiest season, as the temperatures during this time are perfect for sightseeing and hiking. There are also lots of fun park ranger activities going on during this time.
Visiting October through April has its perks in avoiding crows. The fall features stunning fall foliage, while early spring brings beautiful wildflowers.
Because of its elevation, the park is transformed by snow during the winter months. Visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing and ranger-led snowshoeing while taking in the sights.
How to Get to Bryce Canyon National Park
Las Vegas (LAS) and Salt Lake City (SLC) are the closest major airports, and both are around 270 miles away from the park. You can also fly into smaller airports near Cedar City (CDC), which is about 80 miles away, and St. George (SGU) which is 125 miles away.
If you’re driving in your camper van, you can head through Zion National Park or Bear (Dog) Valley from the south.
Where to Stay
You can camp inside Bryce Canyon National Park, which is a great option if you want to be close to everything. There are two campgrounds in Bryce Canyon, North Campground and Sunset Campground.
Most of the campsites are first-come, first-served, so plan to arrive early in the morning to snag a spot. Campgrounds have flush toilets, but no showers.
There’s also The Lodge at Bryce Canyon, which is the only lodging located inside the park. It’s close to incredible views and the park’s most popular trails. Keep in mind that there are no amenities at the Lodge. You won’t find any TVs or air conditioners in the rooms. It’s all about that location.
The towns of Bryce Canyon City and Tropic are also options for lodging. They’re a short drive from the park entrance where you can find lodging and hotels.
The Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park
Hiking through Bryce Canyon is the best way to see the park’s many hoodoos, spires, and sandstone fins. With many of the network of trails found in the park, it’s easy to hike all day by branching off toward new discoveries. Many of them even branch off toward new discoveries.
But don’t worry, you’ll never stray too far from the park’s main road.