15 Best Things To Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

Last Updated on February 11, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Bryce Canyon is known for its spire-shaped rock formations and cascading canyon.

This Southern Utah National Park is a part of Utah’s Big 5 Parks and has become a bucket list destination for all adventure seekers.

The best part is, the twinkling stars and canyon sunsets are just a few of the things to do when visiting Bryce Canyon.

This National Park has so much to offer. Keep reading to learn about the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

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1: Sunrise Point

Sunrise Point
Dreamstime/Dzmitry Marhun

Start your trip at Bryce Canyon by viewing the sunrise. The view to the northeast from Sunrise Point showcases Boat Mesa and the Sinking Ship.

Boat Mesa rises above the Fairyland Canyon, sitting at an elevation of 8073 feet. A marvelous thing to see when the sun is rising.

View the hoodoos, which are tall and thin spires of rock on this trail. The golden glow from the sunrise will light up the canyon.

The trail itself is on a paved path and only a mile long with minimal elevation gain.

You can also drive right to the parking lot and walk a few steps to the point. The sunrise point is a must-see in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Address: Rim Trail, Bryce, UT 84764

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2: Shop At The General Stores

Shop At The General Stores
Dreamstime/Chon Kit Leong

Whether you need some snacks for the road or some gifts to take home, Ruby’s Inn General Store has got you covered.

This iconic store is located only a few minutes outside of the park entrance to Bryce Canyon.

The shop offers t-shirts, postcards and momentums for you to take home with you. They also have a grocery store that provides sandwiches to go and fresh fruit.

Camping and low on supplies? Firewood is available for purchase as well. Grab a hot cup of coffee and a pastry before starting your day in the National Park.

There is also a second general store located near the campgrounds in the National Park.

The North Campground general store has all of your basics when camping in the park. Grab some water or last-minute snacks!

3: Hike The Rim Trail

Hike The Rim Trail

Hike the entire rim of Bryce Canyon on the infamous Rim Trail! This trail is five miles one way, with elevation changes throughout the route.

The total mileage is 10.7 miles there and back. The hike is strenuous if you want to complete the whole thing, but you do not have to, luckily! You can go as far as you would like and still take in the views.

The route itself provides views of Bryce Canyon and many other attractions. This trail showcases the upper view of the Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre.

You can also view the hikers that go down into the canyon from above. It is truly a gorgeous viewpoint and must be high on your list of things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.

4: Enjoy A Picnic

Enjoy A Picnic
Dreamstime/Ekaterina Pokrovsky

There is nothing better than enjoying lunch with the canyon in the background!

Layout a blanket near the visitors center parking area. This spot has lots of large grassy areas for you to relax in the shade and enjoy some hard-earned delicious treats. Grab some food from the general store and get ready to relax.

The grassy areas are located near the rim, so it is a convenient stop to add to your day.

Pack a cooler and leave it in the car until you are ready to relax. The picnic areas are located near the bathrooms and the parking lot.

Take in the beautiful views of the Utah blue sky before continuing your adventure.

5: Fairyland Canyon

Fairyland Canyon
Dreamstime/Charles Montgomery

Hike Fairyland Canyon, a trail that lives up to its name. This hike is one of the most sought-after in the park, but it can be a little on the challenging side.

It is conveniently located one mile north of the Park Entrance. Hiking the Fairyland Canyon Trail is one of the most adventurous things to do in Bryce Canyon.

What makes this trail so special? Well, it is one of the quieter hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park.

If you are looking to get away from the crowds, then this one's for you. It also provides you an opportunity to be at eye level with the hoodoos through the hoodoo graveyard.

If you are up for the eight miles, don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime hike.

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6: Ruby's Inn Cowboy's Buffet & Steak Room

Ruby's Inn Cowboy's Buffet & Steak Room

Chances are you are going to work up an appetite while exploring Bryce Canyon.

Whether taking on a challenging hike or just walking to the viewpoints, you will be ready to chow down on some Utah cuisine. This is why you have to stop by Ruby's Inn Cowboy's Buffet & Steak Room!

Located directly outside of the park entrance is this western-themed buffet. They offer breakfast, lunch & dinner, so you can eat at any time of the day.

The breakfast buffet ranges from fresh eggs, biscuits and gravy, and so much more. Their dinner menu has some western favorites, including country-fried steak and a full steak menu.

The best part about this gem is that they are there to serve you during the holidays, open on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

Address: 26 S Main St, Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764

7: Mossy Cave Trail

Mossy Cave Trail

Get ready to hike one of the lowest elevation points in the park, the Mossy Cave Trail.

This unique trail begins with a climb and ends with descent and it is the only hike in the park to do so.

It is rated easy and has a quick hike time of 0.8 miles, out and back, with an elevation gain of 300 feet.

The interesting fact about this place is that it is not a cave at all. It is actually a grotto that is dripping from the moisture. In the colder months, the moisture can even cause ice, making it a fun winter hike.

It is one of the coolest things to see in Bryce Canyon National Park and has gained popularity over the years.

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8: Sunset Point

Sunset Point

If you liked the Sunrise Point Hike, then you also need to check out the Sunset Point Hike.

The trail between sunrise and sunset point is one mile on a paved path. This allows you to get the best of both worlds and is a great way to end your day in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Sunset Point is one of the most famous sunset pictures in the park. It offers views below the overlook on the northern edge of the area where Thor's Hammer stands alone.

Thor's Hammer is a favorite hoodoo in the park. This point is rumored to showcase the best colors at sunset, hosting a golden glow.

Sunset Point puts a whole new meaning to a golden hour and is one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.

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9: Go Camping

Go Camping

Spending a night under the stars is one of the most sought-after things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park.

That is why camping is a popular activity here and on most adventurers' bucket lists. There are two campgrounds to choose from when visiting the park, North Campground and Sunset Campground.

North Campground is open year-round and a good spot for winter camping. There is a reservation system in place from May 27th to October 1st. After October 1st, the campsites are first-come, first-serve until May 27th.

Sunset Campground hosts 99 campsites that are all first-come, first-serve. This campground is only open from April 15th to October 21st. Both campgrounds will put you out in the middle of nature at Bryce Canyon.

10: Hike The Navajo to Queens Canyon Loop

Hike The Navajo to Queens Canyon Loop

One of the top-rated Bryce Canyon attractions is the Navajo to Queens Canyon Loop.

The 2.9-mile trail is a loop that brings you down into the canyon. The switchbacks have become a famous picture of the park on the way down.

Even though the hike is not long in mileage, it is still tough with 646 feet of elevation gain.

Begin by going down the switchback staircase until you are on the canyon floor. From there, admire all of the rock formations and even small caves.

The hike eventually routes back up the canyon, ending at the viewpoints. This hike really gives you a full view of the park. If you have time for only one hike during your trip, put this one on your list!

11: Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding
Dreamstime/Helena Bilkova

What better way to explore Bryce Canyon than by horseback. Join Canyon Trail Rides during your national park visit.

Get up and close and personal with the rock formations while your own private guide tells you the history of them.

Canyon Trail Rides is great for beginners who maybe never had the opportunity to ride a horse before.

You will leave from Sunrise Point and go down into the canyon. The ride is two hours long, but a three-hour option is also available.

You can reserve the tour on their website here. A once in a time activity to add to your Bryce Canyon trip.

12: Visit the Natural Bridges

Visit the Natural Bridges
Dreamstime/Ekaterina Pokrovsky

Stop by the gigantic 85-foot arch known as the Natural Bridge. It is one of the few natural arches in Bryce canyon.

The arch creates a contrast of red rock with the emerald green forest behind.

The bridge is easy to view from the Natural Bridge viewpoint. It is about three-quarters up the scenic highway and makes a quick stop along your journey.

The other natural bridges in the park are Twin Bridges on the Navajo Loop Trail, Bryce Point Arch near the Wall of Windows and the Farview Natural Bridge.

These bridges are among the most amazing things to see in Bryce Canyon National Park.

13: Go Star Gazing

Go Star Gazing

Did you know you can see up to 7,500 stars on a clear night in Bryce Canyon National Park?

Viewing the milky way is one of the most popular Bryce Canyon activities. You can also see Jupiter and Venus; they are sometimes so bright they cast a shadow.

The best places to view the stars are from the Natural Bridge Overlook. The best viewpoints to spot them at are Sunrise Point, Sunset Point and Inspiration Point.

If you are camping in the park, go outside your tent to get a glimpse of the sparkling Utah sky.

14: Drive The Scenic Highway

Drive The Scenic Highway

If hiking is not your thing, then get ready to drive the Scenic Highway. It is the best way to explore the park outside of wearing out your hiking boots.

You can still enjoy all of the park's major overlooks and even combine them with a brief stroll.

The first highway road is known as Highway 12 and covers the northern part of the national park.

In the summer, there is even a free shuttle that takes you along route 63.

All of the major points of interest sit along Highway 63, also known as Bryce Canyon Road. Enjoy this drive at sunset for some breathtaking views.

Also Read: The Most Scenic Drives in the USA

15: Bryce Amphitheater

Bryce Amphitheater

One of the most visited attractions in Bryce Canyon National Park is Bryce Amphitheater.

It is home to the most famous structures in the park and is located next to North Campground.

The amphitheater is one of the series of eroded rocks on the eastern slope of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

The Amphitheatre can be viewed from many different areas. The main viewpoints, sunrise, sunset and inspiration, are just a few places you can spot it.

If you are walking the Rim Trail, keep a lookout for them since the trail does follow the edge of the cliff above Bryce Canyon Amphitheater.

The Queens Garden Trail & The Navajo Loop Trail are also great ways to spot it.

Whether you want to do a long hike or a quick view at the overlook, viewing Bryce Ampitherature should be on your list when visiting Bryce Canyon.

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What to pack when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon has all the seasons and is not your typical desert temperature year-round. That is why it is important to remember your essentials when packing!

  • Water - and lots of it! The heat in the summer at Bryce Canyon can be overwhelming. Remember to bring plenty of water with you when visiting. In the winter, you still need to hydrate due to elevation changes.
  • Hiking Poles - The up and down elevation on the trails can be a lot of your knees. Hiking poles can assist with taking some of that pressure off when going up and down the canyon.
  • Layers - The temperature may be beautiful during the day but can drop heavily at night around sunset. Make sure you have a long sleeve and short sleeve packed at all times.
  • Gloves & Hat - If you visit in the fall, the nights can drop to the 30s or lower. It is important to bring gloves and a winter hat, even if it is 70 degrees during the day.
  • Sun Protection - In contrast to that, the sun can be extreme at this elevation. Bringing a ball cap, sunglasses and sunscreen is a must. The sun will be even stronger, especially when you are not under any tree cover.
  • First Aid Kit - Some of the hikes takes you way down into the canyon. It is essential to have a first aid kit if something goes wrong, especially since there is no service down there.
  • Hiking Shoes (Him/Her) - The grips of hiking shoes are so important on the red dirt trails of the canyon. The clay-like dirt can become slippier than ice, so make sure your shoes can handle it.
  • Socks - It may sound self-explanatory, but good socks make all the difference. Bryce Canyon is a walking park; most of the park is explored by foot. Therefore, you do not want to end your day with blisters. Purchasing hiking socks can prevent you from having sore feet by the end of your journey.
  • Walkie Talkies - If you are traveling with a group, walkie talkies might be your best bet. The service is not good in the canyon, especially on longer hikes. Walkie Talkies can help you stay connected with your party without the stress of meeting up at a certain time.
  • National Park Pass - There is a normal day pass cost of $30 per car per day to enter Bryce Canyon National Park. An annual National Park Pass is only $80 and will get you in and out of Bryce Canyon as many times as you want during your trip. You can also use this pass for all national parks all over the country for one year!

Where to stay in Bryce Canyon National Park?

1. Hotel Bryce View Lodge Part of the Ruby's Inn Resort

One of the most famous places to stay is Ruby's Inn Resort. There are a few different locations of the different rooms, all located within walking distance to the general store.

The lodge is directly connected to the restaurant and provides cozy and convenient rooms. The best part is, the lodge is only a short drive from the park entrance and offers easy access in and out of the park.

Book your stay here >>

2. Lodge Bryce Canyon Resort  

Located three miles away from the park entrance of Bryce Canyon is Lodge Bryce Canyon Resort. They offer comfortable rooms with an outdoor heated pool.

Their rooms range from standard rooms to spacious cabins that can accommodate up to six people—an excellent option for families or large groups.

The cabins even have kitchenettes for you to cook dinner and relax under the stars.

Book your stay here >>

3. Motel Bryce UpTop Lodge

This lodge is located 5.6 mi from Sunrise Point and 4.3 mi away from Inspiration Point. The Motel Bryce UpTop Lodge is ideal for couples looking for a romantic getaway.

These small but cozy rooms are perfect for curling up after a long day in the park. Enjoy a yummy dinner at UpTop Steakhouse, which is located right on the property. Entrees range from steaks, chicken, seafood, and of course, desserts!

Book your stay here>>

4. Motel Bryce Canyon Pines

Take a dip in the seasonal pool and hot tub at Motel Bryce Canyon Pines. A quick five-minute drive from the park entrance of Bryce Canyon. Surrounding areas such as Dixie National Forest - Red Canyon is a 10-minute drive from the motel. Other options Panguitch Lake is 35 miles from Bryce Canyon Pines. The rooms are spacious and clean, providing a modern cabin feel.

Book your stay here >>

Plan your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park soon!

Bryce Canyon National Park is a majestic place that attracts over 1.5 million people every year. Spend your day trekking downward into the canyon or spend your night under the Utah stars.

There are endless things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park. Of course, the red rock formations and hoodoos are a Bryce Canyon must-see. A unique and stunning park for all the wanderlusters out there.

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