During our visit to Zion (you can read about our first day here), we spent the second day of our trip visiting Bryce Canyon, another National Park in Utah. We stayed in the town of Springdale for easy access to Zion, which was then just under 2 hours drive to Bryce.
One day is all you need in Bryce Canyon; it is the most compact of the National Parks that I have visited so far. It was on my list of places I really wanted to visit as I had seen a lot of photos and thought it would be incredible. It didn’t disappoint! I did have an idea of an itinerary beforehand which really helped. We actually managed to do everything we wanted in about 4 hours, so here is how to spend half a day in Bryce Canyon National Park.
The main part of Bryce is shaped like an ampitheatre and the great thing is that the main road is around the rim, so you can drive and stop off at lots of viewpoints and take in all the scenery without having to hike anywhere if you are really short on time or unable to hike. Or you can walk the Rim Trail on a paved path and stop at all of at these points.
Looking down into the ampitheatre from the rim is a spectacular a valley filled with hoodoos, forest and hiking trails. The hoodoos are what Bryce is famous for: thin tall spires of red and orange rock reaching up out of the ground. It’s like another world and I have never seen anything like it before.
The view points we went to were Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point. You get amazing views from all of them into the Bryce amphitheatre.
If you are driving into the park, stop by the visitors centre for maps and to learn about how the hoodoos are formed. Then from there the first viewpoint you come to is Sunrise Point. Park up and you walk a short distance for your first sight of the incredible Bryce Canyon. I was totally awestruck by it.
Queens Garden Trail
If you are up for a short (but steep) hike, you can take the Queens Garden Trail from Sunrise Point. We choose to take this trail and you walk down into the canyon among the hoodoos.
When you reach the end of the Queens Garden Trail you have the choice to either go back up the way you just came, or make the hike a 3 mile loop and follow the Navajo Trail.
This trail is a little bit more strenuous to get back up out of the amphitheatre but it is so worth it. You carry on into the canyon and walk through the forest, before making your way back up and arriving at Sunset Point.
This is the next viewpoint you would come to if you didn’t take the hike into the hoodoos, and if you did, it’s where you will come up from the Navajo Trail. You can see the famous hoodoo ‘Thor’s Hammer’. And from here you can walk along the paved rim trail back to Sunrise Point.
We got back in our car our drive round to Inspiration Point for more stunning views of the thousands of red rock hoodoos. I have hundreds of photos from this trip, it’s so hard to narrow it down!
This was the last viewpoint we stopped at, which has similar views to Inspiration Point, but worth stopping at if you have the time. At 8300ft elevation it can get pretty chilly up here.
If you are looking for a half day itinerary to see Bryce Canyon National Park I hope this has helped! There are lots more trails if you want to spend longer here, but I think that you only really need a day to take it in. I think Bryce Canyon might be my favourite National Park I’ve been too, it was just like nothing I’ve ever seen before!