Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park

Region in Utah, United States

With strange rock formations, breathtaking canyon views, and plenty of stunning, accessible trails, Bryce Canyon National Park is a wonderful destination for a hiking trip. The crimson forests of hoodoos set this park apart from all others, but they aren’t the only attraction. With an excellent visitor center and plenty of short, family-friendly trails, Bryce Canyon National Park is one of Utah’s finest gems.

Think of Bryce Canyon National Park, and one thing comes to mind: hoodoos, hoodoos, and more hoodoos! These strange red rock towers create a dense forest of stone in the heart of Bryce Canyon National Park, formed over centuries by the repeated freezing and melting of snow and ice over the rock, producing distinctive tall pinnacles. The sight of the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon is simply breathtaking, a sea of crimson rock stretching towards the horizon.

Bryce Canyon is such a wonderful hiking destination it may come as a surprise that it’s one of the lesser visited national parks in Utah. Many travelers skip Bryce, and head instead for nearby Zion National Park. While both have their charms, we think Bryce Canyon National Park is seriously underrated, with a wonderful range of trails, and lots of opportunities for fun backpacking trips. You’ll get one of the best views of the night sky here, so consider camping out under the stars at least once during your stay.

Read on to find out more about this beautiful corner of Utah, and some of the amazing trails that wind their way through and around Bryce Canyon!

Types Of Hiking In Bryce Canyon National Park

One of the best things about hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park is that it offers a wonderful diversity of trails, many of which are suitable for families. With short hikes through strange, otherworldly and dramatic landscapes, kids will love this place, and it’s a great opportunity to teach younger visitors about the region’s fascinating geology. You’ll find out-and-back trails to gushing waterfalls, or easy loops with impressive hoodoo views. If you’re looking for something a bit more strenuous, it’s possible to combine many of these shorter hikes into longer days hikes or backpacking trips. Whatever you fitness levels, experience, or preference, this compact national park has the trail for you.

Easy Hikes In Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoo Trail Hike: Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for its iconic hoodoos, and this easy trail is a great way to catch a glimpse of them. These strange, rock towers, created by the repeated freezing and thawing of the winter snow and ice every year, make a sight to behold. You’ll find plenty of information about these limestone spires and the surrounding flora and fauna in the excellent visitor center at the beginning of the trail.

Family Hikes In Bryce Canyon National Park

Mossy Cave Trail Hike: If you’re looking for wonderful family hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park, make sure to put the Mossy Cave Trail hike on your list! This is ideal for families with younger children on a hot day, as the route is short, easy, accessible, and includes a beautiful, cool cave and a gushing waterfall. You’ll pass by plenty of impressive hoodoos, meaning that there’s a lot to keep the kids entertained.

Day Hikes In Bryce Canyon National Park

Riggs Spring Loop Trail Hike: If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet away from the crowds in Bryce Canyon National Park, head for this gorgeous loop trail. Although there are far fewer hoodoo views in this part of the park, there are also far fewer hikers, and the scenery is just as beautiful and dramatic. You’ll pass through a fragrant pine forest, and the sight of the green trees, offset perfectly by the red sandstone rocks, provides plenty of photo opportunities. This is our favorite half-day hike in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Challenging Hikes In Bryce Canyon National Park

Cassidy Trail Hike: The route along the Cassidy Trail, passing through the Little Bryce Canyon, is one of the best challenging hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park. This out-and-back trail offers fantastic views towards Mexican Hat Peak, passing along a dramatic ridgeline with spectacular views. You’ll have incredible views over some weird and wonderful rock formations, and spend a wonderful day out in some of Utah’s most impressive scenery.

When Is The Best Time To Hike In Bryce Canyon National Park?

With a relatively high elevation of 8000-9000 feet, Bryce Canyon National Park is somewhat cooler than many of Utah’s other national parks. This means that the temperatures drop significantly in the winter months, with plenty of snowfall between November and February. However, this doesn’t mean that outdoor activities are completely off the agenda – you will still be able to access some trails and there are plenty of opportunities for snowshoeing, skiing and sledging.

The best time to hike in Bryce Canyon National Park is either spring (April-May) or fall (September-October). Although the evenings remain chilly and snows may linger well into April, the weather during the day is typically sunny and clear, and this is a wonderful time to see the park. The best weather arrives in July, when the days are warm and the flowers begin to emerge and decorate the trail. August is typically busy, hot and wet, with rain falling as thundery showers in the afternoons, and you may find that many of the popular trails are very crowded. However, by September, the trails are quieter, and if you’re lucky with the slightly unpredictable weather, this is also a great time to visit.

Other Outdoor Activities In Bryce Canyon National Park

Hiking is immensely popular in this part of Utah, but there are also plenty of other outdoor activities in Bryce Canyon National Park! This is a wonderful spot for mountain biking, on designated trails close to Red Canyon. You can also try your hand at climbing, canyoneering, and fishing, in addition to observing the brilliance of the night sky on an astronomy tour or backpacking trip. In winter, the cold weather brings the possibility of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ski archery, ice fishing and even snowmobiling!

How To Plan A Trip To Bryce Canyon National Park

Planning a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park couldn’t be easier with our comprehensive guides to visiting this beautiful region. Don’t miss our guide to planning a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, where we’ll tell you everything you need to know, including advice on where to stay, when to visit, and how to get around. We’ve also put together a list of all the best hikes in Utah, to help you decide where to go when you finally hit the trail. Start exploring this beautiful and underrated corner of Utah today!

Frequently-Asked-Questions About Bruce Canyon National Park

Do you need a permit to hike Bryce Canyon?

If you’re planning to stay overnight in Bryce Canyon National Park, you’ll need to purchase a permit, which can be obtained at the Visitor Center on the day of your stay. Backcountry camping is only permitted in designated campgrounds.

Do you need hiking boots for Bryce Canyon?

Many of the trails in Bryce Canyon National Park are flat and accessible, meaning that it’s perfectly possible to hike them in sneakers or trail shoes. However, some routes present more challenging terrain, and we’d always advise on wearing supportive, well-fitting, good quality footwear that will help to prevent injury along the trail.

How much does it cost to enter Bryce Canyon?

It costs $35 per vehicle to enter Bryce Canyon National Park. If you’re travelling by motorcycle, you’ll need to pay $30 per bike, and if you’re on foot, the fee is $20 per person.

Can you see Zion and Bryce in one day?

Bryce Canyon National Park and nearby Zion National Park are only 62 miles apart, meaning that it’s certainly possible to see them both in one day. For example, you could easily complete a short hike in both parks in the same day, provided you get started early and don’t pick a long trail. However, we’d recommend taking a little more time, so you can enjoy everything that these two beautiful parks have to offer, without rushing through them.

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Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park

Open details for Fairyland Loop Trail

Fairyland Loop Trail

Moderate
13.2 km
379 m
3.5-4.5h

This beautiful half-day loop meanders through some of the most stunning hoodoo formations in the park yielding a fantastic atmosphere to enjoy the splendid beauty of Bryce Canyon – without the huge crowds usually following the classic hikes in the region.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.6
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail

Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail

Easy
8.5 km
347 m
2.5-3.5h

This shorter loop trail descends under the rim of Bryce Canyon and promises the densest number of hoodoo formations in the park. With stunning panoramas from the top, and intimate bottom up views from the base, Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail wows and impresses.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Cassidy Trail

Cassidy Trail

Very Hard
28.3 km
473 m
6.5-9h

Located in the "Little Bryce Canyon", otherwise known as Red Canyon, the Cassidy Trail is an overwhelmingly beautiful hike. Slowly gaining then traversing along an exposed ridge, the route has nearly continuous views for its entire duration towards Mexican Hat Peak.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Riggs Spring Loop Trail

Riggs Spring Loop Trail

Moderate
14.2 km
528 m
4-5.5h

Though it has far fewer hoodoo views than other more popular trails in the park, this loop route gives you something the other trails simply can't – peace and solitude. Hiking through a stunning pine tree forest, this half day hike definitely separates you from the bustling view points along Bryce Canyon's main road.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.6
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Mossy Cave Trail

Mossy Cave Trail

Very Easy
1.4 km
77 m
0.5h

This short, popular hike leads through dozens of hoodoos to the impressive Mossy Cave, as well as a fabulous waterfall. Perfect for families on a hot summers afternoon, this easy hike is sure to please everyone.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.4
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Queens Garden to Navajo Loop Trail

Queens Garden to Navajo Loop Trail

Easy
5.0 km
168 m
1.5-2h

This popular loop connects the Queen Garden Trail with one branch of the Navajo Loop Trail, returning along a section of the Rim Trail. Moving through an impressive number of hoodoos and awesome rock formations, this hike is certainly popular for a reason!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.6
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Golden Wall / Castle Bridge Loop

Golden Wall / Castle Bridge Loop

Easy
3.7 km
137 m
1-1.5h

This stunning hike in the "Little Bryce Canyon", also known as Red Canyon, leads up a gully to a spectacular exposed ridge. Here you will get fantastic views of red rock formations and hoodoos.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.5
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Swamp Canyon Loop

Swamp Canyon Loop

Easy
7.2 km
219 m
2-2.5h

This loop trail may be less popular than some others in the park – but still provides the chance to see some awesome rock formations. You’ll link up with the Under The Rim Trail for a short section.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.7
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Bristlecone Loop Trail

Bristlecone Loop Trail

Very Easy
1.8 km
43 m
0.5h

This loop hike departs from the popular Rainbow Point at the very southern tip of the scenic drive through Bryce National Park. With the stunning surroundings of Bristlecone Pines on one leg of the loop, and scenic panoramic rim views along the other, the crowds in the parking lot start to really make sense.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.3
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Open details for Hoodoo Trail

Hoodoo Trail

Very Easy
0.6 km
28 m
0.5h

This short loop hike in the "Little Bryce Canyon", otherwise known as Red Canyon, is a fantastic one to do to experience the hoodoos without the crowds of the national park. Short and flat, this trail is perfect for the entire family.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.6
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.

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