Bristlecone Loop Trail
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.
Enter Bryce Canyon National Park just south of the town of Bryce. Pay your dues at the park gate, then drive along the main road until you see the signed turnoff for Bryce Lookout. Turn left here and follow to road to an unmarked junction, where you will turn left again to find the parking lot. This parking lot fills up very quickly, so get here early!
|When to do|
Spring, early summer and fall, avoid summer heat and winter snow
Find the trailhead at the tip of the parking lot, near the point. Continue along the trail and wind through stunning bristlecone pine trees. Soon you will reach a well signposted junction, head straight towards the Peak-A-Boo Loop and the Bristlecone Loop trails. Shortly you will reach another junction, follow signs straight for the Bristlecone Loop Trail.
After just under a 1.6km of hiking you will reach the scenic gazebo. Here are the first real rim views. Looking down you’ll be able to see the stunning red cliffs dropping off at your feet, and making their way around to either side of you. Across the canyon a stunning rock formation called Promontory Mesa will be obvious.
Continue along the rim, veering right with the trail. You will gain a modicum of elevation as you traverse. Soon you will reenter the forest and veer right. You will reunite again with the access trail you came in on and turn left towards the parking area. Within no time you’ll be back in the parking area.
Seriously, this parking lot fills up fast. Get here early to avoid the swarming tourists and motorcyclists. Luckily the trail is a lot less busy than the point!
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