Bryce Canyon NP

The ultimate Bryce Canyon guide

Bryce Canyon National Park is home to stunning orange and red hoodoos, breathtaking viewpoints, and unforgettable hikes. Its unique landscape sets it apart from other national parks. The park itself is rather small, but it has an enormous wow factor. You’ll be surprised how much you can do and see here. Get ready to unlock the secrets of this extraordinary destination in this ultimate Bryce Canyon guide!

The best things to do in Bryce Canyon

Queens Garden & Navajo Combination trail

Queens Garden & Navajo Combination trail

Let’s start with our absolute favorite thing to do in Bryce Canyon: the Queens Garden & Navajo Combination trail. This remarkable 4,7 km round trip trail offers some breathtaking views at every turn. It is the overall best hiking experience in Bryce Canyon, especially for first-timers! By following this trail, you will descend into the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater to be surrounded by all kinds of hoodoos.

Since the hike is a loop, you can start at either Sunrise Point or Sunset Point. We parked our car at Sunset Point, where we started and ended this hike. For the best experience, we highly recommend starting your journey at Sunset Point, just like we did. By starting here, you avoid hiking up the switchbacks on this trail. Why take the hard way when you can take the easy way? 😉 The views are the same either way!

Queens Garden & Navajo Combination trail

From Sunset Point, follow the signs that indicate the Navajo Loop trail. Along the way you’ll encounter countless incredible geological formations. Impressive hoodoos and delicate rock formations create a surreal landscape that seems straight out of a painting. 🥹 The Navajo Loop trail leads you through narrow passages and sculpted tunnels, offering a sense of adventure and discovery with every step. We couldn’t help but stop every 5 seconds to admire all the beauty around us. We had never seen anything like it!

There are two ways to connect the Navajo Loop trail to Queen’s Garden. Unfortunately, the Wall Street section was closed during our visit. If this section is open, we highly recommend taking it over the Two Bridges section. Wall Street features the only slot canyon that can be found in Bryce Canyon. We were so sad to miss this!

Queens Garden & Navajo Combination trail

If you thought Navajo Loop was already magical, wait until you reach Queen’s Garden. Little did we know it could get even more spectacular! Queen’s Garden feels like something straight out of a fairytale. You’ll encounter a majestic collection of hoodoos, truly mesmerizing. The most famous spot on the Queen’s Garden trail is without doubt the Queen Victoria hoodoo. So make sure you keep an eye out for her or you’ll miss it!

The hike ends at Sunrise Point. Sunrise Point is a really accessible viewpoint that offers amazing views of the Canyon. It can get quite busy here, but people tend to leave quite often so a spot will sure open up. Once you’re done with Sunrise Point, it is a 15 minutes walk back to the parking lot of Sunset Point. This part is completely paved as well so really easy!

The hike takes between 2 to 3 hours. Start this trail early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Even early in the morning you tend to come across lots of people, in both directions! By combining a section of the Navajo Loop trail with the Queen’s Garden trail, you experience the best of Bryce Canyon. From panoramic views of the Bryce Amphitheater to hoodoos and natural arches, literally every single thing is so picturesque! If you only have time for one hike in Bryce, make it the Queens Garden & Navajo Combination trail.

Distance: 4,7 km round trip (2,9 miles)

Inspiration Point

If you’re looking for completely different views of the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater, make sure to add Inspiration Point to your bucket list! It is a series of three beautiful viewpoints in an easily accessible (though uphill) hike. These vista points offer some extraordinary views that you won’t find anywhere else. It is an amazing way to get another shot at admiring those stunning hoodoos 😉.

The ultimate Bryce Canyon guide: Inspiration Point

From the parking lot, it is a really short and slightly uphill walk to the first viewpoint: Lower Inspiration Point. Here you get the best views of the northern spires as this viewpoint is located on the left side. Since this viewpoint is located on the lower side, it feels like you’re closer to the hoodoos! Really awesome, and you can definitely spend some time here. 

When you’re done with the Lower Inspiration Point, it is time to make your way up the hill. The next viewpoint you’ll encounter is Mid Inspiration Point. This little walk should take you no more than a couple of minutes. This viewpoint is amazing if you’re looking for great northern and southern views, all in one place. This point is especially great to watch the sunrise! With the sun coming up, you will see the lights of the northeastern hoodoos change as they escape the shadows. Why visit Sunrise Point for Sunrise, when you can do it at Mid Inspiration Point!

Upper Inspiration Point

Last but definitely not least is Upper Inspiration Point. The “hike” from Mid to Upper is about 100m/0,06mi long, but can get quite steep. We even saw plenty of people stop to catch their breaths for a moment! So don’t worry if you need a break. 😉 Once you get all the way up, you have arrived at Upper Inspiration Point, congratulations! This point is, of course, the highest of the three viewpoints, and offers a more wide view of the full Canyon.

Our favorite is definitely Upper Inspiration Point, we find the views here a lot better than at Lower Inspiration Point! Right next to Upper Inspiration Point, you can find the rim trail towards Bryce Point.

Since this is not a big hike, we estimate you will spend about 1 hour in total. It is a really fun, short getaway from the more popular Queens Garden & Navajo Combination trail. If you’re into the best views of the complete Canyon, with all its majestic hoodoos, you have to make a stop at Inspiration Point!

Side note: We do want to mention that there are not a lot of spaces available in the parking lot (give or take 20), and that it can get packed with buses and tours. Fear not, however, as spots tend to free up quite fast.

Distance: 1 km round trip (0,6 mile)

Bryce Point

The ultimate Bryce Canyon guide: Bryce Point

Bryce Point is another fun and unique viewpoint that offers really great views without a lot of effort. The trail of about 300m is completely paved and offers an almost 360° view of the majestic Bryce Amphitheater. When you visit Bryce Point, it feels like you’re standing right in the middle of the Canyon. Amazing!

The parking lot of Bryce Point can be found at the right side of the viewpoint. When we visited, the parking lot was completely full and multiple rangers were regulating traffic. Multiple buses blocked parts of the parking lot, and we saw a lot of children on school trips, too. We don’t know if this was a fluke or that Bryce Point is really that popular, but bear this in mind.

This really short hike starts at the parking lot, and takes you along the rim until you reach the viewpoint. Along the way you get some views of the Canyon, but the best part about this hike is definitely the end. The viewpoint at Bryce Point is truly one of a kind, as it is some kind of platform “above” the Amphitheater. This little (fenced) peninsula offers some amazing 360° views of the Canyon! It is located at a lower point than Upper Inspiration Point, but you’re as close to the Canyon as can be.

We really liked the fact that you’re standing on a little platform above the Canyon. You don’t get the same overview like when you’re watching from a higher point, but Bryce Point makes up for that by immersing you into the Canyon itself. We really liked Bryce Point for the fact that it was super easy to visit, but if you’re looking for views that show more of the Canyon, definitely go visit Inspiration Point. We spent about 15 minutes here (including the round-trip “hike”).

Pro tip
The entrance fee per vehicle for Bryce Canyon is a little more than € 30. If you plan on visiting multiple national parks, we recommend purchasing the America The Beautiful pass! For € 70, you have access to a lot of national parks, including Bryce Canyon, Zion, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and so many more!

Where to eat near Bryce Canyon

Showdowns 

The ultimate Bryce Canyon guide: Showdowns Tropic

On our first night in Tropic, we didn’t feel much like looking for a restaurant. We decided to have dinner at Showdowns, the family owned restaurant at Bryce Pioneer Village. The whole setting is so cozy, we really loved the western vibe! When we visited, they had live music performances every night! Really cool. 🤩 On top of that, there are plenty of games around for you to play (like corn hole), and they even have a massive fire pit!

On to the food, then. Thysia ate a simple but delicious pasta pesto for only 10 euros. Kelvin ordered the smoked ribs and these were incredible! The vegetables and baked potato that came with the ribs were delicious as well. His plate was so full that he couldn’t even finish it all! Be sure to try one of their wines too, we really enjoyed this after a whole day of hiking :-). The food was great, and at reasonable prices! We just had to include this restaurant in our ultimate Bryce Canyon guide. 😉

The Pizza Place

The ultimate Bryce Canyon guide: The Pizza Place Tropic

The Pizza Place offers some delicious and incredible pizzas. You have so many choices here, and on top of that you can even personalize your pizza yourself! There are plenty of toppings that you can add to your liking! We had the BBQ chicken pizza and the veggie pizza, both pizzas were amazing! We didn’t go for the “standard” pizza’s, of course. 😉 As toppings we chose some jalapeños, sundried tomatoes, olives and artichokes. Delicious! Again, the prices are really reasonable as well. For the smallest pizza you pay less than € 10, which is cheaper than a pizza at Domino’s. 😉 Definitely worth a visit when exploring Bryce Canyon!

Where to stay near Bryce Canyon

We stayed at Bryce Pioneer Village for two nights. This hotel, located in Tropic, was a 15-minute drive to the entrance of Bryce Canyon, the perfect location if you ask us. In addition, we paid just over € 100 per night, which we find very reasonable for a hotel this close to a national park! It is a great location if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, and still be in the close proximity of Bryce Canyon. This was ideal for us: close enough to not wake up (that) early, and far enough so that the prices were very reasonable. Win-win!

We stayed in a wooden cabin with a small terrace at the front, and a little yard in the back. The yard even had a hammock and a little fire pit, but sadly we didn’t make use of them. We did have breakfast at our little front terrace everyday, though! The room itself is very basic and a little old-fashioned, but it comes with everything you need. The western decor also had its charms. 😉 Of course you will be able to find prettier hotels, but in terms of price and location, Bryce Pioneer Village really is a winner! Below are some hotel recommendations for every budget:

With this ultimate Bryce Canyon guide, you’ll experience the best of Bryce Canyon. Looking for more national parks inspiration?

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