11 Best Hikes In Bryce Canyon National Park

This hidden haven of Utah boasts some of the best hikes in the American Southwest and the entire United States. The best hikes in Bryce Canyon, particularly, are full of fantastical formations called hoodoos.

Irregular erosion crafts these otherworldly natural wonders, shifting them into towering spire shapes. Any Utah visitor should plan to spend time in Bryce Canyon National Park and enjoy these amazing Bryce Canyon hikes!

About Bryce Canyon National Park

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon

Within its 35,000-acre grounds, you can discover a spectacular series of multicolored amphitheaters, arches, and sandstone walls. You’ll find yourself face-to-face with the most heavily concentrated number of hoodoos. There are treks for any skill level, and you can even take advantage of the free shuttle service in the park. 

The vibrant striations range from bright oranges to deep reds and soft pinks, resulting from oxidized minerals, including limestone, iron, and manganese. Bryce Canyon is easily one of North America’s most mystical and magical national parks. Remember to leave no trace among the surreal scenery to help keep the weird and wonderful wilderness as pristine as possible. 

Be sure to check the seasonal schedule to avoid the disappointment of any trail closures, as well. Always pack plenty of water and be ready for frequent and dramatic temperature changes within this wonderous terrain. Here are our favorite Bryce Canyon hikes, in no particular order!

Get a US Parks Pass to Visit Bryce Canyon

To enter Bryce Canyon National Park you are required to purchase a Parks Pass. Pass prices are as follows:

  • 1-7 Day Vehicle Entrance: $35.00
  • 1-7 Day Motorcycle Entrance: $20.00
  • 1-7 Day Individual Entrance (foot or bicycle): $20.00
  • The fee includes unlimited use of the free shuttle bus that runs from early April to mid-October.

If you are visiting multiple US National Parks it’s best to purchase an America the Beautiful Pass for $80 for the year and grants you access to all registered parks. At just $80 for a year it’s quite a steal! Even if you order online in advance you will still need to stop at park gates to show it.

Also look into the Digital Pass. Digital Passes provide a flexible way to pay your entrance fee, support Bryce Canyon, and get you into the park faster.

The Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon

Peekaboo Loop Trail

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
Peekaboo Loop Trail / Our Favorite Hike in Bryce
  • Miles: 5.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,560 ft
  • Length: 3 – 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Peekaboo Loop Trail is a quintessential choice among all the best Bryce Canyon hikes and what hiking in the desert is all about. Due to its strenuous nature, it’s likely you won’t see many others along this route, so you can enjoy some seclusion to appreciate each spectacular formation.

It begins at the popular overlook of Bryce Point, and meanders down clockwise into the base of the canyon floor. Here you will spend a few miles wandering the depths of alluring amphitheaters before making the steep ascent back up to your starting point.  

Its main draw is the dazzling Wall of Windows. It’s also a common path for horses to use, so keep your eyes out for these majestic creatures as you trek. You’ll enjoy many spectacular views along this trail, see if you can spot the Three Wise Men, the Organ, and the Cathedral.

If you’re interested in a longer adventure, you can connect this hike with Navajo Loop or Queens Garden Trail. Its main challenge is the severe steepness, so be prepared for quite an adventure, though we must say it’s certainly worth it. Immersing yourself in the bright pink and orange hues of the towering hoodoos is an experience like no other. 

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
Navajo Loop / Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
  • Miles: 1.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 515 ft
  • Length: 1 – 2 hours 
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Navajo Loop is among the most popular and best hikes in Bryce Canyon, and it’s easy to see why. The path itself is well-maintained and easy to navigate, and for a shorter journey you are sure to see so much. The trail travels from the rim at Sunset Point all the way down to the valley floor. 

You will encounter the iconic and impressive formations of Thor’s Hammer, Wall Street, and Two Bridges. Wall Street is much photographed and is a narrow path that twists dramatically through a small slot canyon for breathtaking beauty. 

You’ll go through a series of switchbacks as you descend deep into the amphitheater surrounded by multi-hued hoodoos. If you prepare with proper footgear and take your time, this trail could even be considered easy depending on your fitness. Expect to see many other adventurers as you traverse this stunning landscape. 

The best way to avoid larger crowds is to go early in time for the sunrise. It also offers some of the best photo ops you’ll find in Bryce Canyon. As an out and back trail, you’re sure to enjoy the experience of viewing the vast expanse of canyon below before you set off into it and again after you have returned triumphant from its depths. Make sure to bring lots of water for this hike!

Queen’s Garden

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
Queen’s Garden / Best Bryce Canyon Hikes
  • Miles: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 450 ft
  • Length: 30 minutes – 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

If you’re looking for a quick and easy journey into the expanse of Bryce Canyon, this may be one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon for you. It’s an out and back trail boasting diverse terrains and vistas in either direction for a more interesting experience. 

It begins from Sunrise Point and takes you under the rim as you move down into the canyon. The elevation change is much smaller than some other similar trails, making it a much more relaxed hike. However there is a lot of sun exposure, so make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and hiking sunglasses.

Be sure to spot the Gullivar’s Castle and the eponymous Queen Victoria hoodoo, which resembles the monarch atop her throne. It’s one of the more colorful trails, both from sweeping sights overlooking the scenery and up close and personal encounters with the towering formations. 

Some small doorways cut into the rock along the way are a charming addition that allow you to feel as if you’re entering a magical new world every time you step through one. 

Fairyland Loop Trail

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
Fairyland Loop Trail / Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
  • Miles: 7.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,900 ft
  • Length: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

The vibrant colors of pinks, golds, oranges in this section of the canyon are sure to take your breath away.The Tower Bridge trail is the southern section of this loop, so it’s included when you do the full 8-mile hike. Between the distance and elevation, some challenge is added to an otherwise easy path. 

You can begin this journey from Sunrise Point, Fairyland Point or Bryce’s North Campground. However, keep in mind a start from Sunrise Point will add a bit of distance to your already lengthy trek. 

You’ll traverse an array of ridges offering sweeping panoramas and up close encounters with a full forest of hoodoos and spires. It’s the longest full day hike available in the area, and as such is often less crowded than some of the shorter sojourns. Bristlecone pine trees will dot the valleys of striated rock for a bit of extra visual interest. 

You can discover views of Boat Mesa and Chinese Wall, as well. The ups and downs of the trail are interspersed with plenty of flat portions, so that it never gets too tiring. It’s an aptly named adventure, as the landscapes here are simply magical. 

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge / Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
  • Miles: 3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 800 ft
  • Length: 2 – 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This Bryce Canyon hike covers a portion of Fairyland Trail before veering off at the 1.5 mile mark to the dramatic rock formation called Tower Bridge under the rim. The shade it provides makes it an excellent time to pack a picnic and bask in the beauty of this immense natural formation with a tasty bite before heading back. You’ll discover plenty of red rock, arches, and pines along your path into the canyon here. 

It’s an out and back hike that offers some of the best scenes and sights from Fairyland without the commitment of a full day. It starts just north of Sunrise Point and offers highlights, like the Chinese Wall, Crescent Castles, and Sinking Ship. 

Keep your eyes open for wildlife sightings, such as the bright and charming creature, Steller’s Jay. It’s one of the more heavily trafficked hikes around, as well, and is the best bet for an intermediate short distance trek in Bryce Canyon. 

Sunset Point to Sunrise Point

  • Miles: 1 mile
  • Elevation Gain: 40 feet
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

If you’re short on time, this walk is a quick effort with plenty of payoff. It’s a paved path that’s actually part of the much longer Rim Trail. It travels along the top of the canyon, and overlooks the vast Bryce Canyon Amphitheater for a stunning vista unanimously unparalleled. 

The overall scene reads a vibrant burnt orange. The glow is especially radiant if you opt for a sunrise viewing. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the majestic Navajo Mountain. 

There are an array of awe inspiring photo ops along this short but spectacular trail. Almost entirely flat, it’s the easiest trail of all the best Bryce Canyon hikes. Enjoy the otherworldly aura of the landscape without having to stray too far from your car. 

The Lodge is right nearby for accessible accommodation or simply a lovely post-hike bite and beverage. There are several benches along the way to really sit back and soak up the stunning sights. 

Inspiration Loop

photo depicts the view from Bryce Point 
  • Miles: 0.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 135 feet
  • Length: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

You can take the Rim Trail from Sunset Point to Inspiration Point. There are three separate viewpoints here, each more jaw dropping than the next. The ascent to the third and final point can be a bit steep but otherwise this is a super easy endeavor. 

You can drive or take shuttle service if you’ve had your fill of fitness and want only to soak up the sweeping panoramas. Be prepared for some chilly and strong winds at the very top. 

We love to play a game finding funny shapes and figures among the stalwart stone structures, and this is one of the best vantage points to see what fictional forms you can point out. You can spot Bryce Point, Sunrise Point, and Sunset Point from this vantage spot as well. Pro-tip, this is a great place to do a quick night hike, as it’s easy to navigate and there’s sure to be an incredible display of stars in the clear skies.

Figure Eight Trail

Figure 8 Trail / Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
  • Miles: 6.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,575 ft
  • Length: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

This hike combines a few favorites. Queens Garden, Peekaboo, and Navajo Trails all come together for one awe inspiring outdoor adventure. Meander a maze of majestic and multicolored formations. 

There are many overlooks along the rim and plenty of specific standout spires to see, including Queen Victoria, Fairy Castle, Wall of Windows, the Cathedral, Thor’s Hammer, and the Three Gossips. 

You’ll cross ridges and canyons, rarely traversing flat ground, so get ready for a whole swath of switchbacks. Be prepared for a steep descent at the start and a final leg of the journey that’s all uphill. You’ll encounter a variety of native flora and fauna as well. 

Our best advice for this trail is to start early and leave plenty of time for pauses to admire the incredible surroundings. If you only have time for one venture into the wilderness of Bryce Canyon, Figure Eight is a tremendous choice. 

Bristlecone Pines Hike (Bristlecone Loop Trail) 

Bristlecone Loop Trai
  • Miles: 1 mile
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

This Bryce Canyon trail takes off from the highest point in the entire park, Rainbow Point. It’s good to keep in mind that if you choose this adventure, you will be hiking at an altitude of 9,000 feet above sea level. This means the views you’ll encounter are out-of-this-world, and that you will likely want to pack some extra layers. Snow also tends to stick at these heights, so it’s best to try a trek in the warmer months, unless you don’t mind a few picture-esque snow capped hoodoos.

It’s less crowded than some other routes overlooking the canyon, so you should be able to get plenty of special pictures here. Named after a specific species of tree native to this type of terrain, Bristlecone pines are the oldest tree in the world. The most ancient example within the park is estimated to be a staggering 1,600 years old. 

You will also pass through forests of Douglas firs, Blue spruces, and White firs, a much more lush environment for spotting some wildlife. Yovimpa Point will provide exceptional panoramas, as well. 

Hat Shop

  • Miles: 4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1436 ft
  • Length: 3 – 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

This trail begins from Bryce Point and follows along a section of the popular Under the Rim Trail. It’s a less crowded path for a more tranquil trek among the weird and wonderful wilderness. It’s named for its hoodoos highlight, the spires with white boulders sat atop them giving them an appearance of wearing some stylish chapeaus. It’s an incredibly steep path, so be prepared for a  challenge if you choose it. 

You can take in some stunning vistas overlooking the Paria River Valley and Kaiparowits Plateau. If you’ve already explored a few of the other trails and are hankering for some solitude on your hike, this is a perfect pick. However, if you only have a chance to do one hike in Bryce Canyon, we’d recommend roaming on another route. 

Mossy Cave Turret Arch 

Mossy Cave Turret Arch  / Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
  • Miles: 0.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 118 ft
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

This hike conveniently starts from the entrance of the park itself. It serves as an excellent introduction to Bryce Canyon, covering a variety of views and terrains on what is a very easy trek. You’ll come across a small sparkling stream that leads directly into, you guessed it, a mossy cave. It follows along what’s known as Water Canyon, an important irrigation fixture in the area. 

Peek inside the small enclave for an enchanting encounter with hanging moss, which transforms into impressive icicles during the colder seasons. At the base of the hoodoo covered hills, you’ll also find yourself face to face with a glorious cascading waterfall. 

This short and sweet venture is great for families, and is a more diverse experience that doesn’t just focus around hoards of heavenly hoodoos. 

How Much Time Do You Need in Bryce Canyon?

For National Parks standards, Bryce Canyon is not very large. With just one full day you can actually check quite a few of these best Bryce Canyon hikes off the list. The fact that many of them can be combined is a plus.

For instance we hiked the Navajo Loop, Peekaboo Trail, and Queens Garden in one day and finished up the day with a beautiful view at Inspiration Point.

That being said to really make the most of your time at this epic park, I would suggest spending at least two days hiking Bryce Canyon National Park. The next day we hiked the Fairyland trail in combination with the Tower Bridge, and honestly could have added another hike if we didn’t have to drive back to Cedar City.

What to Wear on a Bryce Canyon Hike?

Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
  • Water: You will want water on this hike. We went out with our Stanley IceFlow bottles to keep us hydrated with extra cold water on this desert hike. They keep drinks cold for hours even under intense heat.
  • Sunscreen: Don’t venture out without sunscreen. The sun here in the desert is intense and there are few spots for shade.
  • Trail runners: You’ll want shoes with fantastic traction for this hike. My favorites are the Salomon Speedcross Trail Runners for hiking in the desert.
  • Shorts: Hiking shorts are ideal for hot hikes like this. (Men’s hiking shorts recommendations / women’s hiking shorts recs)
  • Hiking Shirt: Moisture-wicking, quick-drying hiking shirts are perfect for hikes like Angels Landing. My favorite hiking shirt is made by Outdoor Research!
  • Hiking Hat: Protect your forehead and eyes from the harsh sun.
  • Sunglasses: I don’t hike without sunglasses, good ones with polarization too to protect my eyeballs. I only have one set of them after all!
  • Snacks: You’ll want something to snack on when you get to the summit. I love energy bars, an apple, and fruit chews.

When is the Best Time to Enjoy these best hikes in bryce Canyon?

Since Bryce Canyon is located above 8000 ft, it stays much cooler than other Utah parks like Zion National Park or Arches. This keeps summer daytime temperatures comfortable instead of scorching hot.

Most visitors will visit Bryce Canyon between May and September, when the US has summer holidays. Expect Bryce Canyon to be crowded during these months. For fewer crowds I would recommend visiting in April or Late September/October. We visited Bryce in early April and found the weather perfect for hiking and the crowds were low.

If you want to see the park with snow (and beautiful snow-capped hoodoos) try visiting Bryce in January and February!

Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon has multiple campsites to stay at within the park, all great for exploring these Bryce Canyon trails. If you’re not so much into camping, there are a few accommodation options in Tropic. Still, there are more accommodation options in Cedar City, which is about 1.5 hours away but has all the restaurants and amenities you could need.

About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.