Day One In Bryce Canyon
When you arrive in Bryce Canyon National Park will determine how much you can fit into day one. We arrived in the early afternoon, as we hiked Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument before making our way to Bryce Canyon.
Here are a few things I recommend doing on your first day in Bryce Canyon National Park:
Stop in at the Visitor Center
Cole and I are always so eager to get adventuring when we arrive in a new place that were tempted to skip the Visitor Center.
However, park Visitor Centers can be extremely helpful in gaining an understanding of the parks layout. You can also learn of weather forecasts, trail conditions, and ranger activities being led during your stay.
Time spent at the Visitor Center is definitely not time wasted and can help make the most of your stay in the park.
Drive the Scenic Highway
After stopping in at the Visitor Center, hop back in the car and cruise down the Scenic Highway towards Rainbow Point.
Driving the park is a great way to get an idea of the park layout. We were so surprised by how the red and orange hoodoos of Bryce Canyon seem to appear out of nowhere. One moment youre driving on a road surrounded by pine trees and the next your peering into a valley full of vibrant pinnacles.
The scenic drive is 37 miles long, round trip. Along the way, there are 13 viewpoints visitors can stop and see.
However, if you have the time, it never hurts to stop at them all!
Grab Dinner at the Lodge at Bryce Canyon
Other Activities To Do In Bryce Canyon
We had an absolute blast during our two days in Bryce Canyon but there are so many other activities we would have loved to fit into our time there.
Here are some of the other fun activities you can do while exploring Bryce Canyon:
Hike Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail
While hiking was covered in my two-day itinerary, I didnt even scratch the surface of worthy trails in the park. One trail we really regret missing is the Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail. Weve heard nothing but raving reviews about how incredible this trail is.
If your legs are up for it, I recommend tacking this trail on to your two-days-in-Bryce-Canyon itinerary.
Join a Ranger Activity
There are several guided ranger activities to choose from. These activities were not something we were aware of until we stopped in at the Visitor Center. Park Rangers lead visitors on a variety of activities. Some of the ranger activities offered are constellation tours, full moon hikes, and even snowshoe tours in the winter.
When we visit Bryce Canyon National Park in the future, we will definitely be joining one of these activities.
Again, had we been aware that backcountry camping was an option in Bryce Canyon National Park, we would have factored hiking Under the Rim Trail into our itinerary.
If you havent caught on to the theme of this guide yet, its to plan ahead! There are so many amazing opportunities in the park. Make sure that you set aside enough time for all of them.
Bryce, we will be back.
Bryce Canyon Visitor Center
When you first get to Bryce Canyon National Park, you for sure have to stop by the Visitor Center. You can learn all about Bryce Canyon National Park at the Visitor Center, mingle and speak with park rangers, and shop at the souvenir store.
Be sure to grab a Bryce Canyon map so you can easily get around during your trip.
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The Lodge At Bryce Canyon $$$
If you want to stay right inside of the national park, then youll want to check out The Lodge at Bryce Canyon, also sometimes referred to as Bryce Canyon Lodge. This accommodation is the only place you can stay directly in the park besides camping, making it perfect if you want to stay central and beat the crowds in the morning.
Things To See And Do In Bryce Canyon City
- Explore the otherworldly Bryce Amphitheatre.
- Enjoy spectacular views of Agua Canyon.
- Drive the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive and take in the exquisite sights.
- Snap a pic of the bright red rocks of Ponderosa Canyon.
- See magnificent views of the national park from Rainbow Point.
- Hike the strenuous Fairyland Loop.
- Peek through the Natural Bridge.
- Follow the Rim Trail along the edge of a canyon.
- Trek along the Queens Garden Trail, good for travellers of all ages and abilities.
- Soak in the stunning views from scenic Sunrise Point.
- Take a guided horse riding trip through the park.
- View interesting rock formations as you wander the Hat Shop trail.
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What To Pack For Bryce Canyon
Hiking Shoes & Socks
Did you know the #1 and #2 causes of injury at Bryce Canyon is bad choice of footwear. Be sure to wear hiking boots with good ankle support and ample traction. Sport-sandals & trainers are NOT safe hiking footwear. We use and always recommend our Merrell Moab hiking shoes or Oboz hiking shoes worn with Darn Tough socks.
Hydration and Food
The #5 cause of injury at Bryce is dehydration. Drink 1 quart / liter every 1-2 hours. Always carry water with you during all hiking activities. Refill stations at Bryce Canyon: Bryce Canyon Visitor Center, Sunset Point, Sunrise Point and Bryce Canyon Lodge. We use hydration packs or carry Hydroflask bottles in our packs. Also eat plenty of healthy snacks and food.
Remember its just as easy to become dehydrated in the cold as it is in the heat so carry plenty of water during the winter, and not just during the summer.
Bryce Canyon summers mean high temperatures, unrelenting sunlight, and low humidity. To keep cool, wear light colored, loose fitting clothing that does not absorb sunlight.
During the winter, be sure to wear layers and winter clothing to stay dry and warm.
Top Reason To Visit Bryce Canyon In February
Bryce Canyon is a popular Utah National Park and it gets crowded during the peak seasons of summer and fall.
You cant beat visiting the park without the crowds and the offseason rates in February.
Yes there will probably be snow at Bryce Canyon in February, but thats what makes it magical! The colorful hoodoos really pop against the white snow.
And exploring the park with snowshoes and skis is part of the unique experience of a winter vacation at Bryce Canyon!
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Best Places To Stay Near Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park spans 56 square miles in southern Utah and is best known for its unique broken-arch rock spire formations, known as hoodoos. Whether youre looking for a true backcountry adventure or traveling with family, a wide variety of hotels in the park vicinity offer western charm and hospitality with top modern amenities. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
Panguitch Best Neighbourhood In Bryce Canyon For Families
Panguitch is a town bursting with pioneer spirit and rustic charm. With its colourful main drag and its strong sense of history, Panguitch is a town where Western ambience brims in full force.
A hub for outdoor adventures, Panguitch is our recommendation for where to stay in Bryce Canyon for families. Not only is it a short drive from Bryce Canyon National Park, but it is a great base for exploring many of Utahs other great parks, including Zion and Capital Reef. Youll also find Cedar Breaks National Monument and Dixie National Forest close by.
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What To Do During The Day In Bryce Canyon National Park
In between nightly stargazing sessions, you might want to plan some activities to enjoy Bryce Canyon National Park by day. The number one thing to do? Strap on your hiking shoes and hit the trails! There is plenty of hiking in Bryce Canyon to keep you occupied during the day.
- Queens Garden/Navajo Loop is a great option if you have one day in the park and want to get into the canyon and walk among the hoodoos, which I would highly recommend. While this may be the #1 hike I recommend, its also the most popular in the park, so get started early. It is two trails combined into one. You can also add in the Wall Street hike. This is a great day hike because you can add a lot to it. You can even do part of the Peek-A-Boo trail if youd like to really get away from people.
- Sunset Point to Sunrise Point is a great option if youre limited on time and just passing through the park. Its also a great filler if you have a spare hour. This is a nice, short, one-mile hike round-trip. When its really clear you can see Navajo Mountain 80 miles away.
- Fairyland Loop is an eight-mile hike with 2,300 feet of elevation gain. This is a great option if you want a full day hike that takes you into the hoodoos. If you dont want to do the whole loop, consider just an out and back trip to the Tower Bridge.
If hiking isnt your thing, you can also spend some time exploring the park by car, as well as the surrounding region.
Sightseeing In And Around Bryce Canyon National Park
Do you want to discover attractions to see while you’re in town? Venture out of your vacation home and experience everything that makes Bryce Canyon National Park a one-of-a-kind vacation spot. Here are some of the top attractions to see, all within 30 miles of the city center:
- Alton Amphitheater
- Mammoth Cave
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Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
Another great hotel right on the shuttle line is the Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel. Its a mile from the park and only ten miles from the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
The hotel boasts tons of amenities, including a fitness center, swimming pool, wifi, and even laundry facilities right on the premises. Every room even has toiletries, a coffee machine, air conditioning, and a television.
Choose between king suites, king rooms, queen suites, or queen rooms.
Camping In Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon, besides being famous for its majestic rock structures, stands out for its incredible dark sky full of stars.
Since its far away from the city and free of light pollution, stargazing is very popular in the park.
Because of this, we decided to camp in Bryce. Additionally, we traveled in mid-August, which coincided with the Perseids meteor shower, and we didnt want to miss it.
In case you decide to camp in Bryce Canyon, remember to wear warm clothes even in summer, since Bryce is at an altitude of 2,400 meters above sea level, and temperatures are usually very low.
Now we ll talk about the different campsites in Bryce Canyon.
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How To Plan A Bryce Canyon National Park Stargazing Trip
Bryce Canyon is one of the more underrated national parks in Utah, according to many travelers. Its often overshadowed by its extremely popular neighbor, Zion National Park. While Bryce Canyon might seem like it doesnt have as much to offer, it definitely does. From hiking among the hoodoos to stargazing at night, Bryce Canyon has it all, including one of the oldest astronomy programs in the nation all of which make it one of the best national parks for stargazing.
Stargazing in Bryce Canyon National Park is a unique experience you wont find anywhere else. Seeing the Milky Way glowing above the hoodoos is something you literally cant go anywhere but here. So, how, where and when can you go stargazing in Bryce Canyon? Read on!
Now, heres everything we learned about taking a stargazing trip to Bryce Canyon National Park.
Note: Due to the novel coronavirus, National Parks vary in opening hours and access. Be sure to check if the park you want to visit is open before planning a trip.
Make Use Of The Shuttle Service
This pertains more to you if you plan on visiting during peak season but make use of the shuttle service. Its completely free to use and saves you the hassle of finding parking which can be extremely difficult in the summer.
The shuttle stops at many popular spots, including Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunrise Point, and more. Plus, if youre staying at the Best Western PLUS Rubys Inn, it will even pick you up and bring you back there!
The shuttle service usually starts in late spring and closes in early fall .
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Rodeway Inn Bryce Canyon
When you travel to Bryce Canyon, the Rodeway Inn is a great place to consider staying. Not only is it right near the Red Canyon Trailhead, but its also not that far from the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park.
The inside of each room has a very cozy and casual atmosphere with hardwood furniture. Theres free wifi, pet-friendly rooms, laundry facilities, free coffee, and the entire hotel is smoke-free, which is why its great for families.
This accommodation is also near both the Kodachrome Basin State Park and the Dixie National Forest.
Are Hotels In Bryce Canyon National Park Safe During The Coronavirus Crisis
Hotels are safe environments for travelers as long as they properly implement sanitary measures in response to coronavirus . However, we recommend getting in touch with the local authorities regarding safety procedures for hotels in Bryce Canyon National Park. For more advice, please view our information page on what to know about coronavirus and travel.
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Getting To Bryce Canyon In February
Driving to Bryce Canyon in February takes some advanced planning compared to driving there in the summer due to its remote and mountainous location.
Our biggest tip is to watch the weather forecast and consider other options and routes if snow is expected. The narrow and steep backcountry roads to get to Bryce Canyon may not be plowed, and can be very scary in the snow!
Once you get to Bryce Canyon, the main road and major parking lots are usually plowed quickly after a storm.
Check the Conditions Page for road status.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bryce Canyon
Where should I stay for Zion and Bryce?
Can you stay inside Bryce National Park?
Yes, you can stay inside Bryce National Park and the only hotel is The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. There are also two campgrounds, North Campground and Sunset Campground that you can camp inside Bryce National Park.
How many days do I need for Bryce Canyon?
If you want to explore Grand Canyon National Park and surrounding hiking trails, 2-3 days will be enough to stay in Bryce Canyon.
What are the best hotels in Bryce Canyon?
What are the best places to stay in Bryce Canyon for families?
What should I not miss in Bryce Canyon?
Here are some of the main sights that you should not miss when you are visiting Bryce Canyon: Bryce Canyon National Park Kodachrome Basin State Park
I am sure you will have an amazing time discovering the unique landscapes and doing a lot of outdoor activities in Bryce Canyon National Park!
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Backpacking In Bryce Canyon
The Under the Rim trail is the signature backpacking experience of Bryce Canyon National Park. This one-way 23-mile hike takes 2-3 days and requires a backcountry permit.
The trail covers the length of the park from Bryce Point up to Rainbow Point. As the name implies, you spend the majority of the hike underneath the rim of the amphitheater amongst the hoodoos.
Best Places To Stay In Bryce Canyon
Wander Camp Bryce Canyon
As we were exiting the park, we passed Wander Camp Bryce Canyon-Escalante and I immediately thought to myself, Dangit! Im a sucker for a great glamping spot and Wander Camp knows how to do it right. Had we known this desert oasis existed, we would have stayed there without question.
Wander Camp Bryce Canyon is not only a desert-dwellers dream, but its also conveniently located just a short 15 minute drive outside of the Bryce Canyon park entrance.
True to form, we opted to camp during our trip to Bryce Canyon. We had planned on dispersed camping, as we had done for most of our Utah road trip. Unfortunately, we couldnt find a primitive camping spot within 20 minutes of the park.
Instead, we opted to camp at North Campground. Unlike the other campground in the park, Sunset Campground, North Campground is first-come, first-served. Its not as wooded or private as Sunset Campground, but its a nice spot nonetheless a great option for those who didnt plan ahead .
Tent sites are $20/day.
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon
The rustic and cozy Lodge at Bryce Canyon is perfectly located in the heart of Bryce Canyon National Park, situated right between Sunrise and Sunset Point. The lodge is conveniently located near popular trails and has a great onsite restaurant.
Best Western Plus
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