The Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon (sortable by length, elevation gain, difficulty!)

All 16 of the Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park, a breathtaking wonderland of unique geological formations, is a hiker’s paradise with diverse trails to explore. Whether you’re an avid adventurer or a nature enthusiast seeking a memorable experience, this list of the 16 best hikes in Bryce Canyon offers a glimpse into the park’s natural wonders.

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From the iconic hoodoos to mesmerizing amphitheaters, each path promises awe-inspiring vistas and a chance to connect with the rugged beauty of this remarkable Utah treasure. Tie your shoes, grab your backpack, and embark on a journey through the enchanting landscapes of Bryce Canyon.

Woman walking along one of the Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon

Depending on what you are looing for, the best hikes in Bryce Canyon can range from 0.25 miles to 8.6 miles. The trails can be relatively flat to relatively steep. From easy to strenuous, use this Bryce Canyon trail guide to help you sort and find the perfect trail for you.

Sortable Table of Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon

NameDistanceElevation GainDifficultyField of View
Rim Trail5.5 miles1754 feetModerateHigh
Sunset Point to Sunrise Point1.0 mile34 feetEasyHigh
Queen's Garden1.8 miles357 feetModerateHigh
Navajo Loop1.3 miles550 feetModerateHigh
Tower Bridge3.0 miles800 feetModerateHigh
Peekaboo Loop5.5 miles1571 feetStrenuousHigh
Mossy Cave0.8 mile200 feetEasyMedium
Bristlecone Loop1.0 mile200 feetEasyMedium
Fairyland Loop8.0 miles1716 feetStrenuousHigh
Riggs Spring Loop8.6 miles1700 feetStrenuousHigh
Hat Shop4.0 miles1450 feetModerateHigh
Swamp Canyon4.3 miles800 feetModerateMedium
Agua Canyon0.3 mile100 feetEasyHigh
Ponderosa Canyon0.3 mile50 feetEasyHigh
Black Birch Canyon0.3 mile40 feetEasyMedium
Paria View0.25 mile75 feetEasyHigh

The Intriguing Aspect of Hikes in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park is a captivating landscape renowned for its unique geological structures. The park has a spectacular array of hoodoos and spire-shaped rock formations created through frost weathering and stream erosion. These hoodoos, ranging in size and shape, create a striking visual contrast against the clear blue sky. Bryce Canyon isn’t a single canyon but a series of natural amphitheaters carved along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Each amphitheater is filled with intricate patterns of these towering rock pillars, offering a surreal and otherworldly view.

What sets Bryce Canyon apart from other national parks is its distinctive landscape. The hoodoos, with their vibrant colors ranging from reds and oranges to pinks and whites, transform throughout the day with the changing sunlight, creating a dynamic and ever-evolving scenery. This geological wonder, combined with the park’s high elevation and clean air, offers breathtaking panoramic views that are both unique and mesmerizing. Bryce Canyon’s geological formations, scenic vistas, and pristine environment make it a standout destination for nature enthusiasts and hikers.

Bryce Canyon Trail Selection Criteria

For selecting the 16 best hiking trails in Bryce Canyon, we employed a comprehensive set of criteria to ensure a varied and enriching experience for all types of hikers. The primary focus was showcasing the park’s unique geological and natural features while accommodating different hiking preferences and abilities.

Diversity was a key criterion. The chosen trails offer a range of experiences, from easy, family-friendly walks to more challenging hikes for seasoned adventurers. This variety ensures that whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular to Bryce Canyon, a trail always meets your needs and interests.

The difficulty levels of the trails were also considered. We included a mix of easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes, allowing hikers of all skill levels to safely enjoy the park. This categorization helps plan your walk according to your physical fitness and experience level.

Finally, scenic beauty was a paramount factor. Each trail offers its unique perspective of Bryce Canyon’s stunning landscapes. From up-close encounters with the hoodoos to panoramic views of the amphitheaters, these trails were selected to provide the most picturesque and memorable experiences of the park’s natural splendor.

Bryce Canyon’s Queen’s Garden Trail

Queen’s Garden Trail is a jewel among the hiking paths of Bryce Canyon National Park. Known for its relatively easy access and stunning scenery, this trail is perfect for hikers of all levels. The course begins at Sunrise Point, plunging into a breathtaking amphitheater filled with hoodoos and spires. As you descend, the path winds through an ever-changing landscape of rock formations, each uniquely shaped by natural forces.

One of the most striking features of Queen’s Garden Trail is its immersive experience within the hoodoo formations. The trail offers a close-up view of these spectacular structures, allowing hikers to appreciate their intricate details and the sheer magnitude of their presence. The path meanders around and through these formations, offering a perspective rarely experienced in other parts of the park.

As you delve deeper into the garden of hoodoos, the trail reveals a series of vantage points that showcase the grandeur of Bryce Canyon. The play of light and shadow on the rock formations, especially during early morning or late afternoon, creates a magical and almost surreal atmosphere. This trail perfectly embodies the intriguing aspect of Bryce Canyon, blending accessibility with awe-inspiring natural beauty, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring this geological wonderland.

Bryce Canyon’s Navajo Loop Trail

The Navajo Loop Trail is one of Bryce Canyon National Park’s most iconic and beloved trails. This moderately challenging path offers an immersive experience into the heart of the park’s stunning geological features. Starting at Sunset Point, the trail quickly descends into the amphitheater, providing an intimate encounter with the park’s famous hoodoos.

As you venture down the switchbacks, the trail leads you through a section known as Wall Street, a narrow, towering slot canyon that is both awe-inspiring and humbling. The towering rock walls on either side create a sense of walking through a living stone corridor, making it a highlight for many hikers.

The Navajo Loop Trail is also notable for its unique geological formations. One of the most prominent features you’ll encounter is Thor’s Hammer, a striking hoodoo that stands out for its size and shape. The trail winds through a landscape dotted with various hoodoos, each uniquely eroded, creating an almost otherworldly atmosphere.

This trail is more than just a hike; it explores Bryce Canyon’s deep and intricate geological history. The ever-changing views, from vast amphitheaters to narrow canyons, showcase the unique erosional forces shaping the park. The Navajo Loop Trail is a testament to the park’s diverse and dynamic landscape, offering hikers a comprehensive and unforgettable experience of Bryce Canyon’s natural wonders.

Bryce Canyon’s Fairyland Loop Trail

The Fairyland Loop Trail, a lesser-known yet extraordinary path in Bryce Canyon National Park, offers a different and more secluded perspective of the park’s wonders. This trail is considered moderately strenuous, stretching approximately 8 miles, and it begins at Fairyland Point, located north of the main Bryce Canyon amphitheater.

Its extensive journey through diverse landscapes sets the Fairyland Loop Trail apart. The trail descends into a vast, less crowded amphitheater, allowing hikers to experience the tranquility and unspoiled beauty of Bryce Canyon. As you traverse the path, you’ll encounter a series of stunning vistas, each offering a unique view of the park’s expansive hoodoo formations.

The trail meanders through whimsical and fantastical rock formations, aptly reflecting its name. The hoodoos here are interspersed with green trees and shrubs, contrasting sharply with the vibrant reds and oranges of the rocks, creating a picturesque landscape that feels straight out of a fairytale. This juxtaposition of colors and textures enhances the enchanting nature of the trail.

Fairyland Loop Trail also takes hikers to some of the park’s higher elevations, providing panoramic views less frequently seen by visitors. These elevated viewpoints offer a comprehensive look at the grand scale of Bryce Canyon, from the dense clusters of hoodoos to the distant horizon. This trail is perfect for those seeking a more immersive and extensive exploration of the park’s unique geological and natural beauty.

Bryce Canyon’s Peekaboo Loop Trail

Peekaboo Loop Trail is a distinctive and exhilarating hike in Bryce Canyon National Park. It is known for its close interactions with the park’s famous hoodoos. This trail is classified as strenuous, stretching about 5.5 miles, and can be accessed from Bryce Point, one of the highest viewpoints in the park.

The trail’s name, “Peekaboo,” aptly describes the playful nature of the path as it weaves in and out of the hoodoo formations. This trail offers an up-close and personal experience with these remarkable structures. Hikers find themselves surrounded by the towering spires, providing a unique opportunity to observe the hoodoos’ intricate details and varied shapes.

One of the most engaging aspects of Peekaboo Loop Trail is the variety of landscapes it traverses. The path takes hikers through a series of natural tunnels and arches, adding an element of surprise and discovery to the journey. The trail also passes through vegetation-rich areas, contrasting the stark, dramatic rock formations pleasantly.

The trail’s varied terrain and elevation changes provide a physical challenge and constantly shifting perspectives of the park. From sweeping vistas to narrow canyons, Peekaboo Loop Trail showcases the diversity and complexity of Bryce Canyon’s landscape. This trail is ideal for adventurous hikers seeking a dynamic and interactive experience with the park’s captivating hoodoos.

Bryce Canyon’s Rim Trail

The Rim Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park is a scenic path that offers some of the most panoramic and accessible views of the park’s iconic amphitheaters. This trail is unique in its versatility, as it ranges from easy to moderate difficulty and can be tailored to any length, from a short walk to a complete 11-mile round trip. The trail stretches along the rim of the Bryce Canyon amphitheater, connecting several viewpoints, including Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point.

What makes the Rim Trail one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon is its continuous offering of breathtaking vistas. The trail provides an elevated perspective over the vast amphitheater, allowing hikers to take in the full scope of the hoodoos and spires below. This bird’s-eye view is spectacular at sunrise or sunset, when the rocks glow with vibrant colors.

Unlike the more immersive trails that descend into the canyon, the Rim Trail keeps you at the top of the plateau, offering a different but equally stunning perspective. It’s an excellent option for those who prefer less strenuous hikes but still want to experience the beauty of Bryce Canyon. The trail is also wheelchair accessible in certain sections, making it one of the most inclusive trails in the park.

The Rim Trail is not just a hike; it’s a leisurely stroll through some of the most picturesque landscapes Bryce Canyon offers. Whether you’re looking for a short walk to a single viewpoint or a longer journey along the rim, this trail provides a peaceful and visually rewarding experience, showcasing the grandeur and beauty of the amphitheaters.

Additional Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon

Tower Bridge Trail: This moderate hike leads to the Tower Bridge formation, offering stunning views of the China Wall and the Bristlecone Pine forest.

Bristlecone Loop: An easy trail known for its ancient Bristlecone Pines, providing breathtaking views of the park and beyond, especially at Rainbow Point.

Mossy Cave Trail: A short and easy hike leading to a mossy cave and a beautiful waterfall, showcasing a different aspect of the park’s ecosystem.

Hat Shop Trail: A moderately strenuous trail that descends to a unique area filled with hoodoos topped with boulders resembling hats.

Swamp Canyon Loop: This moderate trail offers a mix of forested areas and spectacular canyon views, highlighting the diversity of Bryce’s landscapes.

Sheep Creek/Swamp Canyon Connector: A lesser-traveled trail providing a peaceful hike through diverse vegetation and quiet meadows.

Riggs Spring Loop: A challenging backcountry trail known for its solitude and the possibility of seeing wildlife, ideal for experienced hikers.

Fairyland Point to Bryce Point: A strenuous hike combining parts of the Fairyland Loop and the Rim Trail, offering extensive park views.

Under-the-Rim Trail: The longest trail in the park, offering an in-depth backcountry experience through varied terrain and remote areas.

Agua Canyon Connecting Trail: A moderate trail connecting Ponderosa Canyon and Agua Canyon, featuring stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere.

Each trail contributes to the overall hiking experience in Bryce Canyon, allowing visitors to explore different facets of the park’s beauty and geological diversity. From easy walks suitable for families to strenuous hikes for the adventurous, these trails ensure every visitor can find a path that resonates with their interests and abilities.

Tips for Hiking in Bryce Canyon:

Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park is an unforgettable experience. Still, it requires preparation and awareness for a safe and enjoyable journey. Here are some practical tips for hikers:

  • Check the Weather: The weather in Bryce Canyon can be unpredictable, with rapid changes. Always check the forecast before your hike and be prepared for varying conditions.
  • Start Early: To avoid the heat and crowds, especially during summer, start your hikes early in the morning. This also gives you a chance to witness the spectacular sunrise views.
  • Stay Hydrated: The dry climate and high elevation can lead to dehydration quickly. Carry plenty of water, even on short hikes.
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Dress in layers, as temperatures fluctuate significantly. Wear sturdy hiking boots for traction and ankle support.
  • Respect Wildlife: Keep safe distances from wildlife and do not feed them. Remember, you are a visitor in their habitat.
  • Stay on Designated Trails: Always stay on the marked trails to protect the environment and yourself.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring a map, compass, or GPS app on your phone like onX Backcountry, as well as snacks, a first aid kit, and a flashlight or headlamp.
  • Inform Someone of Your Plans: Let someone know your hiking plan and expected return time.
  • Leave No Trace: Take all your trash with you, and do not disturb the natural surroundings.
  • Be Prepared for Altitude: Bryce Canyon’s high elevation can affect even the fittest hikers. Take it slow; if you feel dizzy or short of breath, rest and descend if necessary.

Following these tips will help ensure you have a safe time and the best hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Interested in other National Parks? Check out how many visitors the National Parks had for the last five years.

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My name is Rich, and I love to hike!

I grew up in Idaho, with plenty of hiking and camping just minutes away from our home. Growing up, we spent summers at the lake and falls in the mountains. Camping and hiking with friends was such a special way to spend time together. I’ve spent a lifetime outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and hunting.

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