Last Updated: September 23, 2020

Best Hikes In Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park is found in the more remote part of Utah and if you’re looking for a place to get away from the summer crowds it’s and awesome place to go. Due to its remote location, it sees far less traffic than most other national parks in the area, hopefully giving you the peace you need. But it’s not just the lack of people in Bryce that’s attractive, there is a whole natural wonderland to discover. 
 
Bryce Canyon National Park consists of a series of canyons that are full of amazing things to discover. You will hike past ancient trees over 1000 years old, California condors, flycatchers, and even endangered species like the Utah prairie dog. Being in Utah it’s also full of awesome geological landscapes and is most famous for it’s spired shaped rock formations, known as the crimson-colored hoodoos. 
 
When it comes to immersing yourself in this beautiful environment, hiking is definitely the best way to go. There is no better way to see the hoodoos or experience the true scale of a 1000-year-old tree than by standing next to it. In this article, we are going to take you through some of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park. All the hikes are easy to moderate so almost any can accomplish them, plus they’ll take you to some of the best parts of the park. Enjoy! 

Bristlecone Loop Hike

Best Hikes In Bryce Canyon

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 1.1 miles
  • Elevation Change: 89 ft
  • Hiking Time: 1 hour
  • Starting Point: Rainbow Point
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Transportation: Car

The Bristlecone Loop Hike is an awesome hike that captures the sheer size if Bryce Canyon Nation Park. It follows the most elevated part of the national park and gives you quite incredible views that show you the scale of the environment you’re in.

The hike is quite easy and is suitable for most abilities. At a length of just over a mile and with a very small elevation change, it’s really a stroll in the park and shouldn’t take you more than an hour. It’s best done between April and November as heavy snowfall can block it in winter. If you’re in the park in summer, this is a great midday option, as it’s shaded and will give you a break from the strong sun.

To start the hike, get to Rainbow Point and begin following the trail. The hike takes you through an ancient forest full of Blue Spruce, White Fir, and Douglas-firs that are over 1000 years old. It’s quite a magical experience to wander amongst these old huge forests.

Amongst the forest, you’ll also be able to see grouse, owls, ravens, woodpeckers, Steller’s Jays, and lots of squirrels and chipmunks. Since the trail is so high up, at 9100 feet, you’ll get some amazing views into the Four Corners area of the park.

This certainly isn’t the most mind-blowing hike in the park but it’s great if you’re just looking for a chilled forested walk with some lovely views.


Inspiration Point to Queens Garden Hike

Best Hikes In Bryce Canyon

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation Change: 673 ft
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours
  • Starting Point: Inspiration Point - Use the shuttle to get there
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Transportation: Car & Shuttle

The Inspiration Point to Queens Garden Hike is a great way to see some of the best things Bryce Canyon National Park has to offer. The hike takes you around some of the best viewpoints and is full of wildlife, beautiful trees, plants and is great for bird watching.

This hike is rated as medium and is do-able by most abilities. At 3.8 miles long with 673 ft of elevation change, it’s isn’t too hilly or too long to tire most people out. The trail is well marked and runs over easy terrain. It’s best done between March and November, and it’s wise to get there early or late to avoid the crowds and the hot sun as there is no shade on this route.

To do this hike, it’s best to use the Shuttle and park your car at the Shuttle Parking lot outside the park or at the overflow parking by the visitors center. The shuttle leaves every fifteen minutes and will take you to the start of the hike at Inspiration Point. And once you’ve completed the hike at Sunrise Point, you can hop on another shuttle or walk your way back to the car park, 0.7 miles.

This hike takes you from Inspiration Point to Sunset Point to begin with, offering great views of the Silent City area of the park that’s home to thousands of swallows, and a less crowded path. Once you reach Sunset Point, you’ll notice the increase in traffic and you’ll then descend ono to Navajo or Wall Street and then back up to Queens Gardens, where you’ll do a little detour to see Queen Victoria. There is a host of rock formations in Queens Gardens, one of which looks uncannily like queen Victoria. From there it’s onwards to Sunrise Point and back on the shuttle or a walk to your car.

The hike is full of amazing landscapes and views, it’s well worth the workout. If you fancy a drive afterward, follow the scenic drive route to really cram in all the spots in a six-hour day.


Queen Victoria via Queen's Garden Loop Hike

best hikes bryce canyon

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation Change: 406 ft
  • Hiking Time: 2 hours
  • Starting Point: Sunrise Point Parking Lot
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Transportation: Shuttle, Car

If the shuttle service isn’t running or you’d rather not use it and have an easier hike to see the beautiful Queens Gardens, then this might be the hike for you.

It’s a simple there and back hike that reduces the distance by almost half. The hike is still rated as a medium as there are a lot of switchbacks on the trail that help you climb the elevation, but it is suitable for almost all abilities.

The hike is best done between March and November due to the high snowfall in winter. If you’re going in summertime try to avoid midday as there is no shade and it’ll get very hot, plus you’ll have to weight down your day pack with a lot of extra water.

To start the hike, leave your car at Sunrise Point parking lot and follow the trail to Queens Gardens. The views and landscapes along the way are truly magical and it’s worth any calf burning climbs and descents you might end up feeling. Queens Gardens really is otherworldly as you walk past all of nature’s mad carvings in the cliff faces that show just how much of an artist mother nature can be.

Once you’ve arrived at Queen Victoria, take a while to have a look at how nature has carved her out of stone and sat her quite uncannily on a throne, it’s quite amazing.

You can continue hiking on from this moment as there are quite a few trails to connect to. Or you can retrace your steps down the route you came from to get back to your car.


Wall Street and Queens Garden Loop Hike

best hikes bryce canyon national park

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 3.1 miles
  • Elevation Change: 641 ft
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours
  • Starting Point: Sunrise Point Parking Lot
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Transportation: Car, Shuttle

The Wall Street and Queens Garden Loop Hike is another route that shows off the Queens Gardens and some of the best things Bryce Canyon National Park has to offer. It starts at Sunrise Point like the hike above but instead of turning back after Queens Gardens, you continue on through the stunning canyon and form a loop around Sunset Point and then along the rim back to your car.

The hike is around 3.1 miles and is rated as medium, it does take a while but there is no need to rush and the views are quite magical no matter where you decide to rest. You’ll most likely experience some heavy traffic and it’s well worth timing your hike to be a little later on so you can catch the sunset at sunset point just before the final leg back to your parking spot.

The route takes you from Sunrise Point, through the magical Queens Gardens, and then you’ll follow parts of Bryce Creek until you reach the Navajo Benchmark. From here it’s easy to take the wrong trail to Two Bridges, but if you keep following the creek you’ll end up on the Wall Street Trail.

It’s called Wall Street because you’ll end up walking amongst some very high walls that are quite spectacular as you weave through the red rock formations. The Wall street section can be closed sometimes if there are freezing overnight temperatures and it’s, therefore, best to go down it in the summer months. If it is closed there are plenty of other options to form a loop back to your car.

After wall street comes Sunset Point, where if you’ve timed it right, you can catch the sun going down. It’s quite an incredible thing to behold as the sun turns all the rock into a glowing color as it descends over all the amazing rock formations.


Bryce Canyon Rim Hike

best hikes bryce canyon national park

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 10.7 miles
  • Elevation Change: 1587 ft
  • Hiking Time: 8 hours
  • Starting Point: Bryce Point
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Transportation: Shuttle, Car

Bryce Canyon Rim Hike is one of the best ways to get a true sense of the magnitude of the area you’re in. It follows the edge of Bryce Canyon for over 10 miles, giving you almost every view possible across this amazing landscape.

At just under 11 miles long, this is quite a tough trail and you’ll need to ensure you have a good level of fitness and ability to complete it. It should take about 8 hours to do and there some quite serious elevation changes along the way, so be prepared to deal with some muscle burning along the way.

It’s best done in spring or fall as due to the length, it’s impossible to avoid the midday sunshine hours. To do the hike you’ll need to use the shuttle, as you don’t want to have to double back on yourself unless you’re really going for it.

The best way to do this hike is to park at the shuttle station and grab a lift to Bryce Point and start from there. This makes most of the hike a descent, so you don’t have to climb a hill all the time.

You’ll then follow the rim trail to past Upper Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, and all the way around to Fairyland Point. The hike gives you a real look into the canyon and by the end, you’ll have an awesome perspective of just how large and amazing the canyon is.

If the trail gets too tough, you can easily bail out along the way and catch a shuttle from any of the points mentioned above. If you make it to Fairyland Point, then walk a mile down Fairyland Point Spur road until you meet the main road where you can flag down the shuttle bus. There is no official shuttle stop there, so be sure to grab the driver’s attention.


Navajo Loop Hike

thors hammer best hikes bryce canyon national park

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 1.5 miles
  • Elevation Change: 515 ft
  • Hiking Time: 2 hours
  • Starting Point: Sunrise Point Parking Lot
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Transportation: Car, Shuttle

The Navajo Loop Hike is an awesome hike to do in the afternoon. It quite short meaning you can try and time it perfectly to watch the sun go down over the canyon from the ending at Sunset Point. Plus, you park quite close, so you’ll have no need to rush before dark, and can watch the whole sunset unfurl in a relaxed manner.

The hike is 1.5 miles and rated as medium. It should take around two hours and can be done by most hiking abilities. It’s best to hike this route between June and mid-October as overnight freezing can close off parts of the trail.

There are some parts of this hike that have no shade and can get very hot in summer months but there are also sections that get no sun and are very cold. Remember to bring a lot of water and some warmer clothes, even if it is hot out.

The hike starts at Sunset Point and descends into the canyon and into Wall Street where you’ll be switching back through towering cliffs and huge Douglas For trees. As you continue on you’ll see stunning views of Thors Hammer, a rock formation that really does look like a giant hammer carve out of stone. You’ll also have great views into the Silent City of rock towers that look like temples and buildings. And to the east, you’ll notice the Temple of Osiris.

The loop takes you via the Navajo Benchmark and back up two bridges where you’ll get to see some very cool natural bridges that have been formed over thousands of years. After Two Bridges is a short hike to Sunset point, where if you have timed it right, you’ll get to see the sunset over the amazing scenery.


Peekaboo Loop Hike

best hikes bryce canyon national park

Hike Details

  • Trail length: 5.3 miles
  • Elevation Change: 1453 ft
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Starting Point: Bryce Point Parking Lot
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Transportation: Car, Shuttle

The Peekaboo Loop Hike is a great way to see some parts of Bryce National Park that are a bit further afield. It starts way down at Bryce Canyon and takes into areas that are only really accessible from this starting point.

The hike is around 5 miles long and does get quite busy. The elevation change is quite large but there are a lot of downhills as well as the uphills, so your legs do get a break now and then. It’s rated as a medium level hike and should be accomplishable by most. There is one downside to this hike though and that is the abundance of horse manure on the trail, don’t let it put you off, just be prepared for it and you’ll be fine.

The hike begins at Bryce Point where you get a lovely view of the canyon. You’ll then descend into it and hike amongst the amphitheater to the Wall Of Windows. The Wall Of Windows is a stunning rock formation that is full of holes, unsurprisingly. It’s like a block of different towers that nature has naturally put some windows into and it is well worth stopping for a look and photo.

Continuing on you’ll come close by to the Hindu Temples, and get quite a good look at them and then on to the Catherdral, another rock formation that looks remarkably human-made. Then, it’s a loopback around with amazing views to the east where you’ll see the Aligator and then back up to Bryce Point.

This trail is usually closed during winter and it’s best done in spring, summer or, fall.