Looking for things to do in Bryce Canyon in one day? From the best hikes, epic viewpoints, and more, here are the things to do on the perfect one day in Bryce Canyon itinerary!
Bryce Canyon is a park that had been on my bucket list for a long time because of its unique landscape and stunning vistas. After taking a day trip to Bryce Canyon, it just might have ended up on my list of all-time favorite national parks!
When I had the opportunity to spend one day in Bryce Canyon when traveling nearby to run the Grand Canyon Half Marathon, I jumped at the chance…and with so many amazing highlights in Bryce Canyon, it did not disappoint.
Walking into Bryce Canyon is almost like walking onto a different planet – tall, thin, orange rock spires surround you as you make your way through the park. These rock formations are called “hoodoos,” and not only is it super fun to say (seriously, try saying “hoodoos” three times fast and try not to laugh), they create some stunning, otherworldly landscapes throughout the park.
The landscape here is so beautiful that it inspired the Thunder Mountain ride at Disneyland!
Spending 1 day in Bryce Canyon will give you a good introduction to the park, and allow you to see the most famous sights within the park. Some cannot miss things on your Bryce Canyon 1 day itinerary are doing one of the park’s most iconic hikes, as well as taking in some of its most magnificent views.
It is also in relatively close proximity to Zion National Park and Capitol Reef National Park, making it a perfect stop on a Utah National Parks road trip or Southwest road trip.
After spending a day in Bryce Canyon, I cannot wait to return again someday! I visited in the summer, but because the park is stunning at any time of year (there’s really no bad time to visit), I would love to experience some of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon in the winter.
From the best hikes to the most iconic viewpoints, here are all the things to add to your Bryce Canyon one day itinerary!
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Things You Should Know Before This One Day in Bryce Canyon Itinerary
About Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park showcases the geological wonders of the southern Utah region, and draws over two million visitors each year. It is one of the smaller national parks in the United States, but one of the most beloved for its unique spire-like rock formations, otherworldly magic, and stunning vistas.
Bryce Canyon is technically not a canyon, but rather a series of natural amphitheaters carved into the edge of a high plateau. The most famous of these in the park is Bryce Amphitheater, home to thousands of irregularly eroded rock spires called hoodoos. This is where you will spend the most time on your Bryce Canyon 1 day itinerary.
You will find hoodoos on every continent on earth, but Bryce Canyon has the largest concentration of them in one place.
These unique rock formations are the result of erosion, and are formed over millions of years as water splits the rock as it freezes and expands in cracks. In the summer, runoff etches the softer limestone rock, further adding to the rugged landscape.
The area was occupied by Mormon settlers in the 1850s, and the park is named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded the area in 1874.
Is 1 Day Enough for Bryce Canyon?
Yes – you can easily see all the main highlights of Bryce Canyon in a day!
Despite its popularity, Bryce Canyon is one of the smallest National Parks in the country. It is also set up with one main road that goes straight through the park, making getting around super easy and straightforward (unlike in Olympic National Park). Therefore, you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time!
This 1 day in Bryce Canyon itinerary will allow you to experience all the top sights in the park, see its incredible viewpoints, and even do one of its most iconic hikes.
Those looking to do some longer hikes may consider spending extra time in the park, but otherwise, I don’t think you need it!
As with most other U.S. National Parks, entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park costs $35 per vehicle. Walk-in admission is $20 per person. Your admission is valid for up to seven days.
If you are planning to visit other parks, I highly recommend purchasing an annual America the Beautiful pass. At $80, this is absolutely a steal – you only need to visit three parks for it to pay for itself!
Other parks you could visit as part of a Utah road trip include stops in Zion (which is only 72 miles away), Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks. You can even add in a stop at the Grand Canyon. The possibilities are endless!
You can purchase the pass at the park, online, or at REI. I recommend purchasing the park in advance so that you can enter the park as early as you wish, without waiting for the pay stations or visitors centers to open!
Do You Need a Reservation to Visit Bryce Canyon?
Unlike some other parks in the area (i.e. Arches), there are no reservations required to enter Bryce Canyon National Park.
If you plan to stay within the park, advance reservations are highly recommended, especially during the peak season. Do note that the Bryce Canyon Lodge fills up quick so you’ll want to make those reservations ASAP.
If camping, the Sunset Campground is the only one of the two campgrounds in the park that accepts reservations.
At its highest point, Bryce Canyon stands at over 9000 feet in elevation. I did notice that I did get out of breath pretty quickly while hiking during my Bryce Canyon day trip. Be sure to take it slow, and carry lots of water! If you are especially sensitive to high altitude, it is recommended that you have altitude medication on hand.
The plus side to this is that even in the summer, it is much cooler than the rest of the Utah parks, so you’ll find comfortable temperatures as you explore Bryce Canyon.
Can you Visit Both Zion and Bryce Canyon One Day?
Technically, yes – the parks are only 72 miles apart. I highly recommend seeing both parks, as they are both magical and truly spectacular in their own ways. However, do yourself a huge favor and set aside at least one full day in both Bryce Canyon and Zion!
This will allow you to fully experience all of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon and Zion, and see what makes them unique. I would even advise spending an extra day in Zion, because this will also allow you to do both of the park’s marquee hikes (Angels Landing and the Narrows).
If you are really strapped for time and you only have one day to see both Bryce Canyon and Zion, I think it’s worth it, even if you’ll be a bit rushed. Both parks are truly spectacular (and in my list of top 5 US national parks), and it is absolutely worth it to see both!
You can even take a guided tour from Las Vegas if you are basing yourself out of there (this will also save you from doing too much driving).
When to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is beautiful year-round, and there really is no bad time to visit the park.
However, summer (May-September) is both the best and most popular time to visit Bryce Canyon. This is because Bryce Canyon sits at higher elevation (8000-9000 feet), and brings cooler temperatures than the rest of the Utah national parks.
We spent our 1 day in Bryce Canyon in Mid-June since we were in the area for the Grand Canyon Half Marathon – while we did see some crowds, the weather was absolutely perfect.
Average daytime temperatures during the summer months hover between 66-83 degrees Fahrenheit (~19-28 degrees Celsius), perfect for hiking and exploring the park.
It does get rather chilly at night, even in the summer, with lows falling into the 40s and even high 30s Fahrenheit (3-8 degrees Celsius), so pack layers and a warm jacket (this one is my favorite because it is super warm, lightweight, and packable!)
Unfortunately, summer is when the park is most crowded and accommodations are the most expensive and harder to secure.
Luckily, there really is no “bad” time to visit Bryce Canyon – the park is spectacular at any time of the year – so if you’d rather save some money and not have to deal with all the crowds, then you can come during the offseason and still experience all the incredible things to do in Bryce Canyon.
Fall is also an ideal time to visit, with average highs ranging between 50-63 degrees Fahrenheit (10-17 degrees Celsius). Spring is a bit chilly, with highs ranging between 46-56 degrees Fahrenheit (7-13 degrees Celsius). You may still encounter snow during these months because of the high elevation; however, you will see far fewer crowds than visiting in the summer.
Visiting Bryce Canyon in Winter
Winter is cold but a magical time to visit Bryce Canyon, as you will find the amphitheater becomes transformed. The snow creates a beautiful contrast to the red rock of the hoodoos, creating some vistas. Highs average between 39-41 degrees Fahrenheit (4-5 degrees Celsius).
Not only does the snow create some stunning scenery through the park, it also creates opportunities for winter recreation. The park offers a snowshoeing program, which rents snowshoes and poles to visitors for free. Another one of the things to do in Bryce Canyon in the winter is cross-country skiing, although skiing into the canyon is not allowed.
Guided full moon snowshoe hikes are also offered. One of the best times to visit the park is during its annual Bryce Canyon Winter Festival, usually held every President’s Day weekend.
Do note that some trails may be closed during the winter, including the Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop. The Rim Trail is also closed between Bryce Point and Inspiration Point. Some roads may be closed as well, including Fairyland Road and Paria View Road, which are intentionally left unplowed to allow for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Check the park website for more information on closures and more.
How to Get to Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is located within a few hours’ drive from many other destinations in Utah and Southern Arizona, making it a perfect stop on a Utah road trip or Southwest road trip. It is also one of several National Parks near Las Vegas, which is also where the closest major international airport is located.
Driving distances below:
- From Zion National Park: 72 miles (~1 hour, 20 minutes)
- From Kanab, UT: 76.5 miles (~1 hour, 25 minutes)
- From Capitol Reef National Park: 111 miles (~2 hours, 10 minutes)
- From St. George, UT: 141 miles (~1 hour, 40 minutes)
- From Page, AZ: 150 miles (~2 hours, 40 minutes)
- From Grand Canyon North Rim: 157 miles (~3 hours)
- From Las Vegas: 260 miles (~4 hours)
- From Salt Lake City: 260 miles (~4 hours)
- From Arches National Park: 244 miles (~4 hours, 10 minutes)
- From Moab, UT: 248 miles (~4 hours, 15 minutes)
- From Canyonlands National Park: 256 miles (~4 hours, 20 minutes)
- From Grand Canyon South Rim: 370 miles, (~6 hours, 15 minutes)
The nearest airport to Zion National Park is in St. George (SGU), about 155 miles away (~2 ½ hours).
However, it is a smaller, regional airport and direct flights are limited. American Airlines, Delta, and United serve SGU through its regional hubs Phoenix and Dallas (American), Salt Lake City (Delta), Los Angeles and Denver (United). If you wish to fly into SGU, you must connect through one of these airports.
The nearest major international airports are McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (266 miles) and Salt Lake City International Airport (272 miles), both located about 4 hours away. From here, you can connect to many domestic and international destinations.
From either of these airports, you can pick up your rental car (a necessity when visiting Bryce Canyon) – I highly recommend booking a car ahead of time on rentalcars.com.
Bryce Canyon Day Trip Tours
While driving yourself will offer the greatest amount of flexibility during your day trip to Bryce Canyon, if you do not wish so or do not have a car, there are numerous guided day tours available, mostly departing from Las Vegas.
Here are some of the most highly rated 1 day in Bryce Canyon tours, that will introduce you to some of the top highlights in Bryce Canyon:
- Bryce Canyon 3-Hour Sightseeing Tour: This short but sweet tour takes you to see some of the highlights of Bryce Canyon. It includes a short hike at Fairyland Point and Inspiration Point, while introducing you to some of the most iconic sights inside the park, such as Thor’s Hammer, Natural Bridge, the Great Serpent, Queen Victoria, and more.
- Bryce Canyon and Zion Small Group Tour: Explore both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, in an intimate group setting. You will spend the morning in Zion, and then head into Bryce Canyon after lunch, where you will stop at the park’s best viewpoints, and then have a few hours to explore on your own.
- Bryce Canyon Hiking Experience: This tour takes you on a five hour hiking experience, taking you to some stunning viewpoints around the park, with lessons on geology, history, and culture behind the park and the Native Americans who once occupied it. (note: this tour departs from the Bryce Canyon Resort)
How to Get Around During Your One Day in Bryce Canyon
Getting around by car will give you the most flexibility during your Bryce Canyon day trip. I recommend renting a car from rentalcars.com.
Navigating around the park is relatively straightforward. Utah State Route 12 crosses the park east-west, and serves as the entry point into the park. From here, you can turn onto Utah State Route 63, where most of the best sights in Bryce Canyon are located and also serves as the park’s scenic drive.
Do note that during the peak tourist months, there may be many more cars than parking spaces available. My best advice is to beat the rush by entering the park as early as possible (this means you will encounter far fewer crowds on the trails as well)!
The Bryce Canyon Shuttle System
In order to combat this problem, Bryce Canyon has implemented a free shuttle system that serves the main points of interest within the park. While use of the shuttle system isn’t mandatory (unlike in Zion), it might be a much easier way to get around during the park’s busiest months.
Park officials recommend that visitors park at the shuttle station located at the interaction of the entrance road and Highway 12, or at the visitor center. The shuttle then makes stops at the top sights and trailheads for many hikes, such as Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunrise Point, and Sunset Point, as well as other points of interest within the park (and a few hotels outside of the park).
The shuttle system is in service from mid-April until mid-October. Shuttles run every 15 minutes, from 8am-8pm in the summer, and until 6pm in the spring and fall. You can check the shuttle tracker to see when the next one is arriving.
To ride the shuttle, you’ll either need a park admission receipt or the America the Beautiful parks pass.
Bryce Canyon Packing List
It is important to be prepared for all situations when planning your Bryce Canyon day trip! The desert climate can be harsh and forgiving, so having all the right gear is important.
Be sure to add the following items to your packing list for your day trip to Bryce Canyon:
- A jacket: The temperatures can drop quickly thanks to the elevation, so be sure to dress and layers and pack a jacket. A packable windbreaker or fleece zip-up is ideal for the warmer months, and a packable puffer is great for cooler weather (and can be worn as a layer underneath a thick winter coat when the temperatures approach freezing).
- Base Layers/Thermals: For visiting in cooler months. These are the ones I pack on cold weather trips.
- Hiking shoes: I recommend having sturdy hiking shoes when doing the hikes in the park. I have the Columbia Newton Ridge hiking boots and love them because they have good grip, are comfortable, and affordable!
- Day Pack: For holding all your gear, snacks, camera equipment, and more. You can also get a hydration pack to hold your essentials and for easy access to your water (super convenient since it can get hot).
- Water: And speaking of water…carry plenty of it during your 1 day in Bryce Canyon! You want to have more water than you think is necessary, especially in the summer months! I carry this water bottle with me everywhere I go, and I love it for hiking because it’s insulated and the water stays cold. It also comes in a variety of sizes to suit your needs. You can also carry a hydration pack (I use this one from Nathan for running, but I’d bring it on hikes as well).
- Flashlight or Lantern: Especially if you plan to hike around sunset – you don’t want to be caught in complete darkness! My friend Christina brought along this handy collapsible lantern on our trip to Zion, and I loved it so much that I had to get one for myself.
- Camera: The park is so beautiful that you’ll snap tons and tons of photos! A phone camera will do, but consider bringing a dSLR for upgraded images. The Sony a6000 is my favorite travel camera!
- Battery Pack: I never travel anywhere or hike without this one. It can charge up to five times on one full charge!
- First Aid Kit: Be prepared, just in case! This one is compact but has all the essentials.
- Sunscreen: The sun can be brutal, especially during the summer! This is my favorite. I also love this face sunscreen, and carry this for touch ups.
- Sunglasses: It can get BRIGHT! Grab a polarized pair – I love the ones from Goodr, as they’re also cute and affordable!
- Hat: The sun can get super harsh, so I highly recommend having a hat. A straw hat like this one not only keeps the sun out of your eyes, but also looks cute in photos (this one is another favorite for photos!), but a standard baseball cap will also do.
- Compass: Cell reception is spotty in the park so you may not be able to rely on GPS to get around – having a compass is a good idea to help you navigate.
- Snacks: I always have some protein bars on hand to fuel me up on a hike. These Think bars are my favorite! Also do note that the food options in the park are limited and tend to be mediocre and expensive, so consider packing something to eat for lunch.
How to See Bryce Canyon in One Day: The Perfect Itinerary
Stop at the Visitors Center
Before beginning a visit to any National Park, I like to stop by the visitors center. This allows you to pick up a park map, ask about trail conditions, take a bathroom break, and even pick up some fun gifts and souvenirs.
Sunset Point is one of the most stunning viewpoints in the park. As the name “Sunset Point” implies, it is a fantastic place to view the sunset – however, it is breathtaking at any time of the day (I’ve heard that it is equally beautiful for sunrise as well).
We started our morning at Sunset Point with the intention that we would continue on to do the Queens Garden/Navajo Loop combination hike. If you wish, you can continue to the rest of this one day in Bryce Canyon itinerary, and return to Sunset Point at the end of your day to view the sunset (expect crowds though).
Sunset Point is one of the most famous viewpoints in Bryce Canyon, and arguably the best in the park. This is because the color of the hoodoos here is at its most vibrant – you can really see the layers of red, orange, and yellow from here.
In addition, this vista features some of the most iconic rock formations in the park, including Silent City and Thor’s Hammer, which stands strikingly apart from all of the other hoodoos in the amphitheater.
After taking in the view from Sunset Point, continue north on to Sunrise Point. You will hike along the Rim Trail for about 0.4 miles and flat, with awesome views throughout.
As the name implies, Sunrise Point is an ideal place to watch the sunrise (like Sunset Point is a great place to watch the sunset), but it is still gorgeous at any time of the day.
The view from Sunrise Point is somewhat similar to the one at Sunset Point, but this one allows you to really see the diverse landscapes that Bryce Canyon has to offer – you can see the greenery growing through some of the rocks. Also look for the Limber Pine, a lone pine tree with exposed roots caused by erosion of the rim.
Also look for the tilted rocks of the Sinking Ship and Boat Mesa, which rises 8073 feet above the hoodoos of Fairyland Canyon.
Sunrise Point also serves as the trailhead for the Queens Garden hike, which will be our next stop on this Bryce Canyon 1 day itinerary.
Queens Garden + Navajo Loop
The combination Queens Garden and Navajo Loop hike is by far one of the best and most popular things to do in Bryce Canyon because it introduces you to all of the best and iconic sights within the park.
While you can choose to hike just one of the trails (if you do this, I’d recommend doing Navajo Loop over Queens Garden), I recommend doing the combination loop because it serves as the perfect “best of Bryce Canyon in one day” sort of hike.
Starting the Queens Garden + Navajo Loop hike from Sunrise Point will put you into doing the clockwise direction. You can also choose to do the hike in a counterclockwise direction (starting from Sunset Point and descending into Wall Street and coming back up Queens Garden), but it is not as scenic (additionally, the Bryce Canyon staff recommends going clockwise because it is safer).
From Sunrise Point, you will descend 320 feet into the amphitheater, being surrounded by hoodoos throughout. This portion of the loop is one of the easiest hikes in Bryce Canyon.
What I loved about this part of the hike (aside from the fact that it was all downhill) was being surrounded by hoodoos and being able to see them up close. It is absolutely gorgeous throughout, and we kept stopping every 30 seconds to snap photos, saying “ok no more photos,” only to keep going to find an even more beautiful view than the last.
At the bottom of the trail, Queen Victoria rock formation, overlooking her “garden”. If you wish to get up close and personal to Queen Victoria, there is also a short side trail that leads to its base. You will come to a four-way intersection; you can choose to go back up on the Queens Garden trail (which is only a 98 foot ascent), but I highly recommend continuing onto the Navajo Trail.
At the intersection, you can choose from two variations to the Navajo Trail portion of the hike – coming up from Wall Street or Two Bridges. I highly recommend doing the ascent through Wall Street; however, do note that the Wall Street portion of the hike is closed during the winter due to snow.
Here’s where the hike gets challenging – remember that easy descent to the canyon on the Queens Garden trail? Well, what comes up must come down.
Taking Wall Street up from the canyon floor is one of the most unique things to do in Bryce Canyon because it takes you through the only slot canyon in the park. However, the switchbacks here are absolutely brutal – it definitely brought back memories of the unforgiving Walter’s Wiggles switchbacks at Angels Landing in Zion.
The climb is always worth it though – the Wall Street portion of the hike is absolutely beautiful. You will feel small in nature as you walk through the passages in between towering hoodoos. The towering rocks and orange color is reminiscent of what I think Petra would look like.
It is a 580 feet climb and you will be huffing and puffing your way through it, but it is such a unique experience.
You will also get to see the towering Thor’s Hammer, one of the most iconic rock formations in Bryce Canyon, standing strikingly apart from all the other hoodoos. There is also an amazing overlook as you come out of the canyon, just below Sunset Point.
The combined Queens Garden and Navajo Loop hike is 2.9 miles and takes about 2.5 hours to complete. I would rate it to be medium difficulty. It is absolutely a highlight of any Bryce Canyon 1 day itinerary!
Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive
After completing the Queens Garden and Navajo Loop hike, head back to Sunrise Point (assuming this is where you parked). If you’re feeling hungry, this is also a good time to take a lunch or snack break, because food is available at the nearby Bryce Canyon Lodge.
Afterwards, continue onto the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive (Highway 63). We headed out to the furthest point on the drive (Rainbow Point), and made our way back towards the entrance. If you prefer, you can do the drive in reverse.
The Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive spans 18 miles (32 miles round trip) and takes about two hours to complete, if stopping off at all the viewpoints. If you are pressed for time on your 1 day in Bryce Canyon itinerary, you can move onto Bryce Point; however, I do recommend doing the scenic drive if you can because it allows you to see the diversity of landscapes at different elevations in the park.
Rainbow Canyon + Yovimpa Point
At 9,115 feet in elevation, Rainbow Canyon is the highest point in the park.
From here, you can see much of Bryce Canyon and many of its hoodoo filled amphitheaters in the north. You can also see the Pink Cliffs, from which the hoodoos have been sculpted, as well as part of the Grand Staircase.
Be sure to also check out the view from Yovimpa Point, located just a short walk from the parking lot. From here, you will get to see the layers of rock that make up the Grand Staircase – the Pink Cliffs, which you are standing on; the Grey Cliffs directly below; the White Cliffs, and Molly’s Nipple; the red rocks underneath the white rock that make up the Vermillion Cliffs; and the hidden Chocolate Cliffs.
If you look off into the horizon, you can even see the tree-covered hills of the Kaibab Plateau, aka the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Not only will you get a better appreciation of the landscape and geology of the areas surrounding Bryce Canyon, you will also see the diversity of plant species and wildlife from Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point, making them one of the most interesting stops when seeing Bryce Canyon in a day.
The view at Agua Canyon features two prominent hoodoos – the taller of the two is known as “The Hunter,” with “Rabbit” (or alternatively “The Backpacker”) standing to its right. Off to the distance is the Navajo Mountains.
Natural Bridge is one of several natural arches that stand inside Bryce Canyon National Park, and one of its most fascinating viewpoints. The arch, which is a result of erosion by streams or rivers, is formed in one of the reddest forms of rock in the park and is rich in iron oxide minerals.
There is a striking contrast of red rock with the green forests that stand in the background – it’s definitely a beautiful photo op and a must-see on your Bryce Canyon day trip.
Fairview Point showcases the kind of clear view that is possible thanks to the extremely high air quality at Bryce Canyon. From here, you will get a spectacular view of the landmarks that make up the Grand Staircase, including the Pink Cliffs, Grey Cliffs, White Cliffs and Molly’s Nipple, and even parts of the Kaibab Plateau.
On most days, you can see the Navajo Mountain, located 90 miles away; on a super clear day, you can even see the Black Mountain, located over 160 miles away!
Fairview Point is also the transitional point between the Ponderosa forest and the Spruce-Fir forest, so you can see the changing plant and animal landscapes here.
Lush vegetation can be seen from the view at Swamp Canyon, created by two tiny creeks and a stream that lie below the rim. The view here is super green, and its small size provides an intimate look at the hoodoos.
If you wish to explore the canyon further, there is a 4.3 mile loop trail that combines the Under the Rim trail and Swamp Canyon Sheep Trail.
As you drive back towards the visitors center and park entrance, look for the turnoff towards Bryce Point and Inspiration Point, the final stops on this day trip to Bryce Canyon itinerary. These are two of the most stunning viewpoints in the park.
From Bryce Point, you get some of the most spectacular vistas of the entire amphitheater, making it one of the most beautiful things to do in the park. You’ll get a sweeping view of the amphitheater, with a birds’ eye view of the hoodoos, because Bryce Points sits at 8300 feet in elevation.
It is said to be especially beautiful at sunrise, in part because of the position of Bryce Point compared to the park’s other viewpoints, but the view really is incredible no matter what time of the day!
Inspiration Point may have been my favorite viewpoint on my one day in Bryce Canyon itinerary. Because it sits just down the road from Bryce Point, it offers a similar view, but because you are 200 feet lower in elevation, it seems like you’re much closer to the hoodoos.
Inspiration Point is one of the best viewpoints in Bryce Canyon because you get not only one, but three different views of the Bryce Amphitheater. There are three different viewpoints here, each of which give you a unique perspective of the thousands of hoodoos contained within the canyon.
You can also gain an insight into the erosion of the Clarion Formation, which resulted in the creation of the hoodoos. From here, you can observe the two types of rock that make up the formation and its contrast of colors: the “Pink Member,” limestone that contains sand, sill, and iron, giving it its orange color; and the upper “White Member,” the pure, whitish limestone. Few places in the park have hoodoos made out of the White Member, but you can see some at Inspiration Point.
As with Bryce Point, it is said that dawn is the best time to enjoy the view at Inspiration Point, but really, it is gorgeous at any time of the day! We visited in the late afternoon, and it did not disappoint. You’ll definitely want to spend some time enjoying the view from all three platforms, and taking in all of the spectacular beauty of the Bryce Amphitheater!
Other Ways to See Bryce Canyon in One Day
It is recommended that you arrive in the park as early as possible for your one day in Bryce Canyon itinerary, especially if visiting during the peak summer months. It will save you a lot of headache trying to battle the crowds and trying to find parking.
We arrived in the park around 8:30 am. This itinerary is planned around doing the Queens Garden/Navajo Loop hike, in the clockwise direction. This was intended so that we got the hiking out of the way before it started getting warm (and crowded).
Depending on what time you arrive in the park, you can adjust the order of these things to do in Bryce Canyon accordingly.
If you wish to see the sunrise (which is said to be absolutely incredible) at Sunrise Point, going to Sunset Point, then doing the Queens Garden/Navajo Loop in the counterclockwise direction.
Sunset Point is also said to be magical for watching the sunset – if you wish to catch the sunset there, I would recommend doing the Bryce Canyon scenic drive and the viewpoints first, hiking Queens Garden/Navajo Loop in the clockwise direction, going to Sunrise Point, then ending up at Sunset Point for sunset.
Other Things to Do in Bryce Canyon
If you are looking for more things to do in Bryce Canyon in one day, or find yourself with more time, consider checking out the following as well:
Fairyland Point and Fairyland Loop
Fairyland Point, located about one mile north of the visitor’s center, is a unique viewpoint because it allows you to become eye-to-eye with the hoodoos.
The hoodoos at Fairyland Point are younger than the ones contained within the Bryce Amphitheater, and will be more developed as the erosional process continues. To the south, you can also hike through Campbell Point, sort of a “hoodoo graveyard.” The hoodoos here have eroded away so much that what remains are multicolored mounds, which look sort of like tombstones.
You may also consider hiking the Fairyland Loop trail, which takes you along the rim and into the canyon with spectacular scenery throughout. There is also a spur trail that leads you to Tower Bridge. You will also hike a portion of the Rim Trail.
The hike is 8-miles in length and rated strenuous due to its length, meandering trails, and elevation change (2300 feet).
If you’d like to see all of the park’s main viewpoints (Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point) on foot, consider hiking the Rim Trail on your Bryce Canyon day trip
The Rim Trail is one of the most unique hikes in Bryce Canyon because it allows you to observe the entire amphitheater and its hoodoos from above by hiking along its rim. It offers some unique vantage points of the Bryce Amphitheater.
While the hike is long (5.5 miles one way, or 11 miles round trip), it is relatively flat and easy. This is at the top of my list of things to do in Bryce Canyon on a return visit!
You can start the Rim Trail at either Fairyland Point or Bryce Point.
If you are looking for a challenging hike, consider adding the Peek-a-Boo trail. You can either connect to the trail via the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop trail, or from Bryce Point.
The hike is 5.5 miles and takes you down to the canyon floor. It is a beautiful hike, with stunning views of the hoodoos both near and far. In addition, you will pass through some wooded areas, which makes the Peek-a-Boo trail one of the most unique hikes in the park.
If you do attempt the Peek-a-Boo trail, be prepared with plenty of water and snacks. The trail is rated strenuous because of the rapid elevation changes (the total elevation gain is 1555 feet) and length.
Under the Rim Trail
If you have more than one day in Bryce Canyon and want to go into the backcountry, consider hiking the Under the Rim trail. This is one of the most unique trails in Bryce Canyon, because it allows you to see what lies below the rim between Bryce Point and Rainbow Point.
The entire span of the Under the Rim trail is 21.7 miles in length, and takes several days to complete. You will need to secure a backcountry permit to complete the entire trail, but if you are trying to see Bryce Canyon in a day, you also have the opportunity to hike just a portion of it.
One of the most popular sections of the Under the Rim trail is the Hat Shop trail, where you will encounter tons of mushroom-shaped hoodoos. It is a short 2-mile section of the trail, which you can access from Bryce Point. However, it is super steep, and getting back up will be a challenge.
Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon
If you are looking for a place to stay after your day trip to Bryce Canyon, you have many options, from camping, hotel accommodations, and Airbnb rentals.
Here are some recommended places to stay after your 1 day in Bryce Canyon:
Accommodations Inside Bryce Canyon National Park
You have a few options for accommodations within the park itself. This will give you the maximum amount of convenience and flexibility. However, because spots are limited, they tend to book up fast – advanced planning is necessary!
- The Lodge at Bryce Canyon: This is the only lodging available inside the park, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are 70 motel-style rooms, 40 cabins, three suites, and one studio available. There is a general store here, as well as a dining room. Do note that the main lodge building and main restaurant are closed in the winter months.
- Camping at Bryce Canyon National Park: There are two main campgrounds within Bryce Canyon National Park. The Sunset Campground has 100 individual campsites and 30 group sites and is open April 15-October 31. Reservations must be made during peak season (May 20-October 15). The North Campground has 99 campsites and is available on a first-come, first-come basis. Campsites located in Loop A are open year-round, while the rest close during the winter.
Hotels Near Bryce Canyon National Park
The nearest town to Bryce Canyon National Park is Bryce Canyon City, about 2.5 miles outside the entrance of the park. Here, you will find a variety of accommodation options, suiting your taste and budget. Other nearby towns include Tropic (10 miles), Cannonville (12 miles), Panguitch (23 miles), Escalante (49 miles), and Kanab (76 miles – convenient if you are also visiting Zion).
Some recommended hotel options below:
- Bryce Canyon Resort ($): The recently-renovated rooms here are basic but comfortable, with a Western style. You can choose from standard guest rooms or a six-person cabin, and all rooms have all the essentials. The Bryce Canyon Resort is located only two miles from the park entrance (an eight minute drive), also making it a convenient choice.
- Ruby’s Inn ($$): The oldest accommodations in the area (Ruby’s has been around since 1916), and the next best thing if you can’t secure accommodations within the park – Ruby’s is located just a mile outside the park entrance, and can be accessed via shuttle. You will find comfortable rooms (both regular and luxury rooms), as well as RV and tent campgrounds, a pool, and on-site restaurant. It has a homey, Western feel.
- Bryce Canyon Grand ($$$): The newest and most luxurious accommodations in the area. The property offers a variety of room options, but all include high-speed internet, TV, toiletries, private bathrooms, as well as a highly-rated complimentary breakfast. Also included on the property is a pool and whirlpool, a business center, and laundry facilities.
Have you ever been to Bryce Canyon? What are some of your favorite things to do in Bryce Canyon in one day?
You might also like:
Epic Hikes in Zion National Park
The Ultimate Guide to the Grand Canyon North Rim
The Perfect One Day in Joshua Tree Itinerary
The Ultimate Guide to Yosemite in the Fall
The Perfect 2 Days in Olympic National Park
50+ Unique Gifts for National Parks Lovers
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Monday 9th of November 2020
I love everything about this! There is so much to do in one day at Bryce!
Nichole the Nomad
Sunday 8th of November 2020
This is such an amazing guide! I visited Bryce Canyon last year and fell IN LOVE! I think my favorite part was watching the sunset at Inspiration Point. Also, I totally agree about allocating at least a day in Bryce Canyon and Zion. There is so much to see!
Saturday 7th of November 2020
I love love love Bryce Canyon. Seriously the most underrated park. It's been almost 2 decades since I went though. Hoping to go ago next summer
Saturday 7th of November 2020
This is a great guide and very thorough. I would love to visit someday.
Saturday 7th of November 2020
Great guide! I would love to see both Bryce and Zion too! Love your trail recs and hotel recs!