Do you have only half a day or a day to spend in Bryce Canyon?
No worry! Even half a day is enough for visiting its unique landscape from the different overlooks and also hiking through the Bryce canyon surrounded by the marvellous bizarre rock formations.
The most visited and spectacular part of the park is known as “Bryce Amphitheater“, where you can also make the most beautiful hiking trails. Before reading this article, check out our post ”what you should know” about Bryce Canyon.
In this area that cover the first 3 miles of the Park, reachable by car but also served by a free shuttle bus, you’ll find the 4 most iconic and popular overlooks of Bryce Canyon: Bryce point (bus stop 3), Inspiration point (bus stop 4), Sunset point (bus stop 6) and Sunrise point (bus stop 8).
If you don’t want to walk, you can enjoy the fantastic views from there; alternatively, some beautiful hiking trails start from these overlooks lining the rim or descending into the canyon, passing through its incredible and bizarre hoodoos, the tall and thin spires of rock that stretches out from the dry soil.
In our opinion, this Park is one of the most wonderful of the West US and with no doubt, it’s worth exploring a hiking trail through the canyon surrounded by its stunning red, orange, and white columns or pinnacles of weathered limestone rock formations.
We suggest 4 easy trails in the “Amphitheater area” to discover Bryce Canyon National Park on foot, in a short time and without too much effort.
1 Queen’s / Navajo Combination Loop
It is the most popular and combines two trails (Queen’s Garden and Navajo loop) to form a 4.6 km / 2.9 miles loop, and without a doubt, it’s the one not to be missed if you want to explore the Amphitheater area. Since the clockwise direction is recommended, you can start from Sunrise Point (bus stop 8) descending into the canyon walking through the Queen’s garden trail and ascending along the Navajo Loop till to Sunset point (from here, walk 10 minutes on a flat paved path to reach Sunrise point). When you join the path of the Navajo loop, proceed on your left across the spectacular ‘’wall street’’, a narrow canyon with high cliffs until you reach Sunset point.
Length and elevation: 4.6 km / 2.9 miles, 183 meters. It’s a relatively easy hike; only the ascent along the Navajo loop is a bit strenuous. It takes about 3 hours to complete the loop.
Characteristic: you’ll see some of the most curious hoodoos of the entire Park like Silent City, Fairy Castle, and the magnificent Queen’s Garden until you’ll cross the narrow and spectacular canyon known as Wall Street.
2 Queen’s Garden trail
The path is considered the least difficult, and it descends into the Bryce Amphitheater, passing through spectacular hoodoo formations. Using your imagination, you may be able to see Queen Victoria at the end of a short spur trail, overseeing the garden before “her”.
Length and elevation: 2.9 km / 1.9 miles, 109 meters. It’s not a loop but a round trip, so you can retrace when you want. It takes around 2 hours to complete the path.
It is the shortest and fastest among the paths that descend to the bottom of the Amphitheater area, in the middle of its spectacular rock formations. Starting from Sunset point (bus stop 6 ), it descends into the canyon passing through the beautiful rock formations of Thor’s Hammer, Two Bridges and it ascends passing through the spectacular narrow canyon called “Wall Street”.
Length and elevation: 2.2km / 1.3 miles, 168 meters. It’s steep but easy, and it takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete the loop.
4 Rim trails
It’s possible to walk the rim of the scenic Bryce Amphitheater from Bryce Point to Fairyland Point and view the hoodoos from above. The path is quite flat, and the easiest is the paved trail between Sunset and Sunrise point (800 meters, 10 minutes walk – it’s also fully wheelchair accessible).
– Bryce point to Inspiration point: 2.4 km/ 1.5 miles, elevation from 2529 to 2469;
– Inspiration point to Sunset point: 1.2 km / 0.7 miles, elevation from 2469 to 2438;
– Sunset point to Sunrise point: 800 meters / 0.5 miles, elevation from 2438 to 2444;
– Sunrise point to fairyland point: 4 km / 2.5 miles, elevation from 2444 to 2365.
Need to Know about Bryce Canyon
|About the paths
These paths are the most basic and popular of Bryce, wide and well-marked, kept magnificently in order by the Park Rangers. You can use normal sneakers in dry weather conditions, although we suggest wearing lightweight hiking shoes to avoid slips.
Warnings: apparently very few. Both paths are wide, never exposed and very well marked. As on any path in the Southwest of the United States, when you walk, always look carefully where you put your feet as trampling on a rattlesnake (rare but might happen) wouldn’t be a great idea.
We reach Bryce Canyon at 8 am from Panguitch. After leaving the car at the Visitor Center and got the map, we take the free shuttle bus visiting Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point and from here, walking only 10 minutes along a paved path lining the rim, we arrived at Sunrise Point. Here, around 9.30 am, we start the Queen’s Garden /Navajo combination loop through its incredible hoodoos until we reach Sunset Point after 3 hours hike around 12.30 pm. We decide to have a bit of relaxation, so we take the shuttle bus and get off at Sunrise Point where we buy some sandwiches and drinks at the store, and we rest in the facing area. Around 2 pm, we catch the shuttle bus going back to the Visitor Center, and by car, we go straight to the southern part of the Park until Rainbow point and Yovima point, stopping by now and then to see the other overlooks. We have to admit that this side of the park is nothing special compared with the ‘’Amphitheater’’. At 4.30 pm, we are again at the Visitor Centre, ready to leave the park heading to Kanab (a 1.30-hour drive).