Do you have only half day or a day to spend in Bryce Canyon?
No worry, it’s enough for visiting its unique landscape from the different overlooks and also hiking through the canyon surrounded by its bizarre rock formations. The most visited and spectacular part of the park is the one 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.
Bryce canyon – Inspiration point
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 amazing views from there, alternatively, some beautiful hiking trails starts from these overlooks lining the rim or descending into the canyon passing through its incredibile and bizarre hoodoos, the tall and thin spires of rock that stretches out from the arid soil.
In our opinion this Park is one of the most wonderful of the West US and with no doubt it’s worth doing an hiking trail through the canyon surrounded by its stunning red, orange, and white columns or pinnacles of weathered limestone rock formations.
We suggest you 4 easy trails in the Amphitheater area to discover Bryce Canyon National Park by walk, in a short time and without too much effort.
This is the most popular trail and combines two trails (Queen’s Garden and Navajo loop) to form a 4.6 km / 2.9 miles loop and with no doubt it’s the one not to be missed if you want to explore the Amphitheater area. Since 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 just 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 accross the spectacular ‘’wall street’’, a narrow canyon with high cliffs until you reach Sunset point.
Lenght 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 strenous. It takes around 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.
It’s considered the least difficult trail descending into the Bryce Amphitheater passing through spectacular hoodoo formations and…using your imagination you may be able to see Queen Victoria at the end of a short spur trail, overseeing the garden before her.
Lenght 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 trail.
It is the shortest and fastest among the paths that descend to the bottom of the Amphitheater area, in the middle of its the 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’’.
Lenght 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. All the path si quite flat and the easiest is the paved trail between Sunset and Sunrise point (800 meters, 10 minutes walk) and 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.
These are the most basic and popular paths of Bryce, wide and well marked, kept magnificently in order by the park rangers. In dry weather conditions, you can use normal sneakers although, to avoid slips, we suggest to wear lightweight hiking shoes.
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, trampling on a rattlesnake (rare but might happen) wouldn’t be a great idea.
We reach Bryce Canyon at 8 am from Panguitch and 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 wonderful hoodoos until we reach Sunset point after 3 hours walk around 12.30 pm. We decide to have a bit of relax so we take the shuttle bus and we 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 at the Visitor center and by car, we go straight to the southern part of the Park until Rainbow point and Yovima point stopping by every now and then to see the others 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 center ready to leave the park heading to Kanab (1.30 hour drive).