Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is a fantastic area full of fascinating geological structures. It is famous for its stunning red, orange, and white Columns or Pinnacles of weathered limestone rock formations called Hoodoo. The Park offers short-medium and strenuous hikes for nature lovers and scenic overlooks for photography enthusiasts.
– Bryce Canyon plateau rim is lined by a 30 km /18 miles (one-way) paved road that starts from the entrance gate and ends up at Rainbow & Yovimpa Point, the southernmost point of the Park.
– The best way to save money is to buy the ” Annual pass ”, a card which allows you to visit all the parks managed by the NPS. It costs 80$ x vehicle and lasts 1 year. If you are visiting Bryce Canyon only, the fee is 35$ x vehicle.
– 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.
– Bryce Canyon can be easily explored by car, and each viewpoint has its parking lot as well as the Visitors Center located at the entrance of the Park. Since the parking lots are not that big, during the summer season (above all August) could be a bit difficult to find a space. An additional car park is close to the Visitor Center. You can also leave the car in Bryce Canyon City, the town next to the entrance gate and take the free shuttle bus near the Ruby’s Inn Hotel and the Ruby’s Campground.
– The free shuttle bus starts from Visitors centre (stop n. 1 and 9) and connects the viewpoints of the so-called ‘’Amphitheater area’’. When the park is crowded, it’s worth leaving the car next to the Visitor Centre and take the shuttle. It operates between the end of April to October and runs every 10-15 minutes. It is a one-way loop with 15 stops. The stops from 1 to 9 are the ones around the Amphitheater area, from 10 to 15 the ones outside the Park around Bryce Canyon city hotels.
– Shuttle bus map:
– If you decide to visit the other overlooks on the southern side of the park till the end of the road (last overlooks are Rainbow point and Yovimpa point), you have to self-drive. Along the road, you’ll find small parking lots close to the viewpoints. This side of the park is less spectacular than the Amphitheater, so if you don’t have time or you want to enjoy several hiking trails, skip it (completing the trip takes more than 1 hours). Alternatively, twice a day – 9 am and 1.30 pm, the park offers a free bus guided tour (called rainbow bus tour) along the scenic drive and the southern viewpoints. The tour lasts around 3 hours, and in the peak season, it’s better to book in advance.
– Over 100 km / 65 miles of hiking trails offer an amazing view throughout the stunning and colourful pinnacles of the park. Trails start from the overlooks along the main road. You’ll find easy, moderate and strenuous hikes with different length and duration.
– If you like horse riding, some trails can be made with a horse guided tour. Ask at the Visitor Center or Bryce Canyon Lodge.
– It’s possible to sleep inside the Park at Bryce Canyon Lodge or in 2 campgrounds (North and Sunset), located close to the Visitor Centre. Reservations are highly recommended during the peak season. Backcountry camping is permitted only in the designated campsite, and a backcountry permit must be obtained at the Visitor Center before any overnight trips.
– Near Sunrise point parking area there is a store selling food and supplies (shuttle stop nr. 8).
– Pets are only allowed on paved areas, including park viewpoints, the Rim Trail between Sunset and Sunrise point as well as park campgrounds. They are not permitted on hiking trails.
– Drones are restricted in all National Parks, including Bryce Canyon.
– The best season for visiting the Park is from April to October when days are pleasant. Summer monsoons thunderstorms are frequent between July and September. During the winter season, it’s freezing, and the snow often covers the park due to the high elevation (2400 meters to 2700 meters), but most overlooks are open. August is the most crowd month.
– The closest towns where to find accommodations out of the park are Bryce Canyon City (only 1 km from the entrance gate and served by the free shuttle bus), Tropic (11 km) or Panguitch (40 km). We slept in Panguitch at Purple Sage Motel. Close to the Bryce Canyon city hotels there is a big space where you can park the car and 3 stops of the free shuttle bus.
– Bryce Canyon lies in Utah, 400 km from Las Vegas, 140 km from Zion NP, 250 km from Page/Lake Powell, 460 km from Grand Canyon, 440 km from Arches NP/Moab.