Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is one amazing sight to see!

Despite its name, it’s actually not a canyon, but instead, a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctively known for its geological structures known as hoodoos, formed by weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The towering red, orange, and white colors of the sandstone rocks provide spectacular views unlike anywhere else.

Bryce Canyon National Park is much smaller and sits at a much higher elevation than the nearby Zion National Park. It also receives substantially fewer visitors every year. But let me tell you – it’s one of the most underrated national parks!

Location, Location, Location

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in Southern Utah near the city of Bryce (go figure), and is easily reached by car or plane from Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, St. George, neighboring Zion National Park, or anywhere in the world, really. To see how far it is from you, click here!

Bryce Canyon National Park

Pit Stops on your way to Bryce

There’s a lot of random and fun things to see on your way to the park as well. If you’re a weirdo like me, may I recommend making a pitstop at Bear Valley RV, or accidentally inappropriately hugging a ginormous Smokey the Bear at the park entrance?

You’re welcome.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah’s Scenic Highway, Hwy 12, provides access to the Bryce Canyon Area, as it cuts across the northern part of the national park. Hwy 63 drops south from Hwy 12 and runs through the main part of the park, past the visitor center, the campgrounds and all of the park’s scenic overlooks.

Bonus points if you notice the 3 Smokey The Bears in the next photo. He happened to be out and about that day, giving out high-fives during Corona. What a rebel.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

You may recognize this Insta-famous arch over the roadway! You’ll see it on your drive into Bryce Canyon.

Word of warning: there’s a blind curve and quite a bit of traffic. You’ll have to play frogger to get that shot! If you don’t die, it’s totally worth it.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Now to the hiking part. That’s why we’re all here, right?

Navajo Loop to Queens Garden

If you only do one hike at Bryce Canyon, this should be it.

Why?

Because you get views of the ENTIRE park!

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

Start here

Sunset Point is the starting and ending point for this hike. You can easily find Sunset Point on the map the park will give you.

Park in the parking lot at Sunset Point. When you step out to the overlook, be prepared to be amazed!

Hike north (left) along the canyon rim until you reach Sunrise Point. From there follow the Queens Garden Trail to a 4-way intersection down at the bottom of the canyon. Continue straight ahead into the Wall Street half of the Navajo Loop, which will return you back up to Sunset Point.

sunset point bryce
Bryce Canyon National Park

The entire hike is full of towering and unique sandstone formations. You could literally spend all day on this trail just exploring and taking photos!

…much like I did.

Naturally.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

Like all Southern Utah hikes, be mindful that you’re hiking in the desert. That means we don’t grow much, which in turn means we have zero shade.

(I realize that the “we don’t grow much” sounded like most of us folks in Utah are vertically challenged. I don’t believe that to be true, but what do I know)

This particular trip was in August and it just so happened to be a decent day where the heat wasn’t horrible, but it can get very very hot!

Tips to avoiding/surviving the heat:

Hike early in the morning or later at night, or even better – pick a time of year with cooler temperatures, and always bring lots of water! 

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

Navajo Loop to Queens Garden at Bryce Canyon National Park is a 2.9-mile loop from Sunset Point back up to Sunset Point.

We opted to take the longer route (when I say opted, I mean we accidently) through to Wall Street trail. This version of the hike is 3.2 miles with an elevation gain of 643 ft.

I’m glad we took this route because the views are epic and it’s not much further than the original trail plan!

Bryce Canyon National Park

The cool thing about National Parks is that the little critters are super human-friendly. Bryce Canyon is no different. The animals are used to tourists feeding them, so they’ll come right up to you with zero fear.

Nothin’ like domesticated rabid animals to make Jessi happy.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

One notable thing about this hike to be mindful of: there are switchbacks at both the beginning and end of the hike. The beginning switchbacks are relatively easy because it’s all downhill. But we all know that “what goes up must come down” and the reverse happens here.

That means at the end of this hike you’ll experience about a half mile of straight up switchbacks to the top.

I got 99 problems and switchbacks are all of them.

Hellooooooo calf burn.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

But the views at the top are always worth it!

Bryce Point

After you finish your hike, I suggest stopping at Bryce Point for a killer view of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Point

Bryce Point is a breathtaking viewpoint to admire the magnificent red rock hoodoos and unique geological formations within the natural amphitheater.

It’s a short stroll to some beautiful lookout points and totally worth the stop.

Bryce Canyon Overlook

Southern Utah

It’s no secret that Southern Utah is home to some of the most beautiful terrain on the planet. 

Whether you are passing through or vacationing for a few days, the natural beauty here will leave you in awe.

No amount of planning can prepare you for the scenic beauty of Bryce Canyon, or its neighboring attractions, either.

If you’re ready to plan your trip to Southern Utah, check out all the must-see sights, by clicking HERE!

If you’re looking for the most Instagram-worthy Southern Utah spots, you can find a stunning list that will leave you with gorgeous photos for all your social media channels, by clicking here: Most Instagrammable Places in Southern Utah.

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Leave a Comment

  • Vera Dooley
    2020-09-03

    Absolutely loved all your photos on this adventure! Bryce Canyon is one of my most favorite places to hike. I actually love it more than Zions! We rode donkeys down to the bottom of the canyon. They walked right on the outside rim of the trails. Scary sometimes but worth it! You post the most incredible views! Love the way you word your posts! They are so fun! Makes me laugh and keeps me following all your blog posts! Keep up the good stuff!!

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-09-03 Vera Dooley

      Wow that sounds awesome! I’ll have to check out the donkey rides! Thanks for all the compliments, you’re the best!

      Reply
  • Cori
    2020-09-04

    How ironic… I have 99 problems and switchbacks are all of mine too haha

    I love Bryce! The hoodoos are amazing

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-09-05 Cori

      haha that’s why we are friends! And I loved Bryce, too!

      Reply
  • Clarissa
    2020-09-07

    Wow, beautiful photos! I love Bryce Canyon! I went there in the winter one time for their winter festival on President’s Day Weekend. It was amazing to see everything covered in snow. I even got to go on a ranger led snowshoeing hike out to the rim, I’d highly recommend Bryce in the winter if you ever get the chance!

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-09-11 Clarissa

      I haven’t been in the winter but I plan to this year! Sounds like an awesome experience!

      Reply
  • Amanda
    2020-09-11

    Wow absolutely gorgeous! The picture of you and the squirrel is so cute. Looks fun!!

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-09-11 Amanda

      Thanks so much Amanda!! ♥️

      Reply
  • Juanita Ibarra
    2020-09-11

    I MUST go to this national park! I’ve been to Zion and this one is next on my list. Thank you for the info! Super helpful

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-09-13 Juanita Ibarra

      Awesome! Let me know what you think when you go!

      Reply
  • Tiffany
    2020-09-12

    All your photos are so beautiful girl! 🧡 I actually live in Utah and sadly have yet to been to Bryce Canyon. I’ll definitely be putting that on my list of places to visit now!

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-09-13 Tiffany

      Oh my goodness, I was the same way! I’ve been in southern Utah for a few years now and this was my first time to Bryce! 😂

      Reply
  • Nkem
    2020-09-12

    I’ve been observing a lot of people taking road trips these days and visiting the desert in the US. What a great idea. It seems like an epic and memorable trip.

    Reply
    • Jessi Bang
      2020-09-13 Nkem

      Yes! Domestic travel! It is a very memorable trip!

      Reply