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Are you planning a trip to Bryce Canyon and wondering exactly what to do in Bryce Canyon National Park? Well, you’re in the right play! Bryce Canyon is one of the most beautiful National Parks we visited during our American road trip. It was very different from other National Parks we visited in terms of geology thanks to the famous Bryce Canyon Hoodoos and there was still a touch of snow on the ground in mid-April too which added to the beauty. It’s quite a small National Park in the grand scheme of things (especially when compared to Canyonlands!) which means you could visit Bryce Canyon in one day, you’re probably going to want to stay longer once you’ve read this list of things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
Where is Bryce Canyon National Park?
Bryce National Park is located in south-west Utah and makes up part of Utah’s Mighty 5 Parks. The 5 National Parks in Utah are; Zion National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon.
See this Utah map to the left to get your bearings. It’s mostly a map of southern Utah but you get the idea!
Bryce Canyon entrance fees
The entrance fee to Bryce Canyon National Park is $35 per vehicle. If entering by foot or bicycle it’s $20 per person. Motorcycle entrance costs $30 per motorcycle.
This admission lasts for 7 days and includes unlimited rides on the Bryce Canyon shuttle bus put on by the Nationa Park Service.
If you’re planning on visiting multiple American National Parks or are doing a USA road trip, it’s better to get an America is Beautiful National Parks Pass for just $80. This lasts a year and will save you so much money on a road trip!
You can also get a Southeast Utah Parks Annual Pass if you’re planning on visiting lots of National Parks in Southeast Utah for $55.
Where to stay near Bryce Canyon National Park
There aren’t a lot of choices when it comes to lodging inside Bryce Canyon National Park. If you are set on staying within the park boundaries then you can book a room at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. This Bryce Canyon Lodge offers some cabins, motel rooms and guest suites & studios to book. For other places to stay near Bryce Canyon take a look at the top picks below.
Hotels near Bryce Canyon National Park
Take a look at these highly recommended Bryce Canyon hotels in the towns near Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Canyon camping
If you are travelling in RV, campervan or just want to tent camp near Bryce Canyon National Park then Ruby’s Inn RV Park & Campground is your best bet and it’s super close to the park entrance. There aren’t a lot of choices when it comes to camping near Bryce Canyon.
You can also go camping in Bryce Canyon by reserving a spot at either of the two campgrounds in Bryce Canyon. There’s North Campground and the Sunset Bryce Canyon Campground, both of which are within the Bryce Amphitheatre area. They cost $30 per site, per night for RVs and $20 for tents.
Another alternative, if you’re self-sufficient, it to check out this post on camping for free in the US & Canada. We stayed in the National Forest just outside the park and it was perfect for some free camping near Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce Canyon: Things to do
Watch the sunrise from Sunset Point…
I know that sounds the wrong way round but, since everyone goes to Sunrise Point for the sunset, you’ll probably find you get a better view at Sunset Point as it’s less crowded. Both points look the same direction out on to the Bryce Canyon amphitheatre so really there’s not that much difference.
…and see the sunset from Sunrise Point Bryce Canyon National Park
As with above, go to the ‘wrongly’ named point for sunset too. And be prepared for one of the best sunsets you’ll see! It was cold when we watched the sun go down thanks to the relatively chilly Bryce Canyon weather, but well worth wrapping up for!
Join a ranger-guided astronomy programme
The night skies over Bryce Canyon National Park are incredible. Bryce Canyon is far from big sources of light pollution and on a moonless night, you can see the Milky Way and thousands of stars and some satellites too. It’s incredible. Whilst you obviously don’t have to join a ranger-guided astronomy programme, it is one of the best things to do at Bryce Canyon and make a great addition to your list of activities in Bryce Canyon. Of course, you could just find any point in the park and look up, but you’ll know what you’re looking at if you’re with a ranger.
These programmes are free and there’s no reservation needed for the astronomy group, just turn up 15 minutes before the scheduled starting time. You can find up-to-date starting times at the Bryce Canyon visitor centre during your visit.
Take a hike in Bryce Canyon
There are plenty of Bryce Canyon hikes. If you’re looking for a shorter hike then one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon is to combine the Queen’s Garden Trail from Sunrise Point with the Navajo Loop trail from Sunset Point. It’s about 3 miles long and takes you down in amongst the Hoodoos.
There’s also a fantastic sounding backcountry overnighter that takes you below the rim of Bryce Canyon, along with some other longer trails that’ll get you away from the tour buses that gather around the Bryce Amphitheatre.
Wherever you go hiking at Bryce Canyon, Utah you’re sure to be amazed, but make sure you do at least one!
Feel inspired at Inspiration Point
This Bryce Canyon viewpoint, Inspiration Point, consists of three levels which look into the main amphitheatre. At Inspiration Point you’ll see Silent City (near Sunset Point) which has rows of seemingly frozen hoodoos forming a kind of city.
Find some more arches at Natural Bridge
If you’ve come from Arches National Park you may be sick of arches by now, but do go give this one a look too. Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon National Park, is one of several natural arches in Bryce Canyon. The arch has been formed with really red rock and so the contrast with that and the green forest below is super cool.
See Bryce Point
Since the Bryce Canyon elevation is so high (around 8000ft – 9000ft), there are plenty of great views to be found. Bryce Point is one of the most scenic vistas of the full amphitheatre and it’s sure to make you go “wow”.
If you’re looking for another spot to watch the sunrise in the park then head here. The tops of the hoodoos look like they’ve been set on fire as the sun rises with their orange glow.
Take in Paria View
Whilst almost all the viewpoints in Bryce Canyon face away from the sunset, Paria View is the exception. The one castle-shaped Hoodoo catches the last rays of the sun and looks amazing. You should absolutely add this viewpoint to your what to see in Bryce Canyon itinerary!
Fairview Point should also be on your list of things to see in Bryce Canyon. From here you can see glimpses of the Kaibab Plateau which is home to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!
On some days you can even see as far as 160 miles thanks to the great air quality at Bryce Canyon.
Swamp Canyon appears relatively small as it’s got hoodoos on either side. Still, it’s a pretty cool landscape and it was the trees all over Bryce Canyon that made me love it so much.
The southernmost point in the park and one of the best viewing points. You’ll see the entire Hoodoo amphitheatre stretched out before you. This was probably my favourite viewpoint in Bryce Canyon.
Just nearby Rainbow Point, Yovimpa Point is where you’ll get a good look at the sequence of rock layers called the Grand Staircase. The rocks are called the Grand Staircase as there are lots of different coloured layers in the rock (the stairs).
The Bristlecone Loop is one of the quieter Bryce Canyon trails in the park and starts at Yovimpa Point if you’re looking for something to do at the south end of the park.
One day in Bryce Canyon?
If you’re looking for what to do at Bryce Canyon in one day then I’d suggest driving the scenic road from North to South and then making time for a quick hike between sunrise and sunset points in the Bryce Canyon amphitheatre. You could probably fit in a little bit more if you don’t take too long taking photos at all the scenic points!