Best Hikes In Bryce Canyon National Park

If you’re in Utah, you should stop in Bryce Canyon National Park to see the hoodoos, the high desert environment, and the dark sky stargazing opportunities. But we understand that you have limited time. So, what are the best hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park?

  1. Navajo Loop Trail
    1. Queen’s Garden
    1. Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail
    1. Rim Trail
    1. Fairyland Loop Trail
    1. Sunset Point To Sunrise Point
    1. Bristlecone Loop Trail
    1. Hat Shop
    1. Mossy Cave

These hikes will give you a chance to see the best of Bryce. Most of them are pretty short, and you can do several of them in a day. We give you recommendations for how to combine hikes!

1. Navajo Loop Trail

  • Length: 1.4 miles (1-2 hours)
  • Elevation Change: 515 feet
  • Rated: Moderate

This loop trail begins at Sunset Point. The Two Bridges side, where you can see the Two Bridges and the best-known hoodoo, Thor’s Hammer, is open year-round.

However, the Wall Street side, which offers views of towering ‘skyscrapers,’ can only be hiked in certain months due to the danger of rockfalls when precipitation and freezing overnight temperatures combine. It is typically closed from November to April.

When both sides are open, the park officials recommend doing it as a counter-clockwise loop. Otherwise, the Two Bridges side can be hiked out and back or combined with other trails.

2. Queen’s Garden

  • Length: 1.8 miles (1-2 hours)
  • Elevation Change: 357 feet
  • Rated: Moderate

The least-difficult trail entering the canyon from the rim, the Queen’s Garden takes you between many hoodoos and is a garden of rocks, not plants. A short spur trail lets you see the Queen Victoria hoodoo overlooking the garden.

Combine Queen’s Garden with the Navajo Loop Trail to form a 2.9-mile loop that takes 2-3 hours to complete. Be aware that this combination is the most popular trail in the park, so be prepared to share the trail with plenty of other hikers.

3. Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail

  • Length: 5.5 miles (3-4 hours)
  • Elevation Change: 1571 feet
  • Rated: Strenuous

This hike begins at Bryce Point and drops rapidly to the canyon floor. It allows seeing the Wall of Windows, full of red rock arches against the blue sky.

You will meet horseback riders along this trail; they have right-of-way. A clockwise direction is required when hiking this trail.

You can combine this trail with Navajo Loop Trail to form a mini figure-8 or Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop into the 6.4-mile Figure 8 combination trail for the ultimate Bryce experience.

4. Rim Trail

  • Length: 5.5 miles (3.5 hours)
  • Elevation Change: 1177 feet
  • Rated: Easy

For a chance to see the hoodoos from above, hike the Rim Trail from Bryce Point to Fairyland Point. Despite several steep sections, park officials rate this an easy trail.

The section between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point is paved.

We recommend hiking from Bryce Point to Fairyland Point rather than the other way around so that you will predominantly be walking downhill to Sunrise Point. There are some steep drop-offs, but the path is wide enough for most people’s comfort.

If you have a fear of heights, we recommend avoiding the section between Bryce Point and Inspiration Point.

The shuttle bus serves all major access points except Fairyland Point, so you can use the shuttle for hiking the walk in sections if you want to shorten it.

5. Fairyland Loop Trail

  • Length: 8.0 miles (4-5 hours)
  • Elevation Change: 1716 feet
  • Rated: Strenuous

Beginning at Fairyland Point, this loop trail takes you through spectacular cream and orange striped hoodoos and provides magnificent ridgeline views.

Along this trail, you can see the Chinese Wall and Tower Bridge, a red sandstone formation that resembles London’s Tower Bridge.

You can also hike the first section to go and see Tower Bridge, without doing the whole of Fairyland Loop.

6. Sunset Point To Sunrise Point

  • Length: 1 mile (1 hour)
  • Elevation Change: 34 feet
  • Rated: Easy

This easy walk along a paved trail is ideal for families with small kids or for people who want to take their dogs (on a leash). This paved trail is wheelchair accessible.

It offers spectacular views of Bryce Amphitheater, with the banded hoodoos rising from the amphitheater floor, and on clear days, Navajo Mountain, 80 miles away.

7. Bristlecone Loop Trail

  • Length: 1 mile (1 hour)
  • Elevation Change: 200 feet
  • Rated: Easy

Hike through forests of Blue Spruce, White Fir, and Douglas-fir, with bristlecone pines. You will have good wildlife viewing opportunities on this trail, from squirrels and chipmunks to various bird species.

This trail is sometimes inaccessible in mid-winter due to deep snow.

8. Hat Shop

  • Length: 4.0 miles (3-4 hours)
  • Elevation Change: 1075 feet
  • Rated: Strenuous

A good option for a less-traveled trail, Hat Shop takes you past the cliffs of Grand Staircase on the first portion of the Under-the-Rim backcountry trail.

At the turn-around point of this out-and-back trail, orange hoodoos stand with grayish-white rocks balanced on top, looking like a collection of men in hats.

The descent is steep and the ascent on the return journey strenuous. Hike this trail only if you are fit and do not have knee or ankle problems. We recommend extreme caution and thorough preparation if hiking this trail in winter.

9. Mossy Cave

  • Length: 0.8 miles (1 hour)
  • Elevation Change: 200 feet
  • Rated: Easy

A stream-side walk out-and-back brings you to a cavern where moss drips off the rock. Small waterfalls form spectacular icicles in winter.

Unlike other walks in the park, this trail goes up before going down.

Due to its popularity, this walk has become highly congested, and park officials do not recommend visiting between 10 AM and 6  PM. Only park in the provided parking lot.

Conclusion

If you have a day or two in Bryce Canyon National Park, we recommend you try one of these hikes to see the magnificent landscape of hoodoos and other rock formations.

There are trails of all difficulty levels and lengths to suit your needs, and you are sure to find something to fit your itinerary.