a guide to Bryce Canyon National Park
As mentioned in the guide to Zion, Joel and I traveled to Utah in September of 2018 with my family for an epic 50th birthday celebration for my awesome Mom. We spent a week in southern Utah and then a week in Vegas. (read more about our whole trip HERE)
We stayed in Hurricane, Utah thus spending the majority of our time in Zion since it’s very close to Hurricane. We journeyed up to Bryce Canyon for one day of adventuring and I wish we could’ve spent more time there. Bryce Canyon very quickly became my favorite National Park that I’ve been to. The unique landscapes and rock formations, the trails, the incredible views from every angle. Since being there I’ve added “see the hoodoos covered in snow” to my bucket list. I LOVE BRYCE CANYON and can’t wait to return (hopefully soon!)
I loved all the hikes and lookouts we checked out during our day in Bryce Canyon. I would HIGHLY recommend any Ranger-led hikes that are offered while you are visiting this park. We loved the Ranger we walked with, and learned a ton. Plus it was just really neat to get to see the perspective of someone who spent a lot of time at Bryce Canyon. We were the only ones on this Ranger-led hike, so we asked lots of questions.
*To give you a little perspective as you read through the rest of this post and about the hikes we went on: Joel and I are definitely not expert hikers, but are fairly fit and stay decently active. I do a lot of walking which I do think helped me prepare a little for our hikes. The trails that we took were not ever overly strenuous for us, and we enjoyed each one we took. We definitely were exhausted each day after spending the day hiking and walking around the parks, but we probably could’ve done more each day. If you have any questions about any of the info I’ve shared below, please feel free to message me directly or comment here! I may not be an expert, but I will answer any questions you have to the best of my ability, and/or help you find the answer elsewhere!*
Distance: 1.8 miles
We met up with ranger for a scheduled ranger-led hike on this trail. While this trail is only 1.8 miles, it took us a lot longer than it would’ve by ourselves just because we were constantly stopping and listening to the ranger. We LOVED this ranger-led hike and learned a lot. This trail is definitely a little steep coming back out of the canyon, so don’t feel bad if you need to stop and take a rest.
Tips for this trail: Wear a hat and sunscreen, this trail is not shaded at all that I can recall. LOTS of great photo opportunities, but is also a fairly popular trail. *When stopping for photos (anywhere you go really) please be respectful to other hikers and not expect them to stop and wait for you every few feet for a photo. Take your photo, and if you’re not okay with waiting until others have moved on, then deal with them being in your pic.
Distance: 1.3 miles
“The Navajo Loop begins at Sunset Point and goes down into Bryce Amphitheater through a "slot" canyon where large Douglas Fir trees are stretching to reach sunlight high above.” -NPS Bryce Canyon website. Other than the Narrows in Zion, this was probably my favorite hike Joel and I did. My Mom and Step-Dad did not do this one, which is probably a good thing because even though they totally could’ve done it, it would’ve taken us a lot longer haha. Joel and I were beat after this trail, but were so glad that we did it. The switchbacks on this trail are intense, and it was a very busy trail. I got REALLY tired of people expecting me to stop on this trail for their pictures. I get it, (TRUST ME, I do) you want to get a great pic, but if you don’t want other people in your photos, then YOU wait for THEM to pass. Especially on the switchbacks, it got to the point where if I didn’t keep going, I wasn’t going to make it to the top (at least that’s how it felt) Just try to be respectful of others, and remember this is their vacation, too.
Tips for this trail: LOTS of water, pace yourself, and make sure not to just look at your feet (easier said than done on this one!) because you do NOT want to miss the views.
Tips For a Day At Bryce Canyon:
Pack food & snacks. There is not much near Bryce Canyon, plus if you bring your own lunch/snacks, you can cruise to one of the many lookouts and enjoy a breathtaking view while you chow down.
Wear layers & sun protection. The temperatures vary throughout the different elevations you’ll be in during your visit at Bryce Canyon. Layers are always a safe bet, and a good amount of the hikes we went on were not shaded, so a hat/sunglasses came in handy.
Go on a guided hike. It’ll take you longer than the hike would on your own most likely, but the information shared on these hikes were really interesting and the rangers leading these hikes are usually pretty enthusiastic about what they’re doing.
Watch the weather. This is extra important if you’re hiking alone or not an experienced hiker. The weather can change quickly and you don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Wear appropriate shoes. This seems like it would be common sense, but I was SHOCKED at the amount of people (and their children) I saw hiking in FLIP FLOPS. I’m talking Old Navy type flat, no support or traction, actual legitimate flip flops. That’s just plan irresponsible for yourself and those around you, so just wear appropriate footwear, please and thank you.