Bryce Canyon Hiking
Take A Hike
If you are able, you must go down among the Bryce Canyon hoodoos. Bryce Canyon hiking can mean a quick stroll down one of the trails. It becomes more enchanting the further you venture into the canyon.
The Park Service has built a series of fine hiking and horseback trails underneath the rim of the canyon. If you don’t want to venture below the rim – if you’re able, this is something you should reconsider – you can walk along the rim. There are benches available to sit and just take in the view.
Bryce Canyon National Park has eight hiking trails. You can experience the peacefulness of each one in less than a day. Most of the Bryce Canyon hiking trails start from the canyon rim.
- Bristlecone Loop Trail – an easy hike. It’s located at the southwest end of the park. 17 miles (27.3 km) south of the Visitor’s Center. You can get to it off the Rainbow Point parking lot. The trail is forested and easy to follow. You’ll see some of the oldest living organisms on the planet. The bristlecone pine. One of them in the park is over 1,600 years old.
- Fairyland Loop – a strenuous hike. It takes you from Fairyland Point on the rim down into the amphitheaters and labyrinths. You experience the best of Bryce Canyon hiking right among the hoodoos. It’s a long hike dropping almost 900 feet into the bottom of the valley.
- Mossy Cave Trail – an easy one. You get to fully experience the thrill of Bryce Canyon hiking - walking up close to the hoodoos and spires - without descending 1,000 feet. The trail follows a stream leading to a natural cavern. The grotto looms almost as a guardian over the trail. It bears ice sickles in the winter. Lichen and moss when its warmer.
This trail isn’t reached by turning south onto Highway 63 – the main park entrance - like the rest. Visitors coming in from the west bypass that highway and continue for 4 miles (2.5 km) as if driving on to the town of Tropic.
- Navajo Loop Trail - moderate in difficulty. The most popular hiking trail in Bryce Canyon National Park. It takes visitors down the rim from Sunset Point and drops 800 feet into the bottom of the canyon. Then it brings you right back up ending where you began.
- Peekaboo Loop Trail - a strenuous hike. It’s an equestrian trail that is also very popular among hikers. Beginning at Bryce Point, you get to experience one of the best views in the park.
A serpentine trail winding down the rim into the canyon, it splits into a loop trail that eventually meets up with the Navajo Loop Trail. You descend almost 1,000 feet below Bryce Point at the farthest end of the loop. Making your way back the same way requires a strenuous ascent.
- Queens Garden Loop Trail - moderate difficulty. A short but steep hike. It takes visitors from Sunrise Point down more than 800 feet into the canyon below.
- Riggs Spring Loop Trail - moderate difficulty. It’s a long scenic trail starting at Rainbow Point in the southwestern corner of Bryce National Park. The trail takes you from the parking lot down the south side of the rim.
It offers gorgeous close-up views of the hoodoos. Fir and spruce trees dominate the plateau along with bristlecone pine. Soaring ponderosa pines rule the valley floor below.
- Rim Trail - easy. It has less than 200 feet of elevation gain. It traverses the rim of the amphitheater from Fairyland Point past the Bryce Canyon Lodge and on to Bryce Point. Shaped somewhat like a crescent, it offers fantastic views which is what Bryce Canyon hiking is all about.
Since most the trails within the park originate along the canyon rim, it’s easy to add one of the loop trails while you’re exploring the Rim Trail. If you decide not hike all the way back the way you came, you’ll need to take a shuttle.
- Under the Rim Trail - a strenuous hike. The longest trail in the park. A backpacking trail. It’s 23 miles (37 km) long one way. It pretty much requires you to camp along the way. And permits are required for all overnight camping. A hike like this is only for the physically fit. It’s a great way to truly enjoy the solitude and beauty of Bryce Canyon hiking.
An alternative to hiking the whole trail is to break it up into smaller segments. Small access trails leading from the highway allow you to hike as much or as little of this trail as you want.
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