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Have only one day to explore Bryce Canyon? Don’t worry! There are plenty of things you can see in one day. Bryce National Park has become one of my favorite places in the world. The views and hoodoos literally take your breath away and leave you speechless.
What are Hoodoos?
You’re probably wondering what hoodoos even mean. It’s basically a tall, thin spire of rocks that kind of look like mushrooms. The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon are 60 million years old! Other names include tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid.
Where to sleep-
Bryce Canyon City: best location
This town is less than 10 minutes drive to the park which makes it the perfect spot to sleep. There’s a Rodeo show, shops, and buffet in the area.
Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn- a great option, they have an awesome restaurant and buffet. Breakfast included.
Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel– just across the street. Great hotel with a pool. Breakfast included.
Low budget: the RV sites costs $20-30, and the tent site is $10.
Tropical: if you can’t find a closer place to stay. Tropical is 20 minutes drive from the park.
When to visit:
The best time to visit Bryce National Park is from May to October. Most visitors visit during this time, it’s when the temperature is most convenient (70-the 80s). During the winter it is snowy and freezing. Some trails such as Wall Street might be closed due to freezing overnight temperatures.
Bryce Canyon has a free shuttle service. It will pick you from your Bryce hotel and drop you in all of the major viewpoints. The shuttle works from 8 am to 6/8 pm (depends on the season), every 50 minutes.
For more information about the shuttle and its stop, click here.
Now, after we covered all the logistics, here’s the best hikes and viewpoints!
Recommended hikes for one day trip:
Bryce has plenty of trails and you can easily spend a few days exploring the place. If you’re short on time, traveling with family, or simply looking for a trail that gives you the whole experience of Bryce, the trails below are the trails that I recommend the most.
Distance: 1.3 miles
Location: Sunset Point
Navajo Loop starts from the Sunset Point viewpoint. It is one of the most popular trails in Bryce where you can see the hoodoos as you go down the trail. The trail is mostly gravel and can be slippery. There are two ways to do the loop. You can start from the Wall Street side or Two Bridges. I started from Wall Street. It is a little bit slippery so take your time (hiking poles can be helpful as well) when you’re going down.
When you’re at the bottom of Wall Street there’s a junction. On you’re left there’s a sign “Two Bridges” and if you’re continuing straight, you’ll reach another junction to the Queen’s Garden and The Peekaboo. In order to complete the loop, take the left turn to the Two Bridges which brings you back to Sunset Point.
Distance: 1.8 miles
Location: Sunrise Point
The trail begins at Sunrise Point. This trail is not a loop (unless you combine it with the Navajo trail) and offers one of the best views of the canyon. There isn’t much shade on the trail, and it’s recommended to hike this in the early mornings when the weather is still cool. I love this trail because there’re incredible hoodoos all over and you can walk through archways. It is a great hike to do with kids and it is considered to be one of the most popular trails at Bryce.
Honestly, I enjoyed more of the Queen’s Garden views than Navajo but both of them are great for one day experience at the park.
Navajo and Queen’s Garden combined-
Distance: 2.9 miles
Location: Sunrise/Sunset Point (I recommend starting from the sunset point)
This one is my recommendation if you only visiting for one day or want to do both trails and it’s one of my favorite hikes in general. You can start from Sunrise or Sunset Points; I actually recommend starting from the Sunset viewpoint. The hike is a bit easier (the uphill at the end is easier if you’re starting from the Navajo trail to Queen’s Garden) and in my opinion, the views are slightly prettier if you’re doing it this way.
More challenging hikes include Hat Shop (4 miles with 1075ft elevation gain), Fairyland Loop (8 miles, 1716ft elevation gain), and the Peekaboo Loop (5.5 miles, 1571ft elevation gain).
Planning a trip in the area? Don’t forget to read my guides!
Fairyland Point- just after the entrance there’s a left turn to Fairyland Pt which is one of the most spectacular viewpoints at Bryce. From this viewpoint, you can start hiking the Fairyland Loop trail.
Sunrise point- the second viewpoint after you enter the park. It is the location where Queen’s Garden hike begins.
Sunset Point- Navajo loop starts from this point. Plenty of people loves watching the sunrise and sunset from those viewpoints.
Inspiration Point- recommended place to watch the stars at night.
Bryce Point- This is the most popular viewpoint! RVs can’t drive to this viewpoint, and it’s closed during the winter. From this viewpoint, you can start hiking the Peekaboo Loop and Hat Shop. Another option- you can walk 1.5 miles from Inspiration Point to Bryce Point. It is an easy hike with a beautiful view!
Paria Point– if you’re short in time, this is the last viewpoint I recommend stopping. The other is located further in the park and you might not have enough time to drive (located 18 miles from the entrance, you will need to drive in and back, a total of 36 miles).
If you have extra time, you can keep exploring the further viewpoints of Bryce Canyon which includes Swamp Viewpoint, Natural Bridge, Agua Canyon, Rainbow Point & Yovimpa Point. Hikes in this area are Bristlecone Loop and Swamp Canyon.
Don’t forget to bring…
- Jacket- it can get cold in the evenings even in the summer. If you’re coming during the spring or fall, carry a light jacket for the beginning of the hike.
- Walking shoes
- Hiking poles- it is easier to hike the slippery part with hiking poles but it’s not a requirement. A lot of people hike the trails without poles.