A Perfect Itinerary to One Day in Bryce Canyon National Park
Looking to spend one day in Bryce Canyon National Park? Well, this guide covers all the best things to do when visiting this epic national park. Bryce Canyon is part of Utah’s “Big 5” and it’s easy to see why. With its dramatic scenery including towering hoodoos, red and orange hues, 700-year-old Douglas Firs, slot canyons, and endless valley views it’s one of the most popular national parks to visit. Along with that, it’s smaller compared to its Utah counterpart so you can easily see all the sights in one day. Finally, did you know that Walt Disney modeled the Big Thunder Mountain railroad after Bryce Canyon? Well, now you do! I’ve outlined a 1 day Bryce Canyon itinerary below!
One Day in Bryce Canyon
In order to make the most of your day in the park, I would start your day by entering the gates at 7 am. Not only will it be cooler in the mornings but the crowds are much less subdued. By the time we left the park at noon, the crowds were coming in droves. Finally, consider the shoulder seasons for the best time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park for mild temperatures (April-June + September-November).
Things to Know Before Visiting Bryce Canyon
- Park elevations can reach up to 9,000 feet so it’s easier to feel fatigued with light activity
- Most of the hikes start with a descent and end with a climb, it’s best to wear hiking boots
- Pets are allowed but only on paved paths and at viewpoints
- To experience the park in its prime, get here early!
- Practice the 7 principles of “leave no trace” when visiting all national parks
- Pack a lunch so you can make the most of your time in the park.
- If you plan to visit more national parks, zion national park is a short distance away, consider purchasing the “America the Beautiful pass” which offers entrance to all the USA national parks for 1 calendar year and only costs $80.
Things to Do at Bryce Canyon
All of these viewpoints can be seen along the rim trail.
Sunrise Point + Sunset Point – Sunrise point is located near the visitor center and you can walk the paved trail 1.1 miles to sunset point. Sunrise point offers popular views of the silent city and thors hammer.
Bryce Point – The iconic Bryce Canyon amphitheater can be viewed from here. Sunrise is the best time to witness this view being that the golden light shines upon the hoodoos. You can catch the peek-a-boo trail from here.
Inspiration Point – three levels of viewpoints all showcasing views of the main amphitheater.
Natural Bridge – a deep red natural arch in the southern part of the park
Drive the Southern Scenic Route
The main park road is 18 miles long and you can easily drive the entirety of it and enjoy the Bryce Canyon scenic drive. There are 9 viewpoints along this route and not many people pass inspiration point so you can expect fewer crowds.
Ride your bike
Bryce has a “share-used bike path” that features 5 miles of vehicle-free bike lanes. It starts at the shuttle station North and goes to the visitor center, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, and Inspiration Point. It’s a great way to explore the park!
Get Your Junior Ranger Badge
A great activity for kids would be to get a junior ranger badge. They are thought of as potential “Park Rangers in training” and they’ll familiarize children with the basic responsibilities of a park ranger.
Go Horseback Riding
Who doesn’t love a horseback riding moment? You can ride a horse on a guided trail ride that’s suited to all experience levels. With a cowboy or cowgirl guide to lead the way, you’ll learn the fascinating history of the Bryce Canyon area. Follow narrow trails featuring gorgeous views for an experience you can’t get from the road. Click here to book your tour.
Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon is a haven for hikers. Choose from easy paved paths, 1-hour hikes, or half-day hikes! There is a hike for everyone to enjoy that offers incredible views.
Navajo Loop Trail – Our favorite hike of the trip! This trail has the infamous switchbacks and the elevation is no joke. It’s more strenuous than Queens Garden but the views will leave you speechless. Starting at Sunset point this trail makes a loop with sights such as Thor’s Hammer, Wall Street, and Two Bridges. Halfway through the hike, you have to choose either Wall Street or Two Bridges. You can do this hike in reverse but my best advice would be to hike down and then up through Wall Street. Wall Street is Bryce’s only slot canyon and had the prettiest views from atop.
- 0.6 miles
- 500 feet elevation gain
Queens Garden Trail – An easy out and back hike that takes you through the ridges of the canyon with towering pines. Starting at Sunrise Point this trail is also a loop. Finally, you can combine it with the Navajo loop.
- 1.8 miles
Queens Garden combined with Navajo Loop – This is easily the most popular hike in the park. Starting along the rim at either Sunset or Sunrise point you head down into the canyon.
- 2.9 miles
- 600 feet elevation gain.
Rim Trail – The Rim Trail starts at Bryce Canyon Visitor Center and goes to Bryce Point. This easy paved trail offers incredible views of the amphitheaters. You’ll pass iconic views such as the Wall of Windows, Thor’s hammer, and fairyland
- 0.5 mile one way
- Moderate paved trail
Peek-a-boo loop trail – This trail is long and lesser-known. It might be hard to fit in when visiting for one day but nevertheless, I wanted to include it.
- 5.5 miles
- 1500 feet elevation change
Where to Stay
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon – the only accommodations located within the park. It’s located directly next to the rim trail and is set around a 1920s landmark building.
Bryce Canyon City – is a small town located a few minutes from the park entrance. If you want to be close, then consider staying here. You’ll find a few hotels, Best Western, and smaller bed & breakfasts.
Yonder Escalante – we personally stayed here and loved it! It was further out from Bryce (a 1-hour driving distance). At this property, you can enjoy renting an airstream, small cabin, or even use their camping facilities. They offer free drive-in movies every night with vintage cars, a pool, and other cool amenities.
Sample Bryce Canyon Itinerary
Below is a sample 1 day itinerary to use for your trip
- Enter the park at 7 am
- Hike the Queens Garden Trail to the Navajo Loop and hike up through Wall Street (2-2.5 hours approximately)
- Walk the Rim Trail to Bryce Point
- Have lunch at the visitor center or one of the viewpoints
- Bike a few miles on the “Shared-Use” bike path
- Watch the sunset from sunrise point
What to Pack
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- All the activewear! Most activities in Zion include the outdoors so it’s best to be comfortable. My favorite brand of activewear that has lasted me YEARS is Lululemon. I’ve also found some great lululemon dupes on Amazon and you can shop those all HERE.
- Good quality hiking shoes: I wore these the entire time in Zion (aside from the narrows). It’s best to wear actual hiking shoes since the hikes can get pretty intense (especially Angels Landing).
- Water Shoes for all the swimming in the summer. I love these from COLUMBIA because they’re somewhat stylish and have lasted me years!
- Walking sticks
- A sturdy pair of flip-flops that you can also wear on a quick hike. These Olukai Sandals are my go-to and have lasted me years and are the most comfortable.
- Sunscreen: Being that you’ll mostly be outdoors, you’ll want to be prepared to protect that skin of yours. This sunscreen brush is a life-saver since you can re-apply it so easily.
- a good quality backpack for hikes
- an active crossbody bag that is a fan favorite!
- Basics: I always find the best basics at either Abercrombie or HM. It’s nice to have some neutral tees and tanks handy during your stay. You can also shop my favorite Amazon Basics HERE.
Thank you for reading my “One Day in Bryce Canyon Itinerary”. I hope you gained some insight into planning your trip. If you plan on visiting Zion National Park click here for my visiting guide.