Bryce Canyon can be a magical place for visitors

Quick Notes:

  • There’s no shortage of places to stay within the park

  • Try to structure your stay to include views of the formations at sunrise, sunset, and  by moonlight

  • There are lots of beautiful hikes for visitors to enjoy

Though Bryce Canyon is smaller than its National Park neighbors, Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, it is just as spectacular. From some of the world’s largest formations of hoodoos that make the park seem like a Martian landscape, to great hiking options and possibly the darkest nighttime skies in the country, the park has treasures that can’t be found anywhere else.

If you’re planning to make a visit, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your experience.

Where to stay

If you’re looking to stay in the park so that you can experience the park at dawn and dusk or take some time to stargaze,  there are plenty of lodging options. The park has beautiful campgrounds, including RV accessible options if that’s your preference. If you prefer a roof and a double bed, the Lodge at Bryce Canyon is a great choice, though reservations are recommended.

If you’re looking to stay outside the park, consider seeking rooms in Bryce Canyon City where there are some chain options available, or in Escalante, UT where options include a fully-equipped RV Resort or a historic pole barn and 1920’s remote cabin which have been converted into extremely comfortable, western-themed lodging.

Things to do

Pixabay

Once you find yourself in the park, there are plenty of things to do, especially for hikers. One of the more famous rock formations that you will come across is Thor’s Hammer. If you’ve viewed any park photography, you are probably familiar with the formation, but it is much more spectacular in person.

If you’re with kids or you’d just like to get an easier day, there are plenty of shorter hikes to take part in including the Mossy Cave Trail and Bristlecone Loop. There are also longer hikes that make their way along the park’s Rim Amphitheater which offers several spectacular perspectives on the park’s landscape. And some of the hikes have ranger-led moonlight versions.

Make more out of your visit

If you want to make the most out of your visit, prepare to fully experience Bryce’s nighttime skies. The National Park Service has established that the park’s stargazing is some of the best in its system due to the lack of light pollution and superior air quality. Bring a telescope and a nighttime camera and get outside after the sun goes down. You also may want to participate in some of the park’s formal astronomy programs which help you understand how to stargaze and what to look for in the park. If you are traveling with kids, they can engage in Bryce’s Astronomy Ranger program too.

You’ll be surprised at how your perceptions of the park change if you view it at various times of day or through an unexpected mode like horseback or bike.

Another way to make the most out of the park is to be sure to see it during sunrise and sunset when the light plays with rock formations to make magical colors on the landscape. A little advance preparation will help you find the best place for dawn or dusk viewing.

It is also possible to switch up how you see the park. Consider biking or horseback-led adventures instead of setting out on your own two feet. If you really want to take it easy, it is also possible to see parts of the park through a scenic drive in your car.

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