Bryce Canyon rock formations, hoodoos

Bryce Canyon in One Day – Detailed Guide (What NOT to Miss!)

Bryce Canyon, Utah is a gorgeous area of the United States, most well known for its incredible rock formations called hoodoos. If you only have one day in Bryce Canyon, you are likely wondering what not to miss. From multi-level hikes and activities, to epic viewpoints and scenic drives, there are many things to do in this incredible National Park.

To make the most of your time, we’ve created a detailed guide to help you plan your day; National Park info, accommodations, hikes, activities, itinerary suggestions based on hiking level, plus we’ve added a section for Bryce Canyon with kids.

In fact, there are so many fun things to do, you may end up adding an extra day!

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of the links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you! See full disclosure and disclaimer policy here 

Where is Bryce Canyon?

Table of Contents

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in Southern Utah, USA near many other National Parks. The closest airport is Las Vegas, which is about a  4 hour drive to Bryce, UT.

A popular way to see the area is to fly into Las Vegas, rent a car  and take a road trip to the area’s famous sites; Zion, Grand Canyon, Page, AZ (Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend), and Capital Reef.  You can also take a day tour from Las Vegas as well, if you don’t want to drive and stay in Bryce itself.

What is the best time of year to visit Bryce Canyon?

The best time of year to visit Bryce Canyon, Utah is between May and September. During those months you will find the warmest weather, and lots of ranger led activities to participate in. Early to mid October and April is also a great time to visit if you are looking for mild (but cool) weather, with fewer tourists, and want to experience  fall foliage, or blooming wild flowers respectively.

Winter season is magical if you are into viewing and photographing snow covered hoodoos, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Snow can start in late October some years, though typically snow falls between December and March.

The park is open 24 hours a day, year-round, however from October through May some roads, campgrounds and visitor facilities are closed or on reduced hours.

Bryce Canyon Weather

The weather in Bryce Canyon, UT is variable as it is at a higher elevation. Regardless of the time of year, you’ll want to make sure to bring a sweater and jacket, as year round temperatures in Bryce Canyon are quite cool in the evenings.

 The average daytime highs are:

  • April: 56F / 13.3C
  • May: 66F / 18.9C
  • June:  76F / 24.4C
  • July: 83F / 28.3C
  • Aug: 80F / 26.7C
  • Sept: 74F / 23.3C
  • October: 63F / 17.2C
  • November: 51F / 10.6C
  • December: 42F / 5.6C
  • January: 39F / 3.9C
  • February: 41F / 5C
  • March: 46F / 7.8C

July and August is the rainy season, with often short, afternoon thunderstorms. Expect snow from December to March, though snow can happen some years in late October.

Bryce Canyon, Utah paved trail overlooking canyon and rock formations.
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Photo: “GettyTim82 / iStock.com”

How Long Do You Need in Bryce Canyon?

You will need at least one full day in Bryce Canyon to make the most of the incredible rock formations, hikes  and to hit all the most popular viewpoints. If hiking is your goal, you could spend multiple days hiking any (or all) of the 15 different options.

Can you See Bryce and Zion in One Day?

Many people like to visit both Bryce and Zion in one trip, as they are so close together. The drive is only about 2.5 hours. While it is possible to do both in one day, a minimum of one day for each National Park  is recommended, to really take in all the viewpoints, hikes and activities, both parks have to offer. 

What Not to Miss in Bryce Canyon

If you are visiting Bryce Canyon in one day, you definitely don’t want to miss out on some of Utah’s most beautiful hikes and viewpoints. Here’s our list of  what not to miss in Bryce Canyon National Park:

  • Visitors Centre
  • Scenic Drive  
  • Inspiration Point
  • Rim Trail Hike – Between Inspiration and Bryce Point
  • Bryce Point
  • Sunrise Point – for sunrise
  • Rim Trail Hike between Sunrise and Sunset – Easy
  • Sunset Point
  • Navajo Loop Trail & Queen’s Garden Trail – Moderate
  • Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point
  • Fairyland Canyon
  • Mossy Cave Trail – Easy

You will need to make some decisions about which viewpoints and hikes to focus on, as you won’t have time to do everything.

I’ve given easy and moderate hiking suggestions, sample itineraries, and all the details in the Bryce Canyon in one day section below. Be sure to read on for all the important details you’ll need to know. 

Adult carrying a child in a backpack. Hiking along trail and hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon Lodging

There are limited places to both in the park and in Bryce Canyon City. If you are looking to stay in the park you’ll need to decide between Bryce Canyon Lodge and camping. In the town and nearby, you’ll find 2 and 3 star hotel / lodge options, Ruby’s Campground and some private holiday homes / cabins for rent.

Bryce Canyon Lodge 

The Bryce Canyon Lodge is a historic building and motel just minutes walk to the Bryce Amphitheater. Here you will be close to all the most famous sites of the park. It has 114 rooms including suites, cabins and motel rooms. You’ll want to book well in advance, as it is a popular place to stay. 

Onsite there is also a dining room, available to the public (reservations highly recommended), for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

The Bryce Canyon Lodge is open March 2021 to Jan 1, 2022 this year. 

The Bryce Canyon Lodge also operates the other food options in the park:

  • The Valhalla Pizzeria & Coffee Shop  is usually open mid-May through mid-September for Lunch, and Dinner. However due to COVID measures will be closed until Summer 2022.
  • The General Store, off of Sunrise Point will be open March 2021 until Jan 2, 2022 this year. Here you can grab snacks and to-go food such as pizza, sandwiches, salads. The store also carries emergency camping supplies, souvenirs, groceries. Laundry and shower services are also available from 9am to 5pm.

Bryce Canyon Campsites

For campgrounds inside the park there are two options with about 100 sites each: the North Campground and the Sunset Campgrounds. Neither have RV hookups for electrical, sewer or water.

While both campgrounds are forested, the North Campground sits closer to the Rim Trail. It is close to  the Visitors Center, General Store, and Fairyland Loop/Rim Trail. There are four loops, 2 each for RVs and tenters.

The Sunset Campgrounds is located near Sunset Point and has a shuttle stop at its entrance. There are 3 loops, one for RVs and two for tenters.

Best Western Plus – Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel

There isn’t really a luxury hotel to  stay at in Bryce Canyon City, but the Best Western Plus – Grand (not to be confused with the Best Western Plus – Ruby’s Inn across the street), is one of the nicer hotels in the area. Free breakfast, an outdoor pool and fitness area. 

Budget Option – Best Western Plus – Ruby’s Inn

Best Western Plus – Ruby’s Inn is a cowboy themed rustic lodge. Free breakfast, parking and indoor / outdoor pools included. It’s not quite as nice or up to date as the Best Western Grand, but a great spot for more budget conscious travellers, who want all the amenities, and don’t plan on staying in their room much.

Family Friendly Options

Stone Canyon Inn, started as a B&B and now houses mostly free standing, private  accommodations in Cabins, Bungalows, Tree Houses and Deluxe King units and the guest house. Nestled amongst the spectacular viewpoints of Bryce Canyon, Bristlecone Ridge, Sinking Ship, Fairyland Amphitheater, Sunrise and Sunset Points right from your living room or porch. This place is gorgeous.

This Bryce Canyon home is a great option for families, especially if you are looking for a place with a kitchen, to do a little cooking yourself. Three bedrooms, a child’s playground, free WIFI and parking. Plus it’s only 6 km from Sunrise Point. Now I am dreaming of a family vacation here soon. 

You may also like Easy Ways to Save Money on Road Trips

Sunset Point wildflowers overlooking  Bryce Canyon, and eroded rock formations.
Sunset Point
Photo: “krblockhin/iStock.com”

Things To Know Before You Go

Bryce Canyon National Park is open 24 hours a day, year round. You will need a pass to enter (check out the cost below, in the How much does it cost to visit Bryce Canyon section).

The Visitor Centre is a great first stop, and is located at the entrance to the park, just beyond the pay stations. Their hours typically are: 

  • May – September: 8am to 8pm
  • October: 8am to  6pm
  • November – March: 8am to 4:30pm
  • April: 8am to 6pm
  • Not open Christmas Day and Thanksgiving

The Visitor Centre is staffed by extremely knowledgeable and helpful people who can give you all the latest in driving / hiking directions and recommendations, weather forecasts, current Ranger activity schedules and more. There is even a small museum and intro 20 minute movie about the park you can watch. 

How Much Does it Cost To Visit Bryce Canyon?

Entrance Fees

Everyone is required to have a pass to enter the park. Passes are available online (recommended at this time), or at the Visitors Centre or Shuttle Station.  

All the entrance fees are valid for 7 days, and include access to the free shuttle. 

  • $35 per private vehicle (15 passengers or less)
  • $20 / per person without a vehicle (bicycle or walk-in). Youth 15 and under are free
  • $30 per motorcycle
  • $40 Bryce Canyon Annual Pass – good for 12 months, admits one private vehicle with passengers or pass holder and immediate family members if no vehicle.

PRO TIP: Buy an annual America the Beautiful Park Pass to save money on National Park and Federal Rec Sites entrance fees.

Covers entrance fees for driver and passengers, which is especially useful if you are planning on a long road trip or visiting more than one park in a year.

Bryce Insider Tip: If you buy your single Bryce pass online, make sure to print off a copy and bring it with you, or save it on your phone in a place you don’t need the internet to access. Internet is limited in the park.

Bryce Canyon Shuttle – FREE Shuttle Service

Shuttle bus at Rainbow Point shuttle stop.
Bryce Canyon Shuttle, Rainbow Point. Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

The Bryce Canyon Shuttle comes free with your entrance pass. The park can get quite congested with vehicles especially during the popular summer months. In fact, there is only 1 parking spot per 4 cars during the busy months, so using the free shuttle is highly recommended.

Using the shuttle is a way to reduce crowded parking lots (and the headaches of trying to find parking), reduce pollution and encourage people to walk the Rim Trail. Using the shuttle provides an easy way to get back to your car at the Shuttle Station or Bryce Canyon City.

The Shuttle can pick you and your family up at your hotel in Bryce, and drop you off at all the major scenic viewpoints in the park. It comes about every 15 minutes or so, and takes about 50 minutes to do the one-way loop in total, without stopping at facilities or viewpoints.

If you have a car, you can park your car at  the Shuttle Station parking lot at Bryce Canyon City. Hop on or off at any stop, but make sure to bring along your proof of park admission. The shuttle stops as listed in the NPS website are listed below.

Here are all the Shuttle Stops:

  1. Shuttle Station (recommended parking)
  2. Old Bryce Town
  3. Best Western+ Grand Hotel
  4. Best Western+ Ruby’s Inn
  5. Ruby’s Campground
  6. Bryce Canyon Visitor Center
  7. Sunset Campground (Southbound, does not enter campground)
  8. Bryce Point
  9. Inspiration Point
  10. Sunset Campground (Northbound, does not enter campground)
  11. Sunset Point
  12. Bryce Canyon Lodge
  13. Sunrise Point (General Store & High Plateau Inst. are nearby)
  14. Bryce Canyon Visitor Center
  15. Ruby’s Campground (Northbound, does not enter campground)

Shuttle Hours

Bryce Canyon Shuttle hours are:

  • April 2 – May 20: 8am to 6pm
  • May 21 to Sept 26: 8am to 6pm
  • September 27 to October 17: 8am to 6pm

Shuttle Operations – COVID Safety Measures

At this time, the shuttle is running at reduced capacity, and passengers must enter and exit from the back doors and self screen for symptoms posted on the shuttle before boarding. If you have any symptoms, please don’t ride the bus. 

Masks will be provided free to all passengers, and you must socially distance from other groups. The 2021 Rainbow Bus Tour will unfortunately not be operating this year it looks like.

Bryce Canyon in One Day

Here are one day Bryce Canyon itinerary ideas to make sure you hit all the best viewpoints and hikes. Bonus, it is family friendly as well. Check out their Visitor’s Guide / Bryce Canyon Map. I find it helpful to visualize where I am going.

I’ve also put together a few sample one day itineraries to help get you started, after all the important info of viewpoints and hikes to try.

Scenic Drive In Bryce Canyon, UT

Before deciding on your plan for the day, it is a good  idea to get a feel for how Bryce Canyon National Park  is laid out, and where the major scenic areas are.

Whether you are looking to drive more  and hike less, or combine a hike or two along with some scenic driving, or focus more on hiking, there is something for everyone, including families.

One road winds its way into and through the park, taking you out and back to all the major viewpoints, and popular hiking trails. This 18mile / 29 km road is called the Scenic Drive for a reason, as the canyon full of hoodoos, is surrounded by forest and mountain backdrops.

There are famous views you’ll definitely not want to miss out on.

Tip:  One caution. April to October is peak time in the National Park, and often parking lots are crowded or full. You may want to consider taking the shuttle during the busy season, to avoid the headache of trying to find parking. There is a large parking lot at Shuttle Station, where you can catch the shuttle, if you don’t want to take it from Bryce Town. 

Scenic Areas of Bryce 

The Scenic Areas in the park are broken up into 3 main sections; Bryce Amphitheatre, Scenic Southern Drive and Mossy Cave.

  • Bryce Amphitheatre ( 1-3 hours to visit): Bryce Amphitheatre runs from miles 1-3 / 1.6 – 4.8km of the Scenic Road. Here you will find Sunrise & Sunset Points, Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, portions of the Rim Trail, and trailheads for Navajo Loop & Queen’s Garden Trails.
  • Scenic Southern Drive (4+ hour to visit ) – The Southern Drive is the main road which runs about a 30 min direct drive, ending at the highest elevation in the park at Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point. There are two main scenic areas along the way:
    • Natural Bridge – At Mile 12 / 19.3km. Natural Bridge, is a gorgeous stone arch carved out of eroded rock, about a 20 minute hike from the parking lot.  No walking is required though,  as the viewpoint is right in front of the parking lot.
    • Rainbow Point – Mile 18 / 29km. End of the Road.
  • Mossy Cave (4+ hour to visit)– Back out of park entrance, and head east along Highway 12. Mossy Cave Trail allows you up close view of hoodoos, without the 1,000 foot descent into the Bryce Amphitheatre. Plus it’s an easy trail for families.

Scenic Southern Drive – To Rainbow Point

The 30 minute scenic southern drive will take you from the park entrance, all the way to the end of the road at Rainbow Point. Many visitors drive to the end of the road first, then make their way back, stopping at all the 13 viewpoints along the way. 

From Rainbow Point, walk to the southern overlook of Yovimba Point for fabulous views of the whole park, as well as the sequence of rocks called the Grand Staircase (Pink Cliffs, Grey Cliffs, White Cliffs). It is a good place to orient yourself to the park landscape and geography.

Adult carrying a child in a backpack. Hiking along trail and hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce Canyon with kids
Photo: “kapulya / iStock.com”

Bryce Amphitheatre Viewpoints 

If this is your first visit, you’ll want to make sure to visit all the highlights of the  Bryce Amphitheatre. This covers the most visited and photographed areas of the park. These include the amazing viewpoints of:  Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point. 

These are also all stops along the shuttle route.

You don’t have to hike anywhere to start seeing amazing views of the Bryce Canyon hoodoos. These all have  viewpoints at or a  couple of minutes from the parking lots / shuttle stops. 

Early Morning – Sunrise Point Highlights

  • Sunrise Point is one of the first viewpoints as you enter the park 
  • Go at sunrise, it will be quieter and beautiful to watch the sun rise
  • Viewpoint is a short walk from the parking lot
  • Views: Boat Mesa & Sinking Ship to the northeast against the Pink Cliffs
  • Hikes: Trailhead for the easy to moderate Queen’s Garden Trail to Queen Victoria Hoodoo
  • Amenities: Bryce Canyon General Store – Open April to October; restrooms, drinking water, laundry, snacks

Sunset Point Highlights

  • Views:  The famous Thor’s Hammer and Silver City
  • Great for bird watching – keep an eye out for Violet-Green & Cliff Swallows, ravens, hawks, Steller’s Jays, White-throated Swifts
  • Hikes: Trailhead for Navajo Loop which heads down through the slot canyon of Wall Street and hooks up with Queen’s Garden Trail for a popular loop. Easy paved portion of the Rim Trail runs between Sunset and Sunrise Points.
  • Amenities: Restrooms and drinking water

Inspiration Point Highlights

  • Views: This point sits lower in canyon so you feel closer to the hoodoos
  • Hikes: Rim Trail hike between  Inspiration Point & Bryce Point is a fairly easy 1.5mi / 2.4km trail
  • Amenities: Washroom (closed in winter)

Bryce Point Highlights

  • Most Popular viewpoint. Also a stunning place to watch the sunrise.
  • Views: View of the entire Bryce Canyon amphitheater from a cliff-side viewing area
  • Hikes: Walk about ¼ mile along rim trail for the best view / photo-op of the Amphitheater, without a fenced in view. 
  • Amenities: None

You can also walk the Rim Trail between all these points, then catch the shuttle back to your car or to Bryce Town.

You may also like How to plan a Niagara Falls trip or 20+ Fun things to do in Stowe, VT

Bryce Canyon Hikes

If you only have one day in Bryce Canyon, you will have to be strategic as to which hike(s) to focus on. I’ve highlighted popular easy to moderate trails, as well as the average time it will take for each hike, so you can fit what works for your fitness level, and desired time on the trail. 

3 people hiking QUeen's Garden Trail, in Bryce Canyon, by hoodoos.
Queen’s Garden Trail – Bryce Canyon, UT
Photo: “PhotoSparks / iStock.com”

Rim Trail 

The Rim Trail is the Bryce Canyon hike which connects all the most popular viewpoints from the top of the Bryce Amphitheater, starting at Fairyland Point, ending at Bryce Point. The full trail is 11 mi / 17. 7km, however you can get on and off it at the various viewpoints and take the shuttle back to your car or the town as desired.

The easiest portion of the Rim Trail is the partially paved section between Sunset and Sunrise, which is wheelchair accessible (except in severe weather). The other sections are classified as moderately difficult.

Rim Trail Between Sunset and Sunrise Point – Easy (Partially Paved)

Length: 1mi / 1.6km (round trip) 

Time: 1 hour

Elevation Change: 34 feet / 10m

Difficulty – Easy (Easiest Trail in the Park)

Transportation: Park at Sunset Parking Lot or take shuttle and get off at stop 11 Sunset Point

Pets: Only section of the Rim Trail pets are allowed on. Must be leashed.

The RimTrail between Sunset and Sunrise Point is the easiest trail in the park, and is also wheelchair accessible, except in extreme weather. You’ll enjoy views of the hoodoos and amphitheater from above.

RECOMMENDED:  Navajo Loop Trail & Queen’s Garden Trail (Clockwise Direction) – Moderate

Length: 2.9 / 4.6km loop

Time: 2-3hours

Elevation Change : 600 feet / 183m

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailhead: Sunrise Point for Queen’s Garden trailhead

To have the full Bryce hiking experience, and if you and your family are looking for more hiking and stunning views, we (along with many many others) recommend combining the Navajo Loop Trail and Queen’s Garden.

Hiking in a clockwise direction is  recommended  to avoid walking up the switchbacks on the Loop trail. Start by hiking down the Queen’s Garden Trail to see wide awesome views of the Bryce Amphitheater in front of you, then back up through the Navajo Loop Trail.

Tips: It does get busy as it’s a popular hike due to the diversity of views and easy access. To beat the heat and crowds go early in the morning, and bring lots of water (and of course snacks).

In winter use the Two Bridges route for the Loop Trail, as Wall Street is usually closed.

If you don’t have the time or energy to do both, I’ve broken out the highlights of each. The Queen’s Garden Trail is considered the easiest of the Trails into the Bryce Amphitheatre

Queen’s Garden Trail – Moderate (& Easiest Into Bryce Amphitheater)

Length: 1.8mi / 2.9km (not a loop)

Time: 1 – 2 hours

Elevation Change : 357 ft / 109m

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailhead: Sunrise Point – Parking lot has restrooms / water fountains

The Queen’s Garden Trail is the least difficult trail into Bryce Amphitheatre. The trail head starts at Sunrise Point and follows the Rim Trail east before descending into the canyon for an up close look at the hoodoo and arches formed of rock, worn by erosion and the elements over time. The Queen’s Garden Trail ends appropriately at the Queen Victoria Hoodoo. 

Watch your kids, as there are winding narrow paths, and steep drop offs in some parts of the trail.

Navajo Loop Trail – Moderate

Overlook of canyon full of hoodoo rock formations.
Navajo Loop Trail
Photo: “Karlie Bennett / istock.com

Length: 1.3mi / 2.2km Loop (in summer only)

Time: 1-2 hours

Elevation Change: 550ft / 168m

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailhead: Sunset Point – Restrooms / Water / Picnic areas

The Navajo Loop Trail is more difficult than the Queen’s Garden Trail, so is better suited for older kids, or more active families used to hiking trails. Starting at Sunset Point this trail heads down into the canyon and back up again, and is only a loop in summertime.

Past Sunset point you’ll have two options. It is recommended to hike the trail in a counter-clockwise direction, heading towards Wall Street first, the only slot canyon in the area, then through Two Bridges.

This is the route most often photographed, showing the switchbacks between the canyon walls,Two Bridges and Thor’s Hammer.

Tips: In winter use the Two Bridges route for the Navajo Loop Trail, as Wall Street is usually closed. Two Bridges section of the trail is open year round.

Bryce Canyon with Kids

Bryce Canyon Family Friendly Hikes – Mossy Cave Trail & Falls

Small waterfall along Mossy Cave Trail.
Mossy Cave Falls
Photo: “Ben185 /istock.com”

Length: 0.8mi / 1.3km 

Time: 1 hour

Elevation Change: 200ft / 60m

Difficulty: Easy

The Mossy Cave Trail is the easiest hike in the park and very popular with families,  as it is a short hike, with little elevation change.

This streamside meander  follows the river, coming up close to hoodoos, arches, and ends at a waterfall and mossy cave in summer. Aha! That is where it gets its name. 

In cooler weather icicles form around the cave and waterfall area. 

This is the only trail  that also starts below the hoodoos, and doesn’t require a 1,000ft descent into the amphitheater. 

Tip: Mossy Cave Trail is a very popular spot. Go early in the morning before 10am or in the evening after 6pm to avoid the worst of the crowds.

Bryce Canyon with Kids: Junior Ranger Program

The Bryce Canyon Junior Ranger Program is a fun way to encourage your kids to enjoy learning about  the National Park and what it has to offer.

For ages 3+ , kids must complete two things.  One is to learn about the park, either by going through the museum, watching the Park 20 min movie, or attending a ranger led program.  The second is to complete fun, age appropriate activities in a special booklet.

You can pick up the booklet from the info desk at the Visitor Center or download from online. Once completed, head back to the Visitors Centre where a Park Ranger will confirm your child has completed the activities, lead the child in an oath and give them a cool badge. Great learning opportunity for us parents too.

“I Hiked the Hoodoos” Program 

Part scavenger hunt, part active adventure, the “I Hiked the Hoodoos program” is a great way to get your kids active, with a bonus reward at the end. To get the reward, kids must either hike at least 3 miles, or find 3 special “benchmarks.” The benchmarks are medallions hidden throughout the park on interpretive signs of more popular spots.

In order to get the special reward you must bring proof, either in the form of 3 pencil rubbings or selfies of you with the medallions to the Visitors Centre.

Heading to Zion as well? Check out Zion with Kids and our itinerary ideas for Zion National Park in a Day.

Bryce Canyon Ranger Programs

All the Ranger Programs in the park are free and family friendly, though some like the Full Moon hike are only suitable for older kids, and may be subject to a lottery system or advance booking for tickets.  Ranger programs are being offered with some modifications at this time. Check out their calendar for most up to date info

Summer Programs (Memorial Day to September) include:

  • Grand Staircase & Hoodoo Geology Talks (Yovimba & Sunset Points)
  • Rim Walk (Sunset Point)
  • Evening Program
  • Telescopes (Visitor Centre)
  • Kids Programs

Winter Programs (December to February) include:

  • Hoodoo Geology Talk
  • Snowshoe Hike
  • Constellation Tours

Year Round Programs include:

  • Full Moon Hikes (tickets by lottery)

Bryce Canyon Itinerary

Here are are a few samples of one day itineraries to draw inspiration from, that my family and I are completely into. 

Family Friendly One Day in Bryce Canyon Itinerary

Morning 

  • Sunrise at either Sunrise, Sunset or Bryce Point  – if ambitious
  • Visitor’s Centre
  • Early Morning Hike to Mossy Cave (start by 9am)
  • Picnic snack
  • Lunch at Bryce Lodge 

Afternoon 

  • Three hiking options to choose from:
    • Easy Hike – Sunset Point to Sunrise Point (or vice versa)
    • Moderate Hike (recommended) –  Navajo Loop Trail & Queen’s Garden Trail (Start at Sunset Point)
    • Moderate Hike (easiest into Bruce Amphitheater) – Queen’s Garden Trail (start at Sunrise Point)
  • Drive / Shuttle to Inspiration & Bryce Points

Evening

  • Sunset at Sunset Point (Walk the Rim Trail between Sunrise & Sunset Trail if you haven’t already) 
  • Star Gazing

Bryce Canyon Itinerary

Here is another option for a one day Bryce Canyon itinerary, that focuses on the main part of the National Park. It is also family friendly.

If you don’t want to hike in the heat, switch the order and do the hiking in the morning, and take the scenic drive, stopping at all the viewpoints in the afternoon or early evening.

Morning

  • Visitors Center
  • Drive the Scenic Southern Drive to Rainbow Point. 
  • Walk the southern overlook of Yovimba Point. 
  • Drive back, stopping at any of the 13 viewpoints that catch your eye; Don’t miss the Natural Bridge around mile 12 / 19km
  • Lunch at Bryce Lodge

Afternoon

  • Bryce Amphitheater view points. Stop at Bryce Point & Inspiration Point, Sunset Point & Sunrise Point
  • Three hiking options to choose from:
    • Easy Hike – Sunset Point to Sunrise Point (or vice versa)
    • Moderate Hike (recommended) –  Navajo Loop Trail & Queen’s Garden Trail (Start at Sunset Point)
    • Moderate Hike (easiest into Bruce Amphitheater) – Queen’s Garden Trail (start at Sunrise Point)
  • OR 2 – 4 hour Guided Trail Ride by horseback into the Amphitheater

Evening

  • Sunset at Sunset Point or Paria View
  • Star Gazing

Bryce Canyon One Day Itinerary – Hiking, Hiking, Hiking

Morning

  • Sunrise: Hike Sunset to Sunsrise Trail or watch from either Point
  • Visitors Center
  • Hike the Navajo Loop Trail & Queen’s Garden Trail (Start at Sunrise Point)
  • Lunch at Bryce Lodge

Afternoon

  • Visit scenic viewpoints of Inspiration Point and Bryce Point
  • Hike the Fairyland Loop Trail (Strenuous / Difficult) – Takes 4-5 hours and is 8mi / 12.9km long. Start at Fairyland Point, take the off shoot to visit  the Tower Bridge, includes the section of the Rim Trail that runs from Sunset Point to Fairyland Point.

Early Evening

  • Drive the Scenic Southern Drive to Rainbow Point. 
  • Stop at viewpoints that catch your fancy. Don’t miss the Natural Bridge at mile 12 / 19km

One Day in Bryce Canyon Conclusion

There you have it, all the best things to do if you have only one day in Bryce Canyon, UT. Plus all the details you’ll need to plan your trip, from accommodations, to Bryce Canyon hikes, viewpoints and itineraries.

What are you looking forward to the most on your Bryce Canyon, Utah adventure? Did we miss any of your favourite hikes or things to do? Let us know in the comments below, or connect with us on social media. We’d love to hear from you.

Related family travel destinations and travel tips


Packed for Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.ca.

2 thoughts on “Bryce Canyon in One Day – Detailed Guide (What NOT to Miss!)”

  1. Pingback: How Often Should You Take A Family Vacation? |

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

Scroll to Top