Are you planning the perfect Bryce Canyon in one day itinerary? This is the guide for you!
Swirling red hoodoos and desert landscape shape this whimsical Utah national park.
Not as popular as neighboring Zion or Arches, Bryce Canyon has a lot to offer.
It has seen a significant increase in visitors over recent years. Its prime location makes it easy to combine as a stop on a national parks road trip.
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Bryce Canyon Planning Details
Bryce Canyon is located in Southern Utah. Its prime location makes it an ideal road trip destination across the Southwest. It is close to a variety of top destinations:
- Zion to Bryce Canyon– 1 hour 20 minutes
- Grand Canyon to Bryce Canyon– 2 hours 40 minutes
- Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon– 4 hours
Bryce Canyon Weather
Bryce Canyon has comfortable temperatures year round.
Summer– Summer is high season at Bryce Canyon. Its average high temperature is 79℉ its average low low temperature is 40℉.
Winter– Winter at Bryce Canyon is cold with snow dusted hoodoos for a magical touch. It has an average high of 38℉ and low of 11℉.
Spring– Spring has a high of 62℉ and low of 19℉. The lowest spring temperature is in March as winter slowly transitions to spring.
Fall– Fall weather sees a high of 69℉ and low of 18℉. Temperatures drop this low in November when winter is near.
Park entrance is $35 per vehicle. Entrance is free of charge with the annual National Parks Pass. I highly recommend the pass for all national park adventures!
Bryce Canyon has several parking spaces.
Most trailheads and scenic pull-offs have a spacious parking lot.
Arriving early in the morning or later in the day always brings higher chances for the best parking spots.
What is a hoodoo?
Hoodoos are a thin, soft rock spire topped with harder rock that are formed from water erosion.
And they look like they’re from Mars. Bryce Canyon is home to the most hoodoos in the entire world. That’s what I call bragging rights!
If it wasn’t evident by finding one around every corner of the park, the hoodoo trademark shows itself on almost every souvenir.
You want a sticker? Hoodoo. How about a magnet? Hoodoo. Pencil pouch, sweatshirt, vase for your mother- you get the picture.
Best Things to do in Bryce Canyon in One Day
Hiking Bryce Canyon
There are so many amazing Bryce Canyon trails! Fairyland Loop and Figure 8 Loop are top rated challenging routes. Mossy Cave is an easier option with all of the same, beautiful red rocks.
Length: 8 miles
Fairyland Loop Trail is rated between moderate and difficult due to its 8 mile distance and 4-5 mile estimated hiking time.
Hikers experience frequent elevation changes as they descend into the canyon and return back to the rim.
Navajo Loop Trail
Length: 1.5 miles
I highly recommend the Navajo Loop Trail for one day visitors. This trail is the perfect amount of time.
Tip: You can also spot Thor’s Hammer from this route!
Mossy Cave Trail
Length: .4 miles
Mossy Cave trail is short and sweet. It’s great for visitors short on time! It’s also great for travelers who want to experience the park without taking a long hike.
The leisurely route is suitable for a variety of hiking levels.
When you hit a fork in the trail, be sure to explore both ways. To the right is a waterfall, and to the left is a mossy cave. And don’t forget being surrounded by hoodos!
Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive
The Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive is 18 miles along Highway 67. Some of the park’s most beautiful features can be experienced from these overviews.
I recommend visiting during golden hour for vibrant colors. The hoodoos are glowing just before sunset!
Some of the best pull-off stops include Agua Canyon, Ponderosa Point, Rainbow Point, and Natural Bridge.
Bryce Canyon Shuttle
A complimentary shuttle runs through Bryce Canyon April 1st – October 23rd.
Shuttles arrive at mapped stops approximately every 15 minutes.
Shuttle hours: 8:00am-6:00pm April 1st – May 13th, 8:00am-8:00pm May 14th – September 25th, and 8:00am-6:00pm September 26th – October 23rd.
The shuttle service is complimentary with park entrance.
Bryce Canyon Adventure Activities
There are some AMAZING hiking activities outside of the hiking trails at Bryce Canyon:
- Snow shoeing
- Cross country skiing and cross country skiing
Depending on your budget, adding on a tour or equipment rental may enhance your one day at Bryce Canyon. For budget travelers, I recommend skipping this and saving your money for fuel and accommodation costs.
Camping at Bryce Canyon
There are two campgrounds located within Bryce Canyon: North Campground and Sunset Campground.
North Campground– Open year-round. Online reservations can be made May 27th – October 15th, and first come first serve on site reservations are October 16th – May 26th.
Sunset Campground– Operates only on a first come first serve on site basis, April 15th – October 31st.
Sunset campground provides two ADA accessible camping sites which can be booked in advance with the park service via phone or e-mail.
Campers are welcomed to the complimentary shuttle service provided mid-April through mid-October.
Visitors can leave their car parked at the campground and shuttle their way through Bryce Canyon.
Where to stay near Bryce Canyon
Visitors can stay in Bryce Canyon National Park, or in one of the two closest towns. I enjoyed my stay at Bryce Country Cabins in Tropic, Utah.
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon is the only hotel located inside of the national park. There are two restaurants and a coffee shop on site. Rooms are equipped with a coffee maker but do not provide TVs or air conditioning.
Bryce Canyon City
Many visitors opt to stay in Bryce Canyon City, located just outside of the park. Visitors looking for a pool and inclusive breakfast buffet may enjoy a stay at Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Hotel or Best Western Plus Ruby’s.
If you choose to spend the night or extend your stay, Bryce Country Cabins is a local, cozy, and clean budget option located in Tropic, Utah. I personally stayed here on my trip and recommend it. Tropic is one of the closest cities outside of Bryce Canyon National Park with plenty of food and restaurant options.
Where to eat in Bryce Canyon
The closest food options to Bryce Canyon National Park are in Bryce Canyon City or Tropic.
For something lowkey, consider Pizza Place in Tropic.
Bryce Canyon Pines is one of the most highly rated restaurants in the area known for specialties such as apple pie. It also is a lodging option providing RV and tent campsites, in addition to a motel and cottage rooms.
Other thing to do near Bryce Canyon
Ready to explore more of the US Southwest?
Consider the following:
Bryce Canyon One Day Packing List
Here are a couple of can’t-miss items to toss in your suitcase when completing Bryce Canyon in one day.
Water Bottle– Hydration, hydration, hydration! I recommend at least a gallon of water per person for a full hiking day.
Hydration Backpack– Consider packing your water into a hydration backpack or similar water carrier bag like a Camelback. I have found this much less strenuous on my back, and there are still enough side pockets to hold your camera, snacks, and a sandwich.
For the chilly weather…
The Perfect Bryce Canyon In One Day Itinerary
Arrive at your accommodation one night ahead of time in order to maximize your day trip.
Wake up by 7:00am and begin the longest hiking trail of the day.
If choosing one of the most popular routes such as Fairyland Loop or Navajo Loop, it will be important to arrive early in order to secure parking closest to the trailhead.
Tip: Bryce Canyon Coffee Co and Bryce Canyon Pines are two coffee shops with light breakfast foods just outside of the park.
Enjoy lunch with a view! If you just completed the Navajo Loop, I recommend eating lunch at Sunset or Sunrise Point. (If you’re feeling hangry, this is the trail ending point!)
After lunch, make your way to Mossy Cave Trail for a short hike ending at a waterfall.
Polish your day off by cruising the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. Spend 45-60 minutes driving and admiring the views.
End the drive by watching the sunset over Rainbow Point or Natural Bridge.
Finally, enjoy dinner at Pizza Place in Tropic.
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