Bryce Canyon One Day Itinerary

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Utah’s big 5 national parks are all amazing. But Bryce Canyon is the one with the biggest wow factor when you first set eyes on the place.

Seeing Bryce Canyon Amphitheater for the first time is a jaw dropping experience. The largest collection of hoodoos in the world is at Bryce Canyon National Park.

This one day itinerary for Bryce Canyon National Park will help you plan your trip to see the spectacular hoodoos at Bryce.

Looking out onto the vast panoramic view of hundreds of hoodoos is an experience of a lifetime. You definitely want to add Bryce Canyon to your Utah bucket list.

When I arrived at Bryce Canyon, I parked near the Bryce Canyon Lodge and walked to Sunset Point. Awestruck with the sight of so many hoodoos I couldn’t help but smile and feel grateful for the experience.

Bryce Canyon National Park Utah in One Day

What are hoodoos? Hoodoos are tall skinny spires of rock formed over thousands of years due to erosion. Other names for Hoodoos include Tent Rocks and Fairy Chimneys.

If you’ve seen the hoodoos around Drumheller Alberta, or in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota, you’ll notice they look different than the Bryce hoodoos.

The rock formations at Bryce are part of the Claron Formation, consisting of limestone, mudstone, siltstone, and dolomite.

Now let’s look at some of the details you’ll need to plan a day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park.

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Getting to Bryce

Here are driving times to Bryce from some popular places

  • Las Vegas 4 hours
  • Salt Lake City 4 hours
  • Cedar City 1.5 hours
  • Zion National Park 1.5 hours

I stayed in Cedar City as my home base for southern Utah. The drive to Bryce Canyon from Cedar City is scenic and enjoyable.

Can you visit Bryce Canyon from Zion National Park in one day? Yes! It’s about a 1.5 hour drive from Zion to Bryce so it’s doable for a day trip.

If you are flying into Las Vegas I suggest going to Zion National Park first, only 2.5 hour drive. Then visit Bryce as a day trip or spend a few nights at Bryce if you have time.

Bryce National Park Utah

Bryce Canyon in Winter

Bryce Canyon is open year round. In winter there are some road closures and some facilities may shut down during winter season.

Check the Bryce National Park website for more info on visiting during winter.

Winter at Bryce Canyon means snow! Snowshoeing is a popular activity at Bryce Canyon in winter. There is a ranger program that offers free snowshoeing at Bryce Canyon.

Registration is required and you must have waterproof hiking boots or snow boots.

How about a full moon snowshoe hike? You can do that at Bryce! You can rent your own equipment in Bryce Canyon City or take part in the Bryce ranger led full moon snowshoe hikes from November through March.

Tickets are handed out via a lottery system. You can sign up at the Bryce Canyon visitor center auditorium.

Where to Stay Near Bryce

Lodgings in Bryce Canyon National Park include cabins, motel rooms, and guest suites. All are operated by Forever Resorts. As of this writing the winter rates for the motel rooms are $130 per night.

And the Western Cabins (May 1 – Oct 31 only) are over $200 per night. Guest suites at the main lodge are $270 per night.

Get more information about staying at the Bryce Canyon Lodge at the Forever Resorts website. Note they do not allow pets at Bryce Canyon Lodge. But other hotels near Bryce do!

Bryce National Park

Accommodation near Bryce Canyon

The good news is there are a lot of places to stay near Bryce National Park. But the top places get booked well in advance during high season.

My suggestion is that you check the listing of accommodations near Bryce Canyon and use the filters to select items such as star rating, review ratings, things to do nearby, facilities etc.

I always read a lot of the reviews and look at all the photos on before I make my selection. Some places allow you to book without paying anything in advance, others requires a deposit upon booking.

If you know your travel dates then your best bet is to book it now. You don’t want to wait too long and find out your favorite locations are totally booked.

Book your accommodation near Bryce Canyon now!

Dining at Bryce

You could pack a picnic lunch for Bryce Canyon, but you don’t have to because there is a restaurant at the Bryce Lodge (open April – October).

But it gets busy and you’ll probably have to wait a bit for your table so plan ahead and get on the waiting list.

I brought snacks with me to eat during breaks while hiking around Bryce Canyon. Then I went to the restaurant at the Bryce Canyon lodge for lunch.

They have a lunch buffet, soups, elk chili, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, and specialty items including bison meatloaf sandwich, shrimp tacos, fish and chips and more.

The Lodge at Bryce Canyon Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner but they are closed for 1.5 hours between breakfast and lunch; and closed for 2 hours between lunch and dinner. They also serve wine and beer and have a children’s menu.

Lodge at Bryce Canyon Restaurant Hours

Open April – October

Breakfast  7 am to 10 am

Lunch  11:30 am – 3 pm

Dinner  5:00 pm – 10 pm

View of Bryce Point amphitheater

View of Bryce Point Amphitheater

Valhalla Pizza is another option at Bryce Lodge. They are open from late May until around the end of September.

From November to March your dining options are more limited at Bryce National Park. Bring a picnic lunch or plan on driving outside the park to get something to eat.

Here are a couple of places to try:

Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill at 110 East Center St, Bryce Canyon City

Ruby’s Inn Cowboy’s Buffet and Steak Room at 26 South Main Street, Bryce Canyon City

If you book a room at Ruby’s it includes free buffet breakfast.

Why is it called Bryce Canyon?

Bryce Canyon is named for the man who settled in the area with his family in 1875. Ebenezer Bryce, a skilled carpenter, was sent to the area by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). They figured his carpentry skills would be a good asset while settling the area.

Then other people in the area started calling the canyon and surrounding area Bryce’s Canyon.

Even though Ebenezer Bryce and his family moved to Arizona in 1880 everyone still called the area Bryce Canyon.

Bryce National Park hoodoos

Erosion gives Bryce hundreds and hundreds of hoodoos

Can you see Bryce in 1 Day?

Yes! You can easily see the highlights of Bryce Canyon in one day including the Bryce Canyon amphitheater, hiking, and a scenic drive to the Bryce Point Overlook.

If you have more time, then it’s worthwhile to spend two or three days at Bryce to see more of the park and do the longer hikes at Bryce Canyon.

Plus enjoy watching the sunrise and sunset at Bryce Canyon and stare at the night skies.

For instance, it takes a minimum of 3 hours to drive the 38 mile scenic drive in Bryce Canyon. That’s not including stopping for photos, hiking, picnicking, etc.

There are 13 viewpoints along this beautiful drive.

Tourists at Bryce Point Overlook

Bryce Point Overlook offers great views of Bryce Amphitheater

3 Easy to Moderate Hikes at Bryce Canyon

There are some cool hikes to do at Bryce Canyon! You can walk along the rim trail and go hiking among the hoodoos. I suggest doing a bit of both types of hikes, so you get to see Bryce Canyon from different viewpoints.

Sunset Point to Sunrise Point

  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6 km) one way
  • Duration: 30 minutes but you’ll want to stop and gawk and take photos so allow 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy

This trail follows a paved walkway along the rim trail. Beautiful views.

Navajo Loop

  • Distance: 1.3 miles (2.2 km)
  • Duration: 30 min to 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
Bryce Canyon trail signs to Sunrise Point and Navajo Loop Trail

Bryce Canyon trails are well marked and easy to follow

Navajo Loop combined with Queen’s Garden

  • Distance: 2.9 miles (4.6 km)
  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This is my favorite hike at Bryce because you get to walk down into the canyon around the hoodoos.

While hiking remember to bring enough water – at least 1 liter (quart) per 2 hour hike per person. I carry a small 18 oz water container plus a larger 40 oz stainless water container in my backpack. Bring some snacks too!

Also note that elevation is above 9,000 feet so you may feel the effects if you are not used to higher elevations. Stop and rest whenever you feel tired.

Dress according to the weather. In winter time and when temperatures fluctuate wear layers, gloves, and a hat. You should also wear crampons in winter when hiking in snow and icy conditions on the trails.

In summer bring sunglasses, wide brimmed hat, and wear long sleeves to protect your skin from the hot sun. And remember to apply sunscreen.

You probably need to hike at a slower pace if you are not accustomed to the elevation. And no problem, the views are amazing all over Bryce so stop and savor the moment.

Hiking the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon a man walks through a doorway in the rock formation

Hiking the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

Lightning Storms at Bryce Canyon

Did you know that Bryce Canon has the highest density of lightning hazard in Utah? People have become injured and a few have died from lightning strikes at Bryce National Park.

Educate yourself about lightning safety so that you are prepared if there is a chance of thunderstorms when you visit Bryce. The National Park Service created this brochure about lightning safety.

July and August are the months with the highest chance of thunderstorms at Bryce. Usually the storms occur in the afternoons, so it’s best to plan your hikes for early mornings.

Bryce National Park Thor's hammer hoodoo

Thor’s hammer hoodoo stands out at Bryce National Park

1 Day Itinerary at Bryce Canyon

This itinerary for a day at Bryce Canyon National Park will give you all the basic info you need to plan an amazing road trip to Bryce Canyon.

Start your day at Sunset Point Overlook. Take some time to enjoy the view and take a few photos of this grand view of the Bryce Amphitheater.

Hike Navajo Loop Trail so you can see the hoodoos up close and experience Bryce Canyon from ground level. You could also combine Navajo Loop with Queen’s Garden for a longer hike, that’s what I did.

Enjoy lunch at the Lodge at Bryce Canyon (April through October) or bring your own picnic lunch and dine outdoors at Bryce.

Afterwards take the shuttle bus to Bryce Point Overlook for more spectacular views of Bryce Amphitheater.

From Bryce Point you can hike back to the lodge along the rim trail. It’s 2.5 miles (4 km) and offers spectacular views.

After a rest and a snack you can walk the trail from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point and back. Full hike is 2 miles (3.2 km) and a wonderful place to bid farewell to Bryce Canyon.

Be safe and enjoy visiting Bryce Canyon National Park. Use the social media buttons below to share this post with your friends!

Navajo Loop Trail Bryce Canyon

Navajo Loop Trail Bryce Canyon allows you to walk among the hoodoos

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Bryce Canyon National Park Utah in One Day

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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling solo around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 5 of a solo road trip around the USA and Canada, living a nomadic life, and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

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