28 July, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Bryce Canyon National Park with kids

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Here comes the Day #3 of our South-Western Utah trip. 

Bryce Canyon National park in Southern Utah is famous for its crimson-colored hoodoos and spire-shaped rock formations. I can tell without any doubt that this the most beautiful national park we have visited so far. Our phones were filled with red sandstone pictures all over. It is no exaggeration when I say, the scenery is nothing like we have experienced before.

Read the previous travelogues here:

Zion National Park - Part1

Zion National Park - Part2


It's very interesting how these hoodoos are formed. They need 3 steps to form - 

  • deposition of rocks, 
  • uplift of the land, 
  • weathering and erosion 

Around 50 million years ago, this area was an ancient lake and flood plain system at sea level where several tiny particles from streams were deposited in the basin accumulating and cementing to become rocks. Later, due to tectonic plates shift, the land uplifted to higher elevation (now, Bryce is at an elevation of 9000 ft above sea level). This elevation, years of weather changes , and erosion made these beautiful hoodoos over the time. 

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Park Entrance:

Entrance fee is $35 per vehicle. 

We have our America the beautiful  Annual Pass which costed around $80.

On Day #3, we drove from Zion to Bryce Canyon. We reached Bryce canyon National park in the evening by 6pm. Since it's summer and there is enough day light till 8.30 PM, we started with the scenic drive. 

Scenic Drive:

Scenic drive is 18 miles from northern part of the entrance to Rainbow point. Shuttle is available to travel through scenic drive, but cars are also allowed.

It takes about 40 mins to drive to the southern end point of the scenic drive from visitor center. We stopped at all view points on the way. Here are some nice view points that you shouldn't miss - around amphitheater, Rainbow point, Sunrise sunset point, Bryce point, Inspiration point and Natural Bridge view point.

Natural bridge view is stunning and it's huge. It's great to see this unique rock formation without any hike.

Bryce point and Inspiration point are beautiful. They provide 360 degree views of the hoodoos.

We stayed near Sunset point to watch the Sunset. 


We stayed in Panguitch which is just 30 mins from the park. Here are some accommodation options to book:

How to Reach?

Las Vegas is the nearest airport for economic flight options. It's around 4 hrs drive from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon national park.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park:

On Day #4, we reached park after the breakfast and went directly to Sunrise point to hike the most popular trail - Queen's garden / Navajo loop trail. 

Queen's Garden / Navajo Loop Trail:

This hike is one way 3.9 miles. It will start at Sunrise point and ends at Sunset point through Queen's garden and Navajo loop. Initially we go down from Sunrise point and we walk through the hoodoos till Queen's Garden. The trail continues further and joins Navajo loop. The last part of the hike was very strenuous for me due to the elevation. 

You can see two bridges near the ending of the trail and also signs for Wall street while ascending up. Wall street is the only slot canyon in Bryce and the hike forks before two bridges on Navajo loop trail. Wall street was closed when we went, unfortunately.

The park itself is at an elevation of 8000 ft above sea level and so is usually colder in the evenings when compared to Zion national park. So, if you are visiting in any season other than summer, wear layers. 

This hike is wonderful for us to do with kids, but it's lengthy and is a steep climb at the end. We carried water, snacks and hydrating drinks. We took around 2 hrs 45 mins to finish. 

If this is tough for you, try the hike from Sunrise to Sunset point through Rim trail which is 1 mile or just Queen's garden trail which is 1.8 miles.

Bryce Lodge:

We took the shuttle to Bryce lodge, had lunch there and reached the car parking at Sunrise point through shuttle. Lunch was very good at Bryce lodge. There was a buffet with soups and salads.

Other trails:

Other easy trails are Mossy cave trail (0.8 miles) in the northern end of the park and Bristle cone loop trail which is  1 mile. Bristlecone loop trail was ok and we didn't like it that much.

We couldn't do another moderate trail on that day but Tower bridge trail is a good one for 3 miles. 

Mossy Cave Trail:

The trailhead is in the northern end of the park 4 miles east on highway 12. This is an easy 0.8 mile trail along the river which leads to a mossy cave. There is a little detour to reach a small waterfall. Don't miss that! That waterfall was gorgeous and it was like a cool oasis in scorching heat. 

Kids enjoyed the trail and could play in water. 

Parking is usually full here, so arrive either before 10 am or after 6pm. We hiked this trail in the evening around 5 pm and parking was available.

From there, we left Bryce canyon and drove through the highway 12 to reach Escalante National monument. More details on Escalante in the next post.


Here are some good food options near Bryce Canyon national park:

  • Cowboy Ranch House Bar & Restaurant, 13500 E, UT-12, Bryce, UT 84764
  • Ebenezer's barn and grill
  • stone hearth grille - fine dining with great views
  • Sweet water kitchen - scenic drive to it, more veg options
There is also a subway restaurant near the main entrance of the park.

So, that's about one of the most beautiful national parks in USA. See you in next travelogue.

Until next time,

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