10 Things to Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

If you find yourself in southern Utah, than you are most likely seeking an outdoor adventure.  Lucky for you, there are plenty of options to get outside and explore this incredible area through various national and state recreation areas.  Bryce Canyon became a National Monument in 1923, then a National Park in 1928.  As one of the five national parks in Utah, it’s a popular destination despite it’s remote location.  If you choose to make this one of your stops in Utah, perhaps one or more of these 10 activities are just what you are looking for.

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1. Visitor Center

If you’re unsure of what to see at this large national park, perhaps a stop to the visitor center is a great start to your visit.  The visitor center is open every day except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year’s and offers an exhibit/museum area, a short informational video, restrooms, and a bookstore.  If you are planning on heading into the backcountry, the rangers at the help desk are available.  Rangers also give short geology talks daily.  For the current schedule of all special programs, check in at the visitor center.

2. Camping

If you love being in the great outdoors, Bryce Canyon has two separate campgrounds located close to the visitor center.  The North campground is open year round and offers 99 campsites.  The Sunset campground is closed mid-October through mid-April and offers 100 campsites including one group site.  Both campgrounds have flush toilets, drinking water, and can accommodate RVs and tents.

Camping reservations can be made for some sites while others operate on a first come first serve basis.  If you are hoping to reserve a spot, you can book online through ReserveAmerica. 



3. Hiking

If hiking is an activity you enjoy, then you are in luck.  Bryce Canyon has miles of trails ranging from easy to strenuous.  Nearly all the hikes in Bryce Canyon are interconnected allowing for a customized hiking experience.  No matter which trail you are hiking, make sure have plenty of water, stay on the trails, and wear proper clothing.

Hiking among the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park makes you feel quite small.
Hiking among the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park makes you feel quite small.

4. Horseback Riding

Enjoy horseback riding through Bryce Canyon April 1 – October 31.  If you have never been on horseback, this is a great opportunity!  Two or three hour rides are available where you will discover the amazing views while learning the history and geology of Bryce Canyon.

5. Backcountry Hiking and Camping

After viewing the hoodoos and various rock formations, take a longer hike under the rim of the plateau and into forested area.  There are twelve different backcountry campsites available for the more adventurous outdoor explorer.  To obtain a backcountry permit, stop by the visitor center in person as reservations can not be made over the phone.

6. Astronomy Festival

One of the best places to see the stars is from southern Utah.  Each year, there is 4-day Astronomy Festival held in June.  The festival includes various 1-hour presentations, stargazing at telescope field, constellation tours, solar viewing, and planisphere practice.  Make sure to download the brochure before you attend as this festival is packed with lots of activities.

7. Geology Festival

Similar to the Astronomy Festival, Bryce Canyon offers a 2-day Geological Festival every July.  The festival includes guided hikes with a park ranger, family-friendly geology programs, bus tours with a geologist, and 1-hour presentations.



8. Picnicking

The views of the hoodoos and other geological features provides a wonderful location for a picnic.  Pack a lunch and stop at one of the various locations throughout the park for a mid-day break.

9. Ranger Programs

Throughout the year, rangers lead a variety of programs.  Geology talks, rim walks, kids programs, evening discussions, full moon hikes, astronomy programs, and stargazing with telescopes are all offered.  Stop by the visitor center to find the most up-to-date program information complete with starting locations and times.

A lone pine tree grows from the inside the many crevices in Bryce Canyon National Park.
A lone pine tree grows from the inside the many crevices in Bryce Canyon National Park.

10. Winter Programs

In the winter, join a ranger-led snowshoe hike or full moon snowshoe hike.  Make sure to come well prepared with water, layers of clothes, gloves, hat, and snow boots.  Snowshoes and poles will be provided at the visitor center, if you are properly dressed.

More Information

If any of these activities are for you, click on one of the links below for more information.  For fee based activities such as horseback riding, camping, and festivals, prices are subject to change without notice.

Canyon Trail Rides offers horseback riding in Bryce Canyon National Park and is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service.  You can find out more information via their website: www.canyonrides.com

The best resource for any national park is their website.  Bryce Canyon National Park is no different.  Access their website here: www.nps.gov/brca  From here, you can find the latest festival information, ranger programs, hiking information, specific backcountry information, and any current park alerts.

Camping reservations can be made for some sites while others operate on a first come first serve basis.  If you are hoping to reserve a spot, you can book online through ReserveAmerica.

Have you been to Bryce Canyon?  If you’ve been, I’d love to hear your favorite part of the park.  It was one of my favorite trips so far!  Hiking the hoodoos is truly like hiking through a red rock forest.

What is life but one grand adventure.