When to visit
- Very Favourable
What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
This unique national park is characterized by its natural amphitheatres containing hundreds of irregularly-eroded rocky spires and pillars topped by a rock "cap", called Hoodoos.
Trappers passing through during the 19th century remarked on the area's difficult terrain, while Ebenezer Bryce, who settled here with his family in 1875, famously quipped that it was “a hell of a place to lose a cow!”.
Bryce Canyon National Park was officially designated in 1928 and named in Bryce's honor.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Season: Open year-round, 24 hours a day.
Visitor Center: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from May-September, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in October and April, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from November to March. Closed on December 25 and Thanksgiving (4th Thursday in November).
Entry fee: $35/vehicle including occupants. Valid 7 days. Purchase the America the Beautiful Pass for $80 if you plan to visit more than 2-3 parks.
Busy period: March to October. Arrive before 8 a.m. or after 3 p.m. to avoid the traffic.
Shuttle service inside the park? Yes, from mid-April to the end of October (see box below).
- If you're coming from Nevada or California, don't forget to set your watches to Mountain Time, 1 hour ahead!
- Because the park is at an elevation of over 2,500 metres, it can get quite cold. Be sure to bring appropriate warm clothing. There is even snow in the winter!
The Bryce Amphitheater area is the most visited section of the park.
This is the first of the four Bryce Amphitheater viewpoints, and the closest to the Visitor Center.
Aptly-named Sunrise Point offers an unforgettable sunrise experience as the first rays of the rising sun bathe the landscape in hues of orange.
QUEEN’S GARDEN TRAIL
Length (round-trip): 2.9 km
Duration (round-trip): 1-2 hours
From Sunrise Point, the magnificent Queen's Garden Trail leads through the hoodoo forest for a closer look at these wonderful, multi-coloured eroded rock sculptures.
After just 30 minutes (1.2 km), this easy trail passes Queen's Garden, named after a rock formation said to bear a striking resemblance to Queen Victoria.
On the way back, you can return via the Navajo Loop Trail to the next viewpoint at Sunset Point.
SHUTTLE OR CAR?
As in many U.S. national parks, Bryce Canyon National Park has a well-organized free shuttle service with stops at viewpoints and other points of interest within the Bryce Amphitheater area of the park. Shuttles offer continuous service to reduce waiting times (buses run about every 10-15 minutes in high season).
From May to September, there is even a shuttle tour of Rainbow Point and the southern area of the park, twice a day (9 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.). Reservations are required in person at the shuttle offices at Ruby's Inn or Ruby's Campground. Passengers board at the shuttle boarding areas in Bryce Canyon City, including Ruby's Inn and Ruby's Campground.
You can park at the Bryce Canyon Shuttle Parking (near Ruby's Inn) or Ruby's Campground. You could choose to take your car, but using the shuttle service will allow you to get around easily with no waiting in traffic, help protect the environment and avoid parking problems!
* Note that vehicles measuring 19 feet (6 metres) or longer are restricted from certain areas during shuttle hours. You can park your RV in the Additional Parking Lot across from the Visitor Center and use the shuttle to get around. Ask the park staff before setting out with your RV!
Another magnificent view of Bryce Canyon.
Despite its name, we prefer Bryce Point viewpoint for watching the sun set over the amphitheater.
You are bound to be inspired by the spectacular view of the many rows of stone statues stretching all the way to Sunset Point.
If you feel like it, you can walk from here to Bryce Point along the Rim Trail , an easy trail that follows the edge of the cliff above the Bryce Amphitheater (about 1 hour, and you can return by shuttle).
Bryce Point, the southernmost viewpoint, offers one of the most scenic vistas of the full amphitheater from its elevation of 2,528 metres.
What could be better than sunset at Bryce Point for a beautiful way to end your day?
Where to eat
- $ Inexpensive
- $$ Moderate
- $$$ Upscale
- $$$$ Fine dining
Restaurants around Bryce are said to be decent but nothing more, and your safest bet may be to bring your own food if possible (for a picnic).
THE LODGE AT BRYCE CANYON ($$-$$$)
Here you will find rustic elegance, a warm atmosphere and some of the best dining in the area, prepared from organic and regional products. The restaurant has two large stone fireplaces and beautiful bay windows overlooking the park. The menu changes regularly, but generally serves Alaskan sockeye salmon or rainbow trout, steaks, including buffalo sirloin, pasta and vegetarian dishes.
Open daily from early April to late October, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for breakfast, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch, and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner.
STONE HEARTH GRILLE ($$$-$$$$)
This gem of a restaurant is located in the small town of Tropic, about 20 minutes from the Bryce National Park Visitor Center, but is well worth the detour. The staff want your dining experience to be unique and memorable, and will do everything they can to make it a success. You are sure to be charmed by the superb poultry, beef and seafood dishes, topped with one of the delicious sauces made entirely in-house. To top it all off, the deck offers breathtaking views. Be sure to make a reservation!
Open from early March to late October, daily from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where to sleep ?
- Very Favourable