Hoodoos Galore!

Bryce Canyon National Park

Come for Thor's Hammer, stay for the countless colorful hoodoos and amphitheaters.

7,900 to 9,115 Feet
Bryce Canyon National Park is a United States National Park located in southwestern Utah. The park's major feature is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not actually a canyon but rather a collection of natural amphitheaters and hoodoos that are formed by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The orange, pink, and red colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors.


Bryce Canyon is known for its hoodoos, which are tall spire-like rock formations that were formed as a result of wind and water erosion over hundreds of thousands of years. The park also features many other unique formations including slot canyons, natural arches and bridges, monoliths, and spires. Geologically, the area has a rich history and is composed of sedimentary rocks from the Cretaceous, Paleocene, and Oligocene periods. The sedimentary rocks are predominantly limestone and sandstone which have been carved out over time by water and wind erosion leaving behind colorful walls of rock known as cliffs. This makes Bryce Canyon National Park an ideal destination for geologists and those interested in the history of the area.


The area now known as Bryce Canyon National Park was first explored by Mormon pioneers in the mid-1800s. In 1872, Ebenezer Bryce became one of the first settlers in what is now called Bryce Canyon and established a homestead at the foot of the canyon walls. He named the area after himself and it quickly became a popular spot for tourists and adventurers. In 1928, Bryce Canyon became a national park and today, visitors to the park can explore the area's beautiful landscape by taking guided tours or hiking the numerous trails that wind through the canyon walls.


Bryce Canyon National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including mule deer, elk, coyotes, rabbits, and many species of birds. Visitors may also spot lizards and snakes sunning themselves on the rocks or see hawks soaring overhead. Additionally, the park is home to several endangered species including Utah prairie dogs, thick-billed parrots, and peregrine falcons.
Photo gallery

Things to do


Back-country hiking trails wind across the forested plateau and down through the Bryce Canyon hoodoos. There are numerous loop trails to travel, along with various trail that follow the rims of the amphitheaters. With elevations ranging between 6.500' and 9,000' it is important to consider your physical abilities primarily for the uphill portions of these trails. Oxygen is more scarce, and trails are fairly steep at times so bring snacks, water, good hiking shoes, and your camera. Most trails start high and descend, so a common mistake is to not realize how difficult the ascent may be until you've descended many hundreds of feet. Trails for walking or hiking are normally well maintained, but remember that erosion is always occurring. Stay on trails and avoid damaging sensitive foliage.

Easy to Moderate

  • Bristlecone Loop - (1-hour walk/hike - Rainbow Point).
  • Mossy Cave (Accessed via Scenic Byway 12. Near Tropic Utah, one hour hike).
  • Queens Garden / Navajo Loop (From Sunrise and/or Sunset Point - 2-3 hours).
  • Rim Trail (Walk as far as you choose along the main amphitheater rim).
  • Tower Bridge (2-3 hours, north of Sunrise Point).

Challenging Hikes

  • Fairyland Loop (4-5 hours, Fairyland Point).
  • Peekaboo Loop (3-4 hours, Bryce Point).

Planning your trip

Bryce Canyon National Park is a great destination for hikers, campers, and photographers. The park offers many activities to do including camping, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, photography, bird watching, and star gazing. Whether you want to explore the hoodoos or take in the stunning views of the canyon walls from one of the numerous viewpoints, there is something for everyone.

Bryce Canyon is located just off National Scenic Byway 12 which is rated as one of the top scenic byways in America. Nearby Red Canyon in the Dixie National Forest, and Kodachrome Basin State Park are two destinations that may be easily included in a travel itinerary.

When planning a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, be sure to check the park’s website or visit a local visitor center for information on current conditions and tips on how to best experience the park. The weather in the area can vary greatly so it's important to plan accordingly and dress appropriately.


  • BRYCE CANYON AIRPORT: There are available scenic day-trip flights from Las Vegas. There are also local scenic aerial tours available that depart from this airport.
  • CEDAR CITY REGIONAL AIRPORT: Connecting flights available from Salt Lake City are available. One and a half hour drive to the park.
  • GEORGE REGIONAL AIRPORT: Connecting flights from Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and other regional metro area. Two-hour drive to Bryce Canyon.
  • LAS VEGAS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Flights to and from many foreign and domestic destinations. Four-hour drive to the park.
  • SALT LAKE CITY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Another major airport hub with flights to and from many foreign and domestic destinations. Four-hour drive to Bryce Canyon National Park.


Bryce Canyon National Park offers a variety of lodging options, particularly in the cities of Bryce Canyon City, Tropic, Panguitch and Hatch. Lodging options range from hotel rooms and campgrounds to cabins and vacation homes.


There are a number of restaurants and fast-food places in the cities and towns that are mentioned above. Restaurants range from fine dining spots to fast-food places that will give you a quick meal if you need it.


Entry into Bryce Canyon National Park has fees per vehicle and fees per person for those on foot, bike, or motorcycle. Other fees and permits may be required for certain activities, such as camping or backcountry use. Be sure to check with the park before you arrive to make sure you have all of the necessary information or check out the National Park website for more information.


Pets are welcome in Bryce Canyon National Park but must be kept on a leash at all times and cannot enter park buildings or lodges. Dogs are also not allowed on any of the backcountry trails or within 100 feet of water sources. It is important for pet owners to always clean up after their pets, as well as remain mindful of wildlife and other visitors.


Bryce Canyon City is located just outside the park and has a great selection of food, supply, and souvenir options. There are several cities and towns around Bryce Canyon (Tropic, Panguitch) which offer a variety of shopping options, from souvenir shops to grocery stores and everything in between. Whether you’re looking for hiking gear, camping supplies or just a few mementos to take home with you, there’s something for everyone.


Bryce Canyon can be a busy place on most weekends between April and mid-October. Weekdays may also be busy during this time frame. Many people have learned that starting very early is a good way to beat the crowds. The other best choice is to visit the park later in the afternoon when many visitors may be leaving the park. For the best experience on busy days we suggest you obtain a parking spot early and select lesser-known trails.

Nearby Activities & Attractions 

Horseback riding

Horseback Riding in Bryce Canyon is available during warmer months (April – October, weather permitting). Horseback Riding in Bryce Canyon is available during warmer months (April – October, weather permitting). ATV tours, helicopter tours and other guided experiences are also available. Local outfitters and guides provide hiking, horseback riding, UTV or ATV experiences, bike rentals (pedal/electric), and more. View listings for these outfitters below.

Red Canyon

Northwest of Bryce Canyon along Scenic Byway 12, and two miles east of the junction with Highway 89, you'll find Red Canyon. This area looks much like Bryce Canyon and is a part of the Dixie National Forest.

Kodachrome basin

Just 20 minutes from Bryce Canyon National Park is Kodachrome Basin State Park. This Utah state park offers 67 sedimentary chimney rocks, ranging from up to 170 feet in height. Researchers have determined that this area was once a geyser basin similar to what is found in Yellowstone National Park. Over time, when the geysers ceased to function, the remaining holes created by the geyser were filled with sediment. This debris hardened into rock and was more dense than the surrounding strata which eventually eroded away, leaving these hardened sediment towers standing as tall remnants of the geyser era.


  • Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Lake Powell / Glen Canyon
  • Anasazi Indian Villages State Park
  • Calf Creek Falls
  • Devils Garden
  • Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
  • Scenic Byway 12


Photographers will appreciate the colorful array of towers and vistas. Best light for rim shots is morning and evenings but light conditions can be different among some of the narrow passages among the hoodoos. Sunsets and sunrises are breathtaking and puffy monsoon season clouds may be frequent in summer but less prevalent in winter. Bryce Canyon National Park has great protection from man-made lights and is designated an International Dark Sky destination.

National Parks

Bryce Canyon

Learn more

Capitol Reef

Learn more


Learn more

Grand Canyon

Learn more

Great Basin

Learn more

See All

Learn more