Are you trying to decide what to do in Bryce Canyon National Park? The park is home to an amazing collection of orange hoodoos, and the scenery is like nowhere else on earth.
However, there is much more to do than just admire the hoodoos. Here is my list of the best things to do at Bryce Canyon National Park so you can get the most out of your trip there.
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Best Things To Do in Bryce Canyon National Park
Now that you’ve decide to visit Bryce Canyon, what to do there is no doubt forefront in your mind. I’ve included activities here for various interests, fitness levels, and even times of the year.
17. Watching a Rodeo
If you’re looking for things to do around Bryce Canyon in the evening, you can tap into the wild west by watching a rodeo! Rodeos are held nightly at 7:00PM Wednesday to Saturday from the Memorial Day weekend Saturday until mid-August. They are run by Ruby’s Inn at the Ruby’s Inn Rodeo Grounds.
Tickets can be purchased at Ruby’s Inn, the entrance to the rodeo grounds, or online.
16. Immersing Yourself in a Virtual Reality Show
Another of the fun things to do outside of Bryce Canyon is to enjoy a virtual reality show. This is a great rainy-day activity, too.
Offered by Ruby’s Inn, there are two different shows to choose from – Soaring Southern Utah, which is like flying in a helicopter over southern Utah, and Montezuma’s Treasure Ride, an animated ride in a mine cart to find lost Aztec treasure. Strap on a VR headset and enjoy the ‘ride’.
15. Fly Fishing
There is great trout fishing at several places in the Bryce Canyon area. Popular places include Pine Lake, the Tropic Reservoir, and the beautiful blue Panguitch Lake in Dixie National Forest. For river fishing, East Fork Sevier River and Crawford Creek are common places with plenty of fish.
Canyoneering is one of the top things to do in Bryce Canyon, Utah if you are up for an adventure. “Canyoneering” is the broad term used for navigating through canyons – mostly it involves rappelling down into narrow canyons, but can also involve wriggling through narrow sections and sometimes even swimming through rock pools. It’s great fun.
The area around nearby Zion National Park has dozens of narrow slot canyons that are perfect for exploring.
One trip available actually starts with an ATV ride to a slot canyon, a hike to the top of the canyon, and then a rappel down into the canyon. The departure point is about an hour from Bryce Canyon.
If you have less time available, another great option is this 2.5-hour trip that also starts with a short ATV ride, then you climb up the Via Ferrata (iron rungs embedded into a cliff wall) and rappel back down.
13. Watching Wildlife
Wildlife isn’t often the first things that springs to most people’s minds when they think about Bryce Canyon, but in fact there are almost 60 species of mammals and 175 different birds.
The most common animal seen is the mule deer, but you may also see coyotes, bobcats, Utah prairie dogs, and even porcupines. So, you can add looking for wildlife to your ‘Bryce Canyon: things to do’ list.
12: Enjoying a Western Cookout and Show
One of the best things to do in Bryce National Park in the evening is the western cookout and show at Ebenezers, located in Bryce Canyon City across the road from Ruby’s Inn. Enjoy live country & western music while enjoying a delicious BBQ dinner. Open nightly from late April to late October.
11. Thrilling at the Bryce Canyon Zipline
If you’re looking for fun things to do near Bryce Canyon, ziplining is a great choice. Kanab Zipline used to operate in the area, but has now closed.
An alternative, Zion Zipline, is slated to open soon. There will be four zip lines totaling 3,500 feet. Check their website for updates.
10. ATV Bryce Canyon Tours/ Rental
There are plenty of ATV trails near Bryce Canyon and if you want to ATV in Bryce Canyon, you can either choose a tour or rent an ATV and go by yourself.
One-Hour ATV tours Bryce Canyon National Park Enjoy a one-hour guided ride on an ATV through a ponderosa pine forest to the rim of Bryce Canyon. This is a great introduction to ATVing. Book a short Bryce Canyon ATV tour
Guided UTV tour to Peekaboo Slot Canyon with sandboarding If you want the thrill of being in a UTV without having to do the driving yourself, then this activity is the one for you. A guide drives, while you enjoy the fun. Optional sand boarding included. Book a family-friendly UTV tour with sandboarding.
There are several businesses offering ATV rentals near Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Wildlife Adventure have 4-seaters for 2- and 4-hour rentals. Book their ATV rentals: Bryce Canyon, Utah
Biking in Bryce Canyon National Park is a great way to see the park at your own speed, without having to wait for the shuttle or to drive yourself.
Although there aren’t many bike trails in Bryce Canyon National Park, there is a shared-use path that runs five miles all the way from Inspiration Point to the shuttle parking in Bryce Canyon City. The shared use path continues for another 13 miles to Red Canyon and the Thunder Mountain Trail. This path is only for pedal bikes; not e-bikes.
8. Participating in Ranger Programs
There are several ranger-led activities in Bryce Canyon National Park offered throughout the year. Geology talks are given daily at Sunset Point throughout the year. In the main summer season, there are night sky telescope programs and evening programs where you may learn about Bryce Canyon history, geology or ecology. There are guided snowshoe hikes in winter.
7. Enjoying a Scenic Flight
See the canyon from a whole different perspective on a scenic flight over the canyon.
Bryce Canyon Airlines offers helicopter and small plane flights over Bryce Canyon and other nearby attractions such as Grand Staircase-Escalante and Monument Valley. There are several flights of different lengths. Visit their website for flight options.
Another choice is to fly from Moab over Canyonlands National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. Both are truly incredible when seen from the air! Book a scenic flight over Canyonlands and Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Canyon National Park is an official International Dark Sky Park (IDSP). This means that it is one of the few patches of real darkness in the United States. Which makes for great stargazing.
In summer, national park rangers lead guided astronomy activities where, after a short presentation, you can look through telescopes and they will help you identify what you’re seeing. There are no reservations taken – but I recommend getting there about 15 minutes early to secure a good spot. Visit the NPS astronomy page for more details.
Stargazing is best on clear nights when there is no or little moon.
Where’s the best place to stargaze in Bryce Canyon?
It’s definitely possible to go stargazing on your own, though a telescope will help you see the stars up close.
Any of the major viewpoints are good options. Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point in Bryce Amphitheater all provide good viewing, but you may be sharing them with others. Alternatives include Natural Bridge on the scenic drive, which provides a different foreground to the hoodoos and Mossy Cave, which is usually pretty empty.
5. Horseback Riding
Riding a horse through Bryce Canyon and the surrounding red rock region is a great way to experience this incredible landscape.
There are several Bryce Canyon rides available:
2-hour ride through nearby Red Canyon There are maximum 15 people on this ride, led by a cowboy or cowgirl guide, down into the beautiful Red Canyon. Book the Red Canyon Guided Horseback Ride.
Half-Day ride through southern Utah’s red rock country Suitable for beginner’s, this 4-hour trip leaves in the morning and afternoon. Follow in Butch Cassidy’s footsteps as you ride through red rock canyon, past native American sites, and along rugged trails. Book the half-day Bryce Canyon horse ride.
4-Hour Ride on the Thunder Mountain Trail Follow the Thunder Mountain Trail as it switchbacks up the side of Red Rock Canyon. A great way to experience Old West trails in the Bryce canyon area, this is some of the best horseback riding Bryce Canyon area has. Book the 4-hour Thunder Mountain horseback ride.
The rides above are all in the area surrounding the national park. There are also rides available down into Bryce Canyon itself with Canyon Trail Rides. Bryce Canyon is a magical place to experience on the back of a horse. There are 1.5-2 hour and 3-hour rides available. The season is from April 1 – October 31. Book one of these canyon rides (Bryce Canyon National Park)
Bryce Canyon is a photographer’s dream.
The largest concentration of hoodoos is in the bowl-shaped Bryce Amphitheater. There are four major viewpoints here, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point. The views from all of these overlooks are stunning at any time of day, but they are especially great at sunrise. Yes, despite its name, Sunset Point is actually best at sunrise.
For sunsets, it is better to head to Paria Point, as it faces west.
Best Bryce Canyon sunrise spots: Sunset Point; Sunrise Point; Inspiration Point; Bryce Point
Best Bryce Canyon sunset spots: Paria Point; Mossy Cave
3. Taking a Tour
Take the hassle out of your vacation by joining a Bryce Canyon tour. There are plenty of tours to choose from, from half-day guided tours from Bryce Canyon City to multi-day tours that include other national parks in the southwest.
My top Bryce Canyon tours are:
3-hour Guided Tour: Leaving from Bryce Canyon City, this 3-hour small group tour (maximum 13 people) covers the park’s highlights with commentary from an expert guide. Book the 3-hour Bryce Canyon Tour.
Full-day Small Group Tour to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks from Las Vegas: If you’re in Vegas and have one day free, this 14-hour tour takes you to both Zion and Bryce Canyon in one long day. It includes pick up and drop off from your hotel. It’s a long day, but you’ll get to see the highlights of two amazing national parks (and you can sleep in the bus on the way back). Book a one-day tour from Las Vegas to Zion and Bryce Canyon.
3-Day Tour of Bryce Canyon, Zion and Antelope Canyon: Join a small group (maximum 8 people) for a great 3-day/ 2-night adventure to these three amazing locations. Also includes Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Picks up/ drops off in Salt Lake City or Las Vegas. Book a 3-day tour of Zion, Bryce and Antelope Canyons.
3-Day Tour of Zion, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks from Las Vegas: Enjoy this incredible trip to three of the most spectacular national parks in the country. Also includes Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Monument Valley and Sedona. You won’t spend much time at each location, but you will get to see a huge number of southwest highlights in a very short time. Book a 3-day Tour of Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyons.
8-Day Tour of Utah’s Mighty Five: Visit all five of Utah’s amazing national parks – Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef – on an 8-day adventure from Salt Lake City. Book an 8-day tour of Utah’s national parks.
11-Day Best of the West National Park Tour: This truly epic 11-day tour starts in Las Vegas and ends in San Francisco. In between, you’ll visit Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Antelope Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, and Yosemite National Park. Available June – September and it usually sells out. Book the Best of the West tour.
2. Going for a Scenic Drive
The 18-mile Bryce Canyon scenic drive is the best thing to do in Bryce Canyon National Park aside from visiting Bryce Amphitheater. For a full description of the drive, including all the major stops and viewpoints, read my Guide to the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. highlights include Rainbow Point and Natural Bridge.
I also recommend downloading a self-driving audio tour for even more information. Get a self-driving audio tour of Brye Canyon.
The number one thing that you must do in Bryce Canyon is to hike. Whether it’s heading down among the hoodoos or admiring nature’s spectacle from the Rim Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park is a hiker’s paradise.
If you want to hike by yourself, read my Guide to the Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon for suggestions. Popular trails include the Queen’s Garden – Navajo Loop combo, the Peekaboo Loop and the Fairyland Loop.
Another option is to go on a guided hike. You won’t have quite the same freedom to choose your own pace, but the advantages of going with a guide are that you will never get lost and you can learn a lot more about what you’re seeing than if you hike by yourself.
5-Hour Guided Hike in Bryce Canyon: Join a small group (maximum 9) for a 3-5 –mile hike in Bryce Canyon. Trails commonly hiked include the Queen’s Garden-Navajo Loop and Mossy Cave. Book a small group Bryce Canyon Guide Hike.
rivate Guided Hike of the Navajo – Queen’s Garden Loop + Picnic: If you prefer not to hike in a group, this is the best of both word’s – you get a guide, but also get to go at your own pace. This is THE classic hike in the park and you’ll pass famous hoodoos like Queen Victoria and Thor’s Hammer, plus hike through the iconic Wall Street section. Book a half-day guided hike on the Queen’s Garden – Navajo Loop.
Travel Insurance for Bryce Canyon National Park
No matter what fun things to do in Bryce Canyon you’ve chosen to do, you should definitely get travel insurance. This can protect you not only against medical and emergency repatriation, but can also cover things like trip cancellation, loss and/ or theft of property, etc.
A great insurance option is Travelex. It has coverage for all you’ll need. You can swap this link for either compare Travel Insurance plans here or get a quote right now:
Enjoy these Bryce Canyon activities!
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James Ian is a national park, camping and hiking expert.
He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and all of the main national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks.
Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.
As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.
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