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If you only have one day in Bryce Canyon, then check out this step-by-step one day itinerary to Bryce Canyon National Park that ticks off all the major things to do and see.

NUMBER 1

Take a Walk Along the Rim Trail And Soak in the Views

Whenever I visit Bryce Canyon National Park, I start off my day at the Rim Trail.

The Rim Trail goes along the edge of the canyon and you get to see the jaw-dropping Bryce Canyon Main Amphitheatre from above.

Bryce Canyon Main Amphitheatre

The view of Bryce Canyon Main Amphitheatre off the Rim Trail.

Bryce Canyon National Park

What you need to know is that the entire Rim Trail is about 10.4 miles long. It starts at Fairyland Point and goes all the way to Bryce Point. The elevation change is 1,177 feet and starts to change as you approach Bryce Point.

However, you can shorten this hike any way you want!  My recommendation is to start at Sunrise Point and walk to Sunset Point.

The distance is no more than 0.5 miles from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point with very little elevation change making it a perfect starting point for one day in Bryce Canyon. 

Plus, the trail in this section is paved and pretty even, making it easy for strollers and wheelchairs. On top of that, there are benches along the way. So, it is perfect if you need to slow down and just pause for a moment to admire the views.

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Map of Rim Trail from Sunrise to Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon.

Image Source: NPS

Bryce Canyon National Park

It is super easy to get to Sunrise Point!

Once you get to the Visitor Center, which is about 1 mile past the entrance to the park, continue south for no more than 0.5 miles until you reach a junction.

Be on the lookout for the sign pointing to Sunrise Point. At the junction, turn left and continue for about 0.5 miles until you reach another junction. Next, follow the sign pointing in the direction of Sunset Point/General Store.

Finally, turn left again and continue for about 0.2 miles until you reach the Sunrise Point parking area.

The Rim Trail and Sunrise Point are just steps away from the Sunrise Point parking area. Once to get to Sunrise Point, just take your time and enjoy the views!

If you are like me, you will not be able to stop taking pictures!

Whenever I take pictures of the Main Amphitheater in Bryce Canyon, I always find myself trying to capture the entire area. And, it is actually not possible to convey the vastness of Bryce Canyon in just one landscape image.

So, zoom in! Include some elements in the foreground of your phots to give them more dimension.

One Day in Bryce Canyon National Par (Step-By-Step One Day Itinerary)

The view of Bryce Canyon off the Rim Trail.

Bryce Canyon National Park

As you are walking from Sunrise Point towards Sunset Point, you will be able to see the famous rock formation called Thor’s Hammer.

Notably, Thor’s Hammer is a big boulder sitting on top of a hoodoo and looking like it might topple at any moment.

One Day in Bryce Canyon

The view of Bryce Canyon off the Rim Trail.

Bryce Canyon National Park

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Thor’s Hammer along Rim Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park. 

Bryce Canyon National Park

NUMBER 2

Hike Below the Rim to See the Famous Hoodoos Up-Close

Next, hike below the rim to see the famous hoodoos up-close!

Did I say hoodoos? Yes!

Hoodoos are jaw-dropping rock formations typically between 50 and 150 feet high. They are often called fairy chimneys, tent rocks, or earth pyramids depending on where in the world they are.

Though they may look like they were man-made, they are formed completely through the process of natural erosion.

Needless to say, you cannot leave Bryce Canyon National Park unless you see hoodoos up-close during one day in Bryce Canyon itinerary.

So, right now, you finished your walk from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point and you you should be standing right at Sunset Point, which is the trailhead leading to Navajo Loop Trail and Queens Garden Trail. 

Navajo Loop Trail and Queens Garden Trail are two of my favorite hikes in Bryce Canyon!

What you need to know is that Navajo Loop Trail and Queens Garden Trail will take you about 550 feet below the rim and along some of the most famous hoodoo formations in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Let’s go!

Point to remember 

If you are visiting in winter, then keep in mind that the western section of Navajo Loop Trail (Wall Street) might be closed. If it is closed, then take the eastern side of Navajo Loop Trail along Two Bridges Hoodoo Formation. 

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Map of Navajo Loop Trail and Queens Garden Trail Rim Trail in Bryce Canyon

Image Source: NPS

Bryce Canyon National Park

The trail starts with a series of switchbacks that lead you down a cool ravine all the way to the main valley of Bryce Canyon. Although, the trail is steep in some parts, it descents gradually.

It is actually a lot of fun!

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Navajo Loop Trail starts off with a series of switchbacks.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The switchbacks will take you all the way to a narrow ravine, which resembles a slot canyon.

This is a famous section of Navajo Loop Trail and it is known as Wall Street, due to the high, vertical cliffs and narrow passages.

Being so close to hoodoos makes you realize how huge they are!

One Day in Bryce Canyon

The switchbacks at the beginning of Navajo Loop Trail will take you all the way to a narrow ravine, which resembles a slot canyon.

Top Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park

This is a famous section of Navajo Loop Trail and it is known as Wall Street, due to the high, vertical cliffs and narrow passages.

Once you exit Wall Street section of Navajo Loop Trail, the trail levels off and starts meandering through a wooded area.

In addition, you will notice that it really starts warming up.

When I visited last time in winter, it was fairly cold at the rim. However, once I started descending into the canyon, the temperature started to rise. It was great. Moreover, this is a perfect place to spot some wildlife.

After about a mile, you reach a junction. Here, you have a couple of options.

First, you can continue along Navajo Loop Trail, which will take you along another famous hoodoo formation called Two Bridges. And, then back up, through a series of switchbacks, to the top of the rim, to Sunrise Point, where you originally started.

Top Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park

If you continue along Navajo Loop Trail, it will take you to another famous hoodoo formation called Two Bridges. 

Bryce Canyon National Park

Second option is to take Queens Garden Trail.

My recommendation for this one day in Bryce Canyon itinerary, is to continue along Queens Garden Trail to the famous hoodoo formation called Queens Garden.

Queens Garden is a beautiful semi-circular ridge of phantom-like rock spires.

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Queens Garden is circular formation of hoodoos. 

Bryce Canyon National Park

At the center of Queens Garden is a swirling, elevated hoodoo formation thought to resemble Queen Victoria.

Hoodoo formation thought to resemble Queen Victoria. 

One Day in Bryce Canyon

The natural erosion process forms hoodoos. 

Next, Queens Garden Trail will take you along some more hoodoo formations. And, I assure you, you will be taking pictures all the time!

Queens Garden and Navajo Loop Trail in the Bryce Canyon.

Hoodoo formation resembling Queen Victoria along Queens Garden Trail.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Soon enough, you will start climbing back up to the rim. The switchbacks will gradually guide you back up to the rim and you will end up at Sunrise Point.

Once you make it to Sunrise Point, you will be greeted again by magnificent views. Thousands of chiseled pinnacles extending all the way to Fairyland Point are simply incredible. In addition, you will be able to see Aquarius Plateau and the Sinking Ship, a sloping mesa that looks like a ship’s stern rising out of water.

One Day in Bryce Canyon

The view of Bryce Canyon Main Amphitheatre off the Rim Trail.

Bryce Canyon National Park

NUMBER 3

Take Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive Along Epic Viewpoints

Next, on the itinerary for one day in Bryce Canyon National Park is Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive.

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon is an out-and-back drive that spans the length of the Bryce Canyon National Park and hits all the park highlights.

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon Along Viewpoints

Map of Bryce Canyon National Park

Image Source: NPS

My recommendation is to drive all the way to the end of Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive and then make a few stops on the way back. I like to do it this way, because the views just get better as you are driving back.

Once you drive all the way to the end of the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive find a parking spot at Yovimpa Point and take Bristlecone Loop Trail.

Bristlecone Loop Trail is one of the easy hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park that covers a distance of about 1 mile with little elevation change. It usually takes about 40 minutes to complete the loop.

What I like about Bristlecone Loop Trail is that is meanders to several good viewpoints at the top of the cliffs.

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Snow on the cliffs near Yovimpa Point in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Once you are done with Bristlecone Pine Loop Trail, jump back in the car and stop at any of the viewpoints along the way. The views are awesome and constantly changing.

One of my favorite stops along Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive is Natural Bridge Viewpoint.

Natural Bridge is one of the best known natural arches in Bryce Canyon National Park. It is a massive formation of eroded, red-hued limestone jutting from the edge of the overlook.

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Natural Bridge is a massive formation of eroded, red-hued limestone jutting from the edge of the overlook.

Bryce Canyon National Park

NUMBER 4

Watch Sunset in Bryce Canyon National Park

Finish your visit to Bryce Canyon National Park with watching the sunset.

Head to Inspiration Point, it is a great place to catch some awesome sunsets!

Best Photography Locations in Bryce Canyon

Finish off your one day in Bryce Canyon with watching a sunset.

Bryce Canyon National Park

All in all, the best light happens just after sunset. It is known as the Golden Hour. The light is warmer and softer and there are no sharp shadows during the Golden Hour.

In the Bryce Canyon, during the Golden Hour, the hoodoos produce even warmer colors. In order to capture these colors you will need to use a long exposure selection on your camera.

How do you do a long exposure? Simply, turn your camera’s mode dial to Manual and use a slow shutter speed (5-30 seconds) for a longer exposure. Additionally, use your camera self-timer to take a photo.

NUMBER 5

Go Stargazing in Bryce Canyon National Park

Are you up to one last activity to be added to your one day in Bryce Canyon?

How about stargazing?

Bryce Canyon National Park offers about 100 astronomy programs per year, presented by its Astronomy Rangers and volunteers on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, during spring, summer and fall,

Wall Street and Sunrise Point are some of the best spots for stargazing and nighttime photography in Bryce Canyon National Park. Another place that is great for stargazing in Fairyland Point.

 

Bryce Canyon National Park - Things to Know Before you Visit

Fairyland Canyon, Utah 

Bryce Canyon National Park

Intrepid Scout's Pointers for One Day in Bryce Canyon

  • If you are visiting Bryce Canyon during summer months, then finding parking might be very challenging. My suggestion is that you use Bryce Canyon Shuttle Service. It will get you to all the best viewpoints in Bryce Canyon.
  • You will see people start arriving at the park around 10 am. I recommend that you get to Bryce Canyon way before 10 am. First, you arrive early will be able to find some solitude on the trails and at viewpoints. Second, there is only one scenic drive and it gets very congested during the high season. Getting there early ensures that you have the road to yourself. Next, there is limited parking, so needless to say, if you are at the park early you do not have to waste precious time waiting for a vacant parking spot.
  • Being that Bryce Canyon National Park sits at a high elevation of 8,000 to 9.000 feet, the temperatures are much lower compared to any other National Park in Utah. So, no matter when you are visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, pack warm clothes and dress in layers. Even in the summer the evenings can be very chilly.
  • Elevations in Bryce Canyon National Park Park reach over 9,000 feet. Even mild exertion may leave you feeling completely out of breath, light-headed and nauseated.
  • Do not feed wildlife! First, they get used to being fed and, consequently, they visit the campsites and parking lots looking for food. In addition, human food is not the best option for their diets. Lastly, they might bite. Keep your food and your fingers to yourself.
  • If you are hiking in winter consider getting crampons and ski poles for extra grip and support.
  • A trip to Bryce Canyon is perfect paired with a side trip to Zion National Park, Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument, or Canyonlands, Capitol Reef National Parks. Check out my post: Zion to Bryce Canyon: 3-Day Adventure (with Maps and Photos)
  • Did you know that Utah has five national parks known as ‘The Mighty 5‘. Have you visited any of them? Which is your favorite Utah National Park?
    • Arches National Park
    • Bryce National Park
    • Canyonlands National Park
    • Capitol Reef National Park, and
    • Zion National Park

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One Day in Bryce Canyon National Par (Step-By-Step One Day Itinerary)
One Day in Bryce Canyon National Par (Step-By-Step One Day Itinerary)

Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

Click on any of the images below to get inspired and to help you with the planning process with your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park!

Comments:

8 thoughts on “One Day in Bryce Canyon (First-Timers Itinerary)


Deanna Cannavo
2019-10-08

Hi. How many miles total is this one day itinerary? And about how long does it take?

    2019-10-09

    Hi Deanna,

    The scenic drive is 17 miles. There are several stops that I recommend in my post for exploring and taking pictures. Each stop offers a different view of the canyon and the plateau beyond.

    One day itinerary, as outlined in my post, is perfect for Bryce. I recommend staying for a sunset. You will catch awesome photos at that time.

    If you are short on time, then you can shorten this itinerary to a few hours.

    Let me know if I can be of any additional help.

Kevin Buniva
2019-10-11

Hi Anna, Thank You so much for your detailed Itinerary for Bryce Canyon in one day! I am so excited to visit there next week. Was wondering, as you have outlined this itinerary, how much (distance total) is the hiking? If we were to follow your lead exactly for the day, not counting the driving from vista to vista, how many miles of hiking would you estimate. Thanks Again!
Kevin

    2019-10-11

    Hi Kevin,

    So, first we have Navajo Loop Trail – 1.3 miles, next Queens Garden – 1 mile, and finally Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail – 5.5 miles. All in all, about 8 miles.
    Hope it helps! Let me know if you need any further assistance!

2019-11-27

Wow this place is absolutely stunning! The red rocks remind me of the north of Argentina. This is such a beautiful hiking destination, well worth to climb up 🙂

    2019-12-01

    It is definitely something different and unusual. Just a breathtaking scenery.

Brian
2021-10-18

This a great and very helpful guide. The photos are awesome. We are planning to visit Bryce Canyon for 2 days during the Christmas break. It’s great that you share your experience and photos with others.

    2021-10-19

    Thank you so much Brian! I really appreciate your kind comment!Have fun with your kids in Bryce Canyon!

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