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

Are you planning on visiting Bryce Canyon National Park? You will be absolutely amazed by this place! Make sure to read: 10 Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon (with Stunning Views)

Bryce Canyon National Park At-A-Glance

Before diving into one day in Bryce Canyon, here are a few highlights to help you plan your trip to Bryce:

  • Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is a perfect destination year-round. However, it sits at a high elevation of 8,000 to 9,000 feet which means temperatures are cooler than other Utah parks. Remember to dress warmly and in layers, even in summer, as evenings can be chilly.

  • Where to Stay in or near Bryce Canyon National Park

I have stayed at Best Western Ruby’s Inn numerous times and it is comfortable and convenient located only 1 mile from the entrance to the park.

Another place that I am recommending is Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel. It is also conveniently located right next to the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park. The rooms are spacious, clean, and comfortable.

Iif you are traveling from Zion to Bryce Canyon, then my recommendation is to check out Best Western East Zion Thunderbird Lodge. It is conveniently located between Zion and Bryce in Mount Carmel. The rooms are a good size with comfy beds!

  • How to Get to Bryce Canyon National Park

The closest major airports to Bryce Canyon National Park are in Las Vegas (LAS), Nevada, and Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah. There are smaller airports in Cedar City (CDC), Utah, and St. George (SGU), Utah.

  • How to Get Around in Bryce Canyon National Park

If you are visiting Bryce Canyon National Park during the high season (summer), then the best way to get around the park is by using the Bryce Canyon Shuttle System. Now, the shuttle is not mandatory, however, it is highly recommended, since finding a parking spot could be very challenging.

  • Intrepid Scout’s Tip:

It costs $35 to enter the park. The entrance pass is good for 7 consecutive days. If you are visiting several national parks then make sure to get America the Beautiful National Park Pass. This $80 pass is valid for 12 months and gets you into all 400+ national park sites!

  • Important: Always check for the latest road or trail closures and changes to shuttle routes or schedules. Check HERE.

How to Spend One Day in Bryce Canyon National Park


Walk Along the Rim Trail And Soak in the Views

I start my day at the Rim Trail whenever I visit Bryce Canyon National Park.

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 

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 / One Day in Bryce Canyon

Whenever I take pictures of the Main Bryce Canyon Amphitheater, 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 

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 

One Day in Bryce Canyon

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


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!

GOOD TO KNOW: 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!

So, right now, you finished your walk from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point and 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!

INTREPID’S PRO TIP: If you are visiting in winter, then keep in mind that the western section of the Navajo Loop Trail (Wall Street) might be closed. If it is closed, then take the eastern side of the Navajo Loop Trail along the 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 / One Day in Bryce Canyon

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

It is a lot of fun!

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Navajo Loop Trail Starts off with a Series of Switchbacks 

This narrow ravine resembles a slot canyon.

This is a famous section of the 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

Switchbacks at the Beginning of the Navajo Loop Trail 

Top Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park

Famous Section of the Navajo Loop Trail Known as Wall Street

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

In addition, you will notice that it 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 the 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

Famous Hoodoo Formation Called Two Bridges 

The 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.

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

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Queens Garden with Elevated Hoodoo Formation Resembling Queen Victoria

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.

Here I Am Hiking Queens Garden Trail!

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 to Fairyland Point are simply incredible. In addition, you will be able to see the 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 


Go on 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.

Intrepid Scout’s Tip:

READ: 10 Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon Along Viewpoints

Map of Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. Image Source: NPS / One Day in Bryce Canyon

My recommendation is to drive 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 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 it meanders to several good viewpoints at the top of the cliffs.

One Day in Bryce Canyon

Snow on the Cliffs near Yovimpa Point 

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 Along Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 


Watch Sunset in Bryce Canyon National Park

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

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

Best Photography Locations in Bryce Canyon

View from Inspiration Point at Sunset 

GOOD TO KNOW: 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 Bryce Canyon, during the Golden Hour, the hoodoos produce even warmer colors. 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.


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 is Fairyland Point.

Bryce Canyon National Park - Things to Know Before you Visit

Fairyland Canyon 

Intrepid Scout's Tips for One Day 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, if you arrive early, you 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.
  • 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.
  • If you are hiking in winter consider getting crampons and ski poles for extra grip and support.
  • A trip to Bryce Canyon is perfectly paired with a side trip to Zion National Park, Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument, or Canyonlands, Capitol Reef National Park. Check out my post: Zion to Bryce Canyon: 3-Day Adventure (with Maps and Photos)

Read All the Posts about Utah in:

Utah Travel Guide


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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 for your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park!


8 thoughts on “Perfect One Day in Bryce Canyon (5 Things You Can’t Miss)

Deanna Cannavo

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


    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

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!


    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!


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 🙂


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


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.


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

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