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The best way to get to all the best viewpoints in Bryce Canyon is to take Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Check out my favorite epic viewpoints along Bryce Canyon Scenic Byway!

Also, what you need to know is that there are many cool hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park that will take you up close to the famous rock formations called hoodoos. And, whether you like short and easy hikes, or challenging trails, make sure to add some cool hikes to your itinerary!

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

If you have only one day in Bryce Canyon National Park, and you have never experienced the hoodoos protruding from this vast landscape, then I my recommendation is to start at the end of the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive and work your way back.

Why?

You will gradually get to appreciate the scenery and eventually get to the ‘WOW’ viewpoints in Bryce Canyon. So, drive all the way to the end of Bryce Canyon Scenic Road and then, start gradually making your way back.

Scenic Drive In Bryce Canyon Map

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon Along Viewpoints

Bryce Canyon Viewpoints Map. Bryce Canyon Elevation Map. Image Source: Bryce Canyon Map NPS

What You Need to Know About Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

  • Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon National Park along the epic viewpoints is 38 miles long (round trip).

It will take you at least 3-4 hours to complete Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive and stop at some of the best viewpoints along the Scenic Drive.

Make sure to drive all the way to the end of Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon and start your Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive at Yovimpa and Rainbow Viewpoints.

  • Due to rising vehicle congestion and interference with park shuttle operations, vehicles 20 feet (6 meters) and longer are restricted from parking in the following areas during park Shuttle Season (typically mid-April to mid-October).

These restrictions apply while park shuttles are operating (8 am to 8 pm with shorter hours to 6 pm in April and October).

Generally speaking, these restrictions apply to facilities and viewpoints in the popular Bryce Amphitheater area of the park, found along the first three miles of the main park road. This includes: The Visitor CenterSunrise Point (includes General Store and Historic Gas Station Area), Bryce Lodge (unless you are staying in a Lodge/Cabin/Motel Unit), Sunset PointInspiration PointBryce Point, Paria View (restriction always in place due to parking lot size).

NUMBER 1

Yovimpa And Rainbow Points

Yovimpa and Rainbow Points are located at the very end of the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive.

Both, Yovimpa and Rainbow Points on Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive provide incredible views of the canyon country, however each one will give you a slightly different view of the canyon.

Starting with Rainbow Point, located just a short walk from the parking lot, you will get to see the giant sloping plateaus, tilted mesas and hoodoos protruding from the vast landscape.

The view is simply stunning and it will take your breath away! I think that this is the spot that really will give you an idea how vast this place is!

Rainbow Point in Bryce Canyon

View from Rainbow Point in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

Now, at the other side of the parking lot you will find the trailhead for Yovimpa Point.

It is just a short hike to Yovimpa Point and you will reach it in no time.

Yovimpa Point offers a bit of a different view of the Bryce Canyon. You will get to see the beautiful views of forested slopes. And, above all, some breathtaking views of Arizona and maybe even Grand Canyon.

However, if you look in the far distance, on the picture below, you should be able to locate an eroded sandstone dome. It kind of looks like a volcano. Strangely enough, it is called Molly’s Nipple.

Here’s the deal:

What’s up with Molly’s Nipple is the name given to as many as seven peaks, at least one butte, and at least one well, and some other geological features in Utah. Some sources claim there are eleven geological features in Utah that bear this name.

At least some of those names are attributed to John Kitchen – a pioneer of an early exploration of Utah, who named them to commemorate a nipple of his wife Molly.

Yovimpa Point in Bryce Canyon

View from Yovimpa Point in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive

NUMBER 2

Black Birch Canyon Viewpoint

Now, if you are following my directions and you are working your way back on the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive, then your next stop should be Black Birch Canyon Viewpoint. It is just north of mile marker 16 on the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive.

Black Birch Canyon Viewpoint sits at 8,750 feet and it offers a great view of pink, orange, and white-colored cliffs. In addition, you will get a first good look at hoodoos.

Hoodoos appear as almost phantom-like rock formations. Needless to say, they are almost hypnotic. After staring at them, you begin to see shapes of figures frozen in the rock.

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

View from Black Birch Canyon Viewpoint in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

A Quick Read:

What are hoodoos? Hoodoos are geological formations created over many centuries through a combination of physical and chemical weathering forces.

As the National Park Service explains, “in the winter, melting snow, in the form of water, seeps into the cracks and freezes at night. When water freezes it expands by almost 10 percent, bit by bit prying open cracks, making them ever wider, in the same way a pothole forms in a paved road.”

How Hoodoos Are Formed

Hoodoo Formation. Photo credit Brian B. Roanhorse/National Park Service

NUMBER 3

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, deep red-hued limestone jutting from the edge of the overlook.

Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon

Natural Bridge along Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

Next to Natural Bridge Viewpoint is Agua Canyon. If you have time, then you should make a short stop. There are two pretty distinct hoodoos that are hard to miss.

On the left, is the taller of the two towers, “The Hunter.” To the right is a hoodoo commonly referred to as the “Rabbit” or alternatively the “Backpacker.”

Agua Canyon in Bryce Canyon

View from Agua Canyon along Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

NUMBER 4

Farview Point

Farview Point provides awesome views of canyons, blue-hued mesas and huge plateaus which make up the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument.

Need to Know:

What is the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument?

The Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument encompasses an area of 1.9 million acres!

The Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument is bordered by the communities of Glendale, Kanab, and Big Water from the southwest and Tropic, Cannonville, Henrieville, Escalante and Boulder communities from the northeast.

In fact, take a look at the photo right below.

From north to south you can see: the Aquarius Plateau (Pink Cliffs), the Kaiparowits Plateau (Grey Cliffs), Molly’s Nipple (White Cliffs), and even glimpses of the Kaibab Plateau on which lies the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Now, these magnificent views result from Bryce Canyon’s extremely high air quality, with potential visibility as far away as the Black Mesas in Arizona — up to 160 miles!

Farview Point in Bryce Canyon

View from Farview Point along Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

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NUMBER 5

Swamp Canyon Viewpoint

Swamp Canyon Viewpoint sits between two ridge lines that extend into a forested canyon. It gives an up close and personal look at the scenery.

Here, you can really get a good look at hoodoos and see the intricately carved formations dotting the landscape for miles.

A Quick Story:

A legend of the Paiute Indians, who inhabited the area for hundreds of years before the arrival of European Americans, claims the colorful hoodoos are ancient “Legend People” who were turned to stone as punishment for bad deeds.

Swamp Canyon in Bryce Canyon.

View from Swamp Canyon along Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

What you need to know is that Sheep Creek and Swamp Canyon Trail starts right at Swamp Canyon Viewpoint.

It is the best chill hike in the park. It is not too difficult and not too easy. Just right! On top of that, the views at Swamp Canyon Viewpoint are spectacular!

But, first of all, it is a perfect hike to escape the crowds that swarm the Rim Trail. And, honestly, you will have this trail pretty much to yourself.

Second, if you are hiking in the summertime, this trail provides much needed shade.

Intrepid’s Tip:

Now, my recommendation is that after Swamp Canyon Viewpoint, you should head to Paria View and find a parking spot.

The next five viewpoints: Paria View, Bryce Point, Inspirations Point Sunset Point and Sunrise Point are located close together and the best way to catch the awesome views is to take a paved trail that goes along the rim of the canyon.

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon Along Epic Viewpoints

Bryce Canyon Viewpoints Map. Bryce Canyon Elevation Map. Image Source: Bryce Canyon Map NPS

NUMBER 6

Paria Viewpoint

Paria View is a spot to come back to at sunset time. Hands down, it is absolutely perfect location to take great pictures at sunset. Most of the hoodoo amphitheaters at Bryce Canyon face east, which is great for taking sunrise pictures. However, Paria View faces west.

Furthermore, make sure to locate one prominent and photogenic castle-like hoodoo which rises high above the canyon floor. It is the last place to catch the rays of the setting sun.

By the way, Paria is a Paiute word meaning “water with elk” or “water with mud”.

Paria View in Bryce Canyon

Paria Viewpoint Along Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

NUMBER 7

Bryce Point

Hands down, Bryce Point is one of the best viewpoints in Bryce Canyon. It offers stunning views of the Silent City, an assemblage of hoodoos resembling figures frozen in the rock.

In addition, I think you will get a great view of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Did you know that the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is partly named for the Escalante River. The Escalante River flows from Boulder Mountain to the Colorado River.

The monument reminds us of a staircase that gradually descends in elevation from north to the south, ending at the Grand Canyon.

Bryce Point

Bryce Point Along Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

Make sure to follow a short path leading to a  fenced-in promontory that juts over the canyon floor. The views are even more spectacular from that spot!

Bryce Point is a starting point for many of great hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park.

First of all, you should not miss Hat Shop Trail where you will see the most unique hoodoos with caprocks balanced on top of them.

Second, another great hike that starts at Bryce Point is Peek-A-Boo Loop Trail. It is one of the most scenic top hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park. It gets its name from the most unusual arch formations known as windows.

Right from the start of this hike, you will be rewarded with incredible views of Bryce Amphitheatre, followed by the famous hoodoo formations known as Wall of Windows, Cathedral and Fairy Castle.

NUMBER 8

Inspiration Viewpoint

Inspiration Point sits lower than Bryce Point and pretty much provides the same view as Bryce Point. However, because it sits lower, the hoodoos feel closer and you can make out their intricate carvings.

Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point Along Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

NUMBER 9

Sunset Point

Sunset Point is the focal point of the Bryce Canyon National Park. Aside from great views of the Silent City, this point is known for Thor’s Hammer which features a huge boulder precariously balanced on top of a hoodoo.

Contrary to its name, Sunset Point is not the best place to capture stunning sunsets! For the best sunsets head directly to Paria View. Sunset Point faces east, which is not the best for sunsets. However, come back here at sunrise. You will catch the most spectacular views.

Sunset Point

Sunset Point Along Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

Sunset Point is a start of one of the most popular hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park called Navajo Loop Trail. The hoodoo formations that are along the trail, such as Wall Street, Twin Bridges, and Thor’s Hammer are iconic sights in Bryce Canyon National Park.

NUMBER 10

Sunrise Point

You will get great views of hoodoos at Sunrise Point. In addition, it shows Aquarius Plateau and the Sinking Ship, a sloping mesa that kind of looks like a ship’s stern rising out of water.

In addition, Sunrise Point is a great starting place for many hikes in Bryce Canyon.

Sunrise Point

Sunrise Point Along Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon 

Sunrise Point is a trailhead to one of my favorite hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park – Queens Garden Trail.

Queens Garden Trail is one of the most popular easy hikes in Bryce Canyon that will take below the rim, and let you meander among the hoodoos and see up-close their intricate carvings.

Intrepid Scout's Pointers for Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon

That is quite a list, right?

What if you only have time to stop at a a couple of locations? No problem!

Yes, you can do Bryce Canyon in 3 hours!

My recommendation is that you park at one of the parking lots next to the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park and then take a short paved trail that goes along the rim of the canyon and stop at:

  • Sunrise Point
  • Sunset Point
  • Inspiration Point

The views at these three locations are simply off the charts!

Above all, be safe! When you are driving on Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive, always use the designated turnouts to pull over and take photos. Do not stop in the middle of the road.

What you need to know is that the 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. By the way, Zion to Bryce Canyon Drive is one of my favorite drives in the southwest USA!

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

So, if you are visiting several national parks during your vacation (or during the entire year) and planning to try some awesome national park hikes, you should consider purchasing an annual pass.

The cost of the annual pass is $80. However, the annual pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, such as national parks, national wildlife refugees, national forests and grasslands.

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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 with your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park!

Comments:

11 thoughts on “Scenic Drive in Bryce Canyon Along Best Viewpoints (with Maps and Photos)


Pam
2019-12-30

Thank you so much for this in-depth summary of the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. It is just what I was looking for. I also really appreciate you tips. I plan on seeing this amazing park in April, 2020.

    2020-01-06

    Hi Pam,
    Sorry about my delayed response! I have just returned from Egypt and Jordan.
    I am so glad you found my post useful. You will love Bryce Canyon!

Mary Brown
2020-05-15

I felt like a hit a gold mine. Thank you for your in-depth coverage of Bryce Canyon National Park.
During this uncertain time of Covid 19, I am keeping my sanity by planning future trips, even though I am uncertain when they will take place.
I will be looking you up on Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you for making my day!!

Mary Brown
2020-05-15

I felt like I hit a gold mine. Thank you for your in-depth coverage of Bryce Canyon National Park. I am keeping my sanity by planning future trips, even though I am uncertain when they will take place. I will be looking you up on Facebook and Instagram.

    2020-05-17

    Thank you, Mary. I know that eventually we will start traveling again. Just patience now. And, as you said, this is a perfect time to plan some great trips.

dee
2021-06-11

Thank You, Your blog is beautiful, we got a very good idea of where to start and what to see.

    2021-06-11

    Thank you so much Dee! I appreciate your kind comment very much.
    Please let me know if you need any help with planning your visit to Bryce Canyon.
    Anna

Kaylean
2021-06-27

Thank you so much for sharing. Heading to Bryce with the kiddos next month and we will follow your guide!

    2021-06-27

    Hi Kaylean,
    You are welcome and thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.
    I do not know how long you are planning to stay in Bryce, but if it is one day, then check one my post:

    One Day in Bryce https://www.intrepidscout.com/one-day-itinerary-bryce-canyon/

    If you are staying for a couple of days then I am recommending some hikes:

    Easy Hikes in Bryce:https://www.intrepidscout.com/easy-day-hikes-bryce-canyon/

    Good luck with everything and let me know how it turned out!

Cathy
2021-10-30

Do you recommend doing the scenic drive in Bryce Canyon before doing the hikes from Sunset point?

    2021-10-30

    Hi Cathy,
    How many days will you be in Bryce? If you are spending just one day in Bryce Canyon National Park, then I suggest that you follow my one day itinerary for Bryce. It starts off with a walk along the Rim Trail, then an awesome hike along Navajo and Queens Garden Loop Trail, and ends the day with Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. I am recommending that you catch a sunrise or a sunset at Bryce. Or, how about some stargazing?
    Check out my post and let me know if you have any questions.

    https://www.intrepidscout.com/one-day-itinerary-bryce-canyon/

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