How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is unlike any other landscape you have ever seen before. The winding trails through brilliant red and orange rock formations are something right out of another planet in a different universe. Planning a trip to Bryce, like any national park takes time and diligent planning, however, don't let that deter you!
There are several wonderful things about Bryce that are important to consider when planning your trip!
- Bryce is home one to one of the most mesmerizing landscapes and everywhere you look is a different rock formation that transforms depending on the light of day
- The summer months are more comfortable than other Utah parks due to the high elevation of the park
- There are no major cities near Bryce, which means little air pollution, so the stars are even more amazing to look at
- The rim of the canyon gets really crowded, however, the crowds thin out pretty quickly when you go on a hike
So, when is the best time of the year to visit Bryce?
Every time of the year is going to give you a different and unique experience, so it just depends on what you are looking for!
Summer is a great time of year that is perfect for the tent campers as it doesn't get too chilly at night. However, it is hotter during the day, and you can expect crowds.
Spring and fall are nicer times to visit as the crowds are thinned out. However, it does get colder, and you need to be prepared for a chance of snow. During our last trip, we visited in September, and it wasn't super crowded but at night it got into the high 30s.
Winter is just absolutely magical, and it is something out of a winter fairytale. However, you need to have plenty of cold weather gear, especially if you plan to camp
Where to stay when visiting Bryce?
There are plenty of lodging options in and around Bryce National Park, however, like most parks, they get booked quickly.
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon is the only hotel in the park, and its closeness to the Bryce Amphitheater means you never run out of spectacular views. You are only a short walk from some of the parks most popular hikes, meaning you can park your car at the lodge and leave it! Like most national park lodges, you are paying for location and not amenities so you won't find televisions or air conditioning in these rooms.
Please visit https://www.brycecanyonforever.com/ for more information on The Lodge at Bryce Canyon!
Bryce Canyon Campgrounds
Bryce has two campgrounds North and Sunset, both of which are located near the lodge and more popular sites. Camping in the park is incredible for several reasons. First off, since there are no major cities near the park, the is little air and light pollution so the views of the stars are breathtaking. Second, it truly is the best way to see the park as it is very convenient being right in the middle of it.
I highly recommend planning your trip in advance so you can reserve a campsite as there is nothing worse than getting somewhere and not having a place to stay. However, if you didn't plan ahead enough, its okay. Campgrounds typically don't full up until around 11:00 am, however DO NOT wait that late!! When you arrive to the campground, grab an envelope from the registration kiosk and then find an available site. The sites that are open will not have a tag on the post. After finding a suitable site (or any site), immediately fill out the envelope, insert payment (exact cash or check), put the stub on the post and drop the envelope in the slot at the kiosk.
If you are an advance planner like me and don't want to risk not having a place to sleep, visit https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/234079 to reserve a campsite.
It is important to note that the campground restrooms do not have showers so you may have to be smelly for a few days. They do however have flush toilets. Coin-operated showers and laundry (which we did use) are located at the nearby General Store.
Staying Outside of Bryce Canyon National Park
Since Bryce has only one entrance, it is really easy to be close to the park while camping outside of it. If you are wanting cheaper options, nicer amenities, and more dining options then we recommend staying outside of the park.
Bryce Canyon City
Right outside of the park entrance, you will find Bryce Canyon City, which consists of a few hotels, restaurants, and camping options. In addition, it offers really cool activities such as horseback riding and ATVing. You can use the Bryce Canyon Shuttle to take day visits to the park without even having to take your car and find parking. However, the park entrance is only 5 minutes away if you do want to drive. Below is the link for the shuttle and several hotels:
What to Do in Bryce Canyon?
Bryce Canyon has something to do for everyone in your travel group! Like hiking? Bryce has some wonderful hikes that will make you feel that it has transported into a mystic land. Not much of a hiker, however, still want to see the park? Well, the scenic drive may be the thing for you! Hope in your car and enjoy the miles of pull outs for the perfect picture moment. Another fun and unique way to enjoy the park is from the back of horse or from an aerial tour. Want to see what Bryce has to offer a night? Then sign up for a stargazing and astronomy tour. Please check out https://www.brycecanyoncountry.com/things-to-do/ for more things to do and information on how to make activity reservations.