Half Day/Auto Tour Itinerary
Highway 63 in Bryce Canyon National Park is approximately 25 miles from the Visitor Center to the most southern overlook points, Rainbow and Yovimpa Points. Consider Starting your tour driving through the entire length of the park first, and making your way back north, stopping at overlook destinations as you see fit.
From Rainbow and Yovimpa Points, heading north, you will come across:
- Black Birch Canyon
- Ponderosa Canyon
- Agua Canyon
- Natural Bridge
- Farview Point & Piracy Point
- Swamp Canyon
From here, you will be back into the Amphitheater Region of the park, and can stop at:
- Inspiration Point, Bryce Point and Paria View (no trailers), just east off the highway
- Sunset Point and Sunrise Point, just east off the highway
- Visitors can walk the short, easy trail between Sunset and Sunrise Point
- Fairyland Point, just east off the highway, right before you exit the park
After finishing the Auto-tour and the overlook points, consider either of these options, depending on the time remaining:
- Stop by the visitor center to watch the educational short film about the park and its natural evolution, as well as check out the bookshop, and displays
- Drive north to the intersection with Hwy 12, turn east onto Hwy 12, and stop at the Mossy Cave overlook; this short .8 mile hike walks alongside a stream that leads to a mossy overhanging cliff and a small waterfall that flows May-October
Full Day Itinerary
Travelers with a full day to spend at the park should consider the Half Day/Auto Tour itinerary above, driving to the south end of the park first, with the first stop at Rainbow point, and driving north.
An excellent addition to this itinerary, and great place to get out and add a little exploring, is:
- Rim Trail, 0-11 miles: The Rim Trail travels between Fairyland Point for 11 miles along the top of the canyon to Bryce Point (where the long, backcountry Under the Rim Trail descends down into the canyon for 23 miles)
- the Rim Trail is intersected at several points, and hikers can choose how far and long they will hike on this trail. It is intersected at:
- Sunrise Point
- Sunset Point
- Inspiration Point
Between Sunrise and Sunset Points, the trail is paved, mostly level and flat, comprises a short distance between the two points, and has outstanding views of the hoodoos in the canyon below. If hikers are unsure about their groups physical fitness, time, or even the weather, the short walk between these two points is probably worthwhile and manageable.
Two Day Itinerary
Explorers with most of two full days to spend at the park will be able to enjoy several great hikes and as many of the beautiful observation points as they wish.
A recommended itinerary for each day includes a longer hike and one or two shorter destinations, to not overdo the experience.
- Fairyland Loop, 8 miles, strenuous: Hikers can begins this hike at either Fairyland Point or Sunrise Point and loop back to the start again, or hikers can begins at either point and hike until Tower Bridge formation, which is closer to the Sunrise Point overlook
- Sunrise Point trail (on the Rim Trail) south (less than a mile) to Sunset Point
- Drive beyond that point to Bryce Point and Paria View, to see the beautiful overlooks
- (Optional, based on time) Navajo Trail, 1.3 miles, Moderate; this hike begins at Sunset Point and descends through a slot canyon into the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater
- Swamp Canyon Loop, 4.3 miles, strenuous; This is a lesser known and populated loop, just off the Under the Rim Trail
- Riggs Spring Loop, 8.5 miles, strenuous; This high elevation hike begins at Rainbow Point and travels through forests at the edges of the hoodoos and hogbacks.
- (Optional, based on time) Mossy Cave, .8 miles, easy; this easy short walk along the stream ends at a mossy waterfall, and would be a beautiful, easy way to end a hard day of hiking
In Bryce Canyon National Park, Hwy 63 continues south, past the famous red rock hoodoos, to more open meadow areas. Here, visitors will find backcountry hiking that is customizable to the amount of time or distance prefered.
From Bryce Point, the Under the Rim Trail runs south 22.9 miles until Rainbow and Yovimpa Points. There are several trails that intersect the Under the Rim Trail that lead back to Hwy 63, as the highway runs parallel to the trail. Hikers have the option to begin the hike at any of these points and hike back, have a car waiting for them at another point, in order to drive back.
Here are the intersecting trails along the Under the Rim Trail and Hwy 63 and their distances:
- Bryce Point Trailhead to Swamp Canyon Trailhead; 11.6 miles
- Swamp Canyon Trailhead to Whiteman Trailhead; 3.6 miles
- Whiteman Trailhead to Rainbow Point Trailhead; 7.9 miles
Additionally, at the end the the Under the Rim Trail, Rainbow point and Yovimpa Points form a 8.6 mile loop, Riggs Spring Loop, that lead back to each other and the original trail.
If hikers wish to camp at any point along the trail, there are several designated camp sites, and it is permissible with permit.
Visit the map at www.nps.gov, to better understand the trails and backcountry options.