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As the smallest National Park in Utah, Bryce Canyon provides a challenge for visitors looking to escape the crowds, but with just a little planning, this park’s brilliant hikes, fantastic vistas, and forests of hoodoos can become the quiet refuge we’re all looking for.

Crowd Factor: 7/10

If you were to draw an oval from Sunrise Point to Bryce Point and capture all those little trails in between, it would capture nearly all of traffic in the park.

Peak Hours: 9a-4p

Bryce’s peak hours are as short as they are ferocious. Nearly everyone visiting Bryce stays outside the park or are day visitors coming from much further way.

Things to Do

Most Popular: The Main Amphitheater
Sunrise, Sunset, and Inspiration Points
Navajo/Queen Loop Trail

Four separate overlooks surround the amphitheater from every angle. All of them are barely separated by more than two miles, all of them with very limited parking. Sunrise/Sunset Points serve as the trail heads to the Navajo/Queen Loop, which as the busiest trail, doesn't come close to the most fantastic.

The Park Shuttle: Use It As Much As Possible

An estimated four times as many cars enter the park each day as there are available parking spaces. Arrive before 830am for easy and convenient parking, then leave your car where it is until evening.

Photo Credit: NPS

Mather Favorites

Peak Alternative: Rainbow Point & Bristlecone Pine Loop

The lone exception to the “Never Drive Anywhere” rule would be a trip out to Rainbow Point.

Day Hike Recommendation: Fairyland Loop Trail (8.0 mi)

Uncrowded, spectacular, and horseless, Fairyland Loop is the best trail in Bryce Canyon National Park.

5 Hikes That Mather

#1 Fairyland Loop

Fairyland Loop is a wonderful trek among spectacular hoodoos without the mega-crowds of the Queens/Navajo.

Distance: 8.0 Miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

Peak Alternative: Somewhat. Far less busy than the Main Amphitheater, but you will encounter a fair amount of other hikers during peak hours.

Best Start Time: Before 9AM

Additional Mathers

All Camping is First-Come, First Serve

Both car camping campgrounds in the park fill around noon. The nearest reservable campsite on is Pine Lake in Dixie National Forest, 30 minutes away by car.

What if it Rains? 

In light or moderate rain (without lightning), the Rim Trail offers a safe option to see and explore on a path that would be even less used than normal.

Mather's One-Day Itinerary

These times are based on summer daylight hours, typical temperatures, and crowd sizes.

700a: Wake Up

800a: Arrive Park Gate

815a: Park @ Sunrise Point (near the General Store)

830a-130p: Fairyland Loop Trail

130-230p: Lunch and Recover

230-330p: Shuttle to Visitor Center for Passport Stamp and Junior Ranger Books

330-4p: Shuttle to Bryce Point

4-6p: Walk Rim Trail back to your car at Sunrise Point. Enjoy ALL the Main Amphitheatre vistas along the way.

6-730p: Dinner at North Campground Picnic Area

730-9p: Enjoy sunset along Rim Trail or at Sunrise Point.

930p: Pass Out

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