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Orange rock spires create a drip castle effect across Bryce Canyon and countless hiking trails weave between canyon walls and through archways. Exploring Bryce Canyon with kids is an amazing experience and the entire family will love this one of a kind National Park. In this article we will share how to have an amazing day in Bryce with kids and teens with a complete list of the best activities in Bryce Canyon National Park.
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About Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is best known for its hoodoos. These rock structures resemble a sand drippy castle in varying shades of orange. The park offers unparalleled beauty with wide vistas full of hoodoos and soaring rock structures. The bright sandstone was sculpted over the years by erosion and you can see layers of geologic history as you look at the rocks.
The park is really less of a canyon than multiple amphitheaters and has been a US National Park since 1928.
How Long Do you Need in Bryce with Kids?
You can see much of Bryce Canyon in one day although if you have 2-3 days to spend in Bryce, there is plenty to see and explore. The single best activity to do in Bryce Canyon is to hike, and the Bryce canyon best hikes go down into the amphitheater and can be completed in a single day.
You can see suggestions for the best Bryce Canyon activities below as well as an itinerary if you are trying to see Bryce Canyon in one day. Many of the suggestions for Bryce Canyon with kids can be used to plan any trip to to Bryce.
When to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is open all year. In the summer you can expect hot temperatures, although since it is at a higher elevation compared to Zion, it may be slightly cooler. If you’re exploring Bryce Canyon in winter, you can expect cold temperatures and snow. Bryce Canyon National Park typically receives up to 100 inches of snow a year. This can be a great time to avoid crowds if you plan accordingly.
If you are hiking in the summer months when it’s hot and crowded I strongly recommend getting an early start. We arrived around 7:00 to hike and by 9:00 the parking lots were full. Plan to use the shuttle if you are getting there late in the day.
10 Amazing Hikes and Activities in Bryce Canyon
Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon with Kids: There are so many amazing hikes in Bryce Canyon. Take a look at some of the suggestions below or simple start along the rim trail and descend into the amphitheater. Older kids and teens will love getting to explore a large section on Bryce on one of the many trails, while if you’re hiking with younger or less motivated hikers, you can choose one of the Bryce Canyon easy hikes (like the Rim Trail). It’s also very easy to link several trails together, so make sure you stop for a map at the entrance and plan your hike.
Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon: Navajo Loop
This loop starts at sunset point and is a moderate trail about 1.3 miles in length. The trail includes the popular switch backs of Wall Street and a walk through many of the famous hoodoos and spires.
Best Bryce Canyon Hiking Trail: Queens Garden Trail
This trail descends into the hoodoos and spires of Bryce and you can combine this trail with the Navajo Trail for a fabulous loop.
Best Bryce Canyon Hiking Trails: Fairyland Loop
Take in the spectacular vistas and descend into the hoodoos for this 8 miles strenuous hike. Since this trail is more challenging and longer, you can get away from some of the crowds and explore more of this canyon. This is a great option if you are looking to visit Bryce Canyon with kids who are older or are experienced hikers.
Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon: Rim Trail
This trail is 5.5 miles and meanders along the top of the amphitheater of Bryce Canyon. Since the trail moves from parking lot to parking lot, you can easily do just a section of the trail. The trail itself is easy, especially between Sunrise and Sunset Points, and if you are using the shuttle to travel around the park it is easy to walk this section and get on the shuttle.
Best Bryce Canyon Hikes: Peek A Boo Loop Trail
This 4.8 mile trail is popular but likely will be less crowded compared to the Navajo or Queen’s Garden Trail. You can combine this trail with other trails, or descend into the trail from Bryce Point. We loved the views from this trail and our teens and tween enjoyed the challenge and the variety on this trail.
Visit the Best Scenic Overlooks and Snap Some Photos
Depending on what time of year you visit, you can explore the park with your car, or take the shuttle. Our favorite viewpoints are Sunset and Sunrise Points, Inspiration Point, Bryce Point and Rainbow Point. Try to get there at sunrise or sunset to get the best photos.
Horseback Riding in Bryce Canyon with Kids
Descending into the canyon is a wonderful option for a family adventure with kids and teens. There are many horseback riding operations you can choose from. When you hike you will likely pass several groups of horses on the trails. Check out this horseback riding tour.
Drive to Rainbow Point
This point is located away from the rest of Bryce’s main attractions. You will need to drive into the park about 20 minutes to get to this point. There are good views from here, but not any better than some of the earlier overlooks. I would add this on if you are visiting Bryce Canyon for more than 1 day.
Best Bryce Canyon Winter Activities: Snowshoe or Cross Country Ski
If you are planning a winter visit to Bryce Canyon with teens or kids, a popular activity is to snowshoe or cross country ski across the plateau (you can’t actually ski down into the canyon itself).
Go Stargazing! This area has amazing dark skies – consider camping and spending time gazing at the stars.
Mountain Biking: There are some options to bike both in and outside the park
Backpacking: you will need to get a backcountry permit to backpack in the park
Bryce Canyon What to Do: One Day Bryce Canyon Itinerary with Kids
You can easily see the best sites in Bryce Canyon National Park in one day if you are willing to get up early. This itinerary is best during the summer season or shoulder season months. This is the exact itinerary we followed when we visited Bryce Canyon National Canyon with our teens and tween.
Start your morning by getting there for sunrise if possible. Start at sunrise point and walk along the Rim Trail to the start of the Navajo Trail. Enjoy the amazing views along this walk and then descend into the Navajo Trail. Wind your way down into the valley. If you are looking for a shorter hike, you can head up the Queens Garden Trail, or if you are up for a longer hike, follow the Peekaboo Loop trail and then loop back to the Navajo Trail.
Both these hiking options will take most of the morning, especially if you are stopping for photos and breaks. Head into town to grab something to eat and even take a break before heading back out at the end of the day. If the afternoon you can either drive out to Rainbow Point or take a horseback ride back into the canyon. At sunset visit a few of the overlooks to snap a few more photos.
Where to Stay
There are several options for places to stay in Bryce. Right outside the park you can find several hotels. You can also book a nearby campground. We stayed in Kodachrome State Park and drove to Bryce for the day. North Campground and Sunset Campground are great options.
Best Western PLUS Ruby Inn – Just outside Bryce Canyon National Park with a pool
Bryce Canyon Pines- Located a little further from the park, this hotel has an outdoor season pool and a range of room options.
Where to Eat
You can find several places to eat right outside the Bryce Canyon gate. You can eat right in Bryce or take the short drive to Tropic or Panquitch. Try the Cowboy Smokehouse Café, Ebenezer’s Bar and Grill, Bryce Canyon Pines, or the Pizza Place.
How to Get to Bryce Canyon and What Else to See
If you are coming to Bryce Canyon, it’s likely you will be visiting other nearby parks. You can easily visit Kodachrome State Park and Grand Staircase Escalante as they are both close by. Many people also combine Bryce and Zion National Parks into the same trip and Capital Reef is just a few hours away as well.
You will likely be driving to Bryce and you can fly into Salt Lake City (273 miles), St George Regional Airport (143 miles) or McCarran International Airport (270 miles). If you will be arriving from Zion, you should plan for about a 1 and a half-hour drive (72 miles).
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