Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon

Fairyland loop

best hikes in Bryce Canyon
best hikes in Bryce Canyon

True heaven for hikers’ fairyland loop is one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon is a round trip of 8miles (12 km) into the bottom of the valley. Before starting your journey make sure to carry a water bottle and a lot of snacks and drinks with you as this journey involves a lot of hiking and steep climbing on the way. 

Though the trail is one of the best hiking and scenic trails in the park, it still barely gets any visitors. Most of the people avoid this trail maybe because it goes down and not up, but I’m sure they miss the best of the park. Fairyland loop trail offers spectacular views of hoodoos and natural landscapes as the journey continues. The trail also has some unique areas or highlights where you can stop and just the beauty of nature. 

Begin your hike to fairyland from fairyland point which is outside the entrance of the national park. The trail follows the downhill path into the canyon. As you reach the Canyon you will be blown by excellent views around you. And after walking for a few minutes you will be presented with the natural landscapes and desert views. As the journey begins the trail will take you from a narrow route, have slippy signs alongside, even though the footing is good throughout the trail, still prefer hiking boots over flip flops in this hike.

Throughout the journey the trail will expose you to breathtaking scenic views, after every view, you will be amazed more and that is what also makes this trail so much more interesting. The trail follows the easy ups and downs rhythm and also meets the point where you have to climb up. After climbing at the top you will be exposed to the wilderness and depth of the Canyon. 

Though the trail follows the ups and down rhythm, still there are flat sections where you can relax and catch your breath for further journeys. What makes the journey more interesting are landscapes and hoodoos along the trail which gives the feel of a fairytale. 

At the midway of your journey the trail gives you the option to see the tower bridge, this is also one of the main highlights of the trail, only 0.2 miles off track from the main trail. After that, you can continue your journey to the top of the rim which follows the uphill hiking. As you go up you will be surrounded by more hoodoos and scenic views. 

The best time to visit the fairy trail is during summers or fall because in winter the trail down into canyons is blocked due to snow. In my suggestion fall is the best time to visit the trail because nature brightens up more and the view is more clear. Other than that the mild sunny weather also suits the hikers. 

Queen’s garden

best hikes in Bryce Canyon
best hikes in Bryce Canyon

One of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon queen garden is a short hike of 2.2 miles that follows the downhill path and takes you into the bottom of the Canyon. Just like fairytale trails this short also offers scenic views of landscapes and hoodoos along the trail. This is one of the easiest hikes in Bryce Canyon, follow the downhill and flat rhythm throughout the journey. But on your way back you have to walk uphill.

Begin your journey to queens garden from north of the sunrise point. Turn left after 0.5 miles from Bryce Canyon visitors center and as you reach the gravel area or general store after walking 0.5 miles there is a parking lot where you can park your vehicle. From here walk towards the sunrise point and follow the trim trail on the left. Just before sunrise point, some trails lead to Queen’s garden. 

This short journey features the small rock doors that feel like old doors in King’s land where every door leads to another mystery that blows your mind. Besides that, the trail also features a hoodoos collection. Some hoodoos make the throne of Queen Victoria and also define the name of the trail. On a clear day if you look to the horizon you will see the Navajo mountain peak that is 80 miles away from the spot.

During your journey, you can capture the photos of hand-carved tunnels that are present through the walls of canyon rocks. If you visit the trail for the first time then you may have a tough time in guessing the right pillar for Queen’s throne but if you pay attention you may see it at first sight. 

Bristlecone pine 

best hikes in Bryce Canyon
best hikes in Bryce Canyon

If you are in Bryce Canyon and want to enjoy the short hike after a long hike then trying Bristlecone pine is worth it. This is one of the shortest and best hikes in Bryce Canyon that showcases some of the oldest organisms on the planet. The trip to Bristlecone pine only covers a 1-mile round trip, but still, there is so much that you can see throughout your journey. But don’t keep your expectations so high because the trail does offer scenic views but most of them are dead. While other trails in Bryce Canyon park have hoodoos, in Bristlecone pine there are none but colorful overlooks. 

To begin your journey to Bristlecone pine you have to cover 16 miles south through any vehicle from the visitors center to rainbow point. After reaching the rain point turn right and you will see the trailhead that takes you to this amazing journey. Trail to Bristlecone is an easy trail, though it gets muddy in wet conditions and snowy in winters, still it is one of the easiest trails to grip your foot. 

After walking for a few minutes you will be amazed by the overlook of Dixie National Forest which can be seen on the east side along the trail. And don’t forget to look into the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument which can be seen far into the distance. 

Enjoy the natural wildlife as you pass by various varieties of wildflowers, Which include balsamroot, blue flax, clematis, and lupine. 

As you go close to the end you will see Bristlecone trees hanging on the cliffs. Bristlecone trees are the main highlight of the trail, you may think why? This is because Bristlecone trees are the oldest trees present on the planet which makes them unique and also the main reason behind the trail’s name.

Mossy cave 

best hikes in Bryce Canyon
best hikes in Bryce Canyon

Another one of the easiest and short hikes in Bryce Canyon that you can enjoy with your family or kids. Mossy cave is a 0.4 miles long(one-way) trail that starts with climbs and goes decent at the end. Mossy is the only trail in the Bryce canyon that starts with a climb. The trailhead that leads to the mossy trail is 4 miles north of the visitor center on our road.

After reaching the junction, turn right in the east for 3 miles and the parking lot is on the right-hand side. In case the parking lot is full, don’t park your vehicle on the roadside because parking is not allowed anywhere except parking lots. You have to pay a fine if you park your car anywhere else. Come later for a hike when the parking lot is less crowded. Usually, the parking area is crowded between 10 a.m to 6 p.m, so if you want space inside the parking lot, make sure you come early in the morning. 

Begin your journey from the trailhead from the parking lot. As you hike up, you will see the elevation gain of the trail, which has a texture of Bryce Canyon and its hoodoos. And as you continue you will also see fewer hoodoos at the lower section due to less water. After walking for a few minutes take the left turn to the mossy cave.

Mossy cave is a shelter cave wherein summers you will see a lot of moss filled in overhang, and giant icicles in winters. As you continue, take the right turn and you will be offered an amazing view of a small waterfall. This waterfall is created by dolomite, strong and harder than any other limestone. 

Besides that, if you are a fan of nature you will enjoy the view of trees and colorful rocks that come on your way to a mossy cave. Spot animals that come to fill their thirst, you may not spot animals during day time when the trail is crowded. 

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Rim trail 

best hikes in Bryce Canyon
best hikes in Bryce Canyon

Rim trail, one of the longest and popular hikes in Bryce Canyon. It is an 11 mile round trip with a decent elevation gain of 300 feet. Before diving into the journey of rim trail first I want to tell you why the trail is no. Priority for hikers or people visiting Bryce Canyon. It is because the rim trail features the 5 overlooks or highlights throughout the journey, each is different and more amazing than the other.

You can enjoy overlooks or views by sitting at the edges because there is no railing at the side of the trail, don’t get scared because the trail is too wide for adult hikers. And in case you don’t have time to continue the trip you can quit or exit the trail and overlook, each overlook you see throughout this journey has a separate parking lot. Of all 5 highlights most popular among photographers and selfie lovers is Bryce point. Bryce Point is the best spot to take pictures.

During the time of sunset, the light bounces back with colors, creating a beautiful scenic view that you can’t resist taking out your phone to capture the moment. From the minimal distance, you can see hikers hiking on under the rim trail which is 23 miles long trail and requires a permit. After 1.5 miles the trail will take you to Bryce Canyon inspiration point which is an edge walk-through for further 0.7 miles.

The best thing about this section of the trail is that you can stand on the edge and set the scenic view of nature in your eyes. The view from the edge of the trail is a true moment to witness.

After this amazing view at your left, you will see a big tall thor’s hammer. Here sunset point is one of the crowdest places in the park because here you get bathroom drinks and a spot for picnics.

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Peekaboo loop trail

The Peekaboo Loop trail is equipped with breathtaking valleys, landscapes, and summits. Located in the Bryce Canyon National Park and brings hikers from all over the world with its magnificent views of valleys and canyons. The trail is measured at a 3-mile loop that could take the hikers about 2-3 hours.

Hikers usually take longer on this trail than any trail in the park, because it is incredible. It is also known as the crown jewel of the  Bryce Canyon National Park. You can access this trail from the horse trail and you nearly have to hike 2 miles and descend nearly 650 feet, to get the sight of one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon.

You can enjoy the incredible views of hoodoos, fins, spires, and impressive rock formations such as the Wall of Windows, the Cathedral, and Fairy Castle. 

The path is covered with spires, arches and bridges, and breathtaking views of the Valley. The Wall of windows is considered as a photogenic spot and every hiker who hikes this trail, clicks a picture with it. If you want to update your Instagram profile, there could be no other spot than this. 

It is considered a strenuous route, due to its constantly ascending or descending elevation. The hikers have the opportunity to cross bridges, tunnels, and canyons while watching the amazing rock formations. Another benefit of getting on this trail is that it is less crowded because the hike is strenuous than the nearby Queens Garden and Navajo trail.

On your trail, you can easily encounter some beautiful horses. Note: Don’t disturb them for pictures and let them pass.

When you visit any trial for a hike, you must be prepared and certainly should know about what things to bring and what you can expect on the hike. When visiting Peek a boo trailhead, you must know these few things.

  • Carry plenty of water to stay hydrated and beat the heat.
  • Bring some snacks and energy drinks to eat through the trail.
  • Restroom facilities are at the bottom of the trail.
  • Foot traction devices are advised in winter. Check out some of the best foot traction devices to use in your hike.
  • Ankle injuries are highly common on this hike, due to steep rock formations and unpaved paths. So it is advised to wear hiking shoes that have high ankle support. You can opt for Salomon’s Quest 4D 3 GTX that is superior build quality and uses serious day hiking and backpacking. When you wear these shoes you don’t have to worry about ankle injuries( as it provides super ankle support) and they are lightweight, so you wear them on any trek. 

Hat shop trail

Another great trail that is considered as one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park that is worth exploring. The hike is most suitable for people who love to hike with a minimum number of people. It is one of the least traveled routes in the park but it doesn’t mean that it is worthless. You can enjoy the distant views of Aquarius and Kaiparowits Plateaus with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. You can get a pretty solid workout in less than a mile.

But if you want to explore the classic hoodoos of the park, there is no point to hike this trail. You can choose other trails like Queen’s Garden, Peekaboo Trail, Fairyland Loop.

I know it is not the iconic trail in the Bryce Canyon but I had to explore it to give an overview of what you can expect. It is easily accessible from several trails and I started this hike from Under-the-Rim Trail to Hat Shop. 

After a quarter-mile on the trail and seeing some of the magnificent views of the valley and rock formations, we have reached a junction where the path traverses through the woods. ( there is not a sign marking “hat shop.”)

From that junction, our trail leads us through the woods, with incredible rock formations on the other side. After a short distance, we have come across a ridge. From the ridge, there is an incredible orchestra of tediously balanced rock hoodoos. After clicking some pictures, we steadily descended around the head of Merrill Canyon. Although it is a short hike, it can be challenging at some point.

When we moved around the south of the ridge, we saw the next ridge also known as  Hat Shop hoodoos. On reaching the peak of the trail, we can see the enormous view of the Bryce Canyon National Park. It is quite similar to what we saw on the Peekaboo trail. But with the sun at a different angle, it feels like we are watching it for the first time. After clicking some more photos we returned on the same path.

If you ever want to get in touch with other hikers you can easily meet them at the end of the Rainbow Point. That’s the end of the 20-mile trail where hikers are on their multi-day trip. I chatted with them and learned more about their experiences on their trip and what I can expect if anyone does that. Every hiker we interviewed answered quite similar ” It was worth it”. 

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