Bryce Canyon National Park, was just one of many National and State parks we spent time in during our visit to Utah. In fact we visited four National Parks, one State Park, and a Tribal Park. If the number of photos I took are any indication, Bryce Canyon was a favorite!
That could be due to its higher elevations and cooler temperatures, which made Bryce Canyon a welcome respite from the extreme heat of our previous stops in Zion and Las Vegas.
We enjoyed hiking through unique and alien landscapes by day, and explored the night sky, and it’s many wonders, under it’s famously dark skies by night.
At around 80 miles the scenic drive from Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon is a very manageable distance, however the road can at times be curvy, steep and narrow or all three at once, and if you’re me, that can make for slow going.
Other times, the road seems to stretch out in front of you for what feels like forever, and it was during one of those stretches that I saw something in the distance. What is that large and strange looking formation?
The Rock Stop!
Having previously read about The Rock Stop, we decided to stop and take a look around! As it turns out we were far from the only ones! People come from around the world to visit the Wonders of Utah, and it turns out The Rock Stop is one of them.
This turned out to be a perfect place to stretch our legs and grab a drink and a snack. We even picked up a souvenir or two!
Bryce Canyon National Park By Day
If, like us, you have limited time in the Park, consider making the visitor center your first stop. While there, you can learn about the park, pick up a park map, and speak with the Park Rangers about what might be the best experience for your group’s needs.
Mossy Cave Trail – Easy
The Mossy Cave trail includes close up views of the Park’s famous hoodoos, the mossy cave, and a waterfall. At just under one mile roundtrip Mossy Cave Trail is a perfect hike for all ages and fitness levels. This hike includes parking and services.
The Navajo Loop/Queen’s Garden Combination Trail – Moderate
One of the Park’s most popular hikes, The Navajo Loop/Queen’s Garden Combination Trail, is a perfect hike if you want to get a taste of what Bryce Canyon has to offer, but don’t have a lot of time in the Park.
The hike is a loop and starts at Sunset point. For safety the NPS park service recommends walking .4 miles along the canyon’s rim to Sunrise point where you follow the Queens Garden Trail down into the canyon. Whoops we did just the opposite.
The hike took us around three hours, contains 300+ feet of elevation and includes some very steep drop offs. The views from above the canyon were stunning, but I also loved walking among the Park’s famous hoodoos. You can see more photos from this amazing hike at the end of the post!
We took our time and along the way enjoyed some light rain, the unique landscape, and the many chipmunks!
Bryce Canyon National Park By Night
Dark Rangers Telescope Tour
If Bryce Canyon was one of my favorite places, then The Dark Rangers Telescope Tour was my favorite activity of the entire trip! It’s been a dream of mine to photograph the night sky, specifically the Milky Way, and Bryce Canyon’s remote location makes it the perfect place to fulfill this dream. My sons both love science making this a wonderful family activity!
I discovered Dark Rangers Telescope Tours while researching the Park’s official site, and I can’t say enough about our experience. Our evening with Kevin Poe, a local park ranger, and astronomer, was perfect from start to finish.
We met Kevin at his observatory, and spent three hours learning about and exploring the night sky. We saw Saturn and Jupiter, a swan nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, Vega, star clusters, exploded stars and more. It was truly amazing!
Not only that, but I got a lesson in astrophotography, and night vision! Did you know that red is the only color light that allows your vision to stay in night mode?
Tips & Advice:
- Are you traveling with a Senior Citizen or a 4th Grader? That’s good news! Seniors can purchase a lifetime National Park Pass for $80 with access to over 2000 locations, and their companions will be able to enter along with them for free.
- Fourth grade students and their families can enter National parks for free with the Every Kid in A Park Pass. Sign up on line, print out the temporary pass, and redeem it for your permanent card when you visit your first park!
- Bryce Canyon City is located just outside the park. Food, lodging and free parking can be found here.
- Cars are allowed in Bryce Canyon National Park, but I highly recommend taking advantage of the free parking in Bryce Canyon City and using the park shuttle.
- The Visitor Center is the first stop inside the park.
- Watch your step and look where you’re going. There are many drop offs and very few protective measures in place, we saw a little baby slip and he almost fell. Really! The daddy caught him at the last second when I gasped!
- If you’re interested in astrophotography book your tour with the Dark Rangers in advance and you may be able to connect your camera directly to the telescopes.
- There are a variety of tours available, however I wanted to include astrophotography, so chose a private tour.
Pin for later:
didnt know Bryce had a waterfall. I always wanted to see Thor’s Hammer too. thanks for sharing
Glad you enjoyed! The waterfall was such a nice bonus!
I’ve wanted to visit Zion since I got here two years ago, but I might have to widen that trip to include Bryce Canyon now, especially since it’s cooler. What awesome pictures and I love a good hike! Thanks for recommending the Dark Rangers Telescope Tour, that would be such a cool experience! #citytripping
They were both amazing, and they’re really close to one another, so if you can… definitely visit Bryce too! The Dark Rangers Telescope tour was exceeded my expectations and then some. It was awesome, and there aren’t that many dark skies anymore, so I was excited to see the Milky Way!!
Your photos of Bryce are stunning. I can’t believe how many stars you could see. We have been wanting to take a trip to both Bryce and Zion and your post just sealed the deal. Thanks for Sharing.
Thank you!! The stargazing was unforgettable! Have a great time, you won’t be disappointed!
fifi + hop
Such incredible photos, you could be a professional!! #citytripping
You’re too kind, but thank you so much! Xx
It looks stunning by day but how fantastic that night tour sounds – my son loves science too so he would adore something like that. Love the Rock Stop as well, so quirky.
Yes, the evening tour was easily the highlight of the trip for all of us!
Oh I loved it here too! I had never seen anything like Bryce – such a unique place. I think we also took the long way and my kids were about done with me by the end of that hike. I loved it though! The trees were my favorite clinging to the sides of the hills. And – shout out to Scandi Thor’s Hammer! Haha! Love from Copenhagen thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin
I also loved the trees, especially on those switchbacks! Need alert, but of course we LOVE Thor as we’re huge superhero fans!! The elevation was a killer tho, wasn’t it?!
Yes coming back up out of the canyon was a challenge!
breathtaking photos:) #farawayfiles
Ah I didn’t realize Zion & Bryce National Park are both so close to each other! Sounds like a road trip I need to do!! #FarawayFiles
Yep! I really feel it would be a shame to do one without the other! One could do Vegas, Zion and Bryce quite easily!
Good to know! I’ll keep that in mind!
Christine | The Journey of Christine
Bryce Canyon has been on my bucket list forever! I want to go here soooo bad. Maybe next Spring Break along with some other National Parks nearby.
There is always a possibility for snow in the spring. But it would be beautiful!
passion fruit, paws and peonies
Wow,I can’t get over those orange colours! You could see so many stars too. What a fantastic experience x #FarawayFiles
I kept thinking how impressive the colors were and how amazing it is that there are so many different types of terrain I’ve never seen! The stars were breathtaking!
Beautiful photos! I was at Bryce in the spring (May) and we did have snow. Unfortunately, I was only there for the better part of an afternoon – there’s never enough time! – so my visit was sweet but short. We didn’t do any hiking, just stopped at the overviews. I would love to go back and spend way more time there.
I bet it was incredible topped with snow!
Amazing pictures, wow! <3
I am starting a new blog, making it my very own travel diary, go take a look!
Your photos are extraordinary – you’ve got at least another two weeks’ worth of Instagram photos here, I reckon! The scenery here is just stunning and so different from anything I’ve ever seen before. Love the idea of a nighttime sky tour as well. My kids would adore that, particularly the eldest as he’s really into his physics. I’m sure I’ve only ever seen chipmunks in cartoons before now and I love the look of those maps too. Guess you’ve put pins on all the places you’ve visited so far. That really is super cool. Just loved this post. #FarawayFiles
Clare you’re too kind! Thank you so much! The scenery was so foreign to us it felt like another planet! The chipmunks were so cute, and they were everywhere, and not shy at all, which I wasn’t sure was exactly a good thing. Funny enough we don’t have a pin map here at home, but we loved seeing the map of all the places people had come from at the Rock Stop! Who knew a store that sells rocks would be so popular! xx
Anisa & Katherine (@2travelingtxns)
Bryce Canyon looks amazing. Those drop offs make me nervous though. I still want to visit and do those hikes, plus would love an astrophotography tour! Your night photos (and all the others ones too actually) are amazing. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.
The drop offs made me nervous too, which is why I lefrt my 9 year old at the lodge with his grandmother! Thank you, taking night photos was something I’d always wanted to try, so I was pretty excited about it!
wow! totally jealous of the night time photography, what a fantastic experience. The colors are amazing too. So funny seeing the comment about chipmunks. Our garden was full of them in Connecticut but you have to remember that someone’s commonplace is another’s wonder!
The night sky experience was definitely fantastic! I love your sentiment! We had what seemed like a zillion squirrels in our old neighborhood but never chipmunks! Xx
Oh my word. How beautiful is this place?? I think the telescope tour would have been my favourite, too. But argh, babies almost falling off cliffs – nooooo! It doesn’t bear thinking about. #FarawayFiles
As you can imagine being in a place with so much beauty and so much danger gave the beauty somewhat of a backseat to the caution required just being there… That said, I was pleasantly suprised when I got home and saw the lovely photos!
Truly amazing photos! They are definitely enough to inspire a trip. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Thank you!! Cx