Arches National Park covers 76,519 acres, making it one of the smaller national parks in Nothern America. However, there is plenty to do and see if you want to spend two to three days in the park. We only had one day to dedicate to the park, so we wanted to make the most of it.
After spending some time researching and looking at our schedule, I decided that it would make the most sense for us to spend an evening in the park, then come back the next day and spend a morning in the park.
Fortunately, Arches is located just outside the city of Moab, which was a mere 10-minute drive from our hotel.
Because we were visiting in July, we opted to spend our afternoons at the hotel pool, which still left plenty of time to get a good overview of the park and explore some areas in detail.
Stop By the Visitor’s Center
Whenever we visit a national park for the first time, we always like to stop by the Visitor’s Center. We are a family who loves learning, so the Visitor’s Center is always a great place to learn more about the park, its history, conservation efforts, wildlife, and more.
The Visitor’s Center is also a great place to refill water bottles and ask questions about trails and activities.
Participate in the Junior Ranger Program
If you have younger kids, pick up a Junior Ranger booklet at the Visitor’s Center for them to complete as you make your way through the park. The Junior Ranger Program is a highlight for many young adventurers. When they complete their booklet, return it to the Visitor’s Center later in the day, share their discoveries with a ranger, recite the Junior Ranger pledge and receive a wooden Junior Ranger badge.
Park Avenue & Courthouse Towers viewpoints
These gorgeous red walls will be one of the first sights you’ll see as you make your way into the park.
A short, accessible trail will take you from the parking lot to the viewpoint.
Hike the Park Avenue Trail
Trail Difficulty: Moderate
Trail Length: 2 miles, out and back
If you’re up for a little hike, follow the trail from the Park Avenue Viewpoint to Courthouse Towers.
This trail offers up-close views of these stunning, massive red rock walls.
Explore the Windows Section
We had heard how crowded the park was before our trip, but we were pleasantly surprised by the low crowd levels in this section of the park. The Windows Section of the park is a 25-30 minute drive from the park entrance and absolutely breathtaking.
The Windows Section of Arches National Park is kid-friendly and perfect for beginning hikers since all of the attractions are within a short walking distance from the parking lot.
If you have only 1 day at Arches National Park, the Windows Section is a must-visit area of the park. You can see such a great variety of rock formations in a short amount of time!
Double Arch Trail
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Length:0.3 mile trail (0.6 round trip)
Reaching 112 feet above the ground, Double Arch is the tallest arch in the park.
Primitive Loop Trail
Trail Length:1.1 miles
The Primitive Loop Trail will take you around the entire Windows Section. However, if you’re not feeling up to a mile-long walk, you can skip the loop trail and hike directly to each viewpoint. Our kids just wanted to run around and climb up rocks, so we didn’t end up hiking the entire loop.
North and South Windows Trail
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Length:0.3 mile trail
It’s one thing to see a picture of these massive rock formations and another thing to stand inside of them. It makes the world feel big and beautiful. The wind blows through the windows, creating natural air conditioning (which is a welcome reprieve from the blazing Utah sun…especially in July).
Turret Arch Trail
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Trail Length:0.1 mile trail (from South Window)
Turret Arch was the arch we visited the longest. The kids enjoyed scrambling over the rocks leading up to the arch, and the lighting was just beautiful. It also had relatively few visitors compared to the other arches and windows in this area of the park.
See Balanced Rock
Located right off the main road, Balanced Rock is easy to spot, even from a distance. If you didn’t already stop and take pictures here before exploring the Windows Section, Balanced Rock has a picnic area which could be a great place to stop and enjoy a meal together before heading out on your next adventure.
Hike to Delicate Arch
Due to warm weather conditions and limited trailhead parking, we opted to hike to this incredibly famous arch first thing in the morning. Depending on the weather, this could also be a great hike on a summer evening, or during the day at other times of the year.
Delicate Arch Hike Details
Trail Length:3 miles round trip
Some people might consider this hike strenuous, but I think it’s mostly because shade is in limited supply on this trail (READ: non-existent!), which can make it unbearably hot during the summer. There is a steady rock incline and a narrow rock path with drop-offs towards the end of the trail. But certainly, it’s not in the same caliber as Angel’s Landing or Half Dome.
While this trail was challenging for our youngest, Claire, due to her muscle disorder, it was ranked as “easy to moderate” by the rest of the family.
Trailhead parking is limited, so if you’re coming during the summer, you’ll want to arrive before 7:30 am. If you opt to hike later in the day or evening, parking isn’t usually an issue.
There are vault toilets at the trailhead, but no other facilities.
Delicate Arch is one of the most photographed arches in Utah and is worth a visit. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen and just leaves you in wonder. For another great view of Delicate Arch, towards the end of the hike, you can climb up to a little window and view the arch through the window.
View Ute Petroglyphs and Old Cabin
At the start of the Delicate Arch Trailhead is a panel of petroglyphs left by previous inhabitants. The panel art is typical of what is seen in Ute rock carvings. Archeologists estimate that the markings were made sometime between 1650 and 1850.
Nearby, you’ll also see a small, one-room cabin built by John Wesley Wolfe in the late 1800s. If I had my pick of the Wild West in the late 1800s, I’m not sure that this is the spot I would have chosen to live. If you like blazing hot temperatures in the summer, sans shade trees and air conditioning, it might be a good choice for you. For that reason, this small, non-descript cabin is extra intriguing.
Hike to Sand Dune Arch in Devil’s Garden
This short hike is popular with families. It offers some shade during the summer…and plenty of sand to play in for the younger hikers.
have some Extra Time in Arches?
If you still have time to burn during your 1 day at Arches National Park, check out some of the other nearby arches in the Devil’s Garden area of the park. Broken Arch and Skyline Arch are both good choices! Or, head over to the Devil’s Garden Trailhead and hike to Landscape Arch or Double O Arch. For those who feel extra adventurous, a ranger-led tour through the Fiery Furnace might be a good option!
If you’re looking for a 3-day itinerary for Yellowstone, we’ve got you covered!
Yellowstone National Park was on our bucket list for years. It was one of the national parks that neither Allan nor I had visited. I had seen pictures of the incredible scenery and wildlife but wanted to see it for myself. Of course, even if the pictures are filtered, this is one of those places that is even better in person!
I wasn’t sure how much time we needed there, so I used the wonderful tool of social media to get input from my friends who had already visited Yellowstone. A variety of answers came in, but two to five days was the general recommendation. I settled on three days and three nights. We did one half-day, followed by two full days, then another half-day.
WHEN TO VISIT YELLOWSTONE
The best time to visit, of course, depends on multiple factors, all of which vary from family to family. We needed to go when the kids were out of school and it was warm enough to tent camp. That didn’t leave a lot of options. Really, just one: summer. I researched weather patterns (it CAN snow in June and September), mosquitos, and crowds.
Consider the Weather
During our 3-day itinerary to Yellowstone, we wanted to hike, and we were tent camping, so we decided to go in July when it was warm. I had thought June might work if we went right after the kids got out of school. I imagined crowds would be a little lower in June. And they may have been, but we’re glad we ended up going in July since it ended up snowing in Yellowstone the third week of June!
Plan for Mosquitos
I had heard that you can get eaten alive by mosquitoes at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in the summer. Here’s the bad news: you can. But there’s also good news: they only come out at dawn and dusk. Timing your trip to avoid the mosquitos is nearly impossible since their appearance depends on a variety of factors like the amount and timing of snowfall/snowmelt, rainfall, and temperature. My best advice? Bring repellent, long pants, and long shirts. Even though we weren’t cold, covering up before the mosquitos blessed us with their presence definitely helped.
Expect Some Crowds at Some Locations
More than four million people visit Yellowstone every year, making it one of the most visited national parks in the United States. I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd volume or lack thereof. I was expecting the crowd levels to be more similar to Yosemite National Park. However, because Yellowstone is so spread out, it helps disperse the crowds.
Unfortunately, there is no public transportation system in this national park. Biking isn’t really feasible considering the abundance of wildlife, narrow roads, and sprawling nature of Yellowstone. Everywhere you go, you will need to drive your vehicle. I expected chaos and congestion, but, in reality, it was easy to find parking spots with the exception of the Grand Prismatic Spring trailhead.
I planned our 3-day itinerary for Yellowstone so that we would arrive on a Sunday and leave on a Wednesday, avoiding the extra weekend traffic.
Walking the boardwalk at West Thumb Hot Springs
MAKING RESERVATIONS AT YELLOWSTONE
After extensive research, I decided to stay at Canyon Campground. It was the most centrally located, so we could stay in the same spot all three nights and keep everything within relatively easy driving distance. I suggest reserving your spot as far in advance as you can. It’s not as difficult to secure a spot in Yellowstone as it is in Yosemite, which was nice.
On the first day of our 3-day itinerary for Yellowstone, we entered the park through the west entrance in the afternoon, using our FREE 4th grader national park pass from the Every Kid Outdoors program. We loved seeing the beautiful, small section of Montana right before we entered the park. Allan is now dreaming of owning a ranch home in that area.
To be honest, after the gorgeous mountains, trees, tall green grass, and wildflowers entering Yellowstone from the west was a bit of a letdown. There were stunted trees and the vegetation was a little sparse. I’m not sure what I was expecting, considering it’s a geothermal area. Haha! Gradually, the scenery did change, ushering in more trees and greenery.
Gibbon Falls was our first stop! We parked the vehicle and made a short, easy walk down the path to view 84 feet of cascading falls.
Gibbon Falls on the west side of Yellowstone National Park
From there, we hopped back in the car, passed some mud pots, and drove on until we got to our home base for the next few days: the Canyon Campground. We set up camp and then headed down to Canyon Village. The Village is an area that has a couple of dining areas, a gift shop, a grocery store, and a visitor center.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park
Canyon Visitor Center
After walking around The Village, we made our way to the Visitor Center. We talked to rangers, looked at maps, and walked around looking at all the different displays. A love for learning runs deep in our family, so visitor centers are always a hit. Don’t forget to pick up a free Junior Ranger booklet if you have younger kids! My kids love this program!
At dusk, we grabbed our binoculars and cameras and drove down to Hayden Valley. It’s an eight-mile drive from the campground that can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on animal traffic. Bison and wildlife traffic jams are a very real thing in Yellowstone, and you just learn to live with it and enjoy it! Hayden Valley is a great place to see bison, elk, river otters, deer, and more! There are plenty of places to pull off the road and park.
It was the perfect way to end our first night in Yellowstone.
We devoted Day 2, the first full day of our 3-day itinerary for Yellowstone, to exploring the northern loop of the park. Yellowstone National Park consists of two main driving loops, a northern loop, and a southern loop.
We ate a quick breakfast and headed north, straight toward Lamar Valley, knowing that the wildlife would be most active in the morning.
The drive to the valley was a beautiful one, up and over the summit with wildflowers all along the road. As we turned at Tower Junction and headed east toward Lamar Valley, we saw bald eagles, pronghorn antelope, and bison. We had hoped we would see wolves, but we didn’t get that lucky. In the morning, this area was devoid of park visitors, making the experience more magical.
A Pronghorn antelope in Hayden Valley
After a couple of hours in Lamar Valley, we headed northwest toward the Petrified Tree. This was a quick stop that we found a bit underwhelming. Would we stop here again? Probably not, but it’s a good site to stop by once, especially if your kids have never seen petrified wood.
The Town of Mammoth
Our next stop was the little town of Mammoth, located at the north end of the park. Fort Yellowstone was located in this area and many of the buildings are still in use today.
Usually, the town is inundated with elk. They lounge on the grass like they own the place. However, the day we were there, they were strangely absent and nobody seemed to know why.
Lunch in Mammoth
We had lunch at the “fancy” restaurant in town, the Mammoth Dining Room. My turkey salad looked (and tasted) like something you would get from a cafeteria. Edible, but not remarkable. Everyone agreed that the huckleberry lemonade, and ambiance, was their favorite part.
Lunch at the Mammoth Dining Room in Yellowstone
The Mammoth Visitor Center
We especially enjoyed the Albright Visitor Center in this quaint little town! It was small, and a little busy, but the displays, particularly the ones about the wildlife, were fascinating.
Next, we walked across the town square to Mammoth Springs. If you’re doubtful that you’re headed in the right direction, you can be assured you are going the right way if your nose tells you there’s a rotten egg factory nearby. Haha!
What you’re smelling is the easily identifiable smell of sulfur, which can be found in the geothermal areas throughout the park. If the hot mist blows toward you, it can get in your eyes and irritate them. It’s not dangerous, per se, but I wouldn’t call it incredibly enjoyable.
Some people rate Mammoth Springs high on their list of park favorites, but anything that smelled strongly of sulfur resulted in short visit times for our family. Is it interesting and unique? Absolutely. Would we go back? Yes! Ten to twenty minutes was enough time though, for our family to view the springs.
Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park
We doubled back towards the campground after visiting Mammoth. Ordinarily, you could complete the whole loop. I really wanted to swim in Boiling River Hot Springs and catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep, but that portion of the road was closed due to construction.
As we passed Roosevelt Lodge (located right by Tower Junction), we saw a couple of cars pull over on the side of the road. Suddenly, more cars pulled over. Then we spotted it. There was a black bear, sitting in the meadow eating grass! We found a parking spot on the side of the road and watched. It was undoubtedly the highlight of our day!
Black bear sighting near Tower Junction in Yellowstone National Park
Next, we stopped by Tower Fall. There’s a short, accessible hike to a 132-foot waterfall. After the hike, we snagged an ice cream cone from the Tower General Store located at the trailhead, in the parking lot. It’s the little things!
Tower Fall in Yellowstone
Enjoying ice cream from Tower Fall General Store
After eating a bowl of chili for dinner back at the campground, we headed out again to Hayden Valley to watch the wildlife. Watching the sunset across the grassy fields where bison, elk, and antelope grazed is a peaceful way to end every day.
Elk munching on grass
One of many bison herds
YELLOWSTONE ITINERARY: DAY 3 (FULL DAY)
For the second full day of our 3-day itinerary for Yellowstone, we explored the southern loop of the park. This loop was busier than the northern loop as it’s closer to Grand Teton National Park and hosts some of the more well-known features of the park, like Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Spring.
Hot Springs at West Thumb and Yellowstone Lake
For our first stop, we toured the West Thumb geothermal area. It’s located right near Yellowstone Lake and is uniquely beautiful. We hiked the boardwalk that connects the different springs, listened to a ranger talk, and had a picnic lunch.
West Thumb Hot Springs near Yellowstone Lake
Old Faithful Geyser
From West Thumb, we headed west toward our next destination, Old Faithful. The crowds were definitely a little heavier here.
Old Faithful is one of six geysers in the park that erupts on a fairly consistent basis (hence the name, Old Faithful). The Old Faithful Visitor Education Center regularly posts the next predicted eruption time, plus or minus 10 minutes, allowing guests the opportunity to explore some of the nearby attractions via a boardwalk, meander through the gift shop, watch an educational video in the visitor center, or grab a bite to eat.
While it was a unique experience, for us, the animals ranked higher on the list when it comes to planning a 3-day itinerary for Yellowstone. It may have been that that area was so jampacked with people, and I’m a bit of an introvert.
Old Faithful Geyser erupts in Yellowstone
Old Faithful Inn
The Old Faithful Inn is a work of art and a beautiful piece of history. Stepping inside was like stepping back in time.
Of course, we managed to find an ice cream shop inside the lodge. Huckleberry ice cream is my new favorite ice cream. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend you do!
We took our ice cream to the second floor, where there’s a covered balcony that overlooks the Old Faithful geyser. There are dozens of handcrafted wooden tables and chairs for guests to use. The next time we visit Old Faithful, we decided the balcony would be the perfect spot to watch the eruption!
Other Geysers/Upper Basin
There are multiple trails in the Old Faithful/Upper Basin area. It was unusually warm when we were there (over 90°F), and nobody was super anxious to walk near steaming hot water. Also, we still wanted to visit the Lower Basin area. Some of the trails are short with boardwalks, and others are longer and would require the rental of bear spray. We decided to save some of those longer trails for our next visit to Yellowstone.
Grand Prismatic Spring
By the time we reached the Grand Prismatic Spring/Lower Basin parking lot in the mid-afternoon, the traffic was rather congested. The parking lot was full and cars were lined up waiting to get in. I don’t even remember how long it took to find a parking spot. A long time. A very long time. Long enough that I ended up getting out with the girls to take them to the restroom.
The colors at the Lower Basin were stunning and unlike anything we had ever seen before. It was also rather breezy, causing everyone to clutch their hats, lest they be snatched away by the wind. There were quite a few hats lying out of reach of the boardwalk that had escaped their owners’ heads.
Some people were playing in the river right at the trailhead, but I’m definitely a rule follower when it comes to signs like “Stay on the Boardwalk” and “Danger: Thermal Area”. Instead, we skipped wading in the river and headed back to camp for showers and dinner.
The unbelievable colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone
Yellowstone Falls and Yellowstone Canyon
One of the benefits of being so far north is that the sun doesn’t set until after 9 pm in July. So, after dinner, we headed out to explore Yellowstone Falls. It’s here that you’ll discover how Yellowstone got its name. The grandeur of this golden canyon is breathtaking.
Lower Yellowstone Falls
On our way there, we spied a grizzly bear in a meadow between the main road and the falls parking lot! We pulled into the parking lot and saw it saunter off into the woods. Of course, there were people running towards the bear, selfie sticks in hand. I still can hardly believe it.
What in the world would possess someone to chase a grizzly bear into the forest at dusk? Probably the same thing that possesses people to try to pet the bison that is hanging out by the restroom.
After spending a few days at Yellowstone, I’m actually surprised more people don’t get tossed by bison or attacked by bears. The park does an excellent job of reminding people that the animals are wild and to keep at least 25 yards away from bison and elk and 100 yards away from bears. But people will be people, and no doubt I pulled my fair share of stupid stunts, especially when I was a teen.
YELLOWSTONE ITINERARY: DAY 4 (HALF DAY)
Our last half-day was more of a travel day. We packed up in the morning and said goodbye to Canyon Campground. This was the end of our 3-day itinerary for Yellowstone.
We felt like we had time to see all the main attractions, and know that next time we return, we’ll explore more of the off-the-beaten-path!
First, we stopped by the village to visit the gift shop (tradition). Brandon got a national park keychain and the girls chose animals that reminded them of their time in Yellowstone. If your kiddos have completed at least seven pages of the Junior Ranger booklet, this morning is also a great time to drop by the visitor center and claim their Junior Ranger badge!
Just south of Hayden Valley is an area called Mud Volcano. There’s a half-mile loop that takes you on a boardwalk through boiling mud. And, yes, it smells like sulfur! There’s something strangely mesmerizing about watching mud simmer and boil.
We continued to drive south on the main road toward our next stop, Grand Teton National Park, where we spent two days. A beautiful scenic drive was the perfect way to end our time in Yellowstone. We stopped from time to time when we saw wildlife or wanted to take a picture. We saw more bison (surprise!) and ended up seeing some elk that were bedded down right next to the road!
Bison by the road and bison in the road…everywhere
PLAN YOUR YELLOWSTONE VISIT
This 3-day itinerary for Yellowstone allowed us to see all the major attractions in the park at a pace that fit our family! Yellowstone National Park was everything we dreamed it would be and then some. It became the girls’ favorite national park, mostly because of the abundance of wildlife.
Are you ready to plan your trip to Yellowstone National Park? Do you have any questions? I’d love to hear them and help answer them! Additionally, download my FREE printable packing list for Yellowstone before your trip!
Hoping to spend one day in Bryce Canyon National Park and don’t know what to do? We can help!
If you’re traveling through southern Utah, Bryce Canyon is an absolute must-see!
We spent two days and nights in Bryce on our 7-day southern Utah road trip and it felt like the perfect amount of time. However, not everyone has two days, and you can certainly see much of the park in one day!
HIKE QUEEN’S GARDEN + NAVAJO LOOP TRAIL
Views of the canyon from up above are gorgeous, there’s no denying it. However, to fully experience Bryce, YOU MUST hike down into the canyon.
Wondering through the hoodoos as the sunlight dances through all the nooks and crannies is something we’ll never forget.
We suggest starting at Sunrise Point and taking the Queen’s Garden Trail. The path is steep, but the least steep of all trails leading into the canyon.
Follow the Queen’s Garden Trail until you reach the Navajo Loop. Take the Navajo Loop towards Wall Street (not Thor’s Hammer). Wind your way through a towering slot canyon until you reach Sunset Point.
Hike Length: 2.3 miles
TOUR THE VISITOR’S CENTER
There’s no better way to learn about the canyon than hearing about its history and speaking to the people who care for it day in and day out.
Head to the Visitor’s Center to watch an informative video about the park, talk to rangers, check out the interactive displays, and pick up a Junior Ranger booklet for the younger members of your crew.
VISIT INSPIRATION POINT AND BRYCE POINT
Riding around the park on the shuttle is a great way to see the canyon without the hassle. Take a shuttle tour of Bryce Canyon and get off at all the vista points! Two sights that you don’t want to miss are Inspiration Point and Bryce Point.
Inspiration Point offers jaw-dropping views of the unique rock formations. If you’re feeling up to it, take the short, but steep, hike up to mid and upper Inspiration Point.
EXPLORE OLD TOWN BRYCE
Small and quaint, albeit touristy, most families will enjoy a stroll through Old Town Bryce. Pick up souvenirs, take silly pictures, and grab something to eat. This area is small enough that if you blink, you might miss it!
If you ride the shuttle into town, don’t forget to bring along your park entry ticket so you can re-enter the park…without paying twice.
GO ON A WILDLIFE SIGHTING ADVENTURE
As dusk approaches, Bryce Canyon’s finest residents make an appearance. While wildlife isn’t nearly as diverse as Yellowstone, adventurers of all ages will enjoy spotting wild turkeys, mule deer, prairie dogs, chipmunks, and a variety of feathered friends.
We spotted the most creatures as we drove our car a few miles down the road, past Bryce Point toward Swamp Canyon and Whiteman Bench.
STROLL ALONG THE RIM TRAIL
Before the sun sets, hike the Rim Trail between Sunrise and Sunset Point. If you have extra time, hike from Inspiration Point to Sunrise Point.
This trail is mostly flat and hugs the edge of the canyon.
Trail Length: 1-mile roundtrip (Sunrise to Sunset)
Enjoy the beauty of Bryce Canyon
While Bryce Canyon National Park may be one of the smaller national parks, it should definitely be on everyone’s list. There’s nothing quite like it in all the world!
If you’re looking for things to do in Bryce Canyon with kids, you’ve come to the right place!
The area around Bryce Canyon is not highly developed, so most of the adventures here will be a little more on the rustic side.
Fortunately, if your kids love dirt, rocks, trees, birds, and animals as much as our kids do, they’ll be perfectly content. The two days we spent camping at Sunset Campground in Bryce Canyon National Park were some of our kids’ favorite days on our southern Utah road trip!
Go for a hike
I’m not sure how we got so lucky, but our kids love to hike. Maybe it’s because we always hiked with them (even when they were newborns) or because they got hiking genes. Either way, I count myself fortunate!
Even if your kids don’t love to hike, there are trails in Bryce Canyon that I think every kid, and adult, will love.
Queen’s Garden + Navajo Loop
Hands down, this is our favorite trail in Bryce Canyon. While it can be a little steep at the start and finish, there are so many “fun” things about this trail that make kids happy.
There are weird rocks, chipmunks, tunnels, rock cutouts, tree tunnels, and a tall narrow slot canyon.
This wide, flat path will take you from Bryce Point to Inspiration Point to Sunset Point to Sunrise Point. You can walk the entire length or you can simply walk between two points, like Sunrise and Sunset.
Mossy Cave Trail
Located outside of the main park area, this short jaunt offers something different–water. If water is flowing, that is. Kids may enjoy seeing something different, and Mossy Cave is different.
Take in the views
Don’t feel like hiking? Ride the shuttle!
Bryce Canyon shuttle buses are air-conditioned, which is lovely during the hot summer months. Kids will love sitting in a cushy chair, without a seat belt, and enjoying the canyon at an easy pace.
At most national parks that provide shuttle service, we like to ride the shuttle around the entire park when we first arrive to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the park.
The shuttle bus in Bryce Canyon takes visitors to well-known vistas including Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point.
Go for a bike ride
The bike trail system in Bryce Canyon is top-notch!
There is a shared-use, paved path that winds through the park and out of the park for 18 miles. The portion of the path that runs through the park isn’t completely level, so keep that in mind if you have young bikers.
Bikes can also be placed on a bike rack on the front of the shuttle bus, so we recommend riding downhill (Inspiration Point is the highest location), then having the shuttle bus take you uphill.
Explore the Visitor’s Center
We always love learning more about the places we visit, the Visitor’s Center is the perfect place to educate yourself!
Watch a Park Movie
A free film about the park, its history, and its inhabitants plays every 30 minutes, on the hour and half hour. Kids will also enjoy looking at the animal displays located in the theatre.
Discover Hands-on Displays
Within the Visitor’s Center are educational displays that provide a hands-on experience.
Participate in the Junior Ranger Program
The Visitor’s Center is also a great place to pick up a Junior Ranger Booklet for the kids to complete. They can take the pledge as a young ranger and earn their own Bryce Canyon badge!
Go Wildlife Viewing
Kids love nothing more than going on a wildlife sighting adventure! Take the shuttle, walk, bike, or hop in the car and search for wildlife at dusk. We saw birds, deer, turkeys, prairie dogs, chipmunks, and more!
Wander Through Old Town Bryce
While Old Town Bryce is small and may be a bit of a tourist trap, it’s certainly kid-friendly. Kids will enjoy souvenir shopping, looking at petrified wood, and grabbing a sweet treat to eat.
Attend the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo
If you’re looking for an old-fashioned adventure, check out the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo. It runs Wednesday through Saturday nights throughout the summer months.
Take a Horseback Riding Adventure
If you’d rather be in the saddle yourself, take a trail ride! Guests must be at least seven years old to participate.
Enjoy a Guided ATV Tour
For something a little more adventurous, take a guided ATV tour. Riders must also be at least seven years old to participate.
Or Simply Enjoy Your Campsite
Kids truly don’t need much to be entertained, and our kids enjoyed biking around the campground, finding lizards, making pine needle forts, playing games, and just hanging out!
Are you planning a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park with kids? Do you have any questions! I’d love to hear from you!
If you’re looking for the best family hike in Bryce Canyon, look no further.
We combined Queen’s Garden Trail + Navajo Loop + Wall Street while visiting Bryce Canyon National Park with the kids. This 2.3-mile trail combo is now one of our top three kid-friendly hikes of all time.
Bryce Canyon sits at roughly 8,000 feet of elevation, so we enjoyed this hike on our second day in the park, which gave our bodies a little more time to adjust to the lower levels of oxygen.
Because we were visiting during the summer, on our 7-day southern Utah road trip, we opted to hit the trail first thing in the morning, before the sun was blazing.
FINDING THE TRAILHEAD
Head to Sunrise Point, where you’ll find the trailhead!
Shuttles in the park didn’t begin operating until 8 am when we were in the park, and since we wanted to get an early start, we opted to drive our vehicle to Sunrise Point.
At the base of the Sunrise Point viewpoint, you’ll see a trail marker for Queen’s Garden.
While you certainly can start this trail combo at Sunset Point, we had heard from some other travel friends that hiking UP Wall Street was magical, so we chose to start at Sunrise Point on the Queen’s Garden Trail.
Note: There are restrooms located near the parking lot at the General Store. There are no restrooms (of the modern variety) along the trail. So, plan accordingly.
QUEEN’S GARDEN TRAIL
You’ll quickly notice that the start of this trail is steep! However, this point of entry is considered the easiest trail to enter the canyon.
The trail can be dusty and slippery, so make sure you have decently treaded shoes!
The hoodoos (pillars of eroded rock) give a garden-like appearance…if you use your imagination. Keep an eye out for the garden’s namesake, Queen Victoria, as she looks out over the rocky garden.
The scenery as you look out over the amphitheater is spectacular. Just within the first half mile, you’ll realize why this is one of the most popular trails in Bryce Canyon.
Around every corner is something mesmerizing.
Rest in the shade of a limestone hoodoo when you get tired, or just pause to take it all in.
Kids, especially, will love the tunnels cut out of the rock!
NAVAJO LOOP VIA WALL STREET
The trail will eventually intersect the Navajo Loop trail. Turning right will take you back up and out of the canyon, but if you want to see the most remarkable portion of this trail, you’ll want to take a left and follow the Navajo Loop along the canyon floor.
The final portion of the Navajo loop will show you why this trail is the best family hike in Bryce Canyon.
Towering walls of red limestone will surround you and become increasingly narrow as you head up Wall Street.
If you’re like us, you’ll say “wow” every ten seconds and stop to take dozens of pictures.
The last portion of the trail is a series of steep switchbacks, but you’ll be inspired by all the beauty around you.
ARRIVE AT SUNSET POINT
The trail will come to an end at Sunset Point. Take some time to admire the views (and catch your breath). If your legs feel like JELL-O, grab the shuttle and hitch a ride back to your vehicle at Sunrise Point.
If you still have some energy to burn, hike along the Rim Trail back to your starting point.
Wall Street! Can you spot the hikers on the trail coming out of the canyon?
Have you hiked Bryce Canyon?
Do you have a favorite family hike in Bryce Canyon? Or have you hiked this trail combination before? Share it with us in the comments!