How to Spend One Day in Bryce Canyon National Park

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

Difficulty: Moderate

towering red limestone hoodoos in bryce canyon in utah

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.

bryce canyon 3d map in the visitors center

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.

the view from lower inspiration point in bryce canyon

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.

family walking on path in old town bryce in utah
father and daughter posing for a picture in a western cutout in old town bryce

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)

Difficulty: Easy

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!

Planning to stay longer than one day and have kids? Check out 9 Things to Do in Bryce Canyon With Kids!

9 Things to Do in Bryce Canyon with Kids

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

2.3 miles

Moderate

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. 

We rated it as The Best Family Hike in Bryce Canyon!

Rim Trail

As long or short as you want it to be

Easy

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

0.8 miles

Easy

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.

kids standing on the queens garden trail
father standing with kids on rim trail in bryce canyon

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.

people standing at the lookout at bryce point

Bryce 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.

shared paved path at bryce canyon
hoodoos at bryce canyon

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!

girl with backpack and binoculars in bryce canyon
girl at interactive display at visitors center in bryce canyon

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!

young mule deer in meadow in bryce canyon

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.

father and daughter posing for a picture in a western cutout in old town bryce
family walking on path in old town bryce in utah

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.

horseback riders riding down trail in bryce canyon

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!

Best Family Hike in Bryce Canyon

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.

queen's garden trail in bryce canyon national park

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.

family hiking through tunnel on queen's garden trail in bryce canyon national park
family hiking by hoodoos in bryce canyon

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 red limestone hoodoos in bryce canyon in utah

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.

looking down wall street in bryce canyon national park

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!