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Outdoor Enthusiast’s Guide to Bryce Canyon

Outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world take time to experience Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Canyon has many activities that can give visitors a new view of the area no matter the season.

Popular activities that travelers participate in while visiting include hiking, biking, horseback riding, canyoneering and ATV riding. Below are summaries on each activity that can guide even the greatest outdoor enthusiast on a new adventure.


Hiking in Bryce Canyon Country is limitless. Hikes of varying lengths, difficulties and sceneries make Garfield County a hiking mecca. Visitors come to see red rock formations in the canyon as well as forests filled with different tree species.

Rim Trail is the most popular trail within Bryce Canyon. This 4.7-mile hike leads you to beautiful viewpoints including Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, Bryce Point and Inspiration Point. The even terrain makes this a fairly easy option for everyone.

Shorter in length, but a little more strenuous, is the Navajo Loop Trail. With a length of 1.3 miles, the loop ascends 521 feet from the amphitheater floor. Hikers particularly love the section nicknamed “Wall Street” where they can explore a unique collection of hoodoos.

For more advanced hiking, Fairyland Loop is perfect. This trail leads you to Fairyland Point overlook as you wind your way through hoodoos. At a length of 8.2 miles, this trail is more strenuous.

These three trails are only a few of the most popular in Bryce Canyon Country and a great place to start while planning for your next trip.


If you are an outdoor enthusiast who loves exploring narrow and dark spaces—canyoneering in the slot canyons is perfect for you.

Sandstone slot canyons are carved by wind and water leaving behind narrow, river-like spaces. Canyoneering allows adventurous visitors to explore these areas by hiking, rappelling and scrambling through the rocks.

If you’re canyoneering for the first time, be prepared for moisture and deep pools of water depending on the weather. It’s important to only enter canyons in warm weather unless you are prepared with a dry-suit or wet-suit to insulate yourself against cold waters. Some pools of water, especially with rain, can reach above 40 feet inside narrow slot canyons.

Slot canyons are one of the best locations for a unique adventure in Bryce Canyon you don’t want to miss.

Mountain Biking

As a common activity for outdoor enthusiasts, mountain biking is a great way to experience the rush of the wind as you ride through the pine forests or red rock country. Although you won’t see bikes within Bryce Canyon National Park, the surrounding area is the perfect way to get a wonderful view of the area.

Nearby Red Canyon has scenery and terrain similar to Bryce Canyon that is accessible by bike. Whether you bring your own bike or rent one, there are many trails for all ages and skill levels.

Red Canyon/Bryce Canyon Multi-Use Path encompasses a 15-mile trail that extends from Red Canyon to Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon. This path can be biked from beginning to end or in sections so all family members can enjoy the trail. For those who would rather take a slower pace, this trail can also be traveled on foot.

Thunder Mountain Trail is a longer, 7.8-mile trail that showcases both the pine forests and the red rock country. This trail is best for skilled bikers.

Cassidy Trail runs through impressive red rock scenery and ponderosa pines in Red Canyon. The 8.9-mile trail is believed to have been used by the famous outlaw Butch Cassidy in his many escapes. Riders should plan approximately 5 hours one way.

Losee Canyon Trail is perfect for a short bike journey. The 2.9-mile trail connects to the Cassidy Trail, Casto Canyon and Red Canyon while showing adventurers many red rock formations.

ATV Riding

ATV riding is another great way for all travelers to experience Bryce Canyon. All skill levels are welcome and ATV rentals are available in the area.

The Dixie National Forest is the perfect place to ride through both red rocks formations and forests. Red rock formations include hoodoos or rock spires that are unique to the area. With many miles of trails to choose from, there are a few in particular that especially highlight the beauty of Bryce Canyon Country.

Casto Canyon is a 36-mile, round-trip trail that is fairly easy to travel on. Rugged twists and dips take you past red hoodoos, pink and white sandstone cliffs and ponderosa pine forests. When taking this trail, plan on a full day of sightseeing with food, water and a camera.

Travel deep through the Dixie National Forest riding on the Badger Creek Loop. This trail is 20 miles of high mountain meadows, thick shaded forest canopies, orange hoodoos and mixed conifer trees. Reaching the top of the plateau, you can overlook the rural town of Hatch. This loop takes about three hours.

Powell Point is a 20-mile, round-trip trail that can lead you to the ultimate scenic spot. At the top of the ATV trail, there is a short hike to the point where you have a stunning view of southern Utah and parts of northern Arizona at an elevation of over 10,000 feet. Once at the top, you’ll understand why many rate this as one of the best trails.

Horseback Riding

Explore Bryce Canyon Country on horseback just like historic outlaw Butch Cassidy did. Horseback riding trails, although not in Bryce Canyon National Park, give you the opportunity to see the similar red rock formations and forests that make the park so scenic.

Nearby Ruby’s Inn offers horseback riding adventures in the Red Canyon and the Grand Staircase region throughout the year. The Thunder Mountain Trail climbs along the ridge in Red Canyon as it winds through the ponderosa forest to overlook the hoodoos in the area.

For a longer ride, the Willis Creek-Sheep Creek Ride lasts 4-5 hours. Beginner and advanced riders will enjoy seeing canyons, petroglyphs and more as they ride through the cedar and pinion country.

Horseback riding is an activity visitors participate in year-round. If you are interested in horseback riding in the winter, it is suggested you make reservations in advance.

Winter Adventuring

As winter approaches, you shouldn’t dismiss the fact that Bryce Canyon has many more activities and adventures to offer during the colder months. Thrillseekers love the red-rock views covered in the white, sparkling snow powder. The lower elevations counteract the cold temperatures and account for the lack of wind. With frequent sunny skies and a dry climate, the fresh-fallen snow glistening on the red-rocks is not one to be missed. Bryce Canyon is a must-see in the winter.

Visiting in the winter also means you can avoid the summer crowds. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and cross-country skiing give you the opportunity to explore miles of wilderness in a new way. Sleigh rides and winter horseback riding are also available at nearby Ruby’s Inn. Experience Bryce canyon all year-long and enjoy winter activities in Bryce Canyon.

For maps and other activities, please visit the Bryce Canyon activities page.

The post Outdoor Enthusiast’s Guide to Bryce Canyon appeared first on Bryce Canyon Country.


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