Bryce Canyon Trails and Hikes

There are many great reasons why people come to Bryce Canyon National Park. Visitors can bike, horseback ride, and take scenic tours through the area. However, of all the activities available in Bryce Canyon, hiking is by far the most popular.

Hiking is such a popular activity for many reasons. The difficulty of hikes varies greatly, meaning there is somewhere for every hiker, regardless of strength or experience, to explore. Also, there are many popular trails in Bryce Canyon. Each trail offers many different views and experiences. Another great thing about hiking is that it doesn’t require a large amount of gear, especially when taking shorter, easier hikes. Lastly, and perhaps one of the best things about hiking, is that it can be done any time of year. These four great features make hiking through Bryce Canyon one of the most exciting experiences anyone could have.

Difficulty of Hikes
Different trails will have different levels of difficulty. Also, combining a few different trails for a longer hike can result in a more difficult hiking experience. The good news is, hikes can range from very easy, much like walking down a sidewalk, to extremely difficult, with climbing and rappelling required. No matter what the experience level, every hiker can find the perfect trail in Bryce Canyon.

Easy
Easy hikes will provide a nice walk through scenic areas without any strenuous hiking or obstacles. An easy hike would be either a hike along a paved area or a hike along a flat, well-marked path. Easy hikes are great for beginners, families, and those who may have mobility issues. Most easy hikes are either small loops or short out and back trails. The availability of easier hikes in Bryce Canyon makes it the perfect place for all travelers.

Moderate
A moderate hike will include some more strenuous activities, such as climbing, scrambling, or wading through water, but it will have none or very few technical obstacles, like rappelling or swimming. A moderate hike is great for more athletic travelers or those with hiking experience. A moderate hike through Bryce Canyon will provide incredible views, great exercise, and a sense of pride upon completion.

Strenuous
Strenuous hikes are hikes that should be reserved for very athletic and experienced hikers. These hikes will combine technical skills, endurance, and hiking experience for an exciting time on the trails. Strenuous hikes may include many miles of hiking, obstacles that need to be rappelled or carefully climbed, and may require great map reading skills to find the proper trailheads and paths. While a strenuous hike can be quite thrilling, it should never be done by a person without the proper skills and experience.

Popular Trails
Bryce Canyon has many popular trails that people come from around the world to explore. These trails vary in difficulty, length, and views but they are all fantastic to travel along. Hikers may choose to take one trail or combine a few for a longer hiking experience. No matter where and how hikers explore Bryce Canyon, the hike will be unforgettable.

Rim Trail
This trail leads hikers along the upper rim of Bryce Canyon. It is the perfect trail to take for those who would like to see the most of Bryce Canyon in the least amount of time. Visitors can park their cars and start walking along the rim for as long as they would like. The total length of the trail, out and back, is eleven miles. This does not mean that hikers must complete the trail. Visitors can walk as far as they please, making this as easy or as hard of a trail as they like, and turn back when they’ve had their fill of the beautiful views.

Queen’s Garden
For an easy, short hike filled with incredible views, hikers should look no further than Queen’s Garden. This trail features tons of Bryce Canyon’s most popular formations, hoodoos, which are towering rock spires created over millions of years. The hoodoos on this 1.7-mile-long hike are how Queen’s Garden got its name. The famous hoodoo, Queen Victoria, gazes down on this trail filled with smaller hoodoos, which appear to be a perfectly manicured garden, created just for the queen.

Navajo Loop
This short loop trail is packed with tons of exciting things to see and explore along the way. The total length of Navajo Loop is only a little over one mile, but the scenic value of this hike is unrivaled. During this hike, hikers will see incredible hoodoos, like Thor’s Hammer, a narrow slot canyon called the Subway, and an area called the Silent City, which is a massive group of incredible hoodoos. The fact that this trail only takes about an hour to complete and gives hikers such amazing views of Bryce Canyon National Parks means that Navajo Loop should be on every visitor’s hiking bucket list.

Mossy Cave
At the end of a very short trail called Water Canyon, hikers will find the incredible area called Mossy Cave. This cave is covered in moss that protrudes from every surface. Being in this cave makes visitors feel as though they are on a completely different planet. The easy walk and great experience make visiting Mossy Cave an exciting adventure for the whole family.

Fairyland Loop
This moderately difficult trail is not for everyone, but those who are up for the challenge will be grateful that they didn’t miss hiking Fairyland Loop. The hike is about eight miles long and features a few challenging obstacles, elevation changes, and some areas that require technical skills. Most hikers will complete Fairyland Loop in about five hours and, during those five hours, will see some of the most amazing and complete views of Bryce Canyon available.

Hiking Gear
The small amount of gear needed for a day hike is a big part of what makes hiking such a great activity. Longer hikes will require much more gear, especially if hikers will be setting up camp and hiking over a few days. However, for the basic day hike, the following gear is all that should be needed to have a safe, comfortable journey.

Water
It is recommended for each hiker to have at least a gallon of water with them for a hike, especially during the summer. Water can be carried in bottles in a backpack or in a wearable water reservoir.

Food
High protein foods with lots of good fats are essential for hikers to absorb enough water and keep up their energy levels. Hikers should bring more food than they think they’ll need, packing things like nuts, energy bars, and jerky.

Boots
Boots should be broken in before heading out on a hike. They will need to be able to grip slick surfaces, repel water, and keep the hiker cool, comfortable, and dry.

Appropriate Clothing
A few different layers may be worn for elevation and weather changes. Clothing should protect the skin from elements like the sun, dust, dirt, and scrapes from rocks or plant life.

Maps
Some trails do not have trailheads and paths clearly marked. Hikers who have a map with them will be able to avoid being lost or needing to be rescued.

Hiking Through the Seasons
There are very few activities that can be done during every season. Hiking is one of those rare activities that are great to partake in year-round. If the weather conditions are non-threatening and hikers have the right gear, a hike during every season can be safe and enjoyable.

Winter
This can be a pretty harsh season at times. Winter brings freezing temperatures, ice, and snow. Though this may seem like an undesirable time to go hiking, it can be a wonderful journey. If conditions are safe, hikers can explore the Bryce Canyon area while it is covered in a blanket of crisp snow. The views during the winter months are unrivaled by all other seasons in Bryce Canyon.

Spring
The warmer weather makes spring a much more popular time to visit Bryce Canyon. The blooming foliage and more active wildlife make hiking along Bryce Canyon in the spring a unique journey. While later spring has these more favorable conditions, early spring can be similar to the weather in winter. Spring can also be unpredictable, so travelers should be prepared for many different weather scenarios.

Summer
Summer is usually the busiest time of year in Bryce Canyon. The temperature can soar mid-day, especially when the sun is beating down. The chance of thunderstorms increases slightly, though periods of the summer may experience a drought. On extremely hot days, it’s a good idea for hikers to limit hiking in exposed, unshaded areas to the morning and evening to prevent heat exhaustion, sun burns, and dehydration.

Fall
Many travelers agree that fall in Bryce Canyon is the most wonderful time of year. The foliage begins to change, the temperature cools, and the animals remain active as they prepare for the harsh winter. The later into fall it gets the fewer visitors will be at the park. This means that hikers who arrive during the later fall months may be able to enjoy the park better than they would with many people there. Hiking during the fall will prove to be a comfortable and exciting journey for all.

Experience the Joys of Hiking in Bryce Canyon
Hiking through any of the popular trails in Bryce Canyon will be an unforgettable experience. Hikers can get out into nature and really appreciate the beauty and wonder of the landscape. They will get great exercise while seeing the best parts of Bryce Canyon. No matter what time of year or which trail is hiked, visitors to Bryce Canyon will find absolute joy as they trek across this unique countryside.

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