Famous for thousands of sunset-colored spires and star-filled night skies, Bryce Canyon is one of the most unique destinations in the American Southwest. Even though Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are just a short 1.5-hour drive from each other, the two national parks are vastly different and offer their own impressive natural wonders, so we recommend taking in both on your trip to Southern Utah. Here are our top five things to do in Bryce Canyon Country for a unique experience.
Horseback Ride Through Hoodoos
For the ride of a lifetime, give horseback riding in Bryce Canyon a try. You’ll get an up-close look at otherworldly rock formations thousands of years in the making as you weave through the Bryce Canyon hoodoos. From Sunrise Point, you will descend into the most famous point of the canyon, the Bryce Amphitheater. Here, you will see panoramic views of the red and orange landscape peppered with Ponderosa pines and fir-spruce forests. During the 2- or 3-hour tour, depending on which one you choose, local cowboys will share the history, geology, and stories about the land while you’re in the heart of it.
Moonlight Hike in a Dark Sky Park
Bryce Canyon is a sanctuary for stargazing. This designated International Dark Sky Park is protected by park rangers and volunteer astronomers alike to keep Bryce Canyon stargazing a thing of awe and wonder. Take advantage of ranger-led astronomy and night sky programs to learn more about the incredible stars, planets, and the Milky Way that looks like a silver rainbow. During full moons, the National Park Service offers 1- to 2-mile guided moonlit hikes. Choose a leisurely hike around the rim of the plateau or a more strenuous hike down into the canyon.
Hike or Bike the Canyon-to-Canyon Trail
Venture from one canyon to another along the 20-mile paved trail that begins at Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park and leads to Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest along Scenic Highway 12. This easygoing and scenic paved path is well maintained, obstacle-free, and offers a gentle hike with rewarding views of towering hoodoos and stunning red rock formations. If you’re interested in Bryce Canyon biking, there are several mountain and road bike rental shops where you can find wheels for the whole family.
Experience a Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo
This true Western experience will have you sitting on the edge of your seat as you watch cowboys and bronco busters put their skills to the test in competition. From May to August, you can join the fun and entertainment, indulge in a hearty Western meal, and listen to live music. If you’re feeling bold, you can even try your hand at roping and riding. Don’t forget to pack your cowboy boots!
Catch the Sunrise at Inspiration Point
Start your day at Inspiration Point for a breathtaking Bryce Canyon sunrise as you gaze out at the bowl of glowing orange and red hoodoos. Bring a cup of Bluestone Lane coffee and a delicious packed breakfast from Under Canvas to enjoy as you bask in the morning light. Inspiration Point consists of three viewpoints, each one gaining elevation and providing a more spectacular view. Great photo ops await you at each one, but the highest level will give you a birds-eye view. Nearby, you can explore some of the best Bryce Canyon trails. The popular Queen’s Garden Navajo Loop is a 2.9-mile loop that boasts outstanding views from the rim and offers the chance to spot wild elk, antelope, and other wildlife.
With average temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s, the weather in Bryce Canyon is a welcome reprieve from the desert heat. Under Canvas Bryce Canyon is the perfect place to unwind after a day of Utah adventures. Kick back and relax with upscale amenities including ensuite bathrooms in every tent, king-sized beds with luxe linens, outdoor dining, complimentary camp programming, and more. Your experience exploring Bryce Canyon Country will be complete with the endless possibilities of a stay at Under Canvas.