Camping and hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park in July is the perfect time to escape the heat of summer and to enjoy some of God’s amazing creations. It is family friendly with lots of different opportunities for everyone from, camping, biking, hiking, morning sunrises, horseback riding, to simple drives to see spectacular views.
Let’s first talk about camping options. There are two campground within Bryce Canyon National Park that are a hop skip and a jump from amazing views. These campgrounds are called, North Campground and Sunset Campground. Sunset Campground is reservation only, and North Campground is first come first serve.
We stayed in North Campground which is just to the left after you enter the park. It is right across the street from the gift shop and information center. Both campgrounds are within walking distances to difference parts of the park. From April to October there is a shuttle that is free that will take you do all of the drop off points which leads to our next topic of information.
If you have a motorhome longer than 24 feet, you are not allowed in certain areas of the park for parking reasons. However, there is a shuttle that is free for those who would like to just jump on the shuttle and not worry about the hassle of parking. We went in July post COVID and the shuttles were up and running. I believe they only allowed 20 people on each bus, but they were up and running.
Below is the map for each check point. A bus comes around every 15 minutes. Around spot 9, is where North Campground is, and spot 2 is Sunset Campground. If you are not camping within the park, they encourage you to park outside the park and pay for the park admission at the shuttle station.
There is also an app called Bryce Canyon Shuttle that you can get to track where the busses are. Super convenient.
My husband, boys and I loved riding our bikes from point to point. There is a trail that bikes can take that parallels the park road. It is a fun and winding path that my boys loved.
OTHER USEFUL HELPS
No dogs are allowed down in the hoodoos or trails. There are a lot of areas that are narrow and have a good drop off as well, but the pathway is wide and solid.
There was a lightning storm EVERY day that we were there. The storm can move in pretty quickly too, so blue skies do not always mean that your day is going to be beautiful all day long. Although, I will argue that when it is overcast/storm like weather, the coloring in Bryce Canyon is INCREDIBLE!
We even experienced a hail storm! Keep this in mind as you are preparing what to bring on your hikes. A light jacket was enough for those moments when it rained/hailed or got a little breezy. Other times the rain was a welcome relief from the heat. The evenings can get chilly, so be aware of the weather forecast before you go.
There are places to get water to fill up your water bottles. Sunset point was one of these places that had a fountain to fill up your water bottles.
We did one to two hikes everyday. The kids were entranced by their surroundings that the hikes were fun and full of wonder. There was a moment when my 6 year old had a complete melt down. It was hot and he needed to go to the restroom. Not a good combination. Other than that, our kids were troopers. There were 10 kids ranging from 14 down to 3. The 3 year old was carried a lot of the way.
A picture of a map is below, as well as a link to a PDF that you can print out if needed. You will receive a map as you enter the park as well.
HIKE #1 – RIM TRAIL- SUNRISE TO SUNSET POINT (0.5 miles)
This is a simple hike with breathtaking views of the canyon.
HIKE #2 – NAVAJO LOOP (1.3 miles)
This hikes starts at Sunset Point. We started at Sunrise point and hiked over to Sunset Point to the trailhead. You can do either though depending on how long of a hike you want to do. Go down the Two Bridges path and up Wall Street. Wall Street is incredible and is shaded a lot of the way which is nice near the end of a hike.
Thor’s Hammer is on this hike and is on the second or third switch back on your left. You can see Thor’s Hammer from the top as well. Pretty cool stuff!
HIKE #3 – WATCHING THE SUNRISE AT INSPIRATION POINT
If you are up for it, this is a must! The sunrise from any point is beautiful, but Inspiration Point is the tallest point with a great view of the sunrise. You can drive to the parking lot, and then it is a bit of a steep climb up to the tallest lookout point.
If you don’t make the sunrise, you can also make the hike to Inspiration Point from Sunset Point. This hike is between 0.5-1 mile long. Great views.
HIKE #4 – QUEEN’S GARDEN (0.9 miles down to Queen Victoria)
This was a fun hike to do as well. You can go down to the Queen Victoria hoodoo and back up the same way you came resulting in a 1.8 mile hike round trip, or you can go up Wall Street again. Since Wall Street was one of our favorite hikes, and a lot was in shade, we opted to do this trail again.
It will take 0.8 miles to get to the bottom of Wall Street, and then 0.7 to go up Wall Street resulting in a 2.4 mile hike roundtrip. Bring water!!
HIKE #5 – FAIRYLAND LOOP (around 10 miles)
If you are up for an adventure, I have heard this is an incredible hike. We only hiked a couple miles of this trail, because of lack of time. Had we one more day, we probably would have tried making the entire loop!
HIKE #6 – BRISTLE CONE LOOP (1 mile) with a side detour down Under-The-Rim Trail (24 miles total, we went 3/4 miles and turned around).
Bristle Cone Loop is beautiful and displays a tree that is 1600 hundred years old, but taking a detour down the Under-The-Rim Trail was AHMAZING. At the beginning of the Bristle Cone Loop trailhead, there is a lookout and if you look to the right a tad, you will see a red dirt trail. This is the Under-The-Rim Trail and it was beautiful. The views, the dirt, the trees (experienced a fire a couple years ago) was all worth the mile trek we made down that trail and back.
My boys found a huge horny toad as well on this trail. Beautiful flowers and unique trees were plentiful.
The Bristle Cone Loop is 1 mile long, and then we added the detour down the Under-The-Rim Trail which was probably a mile and a half down and back. The Under-The-Rim Trail is around 24 miles total, so feel free to turn around at any point. 🙂
HIKE #7 – MOSSY CAVE (1 mile round trip)
This hike is not in Bryce Canyon National Park, but it is a must. Mossy Cave is always dripping from a natural spring. During the winter, it forms huge icicles. It isn’t really a cave, but more of an overhang. There is also a fun waterfall that was manmade years ago by the pioneers. My boys loved playing here with their cousins. We spent a couple hours doing this hike and playing in the water.
You can hike to the top of the waterfall, or to the bottom. I had Chacos on which made walking in the water so nice! My feet didn’t hurt, and I didn’t have to worry about removing socks and shoes, and then drying them out!
We did all of these hikes over 3 days (except all of Fairyland loop) and we also had plenty of time in camp letting cousins play.
Below is a map that shows where all of the hikes are except the Bristle Cone Loop Trail (You can also download the map here). This trail is at the very end of the canyon. Keep following the road to the end of Bryce Canyon National Park and you will find that hike.
Rainbow Point is a quick stop that has a great view of an arch just off the road.
The weather was great! The company was great and the views were incredible! We look forward to returning and visiting again. For other great places to visit in Utah, check out Dinosaur National Monument or Escalante (AMAZING). Or you can check out Sequoia National Park, Mesa Verde to see the cliff dwellings (ALSO AMAZING) or a family trip to Las Vegas for trips just outside of Utah.