Your Guide to Bryce Canyon National Park with Kids

Looking for recommendations for visiting Bryce Canyon with kids? You’re in the right place – read on for details!

Bryce Canyon National Park stands out as one of the most unique and captivating parks in the United States. Our family has traveled aaaaalllllll over the southwest, hiking and outdoor adventuring our way through all sorts of destinations. So when I tell you Bryce is special, I say it with a lot of experience!

Bryce Canyon is renowned for its hoodoos – tall, slender, and often knobby spires of rock sculpted over time by the forces of wind and water. The striking red and orange hues of the rocks are complemented by the Ponderosa pine forests throughout the park, and the geological formations found here are among the most intriguing in the world.

We visited with our entire family, including 4 kids aged 5, 7, 9, and 11, and everyone had the best time in this park. We loved the otherworldly landscapes here and were in awe of the majestic hoodoos rising across the orange Bryce Amphitheater.

Plus, the good news for families is that Bryce Canyon has tons of things to see and do that are easy enough for kids, but still have a major cool factor.

Quick Tip: If you’re planning a Southwest US road trip, I recommend reserving a rental car ASAP for the best prices and availability. I always book my car with this rental car aggregate site to find the best deals.

At a Glance:

In a hurry? No worries – here are the top three things you shouldn’t miss when taking your kids to Bryce Canyon:

  • Navajo Loop to Queen’s Garden Trail – The best trail in the park, hands down
  • Sunset Point – Our favorite park viewpoint
  • Mossy Cove Trail – A fun and easy trail to a creek and waterfall

Things to See and Do in Bryce Canyon with Kids

In this post, we’re sharing the best things to do in Bryce Canyon with kids, including best viewpoint, top hikes, where to go on the Scenic Drive, how to participate in the Junior Ranger program, and info about stargazing in Bryce.

Plus, at the end of this post we’re sharing all sorts of helpful tips and practical information about visiting Bryce Canyon to make your trip go smoothly!

A. Admire the Viewpoints of the Bryce Amphitheater

If you only take your kids one spot in Bryce Canyon, you have to go to the viewpoints of the Amphitheater. Here you’ll get an incredible view down over all the orange hoodoos in the valley below.

There are four overlooks (Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Bryce Point, and Inspiration Point), each providing a slightly different angle and showcasing different features of the hoodoos. Most of the trails in Bryce Canyon also start from these overlooks.

Here’s a brief breakdown of what each overlook is like:

1. Sunrise Point

A view into the Bryce Amphitheater with rock fins and hoodoos.

Sunrise Point is on the northern edge of the Bryce Amphitheater and is one of the first stops you’ll come to in Bryce Canyon.

Here, you’re treated to expansive views over the whole park, including the Queen’s Garden and the captivating red hills that roll nearby.

2. Sunset Point

Orange, yellow, and red rocks stand in fins and ridges and show erosion. These are called hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park.

At Sunset Point, the hoodoos seem to surround you on all sides. This is one of Bryce Canyon’s most iconic viewpoints, and is frequently featured in photographs of the park.

Stephanie’s Tip: Aim to get there before 9am for a good chance of parking directly at Sunset Point. If you arrive later, the parking lot is often full, so you’ll likely have to park at the Visitor’s Center and use the shuttle (which I’ll cover in more detail further down).

3. Bryce Point

Bryce Point and Inspiration Point are on the opposite end of the amphitheater compared to Sunrise and Sunset Point, so you’ll get a totally different type of view here.

Numerous ridges, fins, and rocks fill the valley creating mazes and an amazingly textured view. Bryce Point is a great place to visit with a day in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce Point

Bryce Point offers a striking view of the amphitheater, bringing you nearer to towering hoodoos like the “cathedral” and “alligator” – the latter remarkably resembling its namesake from above. Our kids loved this spot and finding the different shapes on the tops of the hoodoos.

Another unique feature at Bryce Point are the views of the caves within the canyon wall, a sight not easily found at other viewpoints.

White cliffs and caves make up part of the ridge at Bryce Canyon.

4. Inspiration Point

The view from Lower Inspiration Point shows stunning orange and white hoodoos.
Lower Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point is remarkable for its close-up views of the more delicate, towering hoodoos. The orange hoodoos feel even more spindly and skinny here than anywhere in the park!

This location features both an upper and lower viewpoint. You’ll find parking and the shuttle stop at the lower point. It’s a steep climb to reach the upper viewpoint, but the effort is rewarded with even more impressive views.

Orange and white striped rocks fill the valley in Bryce Canyon.
Upper Inspiration Point

B. Hikes in Bryce Canyon to Do with Kids

5. Navajo Loop + Queen’s Garden Trail

Tight switchbacks lead down into Wall Street. Doing this hike (Navajo Loop) is an easy day hike in Bryce Canyon.
Wall Street

The Navajo Loop  + Queen’s Garden trail is easily the most popular trail in Bryce Canyon, and for good reason. Both the kids and adults in our family adored this hike, and it easily jumped into my top 5 favorite hikes of all time.

The Navajo Loop and the Queen’s Garden Trail are two distinct and separate trails. However, the Navajo Loop intersects with the Queen’s Garden Trail at approximately the halfway point, allowing you to hop over and experience the best parts of each gorgeous trail.

Starting the Hike, and Which Direction To Go

You can start from either direction (either starting from the Navajo Loop or the Queen’s Garden Trail). On the Navajo Loop, there are two slightly different paths that meet up in the valley – the Wall Street path or the Two Bridges path.

Wall Street is known for the tight switchbacks the trail makes as it heads into a slot canyon-like area surrounded by tall hoodoos. This is the picture, above, and is ostensibly the cooler path to take.

If you want to enjoy the epic views of Wall Street as you’re heading down it, I recommend starting from Navajo Loop and ending at Queen’s Garden. However, know that the switchbacks in Wall Street are sandy and fairly slippery, but just be careful and you should be fine. For this reason, the park recommends saving it for last, as going up is easier for stability.

Note: Wall Street is closed during the winter, so you’ll have to take the Two Bridges portion during the winter months. (But check with the Visitor Center for current closures).

Deep orange rocks form a narrow canyon.

After the Wall Street section, you’ll continue through a slot canyon area filled with tall, golden canyon walls. There are lots of little places to explore here, and you’ll find some hoodoos tucked away around you.

Rock ridges in the distance form the backdrop against orange walls, green pines, and a deep blue sky.

As you arrive in the valley, the landscape transforms. The path evens out and winds its way amidst Ponderosa pines, opening up to impressive vistas of the surrounding hoodoos. Across the valley, keep an eye out for intriguing formations resembling “castles” and “cathedrals.”

Spindly pink and orange hoodoos in the Queen's Garden. Many form interesting shapes.
The GORGEOUS Queen’s Garden Trail

As you transition onto the Queen’s Garden Trail, you’ll find yourself walking alongside towering hoodoos once again. This path offers a unique opportunity to closely observe the intricate formations!

The name ‘Queen’s Garden Trail’ is inspired by a standout hoodoo formation that bears a striking resemblance to a queen. A helpful placard not only identifies this formation, but also illustrates how erosion shapes the hoodoos over time, showcasing historical photos to against current formations.

Keep your eyes peeled for other whimsical shapes along the trail. As we hiked through this area, we spotted formations resembling dragons, a musketeer, and even a man holding a lamp!

The Queen Victoria Hoodoo in Bryce Canyon. The top of the rock has been eroded in such a way that it looks like a queen in her robe.
The top of this hoodoo totally looks like the queen, in her crown, walking in full robes!
Orange hoodoos reminiscent of a man with a musket and a man in prayer.
We thought the tall hoodoo in front looked like someone firing a gun, and the one in back like someone kneeling and praying.

Following this section, the trail begins to climb towards the rim and the endpoint at Sunrise Point. You’ll encounter a few sections with tighter switchbacks, though they’re less intense compared to those on Wall Street.

This hike, with its close encounters with majestic rock formations, was profoundly memorable. It was our standout experience in Bryce Canyon with our kids and, without a doubt, the one trail you shouldn’t miss.

  • Distance: 3.2 miles/6km
  • Elevation Gain: 663 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy-moderate
  • Time Spent: We spent approximately 2 hours on this hike, with our four kids, with lots of stops to explore and take lots of pictures.

6. The Rim Trail

A view from the ridge in Bryce Canyon National Park. Orange cliffs and rocks lead to the canyon below.

The Rim Trail, a smooth, paved path, stretches across the rim of the Bryce Amphitheater, connecting Bryce Point and Sunrise Point. Along this trail, you get panoramic views of the canyon and amphitheater, with easy access to the four main viewpoints.

The entire Rim Trail is pretty long – 5.5 miles – and it’s probably not worth doing the entire hike with kids. Instead, I’d recommend doing a shorter section of the trail between the viewpoints, like the 0.6-mile stretch from Sunrise to Sunset or the 0.7-mile walk from Sunset to Inspiration.

A Practical Tip: if you’ve parked at Sunset Point or Sunrise Point for the Navajo Loop/Queen’s Garden Trail, consider walking back to your car via the Rim Trail. It’s a great way to round off your hike with more stunning views.

7. Mossy Cove Trail

A stream winds through a canyon with orange and white hoodoos in the background. Mossy Cove Trail

Mossy Cove Trail is a very easy, 0.8 round trip hike to a cave viewpoint and a waterfall.

The trail follows a charming stream with views of hoodoos in the distance, and crosses two bridges, before reaching a fork. The left fork takes you up to the cave, while the right fork takes you to the top of the small waterfall. Alternatively, you can hop off the main trail at the second bridge to go down and play in the stream.

Girls play in a stream with a small waterfall in the background.  Mossy Cove Trail.

During warmer months, the cave is full of moss, but I think it’s more dramatic and beautiful in the winter when the slowly dripping water of the cave creates massive icicles.

This ended up being one of our kids’ favorite parts of the day – they loved playing in the stream at the base of the waterfall. It’s very scenic and is usually shallow and calm enough that you can safely play in the water.

Mossy Cove Trail is actually outside of the fee area for Bryce Canyon, and off of Highway 12. There’s a small parking lot right at the trailhead and another overflow parking lot another 0.2 miles further.

  • Distance: 0.8 miles/ 1.3 km
  • Elevation Gain: 135 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy

C. Drive the Scenic Route and Stop at the Viewpoints Along the Way

A road leads through a sparse pine forest with a bright blue sky.

Bryce Canyon Road, or Highway 63, serves as the main road going through Bryce Canyon National Park. While it initially stays close to the rim of the Bryce Amphitheater, the road extends beyond Bryce Point, becoming a scenic drive that leads to more viewpoints, natural features, and stunning vistas.

Positioned on the uppermost “stair” of the Grand Staircase, Bryce Canyon’s Scenic Drive heads south to where the expansive landscape opens up. The higher elevation on this route offers sweeping views of the distant mountain ranges and the picturesque countryside and ridges beyond.

Tip: Beyond Bryce Point, the Scenic Drive is often closed during the winter. Check with the Visitor Center for current closures.

Second Tip: From Bryce Point to the end of the Scenic Drive at Rainbow Point, the drive is about 20-30 minutes one way. But with stops along the way to enjoy the views, plan 1 – 2 hours to enjoy the whole drive.

These were our 4 favorite stops on the Scenic Route:

8. Farpoint and Piracy Point Overlooks

A very forested view with some hoodoos and orange cliffs.
Far Point
Beautiful cliffs, trees, and textured rocks seen from Piracy Point.
Piracy Point

These two viewpoints conveniently share a parking lot. A brief walk of less than five minutes through pine trees takes you to Piracy Point. In my opinion, Piracy Point offers a better view of the hoodoos compared to Farpoint, so I do think it’s worth the walk out.

9. Natural Bridge Overlook

A orange stone arch called Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon.

Natural Bridge is a highlight of the Scenic Drive and definitely worth a visit. This impressive structure is surprisingly larger than it seems in pictures. You can easily see the arch from the road, set against a backdrop of pines and lush greenery.

If you only stop at one point on the Scenic Drive, I’d make it this one.

10. Agua Canyon Overlook

Large burnt orange and white hoodoos layering the trail with a large singular hoodoo in the middle.

At this viewpoint you can admire two named and unique hoodoos: the Rabbit and the Hunter.

11. Ponderosa Canyon Overlook

Large orange and white hoodoos looking out along the different trails with people hiking. There are large green mountains silhouetted in the background of Bryce Canyon

This is a lovely viewpoint, with knobby hoodoos in front of you and rolling hills of pine forests behind.

D. Participate in the Junior Ranger Program

A small girl holds a Junior Ranger badge on the sandy path
A junior ranger badge from Capitol Reef

Like all national parks, Bryce Canyon has a Junior Ranger program, which is always a highlight for our kids during our visits to various national parks.

If you’re visiting with children aged 5 to 12, stop by the Visitor Center to grab a Jr Ranger booklet at the start of your day.

The booklet contains a range of activities tailored to the park’s features, and kids need to complete a certain number of pages in the booklet (the number depends on your age). Once completed, kids can return the booklet at the end of the day to earn a special wooden badge.

It’s a fun and educational way to engage with the park, and collecting the badges and booklets from different sites in the National Park System across the country has become a favorite family activity.

E. Admire the Night Sky

The Milky Way shines in the summer night sky.

Stargazing is one of Bryce Canyon’s most magical nighttime activities. The park’s high elevation, dry desert air, and remote setting create perfect conditions for observing the night sky.

Bryce Canyon is accessible 24 hours a day, allowing you to venture into any open area after dark for stargazing. Alternatively, you can participate in a ranger-led night sky program. On nights with a full moon, there’s even the option to join a guided night hike where flashlights are not allowed, adding to the adventure.

For more details, you can gather information from the Bryce Canyon Visitor’s Center or check their online resources.

Practical Information and Tips for Visiting Bryce Canyon with Kids

Entrance Fees, Hours, Reservations, and Pets

Fees: The fee for a private vehicle is $35, which is good for seven days. As an alternative, consider purchasing the America the Beautiful Pass, also known as the National Parks Pass. This pass grants free access to all sites within the National Parks System for an entire year.

Hours: Bryce Canyon is open 24/7/365

Pets: Pets are welcome in Bryce Canyon, but they must be kept on a leash. They’re allowed on all paved surfaces, including overlooks and the Rim Trail connecting Sunset and Sunrise Points. Additionally, you can have your pets in campsites and picnic areas.

However, pets aren’t permitted on any unpaved trails, on the shuttle buses, or inside public buildings.

Reservations: No reservation is needed to enter Bryce Canyon.

How to Get Around

A white and green bus serves as a shuttle at Bryce Canyon National Park.

While there are parking lots within Bryce Canyon and you can drive yourself around, these parking lots can fill up, especially during summer, and you may just find it easier to hop on the shuttle bus.

Here’s what you need to know about the Bryce Canyon Shuttle:

Navigating Bryce Canyon in summer is very easy with the Bryce Canyon Shuttle. This service is free and only available in the summer months, and is a straightforward way to get around the park.

The shuttle’s route is designed to make a single loop through the park, not revisiting the same stops twice. This means for most of the stops, the shuttle only heads in one direction. The exceptions are the visitor’s center and the sunset campground, where you have the option to switch directions. At other stops, if you need to go the opposite way, a short walk across the road to the corresponding stop is all it takes.

To catch the shuttle, you can either drive into the park, park in a lot, and catch the nearest shuttle stop, or you can hop on the shuttle outside the park by Ruby’s Inn and the Sinclair gas station in Bryce town.

No open food or drink are allowed onboard.

Shuttles arrive roughly every 10 minutes, completing the full route in about 50 minutes. While there’s plenty of parking available, it fills up quickly. It’s often easier to use the shuttle for moving around different park sections later in the day.

Despite the popularity of Bryce Canyon, the crowds are manageable. Our visit in early June saw steady visitors, but it never felt overcrowded. Be prepared for larger crowds as the day progresses, especially during holidays when even entering the park can take time.

Where to Stay in Bryce Canyon

The nearest city to Bryce Canyon is the small town of Bryce. Due to its modest size, the options here are somewhat limited. Most hotels in Bryce embrace a “rustic” theme, aligning with the natural surroundings of the area.

A few good options include:

Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel:

➡️This is the highest-rated hotel in Bryce and one of the closest to the park entrance
➡️Conveniently located within easy walking distance to the Bryce Canyon shuttle at Ruby Inn
➡️Hotel has a pool for guests to enjoy
Check rates and availability here

Bryce Pioneer Village

➡️Best great budget option near Bryce
➡️About a 20 minute drive from the park entrance, but has beautiful outdoor areas for guests
Check rates and availability here

Under Canvas Bryce Canyon

➡️Under Canvas is a glamping tent camp, tucked away in a serene, quiet part of the desert
➡️It’s a unique place to stay not too far from Bryce Canyon
Check rates and availability here

Hotels inside Bryce Canyon National Park:

The Bryce Canyon Forever Hotel is the only hotel actually inside the national park and is open during the spring-fall months.

Camping in Bryce Canyon:

Bryce Canyon houses two campgrounds: North Campground and Sunset Campground. North Campground is available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and it remains partially open during the winter months.

On the other hand, spots in Sunset Campground can be reserved in advance. However, these reservations are highly sought after and tend to go quickly, so it’s advisable to book as soon as possible if you’re planning to stay there. Note that Sunset Campground is closed during the winter season.

You can get more information and make reservations for these campgrounds here.

Bathrooms in Bryce Canyon

Easy access to bathrooms is always important when traveling with kids, and Bryce Canyon is actually one of the better National Parks we’ve visited for having easy access to toilet facilities.

The Visitor’s Center and the Sunset Point parking lot both have nice flush toilets. There are also vault toilets at Inspiration Point. Farther along the Scenic Drive, there are bathrooms at Farview Point and Rainbow Point.

You can find free, water refill stations at Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, and the Lodge.

People hike up a winding trail in Bryce Canyon National Park.

When is the Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon?

You can have a great experience in Bryce Canyon year-round, but the ideal time to explore it is between spring and fall, specifically from April to October.

Despite its location in southern Utah, Bryce Canyon’s high elevation of 7600 feet means it enjoys cooler temperatures than much of the region. In the summer, this elevation is a welcome relief, offering a much milder climate compared to other parts of Utah.

However, the high elevation also brings more snow in the winter. While a snow-covered Bryce Canyon is stunning and tends to be less crowded, be aware that certain trails, roads, or overlooks might be closed due to snow. In some cases, you might even need snowshoes to navigate the trails.

Can You Do Zion and Bryce in One Day?

Technically, yes. If you kick off your day at Bryce with a sunrise view, you could visit key spots like Sunset Point, hike the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden trail to Sunrise Point, and then head to either Bryce Point and Inspiration Point, or explore Mossy Cove Trail.

Afterward, you could drive the 1.5 hours to Zion and spend your afternoon and evening hiking there.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this rush. Bryce itself offers enough to fill a full day, and you can easily spend several days exploring and hiking through Zion.

Especially if you’re traveling with kids, I wouldn’t try to rush your time too much. Plan for a full day to really appreciate Bryce Canyon.

Distances Between Bryce and Utah’s Other National Parks

From Bryce Canyon:

  • Zion National Park is 72 miles, 1.5 hours away
  • Capitol Reef National Park is 107 miles, 2 hours away
  • Arches National Park is 245 miles, 4.25 hours away
  • Canyonlands National Park is 256 miles, 4.5 hours away

Other Spots in the Southwest To Visit

While visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, and the Grand Canyon are some of the most popular spots to visit in the southwest (and deservedly so), there are SO MANY other incredible places to visit nearby in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada that aren’t these well-known national parks.

For example, there are tons of hiking opportunities near St. George, including in Snow Canyon State Park. Farther north, Goblin Valley State Park is basically one big playground for kids and adults alike. And Capital Reef National Park is Utah’s least visited national park, but is still full of exciting hiking opportunities and gorgeous scenery.

Or, you could head east and hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls, kayak to a hidden slot canyon on Lake Powell, discover the incredible landscape at Natural Bridges National Monument, drive through the stunning Valley of the Gods, or stop in at Four Corners.

So, Is Bryce Canyon Worth Visiting with Kids?

Absolutely! Bryce Canyon is an absolutely jaw-dropping, stunning, otherworldly national park. The hoodoos are just incredible geological formations and there are a lot of cool spots to explore. I think I spent the day with a big smile on my face because the whole park is just so dang fun, and the kids had a great time here.

And if you’re traveling in summer, your kids will certainly appreciate the slightly less hot weather conditions you’ll find in Bryce.

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