Zion and Bryce Canyon Itinerary - post cover

Zion and Bryce Canyon Itinerary

Zion and Bryce Canyon Itinerary

Last updated on November 8th, 2022

Bryce Canyon (1 or 2 Days)

Bryce Canyon National Park is our next stop on this road trip. It’s the smallest of Utah’s national parks and can be properly explored on a complete one-day visit or 1.5 days. 

Day 3: Drive to Bryce Canyon and Scenic Drive

The following day, hit the road and once again take the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, this time driving to Carmel Junction to link with Highway 89. On the way, check out Checkerboard Mesa and take it slow on the serpent-like scenic highway. You should reach Bryce Canyon City by late morning. You’ll pass through the iconic Red Canyon Arch a few miles before town as you enter Dixie National forest.  

driving to Bryce Canyon - Red Canyon Arch

Use the rest of the day to jump from one scenic viewpoint to the next in the Bryce Amphitheater. You see, Bryce Canyon is not technically a canyon by geological standards but rather a series of crescent-shaped depressions known as amphitheaters. Bryce Canyon’s famous hoodoos are best seen in the Bryce Amphitheater. 

Start your tour at Sunrise Point and continue to Sunset Point along the Bryce Canyon Rim Trail. On the way, check out the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge and stop for lunch in its dining room or casual outdoor cafe. Take your time at Sunset Point, one of the park’s top viewpoints. Spot Thor’s Hammer, the most famous hoodoo in the park, and Wall Street, a narrow cavity slicing through a family of towering pinnacles. 

Sunset point overlook bryce canyon national park
Sunset Point Bryce Canyon

From Sunset Point, head to Bryce Point via Inspiration Point. You can take the rim trail to Bryce Point or use your car or the free shuttle (parking can be tough). At Bryce Point, get a slightly more distant and broader perspective of the Bryce Amphitheater. Together with Sunset Point, Bryce Point offers the finest views of the amphitheater. 

Bryce Canyon from Upper Inspiration Point
closeup of hoodoos in bryce canyon
Windows in Bryce Point - Bryce Canyon
Bryce Point Scenic Viewpoint in Bryce Canyon
Inspiration Point - Bryce Canyon

In the evening, head back to Sunset Point to catch the sunset and book seats at  Ebenezer’s Barn & Grill for their dinner and country music show. Then, if there’s still some gas left in your tank and it isn’t too cold, head back to one of the viewpoints to watch the night sky

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Day 4: Hiking and Southern Bryce Canyon 

Get an early start to beat the crowds and explore the Bryce Amphitheater floor. Pick up the Navajo Loop Trail from Sunset Point and walk through Wall Street to link with the Peekaboo Loop Trail, considered the best hike in Bryce Canyon. Some sections are uphill, but the rewards wash away the pain. The Peekaboo Trail meets the Queen’s Garden Trail, completing an extensive tour of the amphitheater floor. 

Navajo Loop trail - hiking bryce canyon
Passing through Wall Street - Navajo Loop Trail - Bryce Canyon
Peekaboo Trail hike - bryce canyon
Cathedral Windows on the Peekaboo Trail - hiking bryce canyon
Queen's Garden Loop Trail Bryce Canyon
Hole in hoodoo on Queen’s Garden Trail Bryce Canyon

In the afternoon, drive to Rainbow Point, the highest viewpoint in Bryce Canyon. If there’s still some time and will, exit the park via Fairyland Canyon. At Fairyland Point, catch views of this smaller and more wooded amphitheater. On the Fairyland Loop Trail, you’ll see young hoodoos and fully eroded hoodoos that have reached the end of their shelf life. Alternatively, the Mossy Cave Trail near Tropic is a quicker alternative. 

Rainbow Point Bryce Canyon by Ken Lund
Pro Tip

Here’s a detailed description of how to spend two days in Bryce Canyon or a shorter one-day visit.

What’s Next?

On this Zion and Bryce Canyon itinerary, we covered the very best of both on a quick road trip. Explore relevant Southern Utah travel guides if you want to dive deeper into the ins and outs of each national park. Additional resources are also available if you’re planning a much more extensive road trip in the American Southwest.

Southern Utah Travel Guide

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