11 Things to Know Before Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park

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One of the most beautiful parks in Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park overlooks astonishing rock formations and is awe-inspiring. The landscape is classic Utah. With terrain that fits all activity levels, exploring the trails can be a great activity for families. But Bryce is also fun to explore by vehicle, making it extremely versatile. With stunning dark skies, all-season appeal, and cool gift shops where kids can get fossilized animal poo (there’s way more than that though), this national park is a win for every traveler.

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Be Prepared for the Drive
utah

Be Prepared for the Drive

Before setting out to Bryce Canyon National  Park, we must first and foremost note that the routes from either Salt Lake City or Las Vegas can be quite desolate. It can be hard to find a gas station, restrooms, or any other essentials one may need along the way. So fill up the tank, have a plan for bathroom emergencies (look up the “You Go Girl” funnel), and keep plenty of snacks on hand.

There are Multiple Canyons
Bryce Canyon National Park

There are Multiple Canyons

Bryce Canyon National Park houses more than just one canyon, it’s an accumulation of many. Within these canyons are the famous rock columns known as hoodoos. Bryce has the largest amount of these interesting formations of any place in the entire world. So this makes it pretty special. All of the canyons are worth seeing, but if you don’t have a lot of time, seeing a couple will certainly give travelers an idea of the park’s beauty.

The Visitors Center is Helpful
entrance

The Visitors Center is Helpful

Before getting started on your journey throughout the park, it can save a lot of time stopping at the visitor center. Here, you’ll find maps and a lot of useful information. Making the detour even more lucrative, inside houses a museum that details all of the unique plants and attributes of Bryce. There’s no doubt there will be a greater appreciation throughout the visit.

Fees and Shuttles
Bryce Canyon

Fees and Shuttles

The entrance fee to Bryce Canyon National  Park can be a little bit more expensive than others. In general, expect to pay $35 for your vehicle. However, there is a free shuttle once you get in the park, which makes it so much easier to get around! Be sure to check in advance that the shuttle is running.

Short or Long Visit – It's Up to You
Bryce Hike

Short or Long Visit – It's Up to You

Bryce can be accomplished in a day if you are not looking to do a lot of hiking. The main viewpoints are right off the central scenic road within the park. So pull off, take a few steps to the scenic overlooks, and allow for plenty of time to appreciate it all. Keep in mind, hiking through the area is a worthwhile experience, so plan a few days if wanting to venture through well-known trails.

Overlooks are Generally On One Side
Bryce Canyon, Utah

Overlooks are Generally On One Side

The scenic road gradually elevates the further you travel into the park. All of the overlooks will come up on your left, so it would make sense to go ahead and make the 18-mile drive then turn around and hit all the stops on your way back. This will make pulling in and out of the small parking lots much easier.

There are Bathrooms
toilet paper

There are Bathrooms

As with pretty much any national park, restrooms will appear frequently, especially at viewpoints. Expect compost toilets that have been well-maintained. If you’ve never used a compost toilet, they are basically a giant hole in the ground with a toilet structure over the top. They don’t flush and no running water is in the building. Bring along hand sanitizer.

All Seasons are Beautiful

All Seasons are Beautiful

Most tout the summer as being the best time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park. From around April to October, all the lodges are open as well as gift shops. The weather is super comfortable during this time. Yet, the winter is noted to be particularly majestic, but many of the facilities will not be open during this time.

Lodging Options are Charming
Nps.gov
lodging in Bryce

Lodging Options are Charming

A nice assortment of lodging is woven throughout the area. Most of the establishments have a rustic or southwestern theme which is adoringly fitting for this part of Utah. It’s advised to book your room at least a month in advance, but many campsites are first come first serve.

Good Restaurants are Around
Bryce Canyon Pines restaurant

Good Restaurants are Around

There is not a long list of restaurants in Bryce Canyon or the surrounding areas. But the establishments that are there are quite good. Cowboy Ranch House has a pretty solid platter of ribs, along with tasty tacos. Bryce Canyon Pines will refuel the family with burgers and indulgent desserts fit for a vacation. Just a few miles away in the town of Tropic, travelers will find more restaurants to choose from.

Other Parks Are Pretty Close
Zion National Park

Other Parks Are Pretty Close

Bryce Canyon and Zion are surprisingly close to each other. If you opt to just spend the day in Bryce, you can make it down to Zion in as little as an hour and a half. You may decide you would like to spend more time at one of these magnificent parks than at the other. So simply plan accordingly.

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