Bryce Canyon

on Tuesday, 16 April 2013. Posted in Trails, State and National Parks and Recration Areas


Bryce Canyon is a giant natural ampitheater that was created by erosion. It contains "hoodoos, which are disctinctive geological structures that were formed by wind, water and ice erosion of the lake bed rocks and the river.

The vivid red, orange and white colors incredible, providing great scenic vistas.

The elevation at Bryce is higher than nearby Zion National Park: Bryce Canyon Rim varies from 8,000-9,000 feet, where Zion is 2,400-2,700.

Bryce Canyon was named for Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon Pioneer who settled in the area in 1874.

Bryce Canyon was designated as a National Park in 1928, covers 35,835 acres, and receives far less visitors than Zion and Kolob Canyon.

Visit the National Park Service Bryce Canyon Website for up to date information about vising this amazing National Park. All information for this article was obtained from the National Park Service Bryce Canyon Website.


The National Park Service has designated the following fee free days for 2013:

    Martin Luther King Jr Birthday - January 21
    National Park Week - April 22-26
    Get Outdoors Day - June 9
    September 28 (National Public Lands Day)
    Veteran's Day Weekend - November 9-11

Bryce Canyon National Park will waive the $25 entrance fee during the fee-free periods. The entrance stations will be staffed to provide maps, information and sell annual park passes.

The waiver does not include other fees such as camping. As these weekends may be extra busy with traffic and parking congestion, visitors are encouraged to ride the park's free shuttle when available.

Admission to Bryce Canyon National Park is for seven days. No refunds are given due to inclement weather.

Bryce Canyon National Park Vehicle Permit- $25.00
Admits one single, private, non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers. Organized groups are not eligible for the vehicle permit.

Bryce Canyon National Park Individual Permit - $12.00/person
Admits one individual when entering by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or non-commercial group. Individuals 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge.

Bryce Canyon National Park Annual Pass - $30.00
Valid for twelve months from the date of purchase, for unlimited visits to Bryce Canyon National Park. It admits the purchaser and any accompanying persons in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle, or the purchaser and accompanying immediate family (spouse, children, parents) when entry is by other means (shuttle, bicycle, and foot). This passport covers entrance fees only and is not refundable and/or transferable.

Bryce Canyon National Park Commercial Tour Fee - Based on vehicle capacity for all tour groups and bus companies. Group size is determined on vehicle seating capacity not number of actual people for all tours.

    Vehicles with a seating capacity of 26 or greater will be charged a flat fee of $150.00.
    Vehicles with a seating capacity of 16-25 seats will be charged a flat fee of $60.00.
    Vehicles with a seating capacity of 7-15 seats (Passenger Van) will be charged a flat fee of $50.00.
    Vehicles with a seating capacity of 1-6 seats will be charged a fee of $25.00 plus a per person fee of $12.00.

Bryce Canyon accepts all Federal Recreation Lands / Interagency Passes

Reservations for camping and lodging are recommended. Camping fees are in addition to entrance fees, and are charged per night. Campsite reservations fill up fast; reservations can be made up to six months in advance.


Bryce Canyon National Park has two campgrounds, North and Sunset, located in close proximity to the visitor center, Bryce Canyon Lodge and the geologic wonder that is the Bryce Amphitheater. Both have restrooms with flush toilets, and drinking water. During the summer months coin-operated laundry and shower facilities are available at the general store nearby. There are no hook-ups in the campgrounds, but a fee-for-use dump station is available for RV users at the south end of North Campground.

NOTE: Dump-station is closed during winter because of freezing temperatures.

Both campgrounds are located in Ponderosa Pine forest habitat with equal amounts of shade and sun, giving them a similar appearance. All sites are limited to 10 people (with no more than 6 adults (adult=16 and up), 3 tents and 2 vehicles and cost $15 per site/per night. Holders of special Park Passes; Senior Pass, Access Pass (part of the America The Beautiful - National Park Service & Federal Lands Pass System) or the Golden Age & Golden Access Passes, receive a 50% discount. Sites fill by early afternoon during the summer months. A Group Site is available in Sunset Campground.

North Campground has 13 RV sites available by reservation and 86 RV and Tent Sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sunset Campground has 20 Tent Sites and a Group site available by reservation and 80 RV and Tent Sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Check individual pages for more information.  
North Campground is located across the road to the east of the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center and is comprised of 99 sites in 4 loops; A, B, C, D. Cost is $15 per site/per night.

13 Recreational Vehicle (RV) sites are reservable during certain times of the year in Loop A (See Reservation Dates below). Cost is $15 per site/per night.

North campground is closest to the general store. Loops A & B are for RV campers. Loops C & D are for tent campers.

There are no sewer, water or electrical hook-ups available. A dump station is available in summer months at the south end of the campground for a $5 use fee. Potable water is available near the dump station.

Reservation Dates:

    2012 - May 4 - September 23
    2013 - May 10 - September 22
    2014 - May 9 - September 21
    2015 - May 8 - September 27
    2016 - May 6 - September 25

To make reservations for one of the 13 RV sites call (877) 444-6777 or click Reservations for these sites can be made from 6 months to 2 days in advance (minimum advance reservation is two days).

All other sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

*NOTE: During winter months all sites/loops may not be open due to winter weather conditions, such as freezing temperatures and deep snow.
Click here for a map of the campgrounds.

Sunset Campground
(Closed in winter)

Sunset Campground is located west of Sunset Point, approximately 1.5 miles south of the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center, and is comprised of 100 sites in 3 loops; A, B, & C.

20 Tent Sites are reservable during certain times of the year in Loop B (see Reservation Dates below). Cost is $15 per site/per night.

Loop A is for RV campers. Loops B & C are for tent campers. Two wheelchair-accessible sites are located in Loop A.

This campground is closest to the best hiking trails which begin and end at Sunset Point.

RV and trailer combinations over 45 feet are discouraged, but not prohibited.

There are no sewer, water or electrical hook-ups available. A dump station is available in summer months near North Campground for a $5 use fee. Potable water is available near the dump station.

Reservation Dates:

    2012 - May 4 - September 23
    2013 - May 10 - September 22
    2014 - May 9 - September 21
    2015 - May 8 - September 27
    2016 - May 6 - September 25

To make reservations for one of the 13 RV sites call (877) 444-6777 or click Reservations for these sites can be made from 6 months to 2 days in advance (minimum advance reservation is two days).

All other sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click here for a map of the campgrounds.

Backcountry Camping is available at limited sites in the park. Information is available by clicking on Backcountry Camping.


Bryce Canyon offers several day-hiking trails. Because many of these are interconnected, our most popular hikes are combinations of two or more of these basic trails. The hiking trails are divided into three categories of difficulty,click the level to see specific hikes: Easy, Moderate, and Strenuous.

Keep in mind that all trails below the rim involve steep climbs out of the canyon. Here are a few more hiking reminders;

  •     Wear hiking boots with good "lug" traction and ankle support.
  •     Carry plenty of water; 1 quart (liter) per 2-3 hours of hiking for each person
  •     Park elevations reach over 9,000 feet (2774 meters). Even mild exertion may leave you feeling light-headed and nauseated.
  •     Some trails are also shared by horses/mules April to October. Hikers must yield to horses/mules. Hiking clockwise reduces your chances of encountering horses/mules.
  •     Stay on maintained trails. DO NOT use "social" trails.
  •     Be respectful of others; keep noise levels down - no yelling.
  •     Do not feed wildlife.
  •     Remember, ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety.
  •     NOTE: PETS ARE ONLY ALLOWED ON PAVED TRAILS AND VIEWPOINTS, ROADS, CAMPSITES, AND PICNIC AREAS. The section of Rim Trail between Sunset and Sunrise Points is open to pets, but THEY MUST BE LEASHED AT ALL TIMES, and you are required to clean up after your pet. Pet Information.

The Under-the-Rim Trail extends 23 miles from Bryce Point to Rainbow Point and has eight backcountry campsites. The Riggs Spring Loop Trail (8.8 miles round trip) from Yovimpa Point has four backcountry sites. Both trails drop below the rim of the plateau and lead through forested areas. A backcountry permit is required for all overnight hiking. Permits are available at the Visitor Center and range from $5 to $15 depending on number of campers. Click here for more information.

Permits must be obtained in-person and are issued at the park visitor center from 8:00 a.m. until one hour before the Visitor Center closes. No phone or e-mail reservations will be accepted. In-person reservations may be made up to 48 hours in advance. Park staff reserves the right to refuse permits to parties that fail to demonstrate the necessary preparedness that Bryce Canyon's high and dry backcountry demands.

Bryce Canyon's backcountry is a primitive area managed according to regulations that protect its wilderness values. Backcountry camping is allowed on a limited basis and ONLY at designated campsites. Download the Backcountry brochure (690K) in PDF for more information, regulations, and preparedness guidelines.

NOTE: Open fires are NOT PERMITTED in Bryce Canyon's backcountry!

Winter Activities

Bryce Canyon is even more beautiful in the wintertime! For the casual visitor, hopping in and out of their warm car at the overlooks to see the striking contrast of white snow, red rock, and blue sky might be thrilling enough. However, for the more adventurous winter recreationists, many opportunities beckon. BEFORE setting out on one of the adventures described below, stop at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center to get up-to-date weather and safety information..

Prohibited Activities
Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, etc. off of the Bryce Canyon Rim into the canyon is illegal due to the highly dangerous nature of such activities and the damage to the resource they can cause. The annual 200 daily freeze-thaw cycles that form our unique hoodoos also make steep sections of the canyon susceptible to avalanches and even the more dangerous and unpredictable mud-snow slides! Though we've never had a fatality from such an event, visitors who ignored this warning and became victims of mud-snow slides, have been injured and badly traumatized by the experience. Avoid these hazards by staying on designated trails and NOT skiing (or sliding) off of the canyon rim!

Winter Hiking
After a big snowfall most of the park's day-hiking trails require snowshoes. However, after a few days of melt, and with continued use, the trails become so well packed and icy that snowshoes are often more of a liability. For much of the winter the most popular trails are so icy that steep sections cannot be safely traversed without some sort of additional traction device for your hiking shoes or boots. While mountaineering crampons work fine, they are heavier and much more expensive than the traction devices pictured at left. The Bryce Canyon Natural History Association's bookstore at the Visitor Center sells such devices for the discounted price of $27.

Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park. Though snowshoes make it possible to travel through deep powdery snow, snowshoeing is still a highly strenous activity. "Most people can snowshoe about as far as they can swim!" jokes Park Ranger Kevin Poe. "Especially if you haven't been taught good technique!" adds Park Ranger and Snowshoe Instructor Jim Jakicic. These gentleman and other rangers offer snowshoe guided hikes (when snow depth is sufficient) every weekend and sporadically during the week. Designed for beginner snowshowers, but also enjoyed by experts, these outings help you learn or refine your showshoe technique, while also teaching winter ecology and other winter survival skills. High-tech snowshoes made by MSR are provided for all participants of ranger guided snowshoe activities. Sign up at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center or make a reservation by calling 435-834-4747. Attendance is free.

Ranger Guided Full Moon Snowshoe Hikes
From November through March (when snow depth exceeds 12") we offer full moon snowshoe hikes. Snowshoes and poles are provided but you must provide your own snow-boot or waterproof hiking boots. (Click here for more info and moon hike schedule)

Cross-country Skiing
Another great way to explore Bryce Canyon is on cross-country skis. Though it is illegal to ski off of the rim into the canyon, you can enjoy a variety of routes above the rim. These include the rim trail between Bryce Point and Fairyland Point; Bristlecone Loop; Paria Ski Loop; and the unplowed Paria View and Fairyland Point roads.

On rare occasions when the snow depth allows, you can ski into the bottom of the Bryce Amphitheater from the outskirts of the town of Tropic. Another nearby favorite that allows for skiing among hoodoos, is the Red Canyon Bike Path. Also outside of the park, Bryce Canyon City maintains many miles of groomed ski trails. If you don't have your own skis, cross-country skis as well as snowshoe equipment can be rented in Bryce Canyon City.

Winter Backpacking
Bryce Canyon's backcountry is difficult anytime of year but it is especially challenging in the winter. Concerns are not limited to just deep snow and sub-zero temperatures, more importantly following the trail can be extremely challenging when covered in deep snow. Losing the trail makes it difficult to find the key routes back up to the rim and the Rainbow Point Road. For this and other reasons (open fires are prohibited, access road may be closed for several days after a big storm, etc.) winter backcountry permits are issued to only the most experienced and well prepared adventurers. Ski and/or snowshoe equipment is highly recommended. If you don't have your own equipment snowshoe and cross-country equipment can be rented in Bryce Canyon City. Click here for more information about backcountry camping.

Although sledding is allowed above the canyon rim (sledding off of the canyon rim being strictly prohibited), there are very few suitable places within the boundaries of Bryce Canyon National Park to enjoy sledding. Local residents prefer to do their sledding in nearby Red Canyon.

Winter Astronomy
Yes! Even in the winter time we offer Astronomy Programs! Join us every Saturday and additional holiday weekends from November - March for winter astronomy. Cold and dry air (sometimes as low as -30 F!) makes fabulous stargazing at Bryce Canyon - the last grand sanctuary of natural darkness. View Astronomy and Night Sky Programs.

Visit the Bryce Canyon Website-Winter Activities for full information about visiting Bryce Canyon in the winter.

Annual Astronomy Festival

June 5-8, 2013

Join us for our 13th Annual Astronomy Festival (June 5 - 8, 2013) where Bryce Canyon's Dark Rangers and the Salt Lake Astronomical Society welcomes back retired NASA astronaut Dr. Story Musgrave for his second appearance as our festival's keynote speaker. On Friday, June 7 at 9pm, Story will present about his epic mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope and how a Massachusetts farm boy from a troubled home, earned 4 gradaute degree, including a Ph.D in medicine, and became one of the world's most famous astronauts.

Read more about the Annual Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival including full schedule.