Exploring the wilderness of the United States of America is a wonderful experience. Most people associate America with huge skyscrapers, urban sprawls, and streams of fast-food restaurants shoveling food down our throats.
But, we know better. Those urban metropolises that supposedly spread far and wide over the country actually make up about 3% of the land.
A lot of the rest is split between agriculture and actual untouched wilderness. This is especially the case for the mountainous states of the Midwest, partially due to the hostile climate and partially due to the acts of former presidents protecting the great wild areas.
One of these places is in the national park of Bryce Canyon, a 35,000-acre park made up of natural amphitheaters and unique stone structures called Hoodoos.
This place is far off the beaten track and many people excitedly come to Bryce for the quiet tranquility, stunning beauty, and to experience the wonder of the area.
However, being far off the beaten track means that there isn’t too much information about Bryce compared to Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon.
This leaves people scratching their heads and asking: ‘What are the best hikes to do in Bryce Canyon anyway?’ Well, sit back and relax, my friend, for that is exactly what this article is about as we explore Bryce Canyon and why you should take certain trails.
Where is Bryce Canyon?
Of course, if we don’t direct you to where Bryce Canyon is, then there is very little hope of finding it anyway in this enormous country of ours. Bryce Canyon sits in the southwest corner of the western mountain state of Utah.
Utah is in the middle of the western United States and shares a border with Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Utah is the 30th most populous and the 11th least densely populated state, while also being the 13th largest.
Along with the incredibly variable climate and harsh landscape means that Utah is very rugged and wild in nature, with most people residing in the Salt Lake City area and leaving the rest of the state to its own devices.
For most people, this isn’t ideal for them. After all, most people would prefer a holiday in a comfy hotel with a relaxing pool outside.
But for those who love nature and trekking, Utah and Bryce Canyon sound like their idea of heaven. Beautiful landscapes with animals in abundance and not a city in sight, all wonderful.
Still, the variable nature of Utah is something to be wary of, as you need to know how to prepare and what to prepare for before going.
This is where knowing about the different treks comes in, as each is slightly different and needs to be prepared for a little differently.
Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
The first one to mention is the Fairyland Loop. This hike is about 8 miles and should take hikers about 4 hours to complete. It is a nice little day hike that takes you through the Fairyland Amphitheater and gives you a breathtaking view of all the best rock formations in Bryce.
People often miss the Fairyland Loop because the entrance is between the park entrance and the visitor center, so most hikers tend to just drive past it.
If you don’t go past, the trailhead will be at Fairyland point, and by doing the trail you gain a view of stunning vistas. The best thing about the Fairyland Loop is that few people do it, so it is a fantastic chance to spend some time in nature.
If you are only passing through Bryce on your way to Zion or another park, you may want to take the park’s most popular trail, the Mossy Cave trail. It is a much shorter hike than normal, taking 30 minutes and being less than a mile in total.
But this short hike has condensed down all the beauty of Bryce into one small section with streams, pinnacles and the Mossy Cave at the end. Just be careful when crossing the streams, as they can be slippery.
But the Mossy Cave trail is Bryce’s most popular, so expect company even if you didn’t want it.
Another fairly popular trail is the Navajo Loop. It is only about a 1-and-a-half-mile long hike but can take between 1 and 2 hours and is considered moderate difficulty.
The entire trail is all descent, starting at Sunset Point and making multiple switchbacks before reaching the canyon floor. Still, this route is one of the best for seeing hoodoo rock formations and no matter where you are on the trail, you will always have an amazing view of the surrounding canyon.
The Queen’s Garden trail can actually be combined with the Navajo Loop via a couple of connecting paths into one of the best hikes Bryce Canyon has to offer.
It is 1.8 miles in total and should take about 1 to 2 hours, although there is no loop by using those connecting paths to the Navajo Loop you can get back easily.
This trail drops below the canyon’s rim and although it has less rock formations than other trails, they are incredibly unique and interesting.
The final hike we will talk about today is the Rim Trail. This trail is almost as popular as the Mossy Cave trail, and it’s not hard to see why.
The trail follows the rim of Bryce Canyon and Fairyland Canyon, which allows you to see all parts of the canyons from essentially a trail that is all scenic overlooks.
The entire trail is 5.5 miles, takes about 3 hours to complete, and can be a little steep and uneven at points. However, if you want to see Bryce Canyon, but don’t have the time for a day of constant exploration, then this trail is perfect for a half a day jaunt.
Bryce Canyon is one of those places in America that is worth visiting, even if it is just once. It is a unique and stunning place that people come back to year after year from all over the US, just to experience it one more time while not being totally inaccessible.
If you are lucky enough to be able to do the trails, then I would recommend taking a camera or a phone with you, as there are very few things in life that turn out absolutely gorgeous in a photo, but Bryce Canyon is certainly one of them.