Two days in Bryce Canyon National Park will absolutely fly. While the park is small, it is jam-packed with breathtaking views and unique geological formations that you won’t be able to get enough of.
We spent two days adventuring around Bryce Canyon and would have loved to spend more time exploring the trails. Unfortunately, time isn’t always on your side when traveling. If you are pressed for time, make the most out of your two days in Bryce Canyon by following this adventurous 2-day itinerary.
In this guide, I outline how to spend an epic two days exploring Bryce Canyon. I highlight the best hikes, fun park activities you can’t miss, and where to stay for the most memorable trip.
The Ultimate Itinerary for Two Days in Bryce Canyon
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General Park Information
Entry into the National Park is $35 per vehicle and can be purchased online or upon arrival. However, if you plan on visiting at least one other National Park during your trip to Utah I recommend purchasing an America the Beautiful pass for $80.
The peak season for Bryce Canyon is May to September. Visiting during these peak months gives visitors the best chance of having good weather, open trails, and available ranger activities. If you are planning to travel in the off-season make sure to check the current park conditions. You can do so here.
As with most of the Mighty Five parks in Utah, there is limited cell service within the park. Make sure to download any trail maps, reservations, or permits before entering.
How Many Days to Spend in Bryce Canyon National Park
Is One day Long Enough in Bryce Canyon?
If you’re not much of a hiker, one full day in the park could suffice. In one day, you could knock out a short hike like Navajo Loop or walk a section of the Rim Trail, as well as drive the Scenic Highway, and check out the numerous pull-off viewpoints.
For avid hikers, however, I recommend spending at least two days, three would be ideal, experiencing the park on foot. By spending two days in Bryce Canyon, you can explore many of the most scenic trails, participate in a ranger activity, and drive the scenic road.
If you’re anything like us, regardless of how much time you spend in Bryce, there will always be a part of you wishing you had more time. We have traveled to many National Parks over the years and none have left quite the impression that Bryce did.
It’s a park like no other.
Best Places to Stay in (or Near) Bryce Canyon
Wander Camp Bryce Canyon
As we were exiting the park, we passed Wander Camp Bryce Canyon-Escalante and I immediately thought to myself, “Dangit!” I’m a sucker for a great glamping spot and Wander Camp knows how to do it right. Had we known this desert oasis existed, we would have stayed there without question.
Wander Camp Bryce Canyon is not only a desert-dweller’s dream, but it’s also conveniently located just a short 15-minute drive outside of the Bryce Canyon park entrance.
True to form, we opted to camp during our trip to Bryce Canyon. We had planned on dispersed camping, as we had done for most of our Utah road trip. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a primitive camping spot within 20 minutes of the park.
Instead, we opted to camp at North Campground. Unlike the other campground in the park, Sunset Campground, North Campground is first-come, first-served. It’s not as wooded or private as Sunset Campground, but it’s a nice spot nonetheless; a great option for those who didn’t plan ahead (guilty).
Tent sites are $20/day.
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon
The rustic and cozy Lodge at Bryce Canyon is perfectly located in the heart of Bryce Canyon National Park, situated right between Sunrise and Sunset Point. The lodge is conveniently located near popular trails and has a great onsite restaurant.
Best Western Plus (Ruby’s Inn)
If camping is not quite your style, I recommend staying at the Best Western Plus. While not located within the park itself, the hotel is a short five-minute drive from the Visitor Center.
Day One in Bryce Canyon
When you arrive in Bryce Canyon National Park will determine how much you can fit into day one. We arrived in the early afternoon, because we hiked Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument before making our way to Bryce Canyon.
Here are a few things I recommend doing on your first day in Bryce Canyon National Park:
Stop in at the Visitor Center
Cole and I are always so eager to get adventuring when we arrive in a new place that we’re tempted to skip the Visitor Center.
However, park Visitor Centers can be extremely helpful in gaining an understanding of the park’s layout. You can also learn about weather forecasts, trail conditions, and ranger activities being led during your stay.
Time spent at the Visitor Center is definitely not time wasted and can help make the most of your stay in the park.
Drive the Scenic Highway
After stopping in at the Visitor Center, hop back in the car and cruise down the Scenic Highway towards Rainbow Point.
Driving the park is a great way to get an idea of the park’s layout. We were so surprised by how the red and orange hoodoos of Bryce Canyon seemed to appear out of nowhere. One moment you’re driving on a road surrounded by pine trees and the next your peering into a valley full of vibrant pinnacles.
The scenic drive is 37 miles long, round trip. Along the way, there are 13 viewpoints visitors can stop and see.
We stopped at every viewpoint, for fear of missing out on the best ones! Looking back, some of the most notable and beautiful viewpoints are Rainbow Point, Natural Bridge, Paria Viewpoint, Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point.
However, if you have the time, it never hurts to stop at them all!
Do keep in mind that none the of drive-up viewpoints are as stunning as the views awarded to those who choose to hit the trails.
Hike Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail for Sunset
Our favorite thing we did during our two days in Bryce Canyon was hiking the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail.
This trail is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever done. At each turn, you are completely encompassed by vibrant orange hues and towering hoodoos.
While the Navajo Loop Trail and Queen’s Garden Trail are two separate trails, they can be connected to form a 3.2-mile trail loop.
By combining the two trails, hikers can experience everything from panoramic views of the Bryce amphitheater, to pine forests, natural arches, canyons, and vibrant hoodoos.
Hiking the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail is a perfect way to end your first day in Bryce Canyon.
TIP: If the Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop Trail is open, I recommend taking it over the Two Bridges section.
I suggest starting the trail about two hours before sunset. Once you complete the loop, you will be back at Sunset Point just in time to watch the sun cast its glow over Bryce Canyon Amphitheater.
Grab Dinner at the Lodge at Bryce Canyon
After your hike, grab dinner at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. The lodge sits right in the heart of the park and is a short stroll from Sunset Point.
The lodge has a beautiful dining hall, complete with a stone fireplace, and a hearty menu. No reservations are needed for dining.
Do note, indoor dining was closed during our stay in Bryce Canyon due to pandemic restrictions. Make sure to check ahead to see if the restaurant has resumed dine-in service.
Day Two in Bryce Canyon
With only two days to explore Bryce, I highly recommend waking up before the sun on your second day. Here are the activities I recommend doing on day two in Bryce Canyon National Park:
Hike the Fairyland Loop Trail for Sunrise
As the name would suggest, hiking the Fairyland Loop Trail is like being transported into a fairytale.
The Fairyland Loop Trail is a stunning hike that covers nearly 8 miles of Bryce Canyon National Park. The trail consists of mystical hoodoos, arches, pine forests, and endless views of the unique beauty the park has to offer.
The trail distance is quite long but the hike isn’t particularly strenuous (with the exception of a few extended uphill sections).
Hiking the Fairyland Loop Trail for Sunrise was one of our favorite things we did during our two days in Bryce Canyon. The trail was quiet and we hardly encountered any other hikers.
Watching the rising sun turn the hoodoos orange right in front of our eyes is a sight I’ll remember forever.
Grab Lunch at the General Store
Is there anything better than a morning of hiking, followed by some pizza and cold drinks for lunch? Absolutely not.
After hiking the Fairyland Loop Trail, swing by The General Store to order some pizza for lunch. You can either enjoy your lunch on the store patio or take it to go.
I suggest ordering a take-out pizza and creating your very own picnic around the Rim Trail.
Other Activities to Do in Bryce Canyon
We had an absolute blast during our two days in Bryce Canyon but there are so many other activities we would have loved to fit into our time there.
Here are some of the other fun activities you can do while exploring Bryce Canyon:
Hike Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail
While hiking was covered in my two-day itinerary, I didn’t even scratch the surface of worthy trails in the park. One trail we really regret missing is the Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail. We’ve heard nothing but raving reviews about how incredible this trail is.
If your legs are up for it, I recommend tacking this trail onto your two days in Bryce Canyon itinerary.
Join a Ranger Activity
There are several guided ranger activities to choose from. These activities were not something we were aware of until we stopped in at the Visitor Center. Park Rangers lead visitors in a variety of activities. Some of the ranger activities offered are constellation tours, full moon hikes, and even snowshoe tours in the winter.
When we visit Bryce Canyon National Park in the future, we will definitely be joining one of these activities.
Again, had we been aware that backcountry camping was an option in Bryce Canyon National Park, we would have factored hiking Under the Rim Trail into our itinerary.
If you haven’t caught on to the theme of this guide yet, it’s to plan ahead! There are so many amazing opportunities in the park. Make sure that you set aside enough time for all of them.
We will most definitely be returning to Bryce Canyon National park to spend more than just two days. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than spending a couple of nights under the rim of Bryce Canyon. Backpacking gives hikers a chance to get away from park-goers and soak in the incredible views, alone.
Bryce, we will be back.
Zion vs. Bryce
There is a lot of debate about which park is better: Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park.
In short, both parks are incredible and worth visiting. The two parks differ so much in what they offer visitors that it’s not fair to compare them.
I loved Bryce purely because of its unparalleled beauty. I’ve never witnessed a more stunning park than Bryce Canyon.
Zion, on the other hand, won me over because of its range of outdoor activities. Zion visitors can not only go hiking but can also experience world-class rock climbing, repelling, canyoneering, and mountain biking in, and around, the park. If you’re an adventure junkie like me check out my guide 5 Epic Things to Do in Zion National Park.
Luckily, with the two parks only one hour apart, it’s easy to explore both. No need to choose.
If you have any questions about exploring Bryce Canyon or planning the perfect trip itinerary, drop me a message in the comment section below.
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