The highlights of Bryce National Park Utah are the sensational views from the canyon rim viewpoints and the hikes around the red rock formations and hoodoos in the amphitheaters below.
Most visitors want to stop at the Visitor Center in Bryce National Park on arrival to learn about the ranger led programs available and pick up information about each Bryce Canyon highlight. Along the 18 miles along the park road from the Visitor Center to Rainbow Point there are many viewpoints and highlights with convenient parking.
Here are the main highlights, in the order they will be reached:
Mossy Cave is reached from Hwy 12 to the east of the junction with Hwy 63. It is a 0.5 mile easy hike in Bryce Canyon beside the manmade Tropic Ditch to a grotto and a waterfall where children can play.
Fairyland Point is on a turn-off 200 yards inside the park boundary on Hwy 63, before the fee station. It offers breathtaking views of hoodoos, natural bridges, Tower Bridge and the Sinking Mesa Ship. This is the trailhead for 8 miles of trails offering challenging Bryce Canyon day hikes right down to the canyon floor.
Sunrise Point is on a short turnoff after the Visitor Center and offers one of the first viewpoints of Bryce Natl Park. The red rock hoodoos and cliffs are brightly lit by the morning sun. Views of the Boat Mesa, the Aquarius plateau and the Pink Cliffs can be enjoyed from this viewpoint on the canyon rim.
Located just steps from the rim of Bryce Canyon, this historic lodge offers simple accommodation with a restaurant. It is within easy reach of Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, and Inspiration Point. Ranger led activities such as stargazing and geology talks make any lodge stay a real highlight.
A short distance along the park road after Sunrise Point, Sunset Point captures the evening sun's rays making it popular with photographers. The amphitheater below is packed with hoodoos including the solitary Thor's Hammer. This is the trailhead for the Navajo Loop, the most popular of all the Bryce Canyon National Park hikes.
Inspiration Point is a short distance along the turnoff to Bryce Point. As well as offering stunning views of the rainbow cliffs of Bryce Canyon, Inspiration Point is a rewarding place to spot birds and wildlife.
Further along the road to Bryce Point, Paria View offers stunning vistas of the hoodoos and amphitheater, Aquarius Plateau and the distant Paria River Valley.
At the end of a short turnoff, Bryce Point is a must-see highlight within Bryce National Park. It gives panoramic views of a massive amphitheater of red rock formations and grottoes carved out by ancient rivers long ago.
Swamp Canyon is approximately halfway along the park road to Rainbow Point. Often overlooked by visitors, Swamp Canyon is small but gives an excellent opportunity to see the hoodoos close-up. It is the start of the Swamp Canyon Loop, one of the popular Bryce Canyon hikes.
Approximately 10 miles along the Bryce park road after the Visitor Center, Farview Point lives up to its name. Views as far as Arizona's Black Mesas can be seen 160 miles away, along with the Navajo Mountain, the Grand Staircase and the Aquarius Plateau closer to the viewpoint.
Shortly after Farview point, the Natural Bridge can be seen just below the rim of Bryce Canyon. This red rock arch is well worth admiring and offers scenic views of the forested Bryce Park beyond.
Agua Canyon is one of the most spectacular sights within Bryce NP with a magnificent vista of red hoodoos and pinnacles. It is close to the end of Hwy 63, about 4 miles from Rainbow Point.
Located between Agua Canyon and Rainbow Point, Ponderosa Canyon is filled with massive Ponderosa pines which measure 5 feet in diameter and are more than 150 feet high.
Rainbow Point marks the end of the park road along the rim of Bryce Canyon. Just before it is Yovimpa Point on the right, with totally different views including the massive Grand Staircase. From these points several Bryce Canyon trails begin and end, including the Under-the-Rim Trail to Bryce Point, Riggs Spring Loop trail and the short Bristlecone Loop Trail.