If you only have one day in Bryce Canyon, what should you do?
Bryce Canyon is a great place to visit, and it is easy to see in one day. We have visited a handful of times over the years, both in the late spring when there is still snow along with the early summer just when it is beginning to get hot. We have written this itinerary so you can avoid crowds, get the most out of your time, and see as many of the viewpoints and sights as possible! We’ll share what not to miss in Bryce Canyon National Park when you only have one day!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we’ll receive a commission if you purchase through our links at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
When you have one day for visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, the best things to see and do are:
The thing about visiting Bryce Canyon is you can literally see it and make it a short pit stop along a multi-national park road trip coming from Zion and the North Rim. Or you can spend hours exploring depending on your road trip expectations.
If you have time to spare, we recommend planning the entire day visiting to fit in a hike!
Planning to spend an entire day at Bryce will allow you to go on the scenic drive, visit the main viewpoints, take lots of photos, go on a day hike or two, and explore the Visitor Center.
Are you ready to plan your visit to Bryce Canyon? Let’s go!
Bryce Canyon is famous for its hoodoos! Did you know the word means to bewitch?
Once you see a hoodoo in real life for the first time, you will definitely be awed! Hoodoos are tall irregular geologic formations found in the arid West, most notably in Bryce Canyon National Park and Utah.
Get your camera ready to take lots of photos!
If you don’t plan to hike, start your visit by doing the scenic drive.
The scenic drive is 38 miles, and there are 13 viewpoints to pull off, enjoy the views, and take photos.
If you plan to hike, we recommend hiking first and going on the scenic drive later in the day. More on hikes below.
As of 2021, riding the shuttle is not mandatory. You can still drive your own vehicle along the scenic drive route. If you’d like to be toured around, check out the shuttle schedule.
The most famous viewpoints for capturing photos are Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point.
If you are visiting to capture epic photos for sunrise, be sure to get to Sunrise Point! The same goes for Sunset Point. If you’d like the perfect lighting for a sunset photo, be sure to stand or sit for Sunset Point.
All of the viewpoints are incredibly breathtaking, so don’t sweat it if you aren’t an early riser or can’t stay for sunset.
There are many beautiful Bryce Canyon trails to explore. You can hike most of the year as well as snowshoe in the winter.
If you are hiking in the summer, be sure to hike first to enjoy the cooler mornings.
If heat isn’t an issue and you are hiking in the spring or fall, be sure to be aware of daylight.
Popular easy Bryce Canyon hikes include:
Popular moderately difficult hikes include:
For the more strenuous popular hikes, such as Peekaboo Loop, find more information to plan ahead of time from Bryce Canyon Nation Park.
Before you leave, check out the Visitor Center! They have a museum, short film, and bookstore. Since we enjoy being outside the most, we typically hit the Visitor Center on the way out. We save our energy for hiking and touring around!
Bryce Canyon National Park is kind of in the middle of nowhere! Below are estimated distances to plan a road trip from a few of the surrounding cities:
We recommend planning your road trip to arrive during daylight so you can see the beauty of the surrounding area and navigate the winding roads.
There is an entrance fee to enter the park.
As of 2021, the costs are:
A few other National Parks near Bryce Canyon are relatively close and easy to pair for a Southwest road trip!
From our experience, the best time of year to visit is the early spring (April-May) and late fall (October).
Late fall, after September, you can catch fewer crowds, and the weather will be great for hiking!
When visiting in the spring, the area may still have snow, limiting hiking opportunities, but it can also help you avoid the crowds.
Late spring through early fall (June-September) is a pretty busy time of the year to visit, with most of the U.S. taking summer holidays. Plan to visit during the weekdays and avoid any major holidays if you go during these months.
The majority of the photos in this article were taken in the early spring (April), it was snowy, cold, and we practically had the entire park to ourselves, though we didn’t hike! It was awesome!
Bryce Canyon does get snow and is located at an elevation between 8,000-9,100 feet. They do plow and sand the roads after snowstorms.
The park is open year-round (unlike the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is closed seasonally if you didn’t know, just in case you were planning to visit in the off-season).
Good news! Dogs can enter the park if you are road tripping with your best friend!
Dogs are allowed on the paved section of the Rim Trail and paved viewpoints.
The National Park Service is strict about pets in the park:
If you only have a half-day in Bryce Canyon, we recommend doing the scenic drive and stopping at all the viewpoints to take photos, soak in the epic vistas, and hoodoo country.
For a half-day itinerary, plan to spend a minimum of 3 to 4 hours driving the park and taking photos. The scenic drive is 38 miles, and there are 13 viewpoints. Depending on the time of year you go, it could take longer with the crowds.
Our mission is not only inspiring happiness through travel and outdoor recreation in the U.S., but recreating responsibly and being stewards of the environment. Check out our article on how to recreate responsibly in the desert. We talk about the importance of Leave No Trace as well as protecting precious biological soil crust.
We hope you enjoy this Bryce Canyon Itinerary, and it helps you plan a wonderful trip!
Ashlee & Pablo
Below are recommendations for hiking and road trip gear we LOVE while you explore Bryce.
Are you road-tripping through Utah or the Southwest? You might also enjoy our other articles to plan your next trip:
When are you planning on visiting Bryce Canyon National Park? Drop us a comment if you have questions! We would love to help.
I’m a travel and outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness through an outdoorsy lifestyle. I want to help people live their best life by sharing free adventure guides. The USA has been my backyard most of my life, and it’s the place where you’ll find most of our escapades! I’m married to an expat Argentine, chihuahua Mom, and am passionate about the environment. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, hiking, and SUP’ing!