Here’s a 3-day itinerary for Bryce Canyon National Park van campers
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Known for its unique rock formations, colorful landscapes, and breathtaking sights, Bryce Canyon National Park is a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast. Located in Southern Utah, the park is only four hours northeast of Las Vegas, making it a great destination for van campers looking to explore some of the best hiking in the southwest.
Open year-round, the park offers two on-site campgrounds, both located near the Visitor’s Center. The North Campground is open all year, with reservations required from May to October during the peak season. The other camp site, Sunset Campground, is open seasonally from April to October and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Both campgrounds charge a nightly rate of $30 per site, in addition to the park’s entrance fee. If you’re wondering where to stay near Bryce Canyon National Park, these campsites are your best bet!
(If you're visiting more than one park, consider the NPS annual pass. Military, seniors, and a few other discounts are also available)
Start off strong with one of the park’s most strenuous hikes!
Before you hit the trails, be sure to set aside at least thirty minutes for a quick stop at the Visitor’s Center. Here you’ll find a variety of maps, weather forecasts, informational materials, and a short video on the park’s geology.
Once you’ve had your fill of information, head on over to the Fairytale Loop, an 8-mile hike that offers stunning views of the canyon rim. Depending upon when you visit, you can either begin this hike at Fairyland Point or Sunrise Point (during the winter months). The trail overlaps with the Rim Trail and provides access to the Tower Bridge, an iconic rock bridge that offers great photo opportunities. Be advised that this hike is one of the most strenuous hikes you’ll encounter on this itinerary; given this, you should plan to spend at least four to five hours on the trail if you choose to complete the entire loop.
Visit the park’s most popular hiking trail!
The Queen’s Garden and Navajo Combination Loop is one of the most popular hikes at the park. Here you’ll encounter several famous rock formations, including Queen Victoria and Thor’s Hammer. This trail also overlaps with the Sunset and Sunrise Lookout Points, both of which offer incredible canyon views. If you wake up early, you can begin this hike at Sunrise Point and catch the sun as it rises over the canyon. The entire loop for this trail is 2.9 miles long and takes about two to three hours to complete.
From here, you can either head to Inspiration Point or the Hat Shop or maybe even try to squeeze in both - depending upon how you’re feeling. Inspiration Point is an easy twenty-minute hike that offers excellent views of the canyon’s amphitheater. Alternatively, the Hat Shop is a more strenuous 4-mile hike that takes three to four hours to complete. This hike features several unique rock formations that appear to be wearing white hats.
Saddle up and take in the park’s views by horseback!
Today, you’ll have the chance to explore the canyon floor via the Peek-a-boo Loop. This 5.5-mile hike is quite strenuous with significant elevation changes. However, you don’t have to walk this trail on foot if you don’t want to - instead, you can hop on a horse! Canyon Rides offers guided horse rides along the Peek-a-boo Loop. These tours last about three hours long and should be booked in advance.
After you’ve finished your horse ride, you’ll want to head to the most southern end of the park to check out Bristlecone Loop. This trail begins at Rainbow Point, which is the highest point in the park. From this vantage point, you’ll have unrivaled views of the canyon and landscape. The trail is only a mile long and takes about 30 minutes to complete. If you’d like, you can also check out Rainbow Loop and Yovimpa Point, two other short trails that connect with Bristlecone Loop.
There are several other destinations in the area that are worth checking out if you’re wondering what to do near Bryce Canyon National Park.
● Widtsoe, Utah - the ultimate ghost town experience!
● Grand Staircase-Escalante - offers beautiful rock arches and stunning waterfalls!
● Red Canyon - the name speaks for itself!
● Kodachrome Basin State Park - a great spot for mountain biking!
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