When to Go
All-year park. Wildflowers peak in spring and early summer; the greatest variety of the park's 170 bird species appear between May and October. Winter lasts from November through March; snow highlights the colored cliffs and provides fine cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
How to Get There
From Zion NP (83 miles west), follow Utah 9 east, turn north on Utah 89, then continue east on Utah 12 to Utah 63, which is the park entrance road. From Capitol Reef NP (about 120 miles away), follow Utah 12 southwest to Utah 63. Airports: Salt Lake City, Utah, or Las Vegas, Nevada.
How to Visit
On a one-day visit, tour the Bryce Amphitheater, beginning, if possible, with sunrise at Bryce Point. If limited time requires choosing between the scenic drive or a walk beneath the rim, take the walk. On a longer stay, drive to Rainbow Point; consider a moonlight stroll among the hoodoos.
Where to Stay
There are two campgrounds at Bryce, both close to the visitors center. Neither campground has hook-ups.
Backcountry camping requires a permit, available at the visitor center.
For those seeking a more comfortable night's sleep within the park, try the 114-room Bryce Canyon Lodge, a National Historic Landmark (open April 1-October 31).
Eleven miles outside the park, Bryce Pioneer Village motel boasts the only remaining Ebenezer Bryce cabin and offers motel rooms (from $70), cabins (from $75), a full-service RV park, and tepee rentals ($35, each sleeps four).
The Stone Canyon Inn is a nearby B&B resort of rooms, cabins, and villas. From $125 in high season.
The Bryce Trails Bed & Breakfast offers six themed rooms within walking distance of Bryce's trails. From $105.
In summer, temperatures along the rim generally reach the 80s. Thanks to the park's altitude between 8,000 and 9,100 feet, the sun is intense. Bring sunblock and plenty of water. Be sure to wear shoes with good traction and ankle support. Stay on maintained trails. At this altitude, the air is thin, so gauge your activity accordingly. Winds can be strong and unpredictable, so dress in layers. Lightning and thunder are common during midsummer; use precautions when outdoors.
Because of the steep, rocky terrain, biking is prohibited on all trails and allowed only on paved roads in the park.
National Parks Photos
Some of the most dramatic scenery in the U.S. rises—and falls—from Utah's high plateau country.
National Geographic Guides and Maps
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.