I. Is Hiking in Bryce Canyon Difficult?
Going on a hike along the Bryce Canyon National Park offers visitors a variety of splendid scenes that enable them to experience the uniqueness as well as the wonder of Bryce Canyon. Hiking has been long favored by outdoor enthusiasts as a perfect way to exercise the body, stay close to nature, and get rid of daily routines for a while. From rambling in deep canyons to climbing precarious ledges, there are so many thrilling and exciting things waiting for you to explore at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Is hiking in Bryce Canyon difficult? Yes, this journey would be difficult and tiring if you had not made a detailed hiking plan. In Bryce Canyon there are mainly 5 trails for hikers to enjoy. These trails are characterized by different views and hiking difficulty, and you need to be well-prepared for each of them. Before jumping into a trail, you need to take several significant things into consideration. First and foremost, what you should bring with you to Bryce Canyon deserves your attention. Some equipment help your hiking goes smoothly, while others may save your life in critical conditions.
II. Can I Backpack in Bryce Canyon?
Backpacking has gathered an increasing popularity among outdoor adventure lovers during the past few years. This type of venture refers to long-distance traveling that may last for several days, a week, a couple of weeks and even a month. And at Bryce Canyon National Park, there are many different backpacking routes loaded with extraordinary scenes exclusive for the brave guys. So the answer is absolutely, yes, you can enjoy backpacking in this park of wonder.
Even if you are an expert backpacker, make sure to schedule your trip and plan it carefully in case of any accident. Since there are so many trails at the park, pick up the one that sparks your interest and suits your force and skill.
III. Six Best Backpacking & Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon
- Navajo Loop Trail
- Peekaboo Loop Trail
- Queen’s Garden Trail
- Fairyland Loop Trail
- Hat Shop
- Rim Trail
|Six Best Backpacking & Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon|
|Difficulty Level||Distance||Elevation||Estimated Hiking Time||Trailhead||Proper Hydration Intake|
|Navajo Loop Trail||Easy||1.5 mile loop||500 feet||1 to 2 hours||Sunset Point||12 oz|
|Peekaboo Loop Trail||Moderate||5.2 mile loop||1,500 feet||3 hours||Sunset Point||42 oz|
|Queen’s Garden Trail||Easy||1.8 miles||630 feet||30 minutes to 1 hour||16 oz|
|Fairyland Loop Trail||Moderate/Hard||7.8 mile loop||1,500 feet||4 hours||50 oz|
|Hat Shop||Moderate||4 mile round-trip||950 feet||3 hours||36 oz|
|Rim Trail||Moderate/Hard||5.5 miles||1,754 feet||3 to 4 hours||64 oz|
Note: The exact drinking volume depends on your physical conditions, If you feel thirsty, just drink water in time in case of dehydration
Navajo Loop Trail
Navajo Loop Trail is widely considered the most popular trail at the Bryce Canyon National Park. While traveling on this trail, you are exposed to a spectrum of splendid natural scenes catching you eyes one after another. This properly-maintained trail takes you from Sunset Point (trailhead) down to the valley along which you can see the world-famous hoodoo formations such as Thor’s Hammer.
Navajo Loop Trail is also favored by kids and the elderly people, hence the reason why it is so welcomed by tourists. Remember to wear a pair of hiking shoes or climbing boots because the downhill part is slippery. You definitely need that traction to protect you.
Peekaboo Loop Trail
While backpacking on this trail, it is likely for you to see horses and ride. A horseback riding offers you entirely new aspects on which you can feast your eyes. As man’s oldest and the most reliable mode of transportation, horses can make this trail easier and much more comfortable.
Queen’s Garden Trail
Queen’s Garden Trail is somewhat similar to Navajo Loop Trail either in terms of distance or the difficulty level. Rambling on this trail is much more cooler due to the terrain, and you can follow this trail to see the grand Castles through the rim of the canyon.
Fairyland Loop Trail
Fairyland Loop Trail is a little bit long and is quite tiring, not friendly to hikers with low endurance. Again, walking along this trail enables you to feel astounded at the work carved by nature. It is recommended to start your hiking early in the morning when there is ample shade on the trail, otherwise you may need sunscreen to protect you from sunburn.
Hat Shop is not so heavily visited by hikers, so if you long for solitude, go there and enjoy your time being alone. Why this trail is named “Hat Shop”? In fact, while backpacking on it, you can see a great number of hoodoo formations that look like they are wearing different styles of hats, hence the name. There is little shade on Hat Shop so it would be better for you to take sunscreen with you. The most hard and challenging part of this trail is the return trip, so make sure you have brought enough water for hydration.
Rim Trail may be the most difficult route to conquer. The 5.5 miles together with an elevation of 1,754 will make your heart pumping! Considering the difficulty of Rim Trail, managers of the Park have prepared many benches along the trail, offering convenience to hikers. Unlike other trails that allows you to immerse yourself into the grandeur around you, Rim Trail provides you with the extent of the valley. The unique aspect presents magnificent views unlikely seen in other places.
IV. Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park
When it comes to the weather, Bryce Canyon is characterized by serious temperature shifts, and based on Simple Flask’s experience, September is the best month to visit the Park.
- Summer: The temperature of summer in Bryce Canyon is moderate, and rain is a frequent visitor to it during the summer days, especially in late July. The rain comes together with lightening and thunder, so it would be better for you to return to your car in case of accidents.
- Autumn/Winter: Snow comes in October, making the landscape at Bryce Canyon National Park more attractive and striking. Hiking is not recommended during autumn or winter as the temperature will drop below freezing. The chillness controls the Park in autumn and winter.
- Spring: Spring is not suitable for travelling in Bryce Canyon, either. The weather is not warm until may, and you may come across snowy conditions during this season.
V. Does Bryce Canyon Have Water Refill Stations?
Bryce Canyon National Park has initiated a hydration program aiming to encourage the use of reusable water bottles (such as stainless steel water bottles) in place of single-use ones while make sure people will not suffer from heat-related illnesses. Tourists can get adequate water supply from these refill stations, preventing themselves from dehydration. According to the Park, 186,215 plastic bottles have been saved from landfills since the launch of the program in 2014.
Also, free Bryce Canyon Spring Water is provided by the Park at major stopping sites including Bryce Canyon Lodge, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point and Bryce Canyon Visitor Center. This donation is jointly launched by Bryce Canyon National Park, the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association and Forever Resorts Concessions.
- Bryce Canyon Hiking Essentials
- Water & Water Bottles
For a day hike at Bryce Canyon National Park, visitors are advised to take at least a gallon (128 oz) of water held in a reliable water container. You may think a gallon of water may be too much for such a short trip, yet high temperatures and tiredness can result in dehydration in a short time. In addition, you definitely need water bottles to carry your fountain of life. Simple Flask stainless steel drink bottles are your ideal option. Our bottles are made by tough and durable material that sustains rust and scratch, suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities. Unlike most plastic water bottles that contain BPA, a harmful chemical that poses threat to human health, Simple Flask water bottles adopt food-grade 18-8 (SUS304) stainless steel as the body and silicone as the seal, ensuring the quality of water.
Bryce Canyon National Park promotes the use of sustainable water bottles and provides hikers with free water refill stations to further minimize the adoption of disposable plastic water bottles. So it is also recommended to refill your bottle in the above mentioned refill stations.
Drinking water without eating food can be terrible because you may consequently suffer from serious conditions like exhaustion and even shock. Simple Flask suggests you bring along food with high protein and energy like jerkies, tuna packs, chocolate (Snickers are good) and nuts to better fuel your body. Additionally, succulent fruits and vegetables are welcomed to offer extra water supply, and they taste better than pure water!
- Hiking Footwear
Wearing a pair of sandals or sneakers may be the last option for you to consider. The terrain of Bryce Canyon calls for hiking boots or shoes that are exclusively and especially designed for hiking. For example, the downhill part of Navajo Loop Trail is quite slippery, and common shoes are expected to succumb to the terrain. In contrast, quality hiking boots present incredible traction and a comfortable wearing experience. It would be better for you to break new shoes in for a couple of weeks before setting for a hiking at Bryce Canyon National Park.
- Appropriate Backpack
Whether you plan to go backpacking or hiking, backpack is an indispensable part of your adventure. For one thing, it is impossible for you to take all these outdoor activity essentials without a backpack around. For another, backpacks with striking colors can be used as the signal for help when you are in danger. Backpacks with durable lining, ergonomic design, comfortable shoulder straps and a light weight along with an agreeable volume are recommended for hiking.
- Map & Compass & GPS Tracker
Even an expert hiker/backpacker may get lost at the Park without a routine map or a compass. Some backpacks are equipped with a removable compass, greatly facilitating travelers’ adventure. While traversing backcountry and the red rock area of Bryce Canyon, backpackers may be at all sea facing the similar land views between landmarks. Therefore, it is a must for you to fetch a map of the Park in case of getting lost. Simple Flask suggests you plan several routines beforehand (Plan A, Plan B…), and take along a GPS tracker so that your family & friends can know where you are when they lose contact with you.
- Protection Against Sun
In order to fully enjoy the hiking, hikers heading for Bryce Canyon National Park should protect themselves from the broiling sun as the shade can never follow them all the time. If not, they may surrender to sunburn or sun poisoning. It is advised for you to rub some high-SPF sunscreen, wear a protective clothing, or put on a hiking hat. These protective gears are capable of safeguarding you from damage or discomfort resulted from the sun.
- First Aid Kit & Knowledge
First aid kit is never left by savvy outdoor enthusiasts who often use it when small accidents occur. What’s more, sometimes it would be difficult for a rescue team to come and help, which means literally that the “first aid” kit can offer instant help to save time and even life. In general, such a kit includes ointment, antiseptic, gloves, bandages, a thermometer, syringes and pills of varied types. Mastering first aid knowledge such as Heimlich Maneuver also helps a lot especially when you are alone.
- Personal Protection Gear
During hiking, how to protect yourself when facing dangerous situations is a required course for both backpackers and hikers. Bryce Canyon National Park is home to large predators like cougar and American black bear. Although it is unlikely for most tourists to encounter them, you are supposed to make such preparations. Keep a cool head before them and have a nice weapon, if needed. Multi-purpose tools such as a tactical knife can smooth your adventure and sooth your nerves. All in all, Simple Flask suggests you read some guides about how to deal with tough situations and pick up some weapons during your hiking at the Park.
VII. Gears for Extended Hiking
Often, starters in hiking will seek for more difficult and exciting adventures after they have been backpacking for a while. Extended hiking usually takes two or more days to complete and is loaded with precious memories. In addition to the above listed essentials, you need to prepare more gears for a successful extended hiking. Likewise, the amount of the above mentioned equipment should be accordingly larger.
If you want to sleep in a larger space comfortably, pick up a tent. A tent can offer you a shelter especially if it is a miserable day controlled by a stormy weather. There are many things that deserve your attention when buying a hiking tent. A quality tent that is ideal for hiking should be easy to set up, waterproof, cold-proof and spacious enough for you (and your friends/family) to lodge in it.
- Sleeping Bag
The choice of sleeping bag depends on the temperature of your chosen hiking site. Some sleeping bag is designed for sub zero temperatures, while their counterparts may be applicable for a warmer environment. A sleeping bag should not become a burden for you to carry, so it must be a portable and lightweight one. Also, Simple Flask suggests you to use both a tent and a sleeping bag for a better sleep quality.
- Cooking Stove
You may question us like that “Why do we need a cooking stove? We can just build campfires. Yes, cooking stove is not a must for many tourists at Bryce Canyon National Park, but it plays a vital role in areas of the Park that permits no campfire. For example, campfires are not allowed in trails below the rim of Bryce Canyon. So if you want to enjoy a hot meal and warm hands there, you have to turn to a cooking stove.
If you plan to set up camp, read the guide of the Park in which you will find a lot of designated campsites along different routes. The first-come-first-served rule indicates that you can pick up a place beforehand and rush to it as fast as you can. Do not set up camp wherever you like (if you do, you will really be punished by administrative staffs of the Park), and make sure you have cleaned the campsite after you leave for the next adventure.
VIII. The Bottom Line
Hiking at Bryce Canyon National Park is not so difficult as you have expected. As long as you have all-sidedly prepared for this adventure, say, bringing along adequate water supply for hydration, you will really enjoy your time at this realm of wonder.