Bryce Canyon National Park isn’t technically a canyon, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular. The stunning geological landscape of Bryce was formed by millions of years of erosion, carving out the hoodoos and windows that you see throughout the Bryce Amphitheater.
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Best time of year to visit
Bryce Canyon National Park sits at around 9,000 feet, making it the highest national park in the Southwest. The elevation of the park plays an important role in its weather. It tends to be around 10 degrees cooler in Bryce than in Zion, which is just a couple of hours away. (It’s about 400 feet higher than Zion.)
You can visit Bryce year-round—but know what you’re getting yourself into. Winter is probably best reserved for more adventurous travelers. Bryce averages over a foot of snow per month in the winter, and almost 20 inches in January. This can cause some trails and roads to be inaccessible. Summer is the busiest season in the park, as the elevation helps visitors escape hotter temperatures.
Personally, we believe that right before and after summer are the best times to visit. In late spring, you’re less likely to get hit with a lot of unexpected snow, and the wildflowers begin to provide pops of color around the park. The situation is similar in early fall, with great weather (before it gets more unpredictable) and beautiful fall foliage.
Want to start your trip a little closer than home? Here are some options. McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas would be the most conventional choice. Car rentals from there are easy, and you can stop by Zion on the way to Bryce. Or, you can find flights to Cedar City Airport, which is about 90 minutes from Bryce Canyon. (But don’t expect a direct flight. Salt Lake City is the only airport that flies into Cedar City.)
Must-sees of Bryce
One of the great things about Bryce is how accessible much of the park is. You can check out everything on our list below by driving the main road that goes through the park. Rainbow Point is at the end of the road, about 18 miles from the visitor center.
Bryce Canyon National Park Shuttle
Park Road is the backbone of the park, with the visitor center on one end and Rainbow Point on the other. It should take you about 45 minutes to drive the 18 miles to Rainbow Point from the parking lot at the visitor center. There’s limited parking at the viewpoints and trailheads along the route. To make things easier—and help limit road congestion in the park—you can park at the visitor center and use the Bryce Canyon shuttle.
The shuttle can be especially useful when hiking because you don’t have to worry about hiking back to you car. You can take the shuttle to a trailhead and then finish your hike at another trailhead, and then take the shuttle back to your car.
The shuttle has stops inside and outside of the park—and it even has its own website. Take a look to find the stops and schedules for the shuttles.
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