Catch the free park shuttle near Ruby’s Inn, just outside the park entrance. If you woke up early enough (it’s worth it), don’t miss the scene at Sunrise Point. If you don’t want to hike down (and climb back up), take a walk along the Rim Trail.
Picnic at Rainbow Point, the end of the parkway, with views over much of southern Utah. After lunch, descend from the rim on the Navajo Loop Trail. At the bottom of the loop, turn onto the Queen’s Garden Trail and follow that back up to the rim. The Rim Trail connects the two trailheads.
For dinner, the Lodge at Bryce Canyon has the best food in the area.
Extending Your Stay in Bryce Canyon
You could spend the whole season at Bryce getting to know the distinct personality of each hoodoo. Two days is enough for an excellent overview of Bryce Canyon, allowing time for a few hikes and a scenic drive along the rim. Three to four days is ideal for serious hikers who want to explore the depths of the canyon.
If you’re staying longer than a day, head over to the Fairyland Loop Trail, an eight-mile round-trip hike through an aptly named section of the canyon that is often less crowded than others.
Along UT-12 between the main park area and the small town of Tropic, the easy Mossy Cave Trail leads to the titular cave and a small waterfall. This is a gorgeous area that’s easy to access—a perfect hike for families with kids.
Check out one of the park’s many ranger-led programs. One of the best is the 1.5-hour Rim Walk, during which a knowledgeable ranger explains the geology and human history of the canyon on an easy one-mile stroll (late afternoon daily June-Sept.).
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.