Are you looking for a unique place to satisfy your wanderlust without leaving the U.S? Look no further than Bryce Canyon National Park, in Utah. These lovely fingerlike peaks are called hoodoos and they are concentrated in amphitheaters in Bryce Canyon, which not only makes for a stunning Insta opportunity, but you can elevate your adventure to a whole new level when you decide to hike among them.
Full disclosure- my family and I are NOT hikers. Not. Even. Close.
My ten-year-old son gets bored easily and my husband and I don’t get super thrilled at the thought of overexertion, but hiking Bryce Canyon together was, hands down, one of the most memorable experiences we have ever had together.
I say that to encourage you that even if you are not the outdoor type, this hike is still doable for you and trust me- it’s worth it.
For your traveling convenience, I put together the below details to help you make the most out of your hike.
What exactly are hoodoos, anyway and how did they get there? Years ago, streams and rivers that feed the Grand Canyon began rapidly carving down into the rock layers of the plateau. The freeze and thaw cycles created openings in the rock that looked like windows. Eventually these “windows” caved in under the force of the top of the rock, forming what is known as hoodoos. The Bryce Amphitheater contains the densest collection of hoodoos in the world. You can watch a 20 minute video at the visitor center if you’re interested in learning more about the natural history of it.
The Main overlooks once you are inside the park include Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point. Unlike Zion National Park, which is also in Utah, you can reach all of these viewpoints with very minimal hiking involved, which makes Bryce a very family friendly National Park. The best view of the Amphitheater is from Inspiration Point, where this photo was taken.
It’s one thing to experience the amphitheater from above but it’s quite another extraordinary thing to hike the hoodoos and walk among them. These orange giants have a way of putting our humanity in perspective. The easiest route to hike the hoodoos is via the Navajo Loop from Sunset point. This is the shortest hike (only 1.3 miles) but it is steep so it typically takes 1-2 hours to complete.
Along the Navajo Loop trail you can see what’s known as Thor’s Hammer as well as Two Bridges.
The elevation is 9,000 feet which provides only 70% of the oxygen you are used to so it’s important to drink plenty of water and take it slow. The #1 threat to hiking the hoodoos is overexertion. You should plan to drink at least 32 oz of water in the 1-2 hour hike. Altitude sickness is real, I actually experienced it the evening after the hike and it lasted the next 3 days. So definitely drink more water than you ever normally do and take ibuprofen to avoid getting altitude sickness.
Also, don’t forget your camera, or your phone so you can capture the awesomeness around you.
Getting To Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce, Utah 84764
The closest major airports are in Las Vegas (LAS), Nevada and Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah, each approximately 270 miles from the park. There are smaller airports in Cedar City (CDC), Utah (80 miles) and St. George (SGU), Utah (125 miles).
You can use GPS to navigate your drive to the park, however, I would also recommend printing out hardcopy directions just in case you lose signal. Reception is a bit spotty as you go.
Parking at the various viewpoints can be a challenge, so I recommend parking at the visitor center and taking the free shuttle to Sunset point for your hike. The shuttle leaves every 10 minutes.
Bryce Canyon Admission- $35
National Parks Annual Pass $80 (covers one carful of people for as many National Parks as you want to visit in one year) We bought the annual pass because we planned to tour many National Parks and at $35 a pop, it paid for itself.
4th Graders get in free for the Summer so if you have a child of that grade, you can print out a free pass ahead of your trip and the whole family gets in free for any National Park thru August. Click here for more info.
Hiking the hoodoos is one of the most amazing things you will do in your life. You can hike them even if you’re not a hiker. You can hike the Navajo trail in as little as 1 hour of your time (if you just want to hike halfway and turn around). And best of all, you don’t need a passport to experience the awesomeness of Bryce Canyon.
Welcome to Honey & Figs! I’m Lisa and I love helping people with simple tips to BE, GO, PLAN and DO more with their lives.
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