How to visit Bryce Canyon National Park And beat the crowds

Want to beat the crowds and still enjoy one of Utah’s natural wonders? Read on how to do it at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon is what I like to call sensory overload. There is literally too much to look at. It hurts your eyes to try. 

This park is probably one of the most organized National Parks I’ve been to, with a comprehensive listing of all things to see and do on the National Park Service website. So I’m not going to write a whole lot on the specifics on this place.

What I will tell you, and this is important, you. must. go. early! 

Especially if you don’t want to take the shuttle service. Otherwise there will be no parking for your vehicle. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m all about beating the crowds and I’m usually pretty good at it. I just feel like it’s more of my own experience and a way better one if I can be alone. Or maybe with a few people around, but that’s it! Plus they get in the way of your fantastic photos!

A panoramic view with an awesome mix of green and orange

Driving up Bryce Canyon in your own car is so much more relaxing too. 

First things first, secure your room at Bryce Canyon Pines Motel. They are out of the way a little on HWY 12, but way more affordable than staying in anything closer or in Bryce Canyon. Plus there’s not a bunch of people around. Beating the crowds already! I stayed in a nice updated and comfy cottage room. But you’ll have your choice of 3 of those, family suites, or a regular motel room. It’s up to you. You must to get on HWY 12 from the West so you can start taking in the scenic  highway properly. 

Below I have a great two day itinerary that includes a full days worth of retina straining beauty.

Here’s that very familiar road arch signifying you’re getting close to Bryce.

Read on if you have a park pass or are willing to buy one and if you want to beat the crowds!

  • After checking into your room head to Bryce Canyon, stop at the fee area and get your park pass if you already don’t have one. Now go to the visitor’s center and get your park info and maps.
  • If you need water, snacks, a quick sandwich or any supplies you forgot like sunblock or a hat, head back down the canyon and stop in at Ruby’s Inn General Store.
  • Got everything you think you might need for tomorrow? Good! Now go eat dinner at Bryce Canyon Pines Restaurant right where you’ll be staying. How convenient! They serve up good home cooked meals and yummy pies.
  • Next morning. Head out and up Bryce Canyon early. As early as you can. Around 10 AM is when I noticed it getting busy. 
  • Drive to Bryce Amphitheater and stop at all four view points.  Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce Point. Get this done first because this is where the camp sites and the Bryce Lodge is. It gets incredibly congested here later in the day.
Bryce Amphitheater. I told you it’s sensory overload!
  • Now head up the canyon to Rainbow Point. After you get your fill there, head back down and stop at Natural Bridge.
Natural Bridge
  • If you want to get a great somewhat easy and gorgeous hike in, head back down to Sunrise Point and do the Queens Garden trail at least, or do the Navajo Loop. Allow yourself one to two hours for those. You can also combine those two in the Queen’s/Navajo combo loop. You’ll need 2 to 3 hours to complete the combo loop, plus time for stopping to take photos. These I think are great hikes to really see the beauty of Bryce Amphitheater up close.
Along the Queens Garden hike
Queens Garden
  • Go eat again. I’m sure if you hiked at all, you undoubtedly worked up an appetite. There are a pretty decent amount of restaurants around to choose from, but anywhere you go, especially if it’s close to a time when everyone else decides they’re hungry, it is going to be packed. So it’s up to you. But I ate at the Ruby’s Inn Buffet and it was surprisingly delicious and diverse in food choices. (I’m not a fan of buffets)

Well there you have it. Go early, beat the crowds, and spend what is left of your day however you choose. But enjoy it!