Bryce Canyon National Park Summer Hikes

Summer is a wonderful time to explore the hiking trails at Bryce Canyon. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more adventurous trek, there are Bryce Canyon National Park summer hikes for everyone!

This Bryce Canyon travel guide will detail the best summer hiking trails, tips for summer hiking, what to pack, where to stay, and more!

14 Bryce Canyon summer hikes

Most day hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park are found in the Bryce Amphitheater area. This makes it easy to create the best Bryce Canyon hiking experience for the time you have to spend at the park.

We recommend you talk to a park ranger to get the most updated information about the Bryce Canyon weather. Late summer monsoons can cause flash floods and unsafe trail conditions.

We’ve made it easy for you to plan your Bryce Canyon National Park activities and hikes with these done-for-you itineraries:

Bryce Canyon Travel Bundle
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A Photo Tour of Bryce Canyon National Park

Take a visual tour through Bryce Canyon National Park to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

Visiting Bryce Canyon in the Summer

Bryce Canyon is a popular destination in the summer so be prepared for crowds!

When you visit Bryce Canyon National Park in the summer, the temperatures are perfect for hiking:

  • June – highs 74° F | lows 40° F
  • July – highs 79° | lows 47° F
  • August – highs 76° | lows 45° F

We recommend having a fleece jacket for the cooler mornings and evenings. Summer monsoon rain storms are common as well so check the weather to see if you may also need a rain jacket.

Tips for Summer Hiking at Bryce Canyon National Park

One of the best Bryce Canyon activities is hiking. Before you hike in Bryce Canyon remember:

  • Pets are only allowed on paved trails and must be leashed. 
  • Stay on maintained trails. Do not climb the hoodoos. 
  • Wear hiking boots, improper shoes are the number 1 cause of injuries. 
  • Don’t forget water! Plan for 1 qt per person every 2-3 hours. 
  • If you hear thunder seek shelter immediately. This means lightning is within 10 miles. THIS is especially relevant in the summer when the monsoon rain storms roll through!

It’s also important to be prepared with the right clothing and gear for summer hikes.

Summer Clothing for Hiking

Bryce Canyon National Park in the summer will still have cool mornings so layers are key.

  • UV Clothing: Loose-fitting, light-colored, UV protective wicking clothing is recommended for summer hiking at Bryce Canyon.
  • Sunhat: Sun protection is a must at Bryce Canyon!
  • Fleece jacketsA jacket is perfect for that morning layer when the temperatures are cool.
  • Darn Tough hiking socks: Do not wear cotton socks. Darn Tough Socks are comfortable, breathe well, and prevent blisters!
  • Sturdy hiking shoesHiking shoes or boots should be sturdy with good tread and traction.

Summer Hiking Gear

Here’s the summer hiking gear we recommend for exploring Bryce Canyon:

summer hiking gear

Bryce Canyon Hike the Hoodoos in the Summer

The Hike the Hoodoos program at Bryce Canyon is a fun way to explore the hiking trails in the park. You must hike at least 3 miles on designated trails to find benchmark survey markers.

To prove you hiked the trails, you can obtain rubbings of the benchmarks or take a selfie with the benchmark. Present the rubbings or photos to the Visitor Center ranger to receive a special reward!

There are nine Hike the Hoodoos benchmarks found along eight day hiking trails at Bryce Canyon:

  • Mossy Cave
  • Bristlecone Loop
  • Queen’s Garden
  • Navajo Loop
  • Tower Bridge
  • Swamp Canyon Loop
  • Peekaboo Loop
  • Fairyland Loop

Easy Bryce Canyon National Park Summer Hikes

Here’s a list of the best easy hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park we recommend in the summer.

Bryce Canyon National Park hoodoos
View from Rim Trail

Sunset to Sunrise Summer Hike

  • Distance: 1.0 mile roundtrip
  • Hike length: 1 hour 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead Location: Sunset Point Parking Lot

The easiest hike in Bryce Canyon National Park is the Sunset to Sunrise Point (or Sunrise to Sunset Point) trail. You’ll see fabulous views of the Bryce Amphitheater from above. There are several benches located along the trail if you want to sit for a while.

Trail Highlights:

  • The Sunset to Sunrise trail is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
  • It is suitable for adults and children in all fitness levels.
  • This is the only trail at Bryce Canyon where dogs are permitted. 
Silent City at Bryce Canyon
Silent City at Bryce Canyon

Rim Trail Summer Hike

  • Distance: 5.5 miles one way – but many shorter options can be done. The shuttle can be used to return to your car.
  • Hike length: 1 to 7.5 hours
  • Hike difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead Location: Fairyland Point Parking Lot

The full Rim Trail runs from Fairyland Point to Bryce Point (or vice versa). It’s an easy hike with an elevation change of about 300 meters.

Trail Highlights: 

  • The largest collection of hoodoos and massive fins are found along the Rim Trail. 
  • Since the majority of the trails originate from the rim of the canyon, it will be easier for hikers to add any of the loop trails to maximize their hiking experience at the Rim Trail. 
Bristlecone Loop trail
Bristlecone Loop trail

Bristlecone Loop Summer Hike

  • Distance: 1.3 miles roundtrip 
  • Hike length: 1 hour 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead Location: Rainbow Point Parking Lot

About sixteen miles south of the visitor center at the southwest end of the Bryce Canyon scenic drive you will find the Bristlecone Loop. The views of Bryce Canyon along this trail are amazing. You’ll also enjoy being surrounded by the Bristlecone Pine trees with shade and fresh air!

Trail Highlights: 

  • A century-old Bristlecone Pine tree is found on this trail.
  • The trail is suitable for children and adults at all fitness levels. 
  • The parking lot for Rainbow Point and the Bristlecone Loop is small and does fill up. But many only stay long enough to look at the viewpoint so spots will open up regularly.
Mossy Cave trail

Mossy Cave Summer Hike

  • Distance: 0.8 miles roundtrip
  • Hike length: 1 hour 
  • Hike difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead Location: Departing from the park Visitor Center, drive 4 miles (6.4 km) north on UT 63 (main park road) north to its junction with SR 12. Turn right and drive 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east. Parking will be on the right hand side. Do not park along the shoulder of SR 12. If parking lot is full, return to hike at another time.

The Mossy Cave Trail is perfect for hikers who choose not to descend down the steep trails to the Amphitheaters’ bottom. You’ll get a view from below looking up at hoodoos along this trail without the strenuous trek down and back up the canyon!

In the summer you’ll see a dripping spring in the Mossy Cave. You’ll also find the Tropic Ditch waterfall on this trail.

Being one of the most accessible trails, the Mossy Cave Trail is often one of the most visited locations. During the summer, it’s a fun place to cool off in the water!

If you want to take pictures without people in the water, it’s best to do this trail EARLY!

Trail Highlights:

  • Visitors are permitted in the water, but only enter and exit at bridge crossings to reduce social trails elsewhere.
  • Mossy Cave is a fee area, like the rest of the park. Keep your park pass or proof of admission with your vehicle for rangers to inspect.
Queen's Garden hike
Queen’s Garden Queen Victoria hoodoo

Moderate Bryce Canyon Summer Hikes

Here’s a list of the moderate hiking trails you can explore in the summer. Many of these trails we consider the best day hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park!

Queen’s Garden Summer Hike

  • Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
  • Hike length: 1 to 2 hours
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead Location: Sunrise Point Parking Lot

The Queen’s Garden Loop is a short but steep trail. It starts at Sunrise Point and drops down the canyon which may not seem too difficult, but remember you’ll need to hike back up this same trail! This trail earned its name because of the iconic Queen Victoria hoodoo. The resemblance of the spire to a carved-out Queen is visibly apparent.

Trail Highlights:

  • For safety purposes, it is essential to wear appropriate footwear.
  • Throwing rocks is strictly prohibited. 
  • Avoid dangerous cliff edges.
Thor's Hammer at Bryce Canyon
Thor’s Hammer

Navajo Loop Summer Hike

  • Distance: 1.3 miles roundtrip
  • Hike length: 1 to 2 hours
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead Location: Sunset Point Parking Lot

The Navajo Loop Trail consists of the three most famous sights to see in Bryce Canyon National Park: Thor’s Hammer, Wall Street, and Two Bridges.

Starting and ending at Sunset Point, the Navajo Trail resembles a loop. It requires hikers to descend over 800 feet down the Bryce Rim’s side. 

We HIGHLY recommend taking this trail down to at least Thor’s Hammer so you can experience seeing the hoodoos and windows up close. That way, the climb back up isn’t as long compared to going down to the canyon floor.

Trail Highlights:

  • For adventurers seeking a longer hike, we recommend the Navajo Loop Queen’s Garden Trail.
  • The slot canyon-style narrowness of Wall Street is a famous attraction in the park, but sometimes in the early summer it’s still closed due to dangerous falling rock.
Windows formation at Bryce Canyon
Windows formation at Bryce Canyon

Queen’s/Navajo Combination Loop Summer Hike

  • Distance: 2.9 mile point to point
  • Hike length: 2 to 3 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate 
  • Trailhead Location: Sunrise/Sunset Point Parking Lot

The combination of Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop Trail is the one must-do hike we love! We like to start at Sunset Point and end at Sunrise Point, but you can start and end at either point.

Trail Highlights:

  • The trail is home to a famous 400-year-old Douglas Fir in the Wall Street portion of the trail.
  • Look for geological formations called windows and fins can be found along the trail.
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge Summer Hike

  • Distance: 3.0 miles round trip
  • Hike length: 2 to 3 hours
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate 
  • Trailhead Location: Sunrise Point Parking Lot

You will enjoy panoramic views of arches, hoodoos, and red rocks along the Tower Bridge trail. Starting at Sunrise Point the trail drops in elevation from the rim down to Tower Bridge. You can return the way you came back to Sunrise Point or continue on farther around the Fairyland Loop (8 miles total).

Trail Highlights:

  • Some of the views you can see include the China Wall and the Sinking Ship.
  • Climbing up to the bridges is strictly prohibited. If you want to enjoy views from multiple perspectives, please stay on the trail. 
View of Swamp Canyon
View of Swamp Canyon

Sheep Creek / Swamp Canyon Loop Summer Hike

  • Distance: 4.0 mile loop
  • Hike length: 3 to 4 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Moderate 
  • Trailhead Location: Drive south along the Bryce Canyon scenic drive. The Sheep Creek or Swap Canyon trailhead is located on your left side.

The Sheep Creek or Swamp Canyon trail travels through a lush meadow area. It is an excellent location for various wildlife to thrive. It’s nice to enjoy the Ponderosa pines along the trail as well. This loop trail is less popular than others in the park so it’s a great way to escape the crowds.

Trail Highlights:

  • This trail was formerly used for moving sheep around to different grazing areas.
  • Hike through a stunning area lined with ponderosa pines.
Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon
Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

Strenuous Bryce Canyon Summer Hikes

If you’re looking for longer and more strenuous trails to explore in the summer, here’s a list of hikes we recommend:

Hat Shop Summer Hike

  • Distance: 4.0 miles out and back
  • Hike length: 3 to 4 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Strenuous 
  • Trailhead Location: Bryce Point Parking Lot

The Hat Shop trail is a down and back trail beginning at Bryce Point. This trail is strenuous due to the consistent uphill gain of 1000 feet on the way back up!

The Hat Shop section is a small group of narrow, eroded, orange-colored pinnacles topped by wider, grey boulders, found quite far below the edge of the plateau.

Trail Highlights:

  • The Hat Shop Trail does not provide hikers any shade, so sun protection is strongly encouraged.
  • Carry plenty of water for this hike!
Hoodoos along the Fairyland Loop trail
Hoodoos along the Fairyland Loop trail

Fairyland Loop Summer Hike

  • Distance: 8.0 miles point to point
  • Hike length: 4 to 5 hours
  • Hike difficulty: Strenuous 
  • Trailhead Location: Fairyland Point Parking Lot 

The Fairyland Loop is located at the northern portion of Bryce Canyon National Park, beginning at Fairyland Point. The trail is considered strenuous for most hikers due to its length, complicated trail, and intensity of elevation changes.

The Fairyland Loop Trail is one of the best trails in Bryce and it’s less crowded. You’ll enjoy views of the China Wall, Tower Bridge, and an extensive collection of hoodoos along with other unique geological features in the park. 

Trail Highlights:

  • Carry plenty of water and healthy snacks.
  • Watch for snakes on the trail. 
Peekaboo Loop trail
Peekaboo Loop trail

Peekaboo Loop Summer Hike

  • Distance: 5.5 miles 
  • Hike length: 3 to 4 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Strenuous 
  • Trailhead Location: Bryce Point Parking Lot

Starting at Bryce Point, the Peekaboo Loop is a strenuous hike due to its length and elevation change. There are steep and roller coaster-like ups and downs along the trail.

You’ll get up-close and stunning views of Bryce’s hoodoos, The Cathedral, Fairy Castle, and  Wall of Windows. The Peekaboo Loop earned its name from the windows (natural arches) formed in the rocks found in the area. 

Trail Highlights:

  • Please be courteous when meeting horse/mule riders on the trail and give them right-of-way.
  • Ankle injuries are high on this hike so wear proper shoes!!
Hikers on a Bryce Canyon trail
Hikers on a Bryce Canyon trail

Navajo/Peekaboo Combination Loop Summer Hike

  • Distance: 4.9 mile loop 
  • Hike length: 3 to 4 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Strenuous 
  • Trailhead Location: Sunset Point Parking Lot. Head straight down into the canyon and take the sign labeled as “Wall Street” to start the Navajo Loop.

One of the most magical hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park is the Navajo/Peekaboo Combination Loop. For the Peekaboo Loop, this one is only accessible from the canyon floor where it links to the Navajo Loop.

Starting at Sunset Point, the Navajo/Peekaboo Combination Loop is a strenuous hike with a series of steep switchbacks and elevation changes. 

Trail Highlights:

  • Stunning geological formations are fun to see on the Navajo and Peekaboo Loop.
  • Hiking back up the Navajo Trail is steep and very tiring.
  • Be sure you look back down the canyon as you climb to enjoy the incredible view!
switchback trail at Bryce Canyon
Switchback trail at Bryce Canyon

The Figure 8 Combination Summer Hike

  • Distance: 6.4 miles loop
  • Hike length: 4 to 5 hours 
  • Hike difficulty: Strenuous 
  • Trailhead Location: Sunset Point Parking Lot

The Figure 8 Combination Trail combines Queen’s Garden, Peekaboo Loop, and Navajo Loop. The steep grades and multiple elevation changes make the Figure 8 Combination Trail a strenuous one.

Since the Figure 8 trail goes in a loop you can really start in any direction. We recommend starting at Sunset Point and heading down the Navajo Loop first.

Starting at Sunset Point with the Navajo Loop means you will go down the Wall Street switchbacks first. We like doing it this way because these switchbacks are much easier going down while you have the energy! The return through Queen’s Garden seems to be an easier ascent back to the rim.

Trail Highlights:

  • Extremely steep switchbacks and loose dirt trail so wear sturdy hiking shoes, not sneakers!
  •  Carry plenty of water and healthy snacks.

Bryce Canyon Backcountry Summer Hiking

The best way to experience the solitude of the park is along the forested Under the Rim Bryce Canyon backcountry hike. You’ll descend from the rim and follow this 22.9 mile trail through forests & meadows. To preserve this area of the park, backcountry camping is permitted only in designated campsites. A backcountry permit must be obtained at the Visitor Center prior to any overnight trips.

Trail Highlights:

  • There are 7 campsites on the 22.9 mile Under-the-Rim Trail.
  • There are 3 campsites on the 8.8 mile Riggs Spring Loop Trail.
  • The trails are strenuous, with multiple changes in elevation ranging from 6,800 feet to 9,115 feet.
Bryce Canyon maps and guides

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Summer Hiking Ideas

Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon in the Summer:

Bryce Canyon National Park Packing List

Use our Bryce Canyon Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in the summer! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

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