Bryce Canyon National Park Sunset Point
· ·

How to See Bryce Canyon National Park in One Day or Less

Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Canyon National Park

If you’ve been following my blog, you would know by now that I work a regular 9-to-5 and take advantage of long weekends to travel. That said, I don’t always have the luxury of time to thoroughly explore each and every destination. As much as I hate travelling like this, there’s just so much out there to see and so little time that oh what the heck! I’ll take what I can!

In this guide, you can expect to find recommendations on where to find the best photo ops AND how you should plan your trip to maximize your one day in Bryce Canyon.

First and foremost, Bryce Canyon National Park is HUGE. It’s a scenic 18-mile drive from one end to the other (Visitor Center to Rainbow Point viewpoint) and you’ll see lots of cyclists who come here to challenge themselves. If you are pressed on time or not in the best shape to cycle 18 miles uphill, however, I definitely suggest you hit that gas pedal.

Entrance Fee Charges

Now my friend and I technically flew into Vegas then drove out from there. Depending on where you’re coming from, there may be different routes to take. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll need to enter through the Visitor Center where you’ll be charged a $30 private vehicle entrance fee. ($15 if you are visiting by foot or by bike; $25 for motorcycles.)

Note that Zion National Park is relatively close to Bryce as well. We had a rough itinerary planned out and put Zion on our list if we had extra time. Apart from that, we didn’t route our trip or do any additional homework beforehand whatsoever. We relied on Google Maps and simply keyed in points from location to location. Since we departed from Vegas, Google actually led us through Zion National Park first. Here we were charged another $30 park entry fee for passing through Zion. If you’re planning to drive out from Vegas, just be aware that you’ll most likely need $60 in cash handy.

Bryce Canyon Viewpoints

Bryce Canyon National Park MapMap from Elena Hanajenko.

At Bryce, there are roughly 15 viewpoints – all of which are are super close and less than a minute-walk from the parkades. There are a lot of amazing hikes here but even without the trek, you can still enjoy phenomenal views of Bryce’s well-known hoodoos.

We kicked off our adventure by visiting the closest viewpoints. However, if you only have one day in Bryce Canyon, I highly recommend you to start at the furthest one and working your way back. I personally found the closer ones to be way more spectacular and astonishing. Frankly at the end of our drive, I was a little disappointed.

Rainbow Point

Bryce Canyon National Park Rainbow PointBryce Canyon National Park Rainbow Point

Marked at mile 18, this is the furthest AND the highest elevated point exceeding 9,100ft. Here you get a very nice panoramic view of pretty much the entire park with the hoodoos and the forests. Another reason why starting here is a good idea. It gives you a much better understanding of the geography of the park.

Bryce Canyon National Park Rainbow Point Bryce Canyon National Park Rainbow Point Bryce Canyon National Park Rainbow PointBryce Canyon National Park Rainbow Point

To the south of Rainbow Point is the Yovimpa viewpoint. I feel like because we were rushing, we only paid attention to the major viewpoints that we had read about online prior to our visit. Since we were super focused on Rainbow, we didn’t even see Yovimpa on the map. Having said that, if you wanna get a closer look of the Grand Staircase (a sequence of rock layers that look like steps of stairs), by all means, check it out and let me know your thoughts!

Ponderosa Point

Bryce Canyon National Park Ponderosa Point Bryce Canyon National Park Ponderosa Point Bryce Canyon National Park Ponderosa Point Bryce Canyon National Park Ponderosa Point

Ponderosa gets its name from the ponderosa pines that grow here on the canyon floor. This is where you can get another closeup look of the Grand Staircase but I wouldn’t say it’s a must.

Natural Bridge

Bryce Canyon National Park Natural Bridge

No, it’s not a bridge; it’s an arch. As misleading as the name is, this natural phenomenon completely took my breath away. The arch is sculpted from Claron Formation rocks and is a result of rock erosion by water. Rainwater, snow, even gravity all play a factor in shaping this unreal beauty.

Bryce Canyon National Park Natural Bridge Bryce Canyon National Park Natural Bridge Bryce Canyon National Park Natural BridgeThanks to my gorgeous friend Lily for letting me put her photos up here on the blog.

Bryce Amphitheater Region

The Amphitheater Region encompasses five main viewpoints: Fairyland Point, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point. Inspiration Point was the very first one we visited. You’ll see in a bit what I mean by I was disappointed about visiting Rainbow Point last.

Sunset Point

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunset Point Bryce Canyon National Park Sunset Point

Parking here was by far the most difficult to find and we waited a good 10-15 minutes. Although that is because this is easily the best spot to view the famous Bryce hoodoos. Hoodoos, by the way, are those tall, thin rocks that protrude from the bottom of the basin. They’re also called fairy chimneys and are truly magical.

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunset Point Bryce Canyon National Park Sunset PointA new friend we made along the way.

Inspiration Point

Bryce Canyon National Park Inspirational Point Bryce Canyon National Park Inspirational Point Bryce Canyon National Park Inspirational Point

This is my absolute favorite viewpoint of them all. Not sure if it’s because this was where we first saw the magnificent hoodoos but I was just so taken aback and stunned and mesmerized by Mother Nature’s beautiful work of art that I fell madly in love with this surreal scene.

There are three levels at Inspiration that overlook Boat Mesa. We unfortunately only stayed near the bottom because again, time constraints, but I highly recommend hiking a little higher up. The lower level views were already out of this world and I can’t begin to imagine how much more beautiful higher up would be!

Bryce Canyon National Park Inspirational Point

Bryce Point

Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Point Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Point Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Point Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Point Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Point Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Point “From here you can watch the tops of hoodoos set alight as if by fire from the first rays of the rising sun.” – National Park Service.

Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Point

Last but not least, Bryce Point. You can’t come to Bryce Canyon National Park and not visit Bryce Point.

Bryce is actually known for sunrise viewings. Even if you can’t make it out here that early, the views are extraordinary no matter what time. It’s no wonder all the tour busses stop here. Definitely add it to your “things to see in Utah” bucket list.

Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Point Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Point

This is no doubt the best viewpoint to end your canyon adventure on. Just be mentally prepared for flocks of tourists though.

Key Takeaways for One Day in Bryce Canyon

  • Start your trip at the furthest viewpoint and work your way back to the Visitor Center.
  • If you really really do not have time to spare, the absolute must-sees are Rainbow Point, Natural Bridge, and Inspiration Point. These are also my top suggestions for where to take the best photos.

The reason why I say I got disappointed towards Rainbow Point is because I went in not knowing what to expect. After seeing Inspiration Point, I thought the whole park was hoodoos and hoodoos everywhere. Rainbow Point really is more of an overview of the park. Yes, the panoramic views are jaw-dropping but in my head I just imagined it to be an upgraded version of Inspiration Point. Something even more epic maybe even somewhere you get to see double rainbows… I don’t know. Either way this is exactly why I suggest starting your trip at Rainbow Point then working your way back towards the park entrance/exit.

Final Notes

Bryce Canyon really is quite a wonder. If you have time to thoroughly explore each of the viewpoints or maybe even camp there overnight and enjoy the starry sky, that’s the best. I know I specified where I think the best views are, but please keep in mind that this is taking time constraint into account. We legit spent two hours here (including the time it took to drive to the different viewpoints). One day in Bryce Canyon is doable for sure but again, it’s that question of what you are willing to sacrifice and what you are okay not seeing.

One Day in Bryce Canyon

And there you have it, a quick guide to seeing one of the most popular tourist attractions in Utah.

If you’re planning a road trip in the American Southwest region, be sure to read up on my other blog posts to better help you prepare!

Similar Posts


  1. I was also expecting a bridge on the ‘natural bridge’. LOL. But it doesn’t really matter as the views are really amazing.. I agree that trying to seeing everything especially when you have limited time can be hard. Your recommendations on the best places to see Bryce Canyon would really be of help to other people who would love to see it but lack the luxury of time.

    1. Hahahaa I saw photos online beforehand so I knew it wasn’t gonna be a bridge lol! Thanks for stopping by Marvi. Wishing you a fantastic new week ahead <3

  2. This is such a long and comprehensive post. Bryce Canyon is a great place where I think is best to stay at least for one week. You showed us so many interesting places form here that I’d extend my two hours trip immediately. Thanks for sharing this place with us.

    1. A week!??!?!??!! Is that how long you stayed when you visited??? As much as Bryce is stunning and all, I think I’d go crazy spending a week here hahaa. I mean I’m all about digital detox and getting in touch with nature but a week is just a little too long for me XDD

  3. Bryce canyon is one of my most fav spots in this world. I was there for the second time just a few weeks ago. Your lovely pictures just took me straight back.

  4. Absolutely gorgeous views of Bryce Canyon . That sunset point is worth to experince in such unique landscape! Appreciate Ur brief guide to this place and will follow it on my visit 🙂 Thanks alot..

  5. I love this. I’m in University and working part time, so similarly are cramming adventures in to some short time frames! Really appreciate guides that help do it. I’ve been to Vegas and we hiked Red Rock, but we didn’t go as far as Zion or Bryce Canyon. It looks stunning, and your pictures are amazing!

    1. Red Rock! Fun!!! And thanks so much Nina. I highly recommend a visit to both parks if you ever return for another trip to the American Southwest!

    1. I’ve heard great things about the hikes too! Major regret that we didn’t get to go. I’ll have to live vicariously thru you if you ever go 😉

  6. 2 hours would be such a short span to uncover this beautiful gem- Bryce Canyon. I am astounded by the breathtaking pictures and cannot stop myself from googling more information on it. Would love to plan a visit soon!

    1. 2 hours definitely flew by fast but with so many things on our itinerary, I’m glad we still got through most of the main attractions even if it was rushed. Hope you’ll get to visit soon and let me know if you have any other questions!

  7. I never thought it possible you could ever see something as fabulous as Bryce Canyon in the space of just two hours. However, it was really interesting to read through your post and how you did it and of course to see such fabulous photos. This place is just amazing and somewhere I would love to visit and explore.

    1. We didn’t see everything though so if you’re looking to pay a visit, I highly recommend staying longer if you can or even camping over night! 🙂

  8. These photos are gorgeous! I’m not super outdoorsy, so I love that you were able to see all this in 2 hours 🙂 Sounds like a great compromise if visiting with friends who want to explore nature.

  9. The outdoor enthusiast that I am, I keep looking for wonderful places such as this one. Bryce Canyon National Park is so breathtaking. It reminds me of some patch near Petra in Jordan.

    1. Ooooo I haven’t been to Petra just yet but it’s definitely on my list. You’ll for sure have to check out Bryce Canyon then if you’re ever in the area. You’d love it there!!!

  10. Holy wow Bryce Canon National Park looks absolutely incredible! I too work full time, so of course you need to find ways to maximise your travel. This is such a great comprehensive guide on how to do it when you don’t have much time, because I would have thought you would need at least a week to explore here. Your photos are truly breathtaking!

    1. Thanks so much Soraya! I mean a week here would just be ideal but for folks like us, I ain’t even mad if I get 2 hours here!

    1. You’ll both have to check out the hikes here then! And maybe even camp here overnight. Let me know if you ever do because I’ll for sure be living vicariously through you 😀

  11. I haven’t heard about Bryce Canyon before. Your post is really comprehensive. I don’t feel left out anymore 😀 This is such a long and comprehensive post. You showed so many interesting pics I would love to go there some time soon.

    1. I didn’t hear about Bryce Canyon until I was planning for my American Southwest road trip hahaa. Glad to hear I’ve inspired you to visit and hope you’ll get to it soon!!! <3

  12. Your photos are absolutely incredible! I don’t know which one is my favourite. Natural Bridge is amazing, and I love the colours of the rock, so unique. I’ve never heard of Bruce Canyon National Park, but now I’d like to see it.

    1. Aww thanks so much Lisa! I’m super glad to hear that I’ve inspired you to pay a visit!!! Hope you’ll get to it soon and let me know if you have any questions! 🙂

  13. My mum was talking about visiting Bryce Canyon this morning and it’s a park I knew nothing about! It looks very organized with the viewpoints. That’s a useful tip about visiting the furthest point first. What are those different colored rocks in the video? They look very Instagrammable.

    1. Aww well you’ll definitely have to take her because I think you’d both love it there! And the rocks are Seven Magic Mountains in Las Vegas. It’d be a cool place to add to your road trip itinerary if you’re driving across the American Southwest!

  14. You take terrific photos! Love the cute little squirrel. This is a great idea, to do a whirlwind-stop guide, I think a lot of people would skip seeing a national park if they only had a couple of hours but this shows that it’s worthwhile! It’s a shame you didn’t get to see sunrise but the views are still incredible. Maybe next time!

  15. Thank you sharing the breath taking photos. My father-in-law who is an amateur photographer took lots of photos of his recent trip to Bryce canyon and no offense to my father-in-law the photos you posted were so vivid and enchanting that they qualify as postcards. We can’t wait to take a trip out there and have book marked your site and post for planning our excursion out there.

    1. Whattttt hahahhaha oh my goshhh I’m way too flattered!!!!! And I’m sure his photos are just as beautiful! The scenery was honestly just so breathtaking that you literally can’t take a bad photo. I’m excited for your visit and please don’t hesitate to ask any questions or let me know if you need other recommendations 😀

  16. First of all, beautiful photos! Hmmm I think I’d definitely run to the “bridge” first, it looks so interesting and great for photos 🙂

  17. Bryce Canyon’s beauty is jaw dropping! Nature sure has a great way to carve awesome things like this. I wish I could be there and witness this myself. Hopefully, in my lifetime I will.

  18. Beautiful is not enough to describe Bryce Canyons. I would love to get a chance to travel there and see it myself. However, I will definitely stay longer than 2 hours. I want to appreciate its beauty for as long as I can.

    1. I was so upset we only got 2 hours here because of our rushed schedule so if you visit, please enjoy it for me! 😀

  19. Great post! it’s so informative and has some great tips for making the most out of the park – and the photos well they make me want to visit even more!

    1. Aww thank you so much Felicia!!! You’re so lucky to be living so close omggggggg! If I were you, I’d make a trip down there every weekend hahaa.

  20. Your pictures look amazing, it makes me want to go! It’s so cool that you work full time like I did. You show how you can still see the world, it just requires a little extra planning 🙂

  21. OMG, I totally love this post! I haven’t been to Bryce Canyons in, like, over 20 years! But i always dream about going back! I’m living vicariously through your post and photos – they are absolutely dreamy!

    1. Whoaa 20 years ago!? I wonder how different it must look to you if you were to revisit now! You’ll defs have to let me know if and when you do 😀

    1. Hahaa it’s crazy what Mother Nature is capable of, right!? It’s definitely bucket list worthy and I hope you’ll get to it someday!!

    1. I’m from Canada and domestic flights are way more expensive than flights down to the States so most of my trips revolve around visiting south hahaa. There are so many gems there and I hope you’ll get to exploring them soon 😀

  22. Great information and the national park looks beautiful. Love the photos! I didn’t realise how many national parks there were in the US! I think I need to do a road trip one day to see some of them.

  23. Wow! yor photos are amazing, love the tips and guides and your presentation. It’s a beautiful place where you can really see some spectacular outlook of those mountains, Ponderosa Point will be my first destination 🙂

    1. Thanks Lexie, glad you found the guide useful! Definitely a surprise to hear Ponderosa would be your first point of interest but it is beautiful for sure and you’d definitely love it there. Hope you’ll get to visiting someday!

  24. Wow this looks amazing!! What a gorgeous natural beauty and you have a 9-5 like me yay! Such long weekend trips give life and are good for the soul especially nature ones.

    1. High five for making that 9-to-5 work! And tell me about it. Long weekend adventures are what I live for 😉