There’s no doubt about it, visiting Bryce Canyon with kids makes for an extremely memorable experience for the whole family. The unique features of the canyon are sure to impress both adults and kids alike. Here is everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit to Bryce Canyon National Park with kids.
Bryce Canyon National Park With Kids
National Parks, in general, are a great place to bring kids to learn about the world around them. But, there are some National Parks that really captivate kid’s attention and Bryce Canyon is one of those. From the easy rim hiking trail to the bike path, to the interactive visitor’s center, Bryce Canyon is one of the best National Parks for kids.
Where to Stay In or Near Bryce Canyon National Park
Staying at the lodge inside the park will provide the ultimate Bryce Canyon National Park experience. You have the option to stay in a rustic cabin, hotel room, or guest room on the second floor of the lodge. The lodge is always full in the busy summer season so book as early as possible. Another option to stay inside in the park is to book a campsite. The campsites inside the park have shuttle buses to take you to the trailheads, visitors center, and lodge.
Best Western Ruby’s Inn is the best lodging option available just outside the park entrance. Ruby’s Inn has both hotel rooms and camping options available. It is a huge property that has a general store, pool, laundry facility, restaurant, and outdoor picnic areas. To access Bryce Canyon from Ruby’s Inn you can drive, ride a bike on the paved rec path, or catch the National Park shuttle right outside the hotel.
The lodging in or near the park entrance is by far the best option, but there are other places to stay within twenty miles of Bryce Canyon National Park. Hotels, cabins, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds can be found in the nearby towns of Cannonville and Tropic.
When To Go
May through September are the months with the best weather in Bryce Canyon National Park. The elevation at the rim of the canyon is around 8,000 feet so even in the middle of the summer it doesn’t get too hot. Keep in mind that those months are also when the majority of visitors come to see the park so it will be crowded. If you can plan your trip mid-week the crowds will be a little lighter.
The shoulder season months of April and October are definitely less crowded but the weather can be hit or miss.
The red rock formations covered with snow look beautiful but I wouldn’t recommend visiting Bryce Canyon with kids in the winter. The trails are icy and snow-covered and it would be extremely difficult to hike with little ones.
Bryce Canyon Recreation Path
Bryce Canyon is known for its Hoodoos and yes, they are spectacular. But the paved recreation path is an amazing and often overlooked amenity in the national park. The shared-use path starts at the shuttle stop in front of Ruby’s Inn and goes into the park, past the visitors center, and all the way to inspiration point. The views of the forest are beautiful along the way. It is uphill all the way into the park but the grade never gets over six percent so the climb isn’t too strenuous.
We visited Bryce Canyon at the height of the busy season and were surprised to only run into a handful of people on the recreation path. The peace and quiet along the shared-use path were such a stark difference from the throngs of people at the visitor’s center and rim trail. We were lucky enough to spot a few deer right next to the path on our ride into the park.
We brought our own bikes but there are several businesses that rent bikes near Ruby’s Inn. The only shop that rents kid-sized bikes is Bryce Wildlife Adventure.
Visitor Center at Bryce Canyon
If you are traveling to Bryce Canyon with kids the National Park visitor center shouldn’t be missed. All National Park visitor centers are informative but the Bryce Canyon visitor center is both informative and kid-friendly. Kids can climb under the landscape model and poke their heads out through a plastic-covered prairie dog hole. There is also a twenty-minute film that explains how the distinct hoodoo rock formations are created. The film is short and simple enough for kids to understand and enjoy.
While you are in the visitor center don’t forget to pick up a Junior Ranger book. Bryce Canyon is where we first learned about the Junior Ranger program. Now when we visit a National Park the first thing Eli asks is “can we go to the visitor center and get a Junior Ranger book?” Eli has now completed the Junior Ranger program in Arches, Haleakala, and Canyonlands National Parks, and also Pearl Harbor National Monument. It is such a great program to get kids interested in the unique features of each national park.
Best Bryce Canyon National Park Hiking Trails For Kids
Both of the best kid-friendly hiking trails are accessed from the Sunset Point parking area. To get to the parking lot drive past the visitor center and take the first left. Follow the signs to Sunset Point Parking.
If the Sunset Point Parking lot is full you can park at the Sunrise Point Parking lot and walk along the rim trail to Sunset Point. Or, you can park at the visitor center and take a shuttle.
The Rim Trail is a must-do hiking trail in Bryce Canyon National Park. The views of the peculiar hoodoo rock formations from the trail along the rim of the canyon are spectacular. Not only that, the trail is the perfect hike for all ages and abilities. The Rim Trail from Sunset Point to Inspiration Point is just over a mile one way. There are two shuttle stops between Sunset Point and Inspiration Point. If you decide along the way that you don’t want to hike anymore, you can always jump on a shuttle bus back to your car. If you don’t want to hike the round-trip, there is a shuttle stop at Inspiration Point.
*I recommend doing the round trip if possible because the views are different from each direction.
Queen’s Garden Trail
To experience hiking among the hoodoos, take the Queen’s Garden Trail down into the canyon from the Rim Trail. This hike is about .9 of a mile one way (this trail is not a loop). It is the easiest hike down into the canyon with only a 357-foot elevation gain/loss. There are several rock tunnels to walk through.
Have you visited Bryce Canyon with kids? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought.
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