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Bryce Canyon Made Easy

You've seen the pictures, but nothing can prepare you for how it feels when you're actually standing there, feeling like you're on another planet.

Bryce Canyon National Park is a place like no other.

It's on everyone's bucket list, and it should be. It's an unforgettable spot that has fully earned its hype.

Here's everything you need to know about visiting!

You only need one day to get the best of the park

The most scenic and action-packed part of the park is the bottom portion near the main entrance and visitor center. This is where you will find the area called the amphitheater, with its famous and sprawling hoodoos. This is what you've seen in all the pictures, and man is it worth it to see it in person!

The main trail that gives you views and access to this spectacular area is a roughly 3-hour round-trip walk that takes you down into the base of the canyon. You will start at the top and descend down, and ascend at the end of the trail to come back up.

The best approach is to start your descent at the Queen's Garden end of the trail and ascend up the Navajo Loop portion by a series of climbing switchbacks. This offers the best views as you descend, and the 'easier' of the 2 options for your ascent back up.

Once you're done taking in the beauty of the canyon, the only thing left to do is take the scenic drive up to the top of the park. There's only one road and the drive takes 35 minutes, one way. Drive it all the way up to the top and then make your way back down, stopping at all the turnoffs to take in the views.

Where to stay:

The town of Tropic is the perfect spot for enjoying Bryce and the surrounding area. It's an everything-is-on-main-street-blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of town, but it's perfectly situated about 20 minutes from the park in one direction, and 20 minutes from beautiful sights in another.

Various accommodations line the main street, with rustic versions of everything you need to get by, including a general store, a gas station, and a coffee shop.

Where to eat:

Good (or even decent) food is scarce, so stick to PB&J and trail snacks while hiking, and head to Stone Hearth Grille for your dinners. It's an oasis among a dry desert of country-fried steak and french fry establishments. It has a beautiful deck and white napkin service, while keeping a casual feel and pretty reasonable prices. Oh, and don't skip dessert! You won't regret it!

Have breakfast at Rustler's Restaurant. I can vouch for the delicious eggs and hash browns, and impressive french toast-- and that's coming from a Jersey girl with a lifetime of diner experience under her belt! ; )

What else to see:

1. Willis Creek Slot Canyon Trail

The is a must-see, located about 25 minutes from Tropic in the oppotiste direction of Bryce Canyon, inside the Escalante National Monument (which is really a large portion of preserved land, not an actual monument). This trail is perfect in that it offers tons of payoff for a fraction of the physical investment ; ) The drive is a little tricky but it's well worth the couple of nail-biting moments you'll have.

The trail takes you along the bed of Willis Creek (sans the water), and through multiple sections of seriously cool slot canyons. It's flat the entire way, and you can stop and turn back whenever you like.

2. Mossy cave

This is a great stop-off on the drive between the town of Tropic and Bryce Canyon. It's a short, relatively accessible hike to reach a small cave, as well as a picturesque waterfall.

All in all, Bryce Canyon is well worth the visit! Because you don't need much time there, it pairs well with Zion National Park, which is about 2 hours away by car. Check out my post all about Zion here!

Happy travels!

xx Rachel

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