See Bryce Canyon in One Day on the Bryce Canyon Shuttle

See Bryce Canyon in one day

There are five national parks in Utah, including Bryce Canyon National Park. To see them all takes planning, but you can see Bryce Canyon in one day on the Bryce Canyon Shuttle.

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah — Inspiration Point

The Drive into Bryce Canyon

Before catching the Bryce Canyon Shuttle, we began to see sculptures made by nature in shades of orange and red. Winding through several rock tunnels on our drive into Bryce Canyon National Park, the rock formations, called hoodoos, looked like sandcastles among the mountains.  

Bryce Canyon Amphitheaters are seen from the Bryce Canyon Shuttle.

Our drive from Zion National Park, through Red Canyon Park into Bryce Canyon, was several hours, through scenery that was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Everything turned a brilliant copper color as far as the eye could see.  There were easy walking trails in the park and a visitor center for a quick stop before continuing into Bryce Canyon.

Red Canyon Tunnels are the gateway into Bryce Canyon.

Catch the Bryce Canyon Shuttle at the Visitor’s Center

Entering Bryce Canyon, we stopped at the visitor center to leave our vehicle and catch the Bryce Canyon Shuttle.  With limited parking inside the park and to avoid traffic congestion, visitors will love using the shuttle.  The entrance fee for the park covers the Bryce Canyon Shuttle, which runs every 10-15 minutes.  The Canyon area is compact, so you can easily see all the viewpoints and take a few short hikes in one day.

Red Canyon Park Visitor Center — Smokey The Bear reminds visitors how to prevent forest fires.

The upper rim of the canyon amphitheater offered the vastest of views.  With red rock as far as you could see, dark green pines, tri-colored hoodoos, and fresh snow on the canyon walls, the colors together were remarkable.

Bryce Canyon Hoodoos are rock formations of many colors.

Although the terrain is rocky, numerous species of trees thrive in the park. The most prevalent are pines; these included Bristlecone, Ponderosa, and Limber pines.  The canyon also boasts Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Aspens.

Aspens buried in the snow at the highest elevation in April

Shuttle stops on your one day visit

The Bryce Canyon Shuttle takes visitors to all the significant points in the park but also stops at several hotels, the Bryce Lodge, and two restaurants.  We enjoyed lunch at Ruby’s Inn, near the entrance to the park.  The restaurant and inn are historical, built originally in 1916 as a family’s ranch, then becoming the “Tourist Rest,” a lodge for visitors in 1919. Now the Best Western Ruby’s Inn,  offers lodge accommodations, two campgrounds, and an RV Park all located closest to the canyon.

Ruby’s Inn and Restaurant is a stop for lunch on the Bryce Canyon Shuttle.

Read TripAdvisor reviews and book your room for your stay at Best Western Ruby’s Inn here.

Inspiration Point, Mossy Cave, Rainbow Point, and Yovimpa Point will be a highlight of your trip and unforgettable.

Dark green pines and tri-colored hoodoos paint the landscape in Bryce Canyon.

See the Geographical formations called “hoodoos.”

The geographical meaning for ‘hoodoo’ states: “a column eccentrically shaped and formed by differential weathering.” They are the most intriguing formations.  The hoodoos are thin, spiral structures created from frost wedging and erosion in the canyon.  They cover more than 25 miles along the cliffs of the canyon and are more abundant in Bryce than anywhere else in the world.

Rock spires called Hoodoos form with years of flowing water and erosion.

Take short hikes to enjoy in one day

If you only have one full day to visit, try to research before your trip and choose the hikes best for you.  We loved our tour of the park on the Bryce Canyon Shuttle, as it allowed us to see the spectacular views with ease. Early arrival is sure to guarantee you have more time for scenic stops and getting ahead of the crowds.  We visited Bryce in April, and the temperatures were perfect.

Mossy Cave rock formation is viewed from an overlook along the trail.

Sunset and Sunrise Point, Rainbow and Bryce Point were some of our favorite hikes, taken during the hop-on-hop-off Bryce Canyon Shuttle tour.  There are over a dozen hiking trails within the park, but two of the most popular are the Queens Garden Trail and The Navajo Trail. 

Sunset Point map details hiking trails perfect for one day in Bryce Canyon.

In one day we hiked the Rim Trail, between Sunrise Point and Sunset Point, part of Bryce Point and Bristlecone Loop. There are detailed maps at each scenic point to help you choose the best hike for the time you have to spend in the canyon.

Hoodoos close to Inspiration Point show the intricate formations.

Plan your visit to Bryce Canyon

Make your plans today to see Utah and all of the state’s five national parks to experience their distinct character.  Salt Lake City or Las Vegas airports are both within a drivable distance to most of the parks. 

Bryce Canyon overlooks mountains, hoodoos, and a beautiful stormy sky.
The orange colors of The Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon stand out against the dark sky.

Spending one day in Bryce Canyon National Park is just enough to make you want to go back. As we marveled at the grandeur of the rock formations and darkening skies overhead, we started planning our next trip to Bryce. After all, Bryce Canyon is a certified International Dark Sky Park, with extraordinary nighttime viewing of the stars, planets, and galaxies.

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