As you start down one of America’s most beautiful drives on Route 12 you will be welcomed by red canyons, the Dixie National Forest, and after passing through two tunnels towards Bryce Canyon National Park. When I plan a trip from far away I love a good guidebook, and to prepare for this trip I grabbed my Moon Guide book for Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park. Most people come to Utah to visit some of the most visited parks in the USA, but I loved how this guide touched on not only the best information about what to do in Bryce Canyon National Park but also some of the unique lesser-known spots that locals flock to. I partnered with Moon Travel Guides to bring you a guide and share the experience I had using the Moon Zion and Bryce Travel Guide on my recent trip to Utah. (SPONSORED POST)
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership/collaboration with Moon Travel Guides. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase or booking, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.Travels of Sarah Fay is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to amazon.com and affiliated sites at no cost to you.
Moon Guides takes care to get locals and experts in an area to find the best up-to-date information to give you an insider’s scoop to even the most well-visited destinations. My first suggestion from my time in Bryce Canyon and Southern Utah, as well as after reading this book was to rent a car or road trip to the area because that is the best way to see this part of the United States.
The drive alone is noteworthy, but Bryce Canyon National Park makes you feel like you are in another world. Whether you have a day or a few days to explore Bryce there are many opportunities and ways to explore the park from cycling and hiking to horseback riding and ATVs. I learned about a variety of activities that are great for not only families but also solo travelers in Moon’s Guide for Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park.
Where to stay in Bryce Canyon National Park?
There are not a ton of choices in terms of accommodations in Bryce Canyon National Park. If you want to stay right in the park you can stay at Bryce Canyon Lodge; however, if you want a full-service resort and inn with entertainment, tours of the park, and has an indoor pool then I recommend Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn. Moon highlighted how they offered Ruby’s Horseback Riding, Ruby’s ATV Tours, and other organized activities such as a Country Dinner Show, Rodeo, and scenic flights. This place had everything you need and I found the location superb. A National Park shuttle picks you up at Ruby’s to bring you to the park with several stops to the most famous viewpoints, such as Sunrise, Sunset Point, and further parts of the park-like Inspiration Point.
Ruby’s Horseback Riding
I took part in Ruby’s Horseback riding. I did the 1.5-hour tour to the rim of Bryce Canyon, and the 3 hours half-day trip to Red Canyon in the Dixie National Park. The horse wranglers aka tour guides were very knowledgeable of the land and the horses making it comfortable for all skill levels.
Bryce Canyon National Parks Highlights
Bryce Canyon is massive and at a high elevation, you may feel a little out of breath and not just because of the breathtaking views. Moon Guides Zion and Bryce showcased a route to do if you only had 24 hours, but also shared the best highlights of the park. To begin my morning I took the book’s suggestion to head to Inspiration Point for sunrise, before heading to Sunset point to begin the Navajo Loop. I decided to take the Navajo Loop, to the Queen’s Garden Trail to make a 3-mile loop.
A 38 Mile Scenic Drive
After one of the most scenic hikes of my life (the colors are out of this world), I met up with my mother at the General Store near sunrise point to complete the 38-mile scenic road trip through Bryce Canyon with 13 viewpoints. My favorite viewpoint had to be the Natural Bridge, spanning 54 feet wide and 95 feet high it feels grand and gives a different perspective to the park.
Bryce Canyon is known for its Hoodoos. What are Hoodoos you ask? Well, my handy guidebook by Moon also served as my guide as I headed out on the trail. A Hoodoo as defined in the “Moon Zion and Bryce Guide” “Hoodoos… were, formed by water, ice, and gravity” these natural elements interact differently with the different rock layers, such as limestone, siltstone, dolomite, and mudstone to create an artistic colorful orange canyon.
It is easy to get caught up in the landscape and hike for hours. However, the best part about Bryce Canyon National Park is that it can be enjoyed by all. This may be one of the most accessible parks for appreciating the natural beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park no matter your experience or ability in the outdoors.
Entertainment at Bryce Canyon National Park and Ruby’s Inn
After a day of exploring the wilderness, check out Ruby’s Inn for some entertainment. The first night I headed to the Nashville Stars special dinner show where singer-songwriters shared their music and the meaning behind it. It reminded me of my time at the Bluebird in Nashville. The dinner show is great at Ruby’s and they host it at Ebenezer’s Barn and Grille. I suggest the BBQ plate, it was so filling and delicious that especially after a long day on the trails.
If you still have time and are lucky enough to be there in season for the rodeo, I thought this was an interesting way to learn about the culture of the rodeo and how young children start participating in these activities.
Where to Eat?
Want a Classy Dinner? Head to The Lodge At Bryce Canyon this table cloth, full-service dining experience, is located in the historic Bryce Canyon Lodge in the National Park. So it may be worth the splurge to dine surrounded by history.
Or a Casual Experience? Ruby’s Cowboy Buffet and Steak Room offer high volume, quick service, and a buffet-style dining experience. If you stay at Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn your breakfast buffet is included.
Want to venture a little further? I suggest heading to Tropic where you can find the best cafe in the area for good artisanal coffee at Bryce Canyon Coffee Co. in the town of Tropic Utah. On the way, you can even stop for a short .5 mile hike to see Mossy Cave and a waterfall!
What did I learn from my stay in Bryce Canyon National Park and my Moon Travel Guide for Zion and Bryce?
These National Parks are vast Bryce Canyon spans not only a great distance but has a variety of geological areas to explore due to the parks’ high elevation at around 8,000 feet- 9,100 feet. There is no way to see everything in the area if you only go for a day or even three in my case, however, having a guide whether in person or the form of a book can help you not only understand what you are seeing but help you narrow down the highlights of an area.
Also, I found my Moon Travel Guide to assist me in planning a vacation with my mother who is not a hiker and needed some more accessible ways to enjoy Bryce Canyon. This book was very helpful in planning an adventure for all skill and abilities for adventures in the park. When you are planning a road trip, cross-country adventure, or visiting in a limited amount of time, I always suggest grabbing a guide like Moon. Also, did I mention the signal is spotty in Southern Utah, so it also provides great reading material on the drive there!
Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park
Q. How long does it take to visit Bryce Canyon National Park?
The scenic drive takes about 3 hours to complete the 38 miles, however as you can see there are a lot of things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park from hiking, horseback riding, and ATVs, to camping and exploring the entertainment at Ruby’s Inn. So it is really up to you and your time restraints.
Q. Best place to watch sunrise in Bryce Canyon National Park?
Sunrise is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon because you can see the national park wake up. Also the sun hits the amphitheater just right to showcase a multitude of colors. The park faces east so almost all viewpoints offer a great view. Inspiration Point is perfect for sunrise, and is a little less crowded than Sunrise Point.
Q. Is Bryce Canyon Really A Canyon?
It is actually an amphitheater.
Q. Should you get a National Parks Pass?
I hope you do there are so many parks to explore some of my favorite National Parks, Acadia National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and 63 in total! So if you plan to visit a few the park pass is definitely worth it.