Hiker over looking rim trail

Rim Trail

General Description

The Rim Trail is the perfect way to experience Bryce Canyon National Park without dropping into the canyon. Visitors start from Fairyland Point or Bryce Point and hike the jaw-dropping 5.5 miles along the rim of Bryce Canyon’s amphitheaters.  Peer over the edge, if you dare, into the chasms of the Silent City. Stroll among the stoic ponderosa and ancient bristlecone pines on your way from Bryce Point to the aptly named Inspiration Point.  From Sunset Point, watch hikers winding their way up the steep switchbacks of Wall Street.  Listen to the whispering of quaking aspen between Sunrise Point and Fairyland Point.  All the while, the largest collection of hoodoos in the world is at your feet.  In winter, strap on snow shoes for an unforgettable winter hike high above the frosted pinnacles and spires of Bryce Canyon.  The vistas are never-ending along the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon.

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Getting to the Rim Trail Trailhead

There are numerous places to access the Rim Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park.  All of these access points can be reached in your personal vehicle or by taking the free Park Shuttle.  The access points are as follows in order from north to south:

  1. Fairyland Point – Located at the end of the Fairyland Point Road.
  2. Sunrise Point – Located near the General Store.
  3. Bryce Canyon Lodge
  4. Sunset Point – Take the first left turn after passing the road to the Bryce Canyon Lodge.
  5. Inspiration Point – Left on Bryce Point Road, then take the first left to the Inspiration Point Parking Area.
  6. Bryce Point – Continue to the end of the Bryce Point Road.

Bryce Canyon Rim Trail

3 Best Day Hikes on the Rim Trail

There are lots of amazing day hikes that start right on the Rim Trail.  Check out these three top options for dropping below the rim.

Destination Miles Elev Difficulty Style
Navajo Loop Trail 1.3 mi 450 ft Moderate Loop
Queen’s Garden Trail 2-3 mi 400-600 ft Moderate Out and Back or Loop
Fairyland Loop Trail 5.5-8 mi 1500 ft Strenuous Loop

1. Navajo Loop Trail

If you’ve only got a limited time to hike in Bryce Canyon National Park, the Navajo Loop trail is a must do.  Stepping over the rim, hikers are immediately greeted by the tallest hoodoo in the park, Thor’s Hammer.  Continuing down the right side of the trail, look down the dizzying switchbacks descending into Wall Street.  As you wind your way down, the walls rise around you until you reach the near-subterranean bottom. Sunlight and centuries old douglas fir trees greet hikers coming from the dark and gloom of wall street.  Soon you will reach the junction of the Peekaboo Loop Spur, and the Queen’s Garden connector trail.  Don’t forget to take a picture with the ‘Hike the Hoodoos’ benchmark. The Navajo Loop Trail continues around the palisades of Wall Street to Two Bridges alcove.  This trail is quite popular and showcases some of the best hoodoos in the park.

2. Queen’s Garden Trail

The Queen’s Garden Loop Trail is the ideal short distance hike to experience Bryce Canyon’s spectacular hoodoos.  Descending from Sunrise Point, hikers are instantly immersed in hoodoos of all shapes and sizes.  Look out to the horizon on a clear day and you can see the 80 miles distant peak of Navajo Mountain.  Closer inspection of the hoodoo formations reveals a palette of vermillions, yellows, pinks, purples, and white.  Pose for photos in the hand-carved tunnels that go right through the walls of Bryce Canyon’s many fins of rock.  At the end of the trail, her majesty awaits.  See if you can spot her among the pillars of oddly-shaped white rock, and have fun guessing what she is standing on.  Your imagination can truly run wild looking for faces, animals, and shapes in the hoodoos on the Queens Garden Loop Trail.

3. Fairyland Loop Trail

The Fairyland Loop Trail is the perfect way to experience the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park and get away from the crowds at the rim.  While its collection of hoodoos may not be as vast as other parts of the park, hikers are rewarded with solitude and time to admire these natural sculptures.  Stepping up to the rim at Fairyland Point, the breathtaking viewscape drops away suddenly at your feet.  The trail winds down into Fairyland Canyon among towering hoodoos and cathedral walls. Around the end of Boat Mesa, a jaw-dropping panorama of Bryce Amphitheater awaits out of breath hikers.  Stop by for a snack at the Tower Bridge formation, then begin the gradual uphill back to the rim.  A hike back along the rim through ponderosa and aspen groves will take you back to Fairyland Point.

Maximize Your Visit to Bryce Canyon National Park on a Hiking Tour

Guided day hike tours and multi-day packages allow visitors the opportunity to make the most of their time in Bryce Canyon National Park and to do it hassle-free. Guided tours include gear (backpack, trekking poles, crampons in winter), meals, accommodations on multi-day tours, local transportation, and a professional Utah hiking guide. Through their knowledge, stories, and personal passion, guides can bring a place to life in a way that’s much more difficult to do on your own. Read more about Bryce Canyon National Park.


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Bryce Canyon

3 Ways to Hike the Rim Trail

The Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park has 6 different access points, all of which are accessible by personal vehicle or by the Park Shuttle.  Check out these great options for maximizing your experience on the Rim Trail.

Destination Miles Elev Difficulty Style
Bryce Point to the Lodge 2.5 mi -300 ft Easy Thru-hike
Bryce Point to Sunrise via Wall Street 3.5 mi 600 ft Moderate Thru-hike
Amphitheater Tour 7.5 mi 1000+ ft Strenuous Loop

1. Bryce Point to Bryce Canyon Lodge

This family-friendly option is a great way to hike the rim of Bryce Amphitheater and take in some of the most dramatic views.  Take the Park Shuttle to the last stop at Bryce Point.  From the shuttle stop, walk out to Bryce Point for a commanding view of the countless of hoodoos in Bryce Amphitheater.  After you’ve taken your share of photos, walk back toward the parking area and take a right on the Rim Trail.  The trail undulates along the rim of the amphitheater, treating hikers to unlimited vistas.  Soon you will arrive at the aptly named Upper Inspiration Point.  From Inspiration Point, it is a leisurely 0.75 mile downhill stroll to Bryce Canyon Lodge.

2. Bryce Point to Sunrise Point (Via Wall Street)

If hiking the Rim Trail from Bryce Point to Sunset Point leaves you wanting a little more, this is your hike. From Sunrise Point, take the Navajo Loop Trail below the rim and bear right to drop into the famous Wall Street.  After you’ve recovered from the dizzying switchback descent, you will arrive at a major trail junction.  Follow the signage left toward Queen’s Garden.  When you’ve finished visiting her Royal Highness, follow the Queen’s Garden Trail up to Sunrise Point.

3. Amphitheater Tour

This grand tour of Bryce Canyon Amphitheater is a fitting challenge for anyone wanting to see as much as they can on their Bryce Canyon National Park visit.  Starting at Sunrise Point, take the Rim Trail 2.75 miles to Bryce Point, soaking in awe-inspiring panoramas along the way.  Near the Bryce Point parking area, take the mile long spur trail down to the Peekaboo Loop.  Bear right on the Peekaboo loop to see the Wall of Windows and the Silent City.  At the end of the Peekaboo Loop, take the connector trail to the Navajo Loop.  Be sure to catch a sneak peek at the bottom of Wall Street on the left (south) side of the Navajo Loop.  Proceed back to the trail junction and follow the signage to Queen’s Garden.  From the Queen’s Court, it is a steep 0.8 miles back up to Sunrise Point.

Join a Guided Backpacking Trip

Joining a Backpacking Tour near Bryce Canyon National Park is a worry-free, adventurous way to experience the Bryce Canyon area. With your gear, meals, local transportation, permits, and fees taken care of for you, you can travel light and focus 100% on enjoying the hiking experience, while the guide company takes care of everything else. Also, by going with local experts you’ll enjoy a greater level of safety and gain a much better understanding of the history and ecology of this remarkable region. Read more about guided backpacking trips near Bryce Canyon National Park.

Backpacker rim trail

When to Hike and Seasonal Considerations

The Rim Trail is typically open year-round.  During the winter months, snow shoes  or traction devices may be advised. Additionally, trails below the rim of the canyon are subject to closure when avalanche danger is present. Don’t venture too close to the edge, especially if snow and ice are present. Check trail conditions before you hike. Carry plenty of water and be aware of the weather.  Hiking along the rim of the canyon is extremely dangerous during stormy weather.

Necessary Permits

Backpacking Permits

A permit is required for all overnight backpacking trips in Bryce Canyon National Park.  It is also highly recommended to bring a bear-resistant food canister for your night under the stars. For more information on Bryce Canyon National Park’s permit system and to learn more about backpacking in this amazing park, click here.

Suggested Packing List

Day Hike Packing List

  • 2-3 liters of water (more in summer)
  • Salty, calorie-rich snacks
  • lunch
  • backpack
  • trekking poles
  • crampons or snowshoes (in winter)
  • wide-brimmed hat
  • sunscreen and sunglasses
  • cotton t-shirt (spring-fall)
  • non-cotton t-shirt (winter)
  • rain jacket
  • warm non-cotton layer
  • 1st-aid kit

Backpacking Packing List

  • all items listed for day hikes PLUS
  • extra water (water sources in Bryce Canyon are unreliable
  • multi-day backpack
  • 3-season tent
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • backpacking stove and fuel
  • backpacking meals
  • bear canister
  • 2 pairs wool socks
  • extra t-shirt

Please Respect Our National Parks – Leave No Trace

We strongly recommend abiding by all Leave No Trace ethics guidelines and practices so that our national parks and public lands are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations and for the people and animals who call these places home. Simple things like packing out your trash, obeying national park rules, and respecting the peace and quiet of our national park trails is a great start. If you’re going on a backpacking trip, you can read about more about the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.

About WildlandTrekking

Wildland Trekking, a home-grown USA adventure travel company started in 2005, has become one of the world’s leading trekking companies. Learn about the origins, mission and people of Wildland, America’s #1 source for Unforgettable Hiking Vacations!

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