Tower Bridge Trail
Actually part of the Fairyland Loop Trail, the Tower Bridge Trail is the perfect intermediate distance hike for visitors to Bryce Canyon National Park. Enjoy views of some of Bryce Canyon National Park’s most iconic hoodoo formations such as the Chinese Wall and Crescent Castles. The real star of the show, the Tower Bridge, waits at the halfway point of this hike. A short 200 yard spur trail will take you to the base of this formation that bears a striking resemblance to the defining landmark of London. Tarry a while and admire the beautiful natural architecture before starting the uphill hike back to the rim. You may even be greeted by an elegant resident of the park, the Steller’s Jay. Energetic hikers may want to continue on the Fairyland Loop Trail to add a few extra miles.
Getting to the Tower Bridge Trailhead
The Tower Bridge Trailhead is located near Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon National Park. Take the Park Shuttle, or park at the Sunrise Point Parking Area. To reach the Sunrise Point Parking Area, take the second left 0.5 miles past the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center. There is parking in the gravel lot on the left after 0.5 miles, or park near the General Store. The trailhead is located 0.2 miles north along the Rim Trail from Sunrise Point.
3 Best Day Hikes Near the Tower Bridge Trail
The Tower Bridge Trail is a great way to get a taste for hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park. Check out these nearby noteworthy hikes.
|Mossy Cave Trail||1 mi||100 ft||Easy||Out and Back|
|Rim Trail||5.5 mi||300 ft||Moderate||Thru-hike|
|Fairyland Loop Trail||5.5-8 mi||1500 ft||Strenuous||Loop|
1. Mossy Cave Trail
The Mossy Cave Trail is the perfect hike for those looking to experience the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park without major elevation change. A quarter mile hike along a coursing waterway brings you by beautiful Turret Arch and to a fork in the road. Take a right to see a small waterfall, part of the canal cut by the pioneers in the late 19th century. Go left to sneak a peek at the shaded grotto of Mossy Cave where giant icicles form during the winter months. Whether you are after a fun hike with the family or you just need to stretch your legs, the Mossy Cave Trail is perfect for you.
2. Rim Trail
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.
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.
3 Bryce Canyon Area Backpacking Trails
[Opening sentence about backpacking trips from this trail]
|Under the Rim Trail||23-31 mi||Strenuous||Bryce Canyon National Park|
|Coyote Gulch Trail||26 mi||Strenuous||Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument|
|Paria Canyon to Lee’s Ferry||40 mi||Strenuous||Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness|
1. Under the Rim Trail (2-3days)
Backpacking in Bryce may be limited due to the size of the park and available water sources, but it makes for the hike of a lifetime. Starting at Rainbow Point or Bryce Point, the Under the Rim Trail is 23 miles of breathtaking panoramas, clean air, and absolute solitude. If camping under the stars is your thing, enjoy the thousands of stars that can be seen like few places on Earth. Get ready for a lots of elevation change on this hike as you climb to open vistas and coast downhill through evergreen forests and meadows. Carry or cache water on this trek, as water sources are often unreliable. Add on the 8 mile Rigg’s Spring Loop if you’ve got a little extra time. Cool summer temperatures and Bryce’s spectacular hoodoos make this an epic backpacking trip.
2. Coyote Gulch Trail (3-4 days)
Coyote Gulch is the quintessential trek for those seeking the Utah canyon hike of a lifetime. 26 miles of neck-craning, disorienting twists and turns characterize the snaking path of Coyote Gulch. Camping beneath a massive overhanging alcove is an experience like no other. A mind-blowing arch, a spectacular natural bridge, and waterfalls are just a few of the surprises waiting in the canyon. The icing on the cake is a fun-filled scrambling ascent through Crack in the Wall to the rim of the unbelievable Escalante Canyon. Coyote Gulch is a place of beauty that awakens powerful emotions. Are you ready for the adventure?
3. Paria Canyon to Lee’s Ferry (3-5 days)
The trek through the Paria Canyon to Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River is 40 miles of jaw-dropping canyon scenery. Each day builds upon the next as you descend through rock and time, following the highway of the Ancestral Puebloan people millennia ago. Water levels vary from bone-dry to a knee deep, and in some places waist deep, 38-mile splashathon. One thing is for sure, you’ll get in plenty of river wading and crossing, so bring sturdy water shoes. You might want to schedule a chiropractor’s appointment. The mind-bending narrows and monstrous canyon walls will have you craning your neck for days on end. Ancient rock art, the deepest and longest slot canyon in the world, and unparalleled solitude are just a taste of what Paria Canyon is all about.
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.
When to Hike and Seasonal Considerations
The Tower Bridge Trail is typically open year-round. Remember that the Fairyland Point Road is closed during the winter months, so there is no vehicle access should you choose to continue the Fairyland Loop. Snow shoes or traction devices are advised during the winter. Trails below the rim of the canyon are subject to closure when avalanche danger is 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.
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
- 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.