Road Trip Adventure: From Zion to Bryce Canyon

 

Ready for an unforgettable road trip from Zion to Bryce Canyon? These two stunning national parks in Utah are close enough for a quick drive but filled with so many wonders that you’ll want to take your time exploring. Here’s your ultimate guide to making the most of this epic journey.

 

Zion National Park

 

Where to Stay Near Zion National Park

For a unique and comfortable stay, consider Zion White Bison Resort. This resort offers cozy accommodations with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. It’s located just a short drive from Zion National Park, making it an ideal base for your adventures. Whether you choose a luxury Teepee or a spacious Cliff Dwelling, you’ll enjoy modern amenities and a peaceful setting close to nature.

 

When to Visit Zion National Park

  • Spring (March-May): Enjoy mild weather (60-80°F) and blooming wildflowers, making it perfect for peaceful hikes.
  • Summer (June – August): Hot days (over 100°F) are ideal for water activities like tubing in the Virgin River or hiking The Narrows, where the cool water offers relief.
  • Fall (September – November): Cooler temperatures (70-90°F) and vibrant fall foliage make this a photographer’s paradise and great for stargazing.

 

What to Do in Zion National Park

  • Hike Angels Landing or The Narrows: Angels Landing offers exhilarating heights and panoramic views, while The Narrows lets you wade through the Virgin River, surrounded by towering cliffs. Make sure to check out our guide to this epic hike before visiting!
  • Canyoneering Adventures: The number one activity we recommend in Zion is to experience the beauty by hiking some of the most well known trails in the world. For an even better experience book an adventure tour! Make sure to check out our partner page for companies we recommend. 
  • Stargazing: Experience the magic of the desert night sky at Under Canvas Zion.

 

Scenic Drive from Zion to Bryce Canyon

The drive from Zion to Bryce Canyon covers about 84 miles and takes roughly 1 hour and 50 minutes, but there are so many fantastic stops along the way that you’ll want to stretch it out.

 

Drive Highlights:

  • Zion-Mount Carmel Highway: Navigate winding roads and the impressive Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.
  • Dixie National Forest: Enjoy the contrast of green pines against red sandstone cliffs.
  • Charming Small Towns: Take a break in historic towns like Panguitch, with its quaint main street and vintage charm.

 

Must-See Stops on the Way

  • Red Canyon: Discover smaller but equally striking red rock formations. Enjoy several hiking trails and stunning scenic drives.
  • Kanab: Known as “Little Hollywood,” this town is rich in Western film history. It will be a little out of the way on your drive but there are many amazing hikes and restaurants here to try.
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument: A vast natural amphitheater with colorful rock formations.
  • Dixie National Forest: Offers diverse landscapes for hiking, horseback riding, and camping.
  • Scenic Byway 12: This route takes you through some of Utah’s most striking landscapes, including parts of Dixie National Forest and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
  • Panguitch: A charming historic town, perfect for a rest and exploration.
  • Hoodoos at Losee Canyon: Get a preview of Bryce’s famous hoodoos.
  • Mossy Cave Trail: A short hike to a mossy overhang and a small waterfall.
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: This geological wonderland offers breathtaking landscapes just beyond Bryce Canyon.

 

Bryce Canyon National Park

When to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Spring (May – June): Mild temperatures (60-70°F) and beautiful light on the rock formations make it a great time for hiking and e-bike tours.
  • Summer (July – August): Comfortable temperatures (70s-80s°F) are ideal for exploring trails and enjoying night sky programs.
  • Fall (September): Cooler weather and fewer crowds. Perfect for hiking and enjoying the changing colors.

 

What to Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Scenic Drive: The 18-mile drive through Bryce Canyon offers spectacular views of the park’s unique hoodoos and natural amphitheaters. Key viewpoints include Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point. Each provides different perspectives of the park’s geological wonders.
  • Hike the Rim Trail: This relatively easy trail runs along the edge of Bryce Amphitheater, offering panoramic views of the hoodoos below. It’s accessible from several points and can be customized for shorter or longer hikes.
  • Hike the Navajo Loop Trail: One of the most popular hikes in Bryce Canyon, this trail takes you down into the canyon among the hoodoos. Highlights include Thor’s Hammer, Two Bridges, and the Wall Street section, which is a narrow slot canyon with towering rock walls.
  • Hike the Queen’s Garden Trail: Connect this trail with the Navajo Loop for a longer hike. It’s known for the Queen Victoria formation, which resembles the British monarch sitting on her throne.
  • Hike the Peekaboo Loop Trail: A more strenuous hike that takes you deeper into the Bryce Amphitheater. It’s a great way to see some of the park’s less-visited areas and experience its unique geological formations up close.
  • Ranger-Led Programs: Participate in ranger-led programs such as guided hikes, geology talks, and evening programs that often include stargazing. These programs provide great insights into the park’s natural and cultural history.
  • Horseback Riding: Explore the park’s trails on horseback for a different perspective. Guided tours are available and offer a unique way to experience the rugged terrain.
  • Stargazing: Bryce Canyon is known for its dark skies. Attend one of the park’s astronomy programs or simply find a quiet spot to lay back and gaze at the stars. The clear, high-altitude air provides some of the best stargazing opportunities in the country.
  • Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: In winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland. Rent snowshoes or skis and explore the trails in a completely different season, when the red rocks contrast beautifully with the white snow.

 

Tips for Your Road Trip

  1. Allow Extra Time: The drive might be under two hours, but you’ll want to stop and explore along the way.
  2. Stay Hydrated and Pack Snacks: Especially important in the hotter months.
  3. Check the Weather: Be prepared for both heat and cooler temperatures.
  4. Bring a Camera: The scenery is out of this world!

Embark on this road trip from Zion to Bryce Canyon and embrace the natural beauty of Utah’s national parks. With luxurious stays and unique adventures, this journey will create memories to last a lifetime. Safe travels!

 

 

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Zion National Park Glamping

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