All you need to know to visit Bryce Canyon with kids: best family friendly hikes, practical tips, where to stay.
Our family trip to Bryce Canyon is one of our fondest travel memories.
We visited during a hot summer and we had expected Bryce to be beautiful, but we did not expect it to as breathtaking and unforgettable as it actually is: the place is just spectacular!
Bryce is a vision of red rocks, green trees and blue skies, it has wonderful family friendly trails and a great junior ranger program that is perfect for kids of all ages.
It is all the best things you can expect from a National Park, all wrapped into an area that is big enough to keep you entertained but not so big to be overwhelming.
We visited Bryce during our road trip between Salt Lake City and Zion and we recommend everyone to visit.
Bryce Canyon is very family friendly and it is likely to stay as a highlight of your US vacation, may you come from nearby or, like us, very far away.
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Is Bryce Canyon kid friendly?
Bryce Canyons is a very kid friendly place. Here you find:
- Lots of family friendly hikes, some stroller friendly
- A fantastic junior ranger program to keep them entertained and teach them about the park
- A handy shuttle system that means you don’t have to stress about driving, parking or stress getting the kids in and out of the car
- Nice picnic areas and shops to get your supplies for the day
- Several nice accommodation options with pools and entertainment to keep them busy after the park visit if staying in the area
Best things to do in Bryce Canyon with kids: family friendly hikes in Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon is a natural amphiteater filled with peculiar rock formations called hoodoos.
The main things to do here have to do with this very special geography which you can appreciate at best taking a hike between or above these incredible red rocks.
Some of the best family hikes in Bryce are:
The Rim Trail
The Rim trail is the path following the Rim of Bryce Canyon and it is an easy and scenic hike suitable also for kids.
The Rim Trail is the best one to walk to see the amphitheater from above and it has several viewing points offering different points of view over the hoodoos.
The trail starts at the one called Fairyland Point and gets to Bryce Point and it is 5.5 miles (9.16 kilometers) one way.
The length of the trail may seem long for kids however, the trail is easy and there is always the option to hop on the shuttle!
Several stops dot the trail and they serve the most famous viewpoints so it is always possible to walk part of it and then get the bus for the next stretch.
- Start point: several, served by parking spaces and shuttle stops
- Length/time needed: 11 miles / about 6 hours however, it can be done in parts making it more manageable for kids
- Difficulty: easy, gentle grades only
- Stroller friendly: parts are suitable for all terrain strollers
Bristlecone Loop Trail
The bristlecone loop trail is another easy hike in Bryce for kids and brings you among beautiful Bristlecone Pines which are those that add a touch of green to the colorful canva of Bryce!
- Strat Point: Rainbow Point
- Time/Distance: 1 mile / about 1 hour
- Difficulty: easy (elevation gain 200 feet)
Mossy Cave Trail
The Mossy Cave Trail is an easy and beautiful hike a little away from the Rim and that you reach driving down the road from the main park entrance toward Tropic.
The hike is short and easy and it is pretty as it follows a nice stream and then gets you to Mossy cave, which is an impressive grotto with a constant stream of water that feeds moss in the summer and created icicles in winter!
This is a lovely hike for kids and it can be easily combined with the rim trail as it only takes about 30 mins to complete. This is also a nice hike to learn about the history of the area.
You can find our tips and trip report specifically about Mossy Cave trail here.
Queen’s Garden Trail
Queen’s Garden Trail is the easiest hikes to get into the canyon and it is great in combination with the Rim trail since it allows you to see from up close the hoodoos you have admired from above!
It is graded as moderate because while not difficult as such, it starts downhill in a rather steep fashion, so it is important to keep your energy in check since you will have to go up again later and especially in summer, under the sun, it can take a while!
If you have a baby or toddler, you will want a hiking carrier here and the whole family should have proper hiking shoes as parts of the trail have gravel. While this trail is easy, you want to hold hands with younger kids.
- Starting Point: Sunrise Point
- Length/duration: 2 miles / 1.5 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate, 357 feet elevation grade
Navajo Loop Trail – moderate/strenuous hike
Navajo loop is a moderate hike rather than an ‘easy’ one however, if you have kids who are a little older and able to manage elevation gain, it is one of the most beautiful in Bryce.
The hike is 1.3 miles long but it is rather steep and brings you to some of the most famous place in Bryce such as ‘Wall Street’ and Twin Bridges.
- Starting Point: Sunset Point
- Length/duration: 1.3 miles / 1.5 hours
- Difficulty: moderate/strenuous
Other things to do in Bryce Canyon with kids: take the junior ranger program
Bryce Canyon runs a wonderful junior ranger program that is perfect to keep kids entertained and help them engage with the park in a fun and educational way.
Participating is easy: when entering the park, ask the ranger for the Junior ranger booklet and you will be given a small booklet with tons of activities for different ages.
The kids will be enticed to look for specific plants (look not touch or pick), identify animal trails and they will learn about the formation of the hoodoos too.
Some of these info they will be able to pick up along the trails by observation but I highly recommend you also go to the junior ranger program center to learn even more.
Here they have some reconstructions of the hoodoos that make it very easy to understand how they form – even us adults were mesmerized!
If the kids can do all the activities for their age, they then take a pledge with a ranger and get a badge – if they have difficulties completing it, the rangers are there to help and answer questions so the whole program is fun and educational but not stressful.
As part of the Junior ranger program but also as a standalone activity, I also recommend you take a ranger talk, they area always super informative and fun!
How to spend one day in Bryce with kids: our itinerary
Where to stay near Bryce Canyon
There are several accommodation options near Bryce Canyon and you can choose between staying at the park entrance or at one of the hotels in Tropic.
Near the park you can stay at the Bryce Lodge – handy as it is in a great location and has a both a restaurant and pizzeria nearby.
Farther away we stayed at Pioneer Village which was super fin for kids since it had lots of outside space, a small but nice outdoor pool and an onsite restaurant with burgers and live music.
Tropic was a good choice for us as also put us within easy reach of the Kodachrome Basin which I dearly wanted to see.
What to pack for visiting Bryce Canyon with kids
What to pack for Bryce Canyon depends on the season since Bryce is cold in winter and hot in summer!
The main things you need here, aside from your basics and your day hike essentials are (click on the links to find our favorite of each):
- Hiking shoes for kids (and yourself!)
- Hiking carrier for baby/toddler
- Kids binoculars
- Portable telescope to make the most of the dark sky of this area
I hope you found this guide to visiting Bryce with kids useful and it helped you plan your stay. Safe travel planning!