All you need to know to hike the Mossy Cave Trail with kids: what to expect, what to carry with you, why we love this easy family hike in Bryce Canyon National Park.
The hike to Mossy Cave is one of the shorter and easiest walks in Bryce Canyon National Park but a lovely one to take, especially with kids.
It owes its name to the big cave at the top of the trail, covered in moss and dripping water, and is very different from the Rim Trail for type of path and scenery, making it a worthy addition to your day in Bryce.
The walk follows a linear path and takes anout 30 mins. This is what to expect.
Mossy Cave Trail info at a glance
|Location||Bryce Canyon National Park, along SR 12|
|Duration of the hike||0.8 miles /1.3 KM takes about 30 mins to complete|
|Suitable for kids||Yes|
|Free||No, the hike is part of the National Park and you need to pay the entrance fee + display it in the car|
Location and parking
The entrance to the Mossy Cave Trail is down the road from the main park entrance and you reach its with a short drive.
As you drive drive down towards Panguitch, you find a small parking space on your right and signs pointing you to the trail.
The parking area is not large and spaces tend to fill out quickly as this is a rather popular hike.
When we visited, we had to come back a couple of times to find a space so, if you are short on time, coming here in the morning or later in the day is recommended, as you would arrive before/after the crowds.
Unlike at the main park entrance, there are no ranger stations here so make sure you get all your info before and stock up on snack and eater before coming here.
At the start of the trail we saw put toilets but they were closed on the day of our visit. Especially with kids, I recommend you take care of all practicalities before you come here so you can just hike.
Need to know: the hike is part of Bryce Canyon National Park as the same fees as to access the rest of the park apply. Pay them at the main park entrance before coming here and display the receipt in your car while parked for rangers checks.
The walk up Mossy Cave Trail with kids
The path to Mossy Cave is an easy dirt path that starts almost flat and gets steeper closer to the end.
At the start, you follow a riverbed and find around you trees and red rocks.
Quickly, you get to a fork in the road and you take a left to get to Mossy Cave.
Now the path starts climbing and can be steep however, it ends soon revealing the impressive Mossy Cave!
The cave is a large overhanging rock or a grotto, with perpetual water dripping along its walls and creating a mossy surface.
In summer, when we were there, it was a lovely shaded sight (you don’t enter the grotto, you see it from the trail), while in winter I hear it creates beautiful icicles.
From here, you can simply walk back or get on the other path at the fork and reach the waterfall and Water Canyon.
Fun fact! Water Canyon is fed by the Tropic Ditch, which was built as an irrigation canal by Mormon pioneers in the early 1800s. This makes for a cool talking points with school age kids as the heat is so intense here, they will quickly appreciate the effort it must have taken and the need for water that sparked the need for this work.
Mossy Trail Hike Views and Nature
The hike to Mossy Cave is lovely and very different in terms of views and nature than those further up the Canyon.
Here you are now above the hoodoos nor you are surrounded by them (if you want the feeling of the hoodoos towering above you, the trails coming down through the amphitheater are the place to be).
However, it offers nice views of the valley, has nice trees and, if you have water shoes, there are spots were the kids can access the water.
Mossy Cave Trail need to know
The trail is an easy path and requires walking shoes/trail runners. It has a little elevation gain especially at the end however it doesn’t pose technical difficulties and can be done by school age kids no problem.
Ours were 7 and 9 when we did it and enjoy it hugely.
The main thing to know about this path is that it gets very hot in summer.
Unlike the Rim Trail, that puts you above the hoodoos and the Bryce Amphitheater, here you are at the bottom of the valley, the sun and heat are intense!
Make sure you have water, sun screen and sun hat as the risk of heat stroke is high.
For safety on the trail, you want to wear good walking shoes/ trail sneakers or hiking sandals. You can find a list of our favorite hiking shoes for kids here.
I hope you enjoyed this trip report about our hikes to Mossy Cave and it helped you plan your own! Safe travel planning.
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