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Bryce Canyon National Park to Grand Canyon Travel Guide

Bryce Canyon to Grand Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in Southwestern Utah on the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.  One of Southern Utah’s incredible National Parks, Bryce is a great place to visit on your way to the Grand Canyon. Named after Mormon pioneer Ebenezer Bryce, Bryce Canyon National Park was created to protect the unique geology of the area.  The shapes and colors of the Hoodoos that make up the huge amphitheaters of Bryce Canyon are found nowhere else in the world.  This is truly a unique National Park and its proximity to Grand Canyon’s North Rim and some of Utah’s best nearby parks like, Zion, Grand Staircase, and Capitol Reef make it a popular stop for travelers on the way to Grand Canyon National Park.

Although not as popular as the Grand Canyon Destinations, Bryce Canyon National Park still receives 1.75 million visitors each year, most arriving in the summer season.  Unlike other parks on the Colorado Plateau, summer is the ideal time to visit Bryce because of its high elevation.  While Spring and Fall can also have good weather, temperatures can be downright cold and snow can fly, but like the Grand Canyon winter is a great time for solitude and some good snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.  Bryce Canyon National Park charges an entry fee for private vehicles and camping and hiking fees are separate.  Like most National Parks costs for food, lodging and other service are above average. Read the guide below to learn more.

Bryce to Grand Canyon Travel

Driving Distance from Bryce Canyon National Park to Grand Canyon

  • Bryce to Grand Canyon North Rim is 158 miles, a 2 hour 10-minute drive.
  • Bryce to Grand Canyon East Rim is 157 miles, a 2 hour 55-minute drive.
  • Bryce to Grand Canyon South Rim is 288 miles, a 5 hour 5-minute drive.
  • Bryce to Grand Canyon West Rim is 384 miles, a 6-hour 10-minute drive.

Bryce to Grand Canyon Car Rentals

Although there are some private shuttles that go to Bryce and a free shuttle in the Park if you really want to explore Bryce Canyon and nearby Grand Canyon National Park having your own rental car is the best option.  If you are already at Bryce Canyon you can pick up a rental at Ruby’s Inn right outside the park.  Nearby cities like Cedar City, St George and Kanab also have rental cars. There is also a free shuttle in Bryce Canyon National Park as well as several private companies that run shuttles in the area.

Grand Canyon Tours from Bryce Canyon National Park Utah

Bryce is a great place to walk along the rim, check out a ranger talk, star gaze, hike or take a tour. There are some tour packages that include Bryce and Grand Canyon, but most Grand Canyon Tour options are available when you arrive in the park. While you’re visiting Bryce Canyon, the trails offer great day hikes and a couple of backpacking options.  Like the Grand Canyon, Mule and Horse Rides are a popular activity in the park.  In the wintertime Bryce also has some nice trails for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.  Right outside Bryce Canyon National Park, there are several tour companies that offer scenic flights, ATV rides, and a great bike trail in Dixie National Forest.

Best Restaurants in Zion and on the drive to Grand Canyon

Inside Bryce Canyon National Park, the Bryce Canyon Lodge is the only place with a restaurant, but you can also pick up food at the grocery store.  Outside the park there are several restaurants to choose from as well as some small grocery stores. If you’re heading to the Grand Canyon you can stop at Jacob Lake near the North Rim, or Cameron on the way to the South Rim for a meal.

Best Hotels in Bryce Canyon National Park near Grand Canyon

Bryce Canyon Lodge is the only lodge inside the park, and its operating season is April 1st to October 31st.  There are several lodging options right outside the park and in nearby towns.  If you have an RV there are three campgrounds with hook-ups right outside the park.  These campgrounds also have tent sites, but there are better options for tent campers in Dixie National Forest. On the way to the Grand Canyon, nearby towns like Kanab, Jacob Lake and Marble Canyon have lodging options for travelers before getting to their North Rim or South Rim Lodging at Grand Canyon National Park.

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Popular hotels near Bryce Canyon

Learn more about Bryce Canyon 

The Rim of Bryce Canyon National Park has an elevation of 8,000 to 9,100 feet making for great summer weather like the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Average highs for the summer season are around 80 degrees, while evening lows are typically in the 40’s.  At this elevation weather in the fall and spring season can vary from 65 and sunny to heavy snow so it important to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions.  The winter sun can warm cold days, but the average snow fall is 95 inches, so be prepared for real winter weather November through March as Bryce is less mild than weather at Grand Canyon National Park.

  • Environment of Bryce Canyon National Park: Bryce Canyon is not a huge park in size at 35,835 acres, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty.  The main feature of Bryce Canyon’s topography is the strange Hoodoo formations that the Park was created to protect.  While the rim of the park is fairly flat, it is a rough and rugged landscape once you make your way down to the surreal amphitheaters below the rim.  Bryce Canyon’s Hoodoos are its main geologic feature and were formed by the erosion of altering hard and soft rock layers of the Clarion Formation.  This rough pattern that is not uniform, is what makes a hoodoo different from a spire, which has a uniform, tapered thickness, and a fairly smooth surface.  Bryce is not a true canyon, and the chief force in the creation of the hoodoos is weathering and the frost-wedging, and not flowing water. Because of its elevation, propensity for storms, and open areas on the rim lightening is probably the biggest threat in the park.  Sunburn is also a problem at Bryce, because the sun’s rays are stronger at higher elevation, and the pleasant temperatures make visitors unaware of the danger.   
     
  • Bryce Canyon Plants and Animals: Because of Bryce Canyon National Parks location on a high plateau, it’s gets much more precipitation than the surrounding deserts.  This increase in precipitation and cooler temperature means you’ll find fir, spruce and aspen at the highest elevations and ponderosa pines at the median altitudes.  Lower in elevation you find pinyon juniper forest, and cactus, yucca and other desert plants in the lowest regions of the park.  Bryce Canyon also has splendid wildflowers throughout the park.   This diverse landscape also holds many species of animals.  From Rocky Mountain Elk and Pronghorn, to migratory birds, Bryce is home to many birds, mammals and reptiles.
     
  • Bryce Culture and History: Bryce Canyon was designated a National Park in 1924, but people have been coming here for nearly 10,000 years.  Unlike many other parks on the Colorado Plateau, long-term settlement has not been found in the park.  The weather was just too harsh, and most ancestral people were just passing through on hunting trips or harvesting pine nuts.  Mormon Pioneers built irrigation systems on the plateau for crops in the valley below, but some people might just have been visiting like tourists do today.

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