Where to stay near Bryce Canyon National Park: 12 Best Places to Stay!
Wondering where to stay near Bryce Canyon? Here’s the inside scoop!
Bryce Canyon is definitely one of the best places to travel in Utah for nature lovers. We adored the nature of Zion National Park in particular the cool walks like the Narrows so we weren’t sure how Bryce Canyon would compare. Long story short – we loved it. It is for sure one of the best National Parks we have ever visited in the USA.
There are quite a few places you could stay near Bryce Canyon so it can be quite an overwhelming decision, deciding where to stay.
If you want a quick answer, the 3 towns that you will want to look are Bryce Canyon City (right at the entrance), Tropic (about 10 minutes drive from the park entrance, and Panguitch (about 25 minutes drive from the park entrance).
In this article, we will breakdown the very best lodging in the National Park and nearby, we will discuss the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision as to where to stay.
- Our top recommendation: Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
- Best budget option:Ruby’s Inn Resort (Best Western) – different to above
- Unique accommodation:Bryce Canyon Log Cabins
- Best bed and breakfast near Bryce Canyon:Bryce Trails Bed and Breakfast
- Cute town vibes:Panguitch House
Bryce Canyon City – located at the park entrance
We would recommend staying in Bryce Canyon City which is located right at the entrance of the National Park. There are only a few hotels located here but they are as a general rule quite affordable, clean and comfortable.
Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
The best place to stay in Bryce Canyon City is the Best Western Plus. It is the most “luxury” option at the entrance of the National Park. It is clean and comfortable and includes buffet breakfast in the rate. The breakfast is a pretty decent quality and we overheard some Americans saying “now this is a really good breakfast!” It includes all the American favoroites like a waffle machine, biscuits and gravy, eggs and bacon, pancakes, cereal and oats.
Some of the hotels in the area have pretty scary ratings but the Best Western Plus always consistently rates well.
We stayed here and we really enjoyed it. Staying in Bryce City proved a very worthwhile decision. From April to October there is a free shuttle that services the park which can be very hardy because there is limited parking at each spot. The free shuttle makes a stop at the Best Western Plus which is very convenient.
We liked that there is a laundry on premises as your clothes get quite dirty after hiking Bryce Canyon. There is also a really nice outdoor jacuzzi and firepit which is perfect for the colder months in the National Park.
The hotel does not provide a daily cleaning service. We really liked this aspect as we don’t really like getting cleaning in to help prevent us getting COVID-19 while traveling. You may or not like this aspect.
The hotel is also right next door to one of the best places to eat in the area – Ebenezer’s Barn and Country Show. It is also directly next to the summer Rodeo which is on every Wednesday and Saturday in the warmer months. We visited in November and were very disappointed that both Ebenezers and the Rodeo were both already closed for the season. Although I suppose it is always more of an excuse to return in summer!
Ruby’s Inn Resort (Best Western)
We were a little confused at first as both Ruby’s and Best Western Plus were called “Best Western”. There are in fact 2 different Best Westerns in town. Rubys is probably the more popular and cheaper of the two.
The nice thing about staying at Ruby’s Inn is that you are really staying in the very heart of Bryce Canyon City and everything you could want is directly at your disposal. Rubys is connected to the Ruby’s General Store where you can buy food as well as souvenirs of your time in Bryce Canyon. The general store is quite interesting so it is worth checking out even if you decide not to stay at Rubys.
It also has 2 restaurants directed connected to the hotel – Cowboy’s Buffet and Steak Room and the Canyon Diner which is nice because it is super easy to have dinner out after a long day of hiking.
There is also an interesting Western Arts Gallery in Ruby’s main lodge which sells Native American pottery, weaving, jewellery and fine collectables. Aside from this there is also a post office, a small liquor store, a film processing centre and a place to get old Western photos at Rubys. So yep, Ruby’s pretty much has it all.
We went to Ruby’s quite a few times during our stay in Bryce Canyon City even though we weren’t staying there to rent snow spikes for our shoes and hiking poles as we didn’t realise but in November these are really necessary.
Despite all these pros, Rubys is not rated as well as the Best Western Plus mainly due to the older rooms and less quality breakfast.
Bryce Canyon Resort
The third place you can stay in Bryce Canyon city is Bryce Canyon Resort which is right next door to the the Best Western Plus.
The hotel is in just as good of a location than the previous 2 hotels however, it is the worst quality of the 3. For this reason, the rates tend to be cheaper as it is a much older style resort with less facilities available to guests.
In saying this, due to the amazing location, we wouldn’t rule out staying here if you can get a really good rate or the previous 2 hotels are booked out.
Breakfast is included in the rate and despite only receiving a score of 7/10 most recent guests think the hotel was clean and comfortable.
One pro I would personally give the motel is that you can drive up to your room if you are staying on the lower floor. This is a big plus if you are coming with a bit of luggage.
Tropic – located about 10 minutes drive from the park entrance
If you can’t find a place to stay in Bryce Canyon City (which would be our first recommendation) we would suggest staying in Tropic which is located only around a 10 minute drive from the park entrance.
Two good things about staying in Tropic are:
1. There are a few good restaurants in town including our personal favorite i.d.k BBQ;
2. It is near one of the popular trails in the park – the Mossy Cave trail.
We definitely wouldn’t rule out staying in Tropic, although I do think Bryce Canyon City is the better option. Tropic lodging tends to be a bit cheaper than Bryce Canyon City especially if you are traveling in peak times.
Some of the most cool unique accommodation in Bryce Canyon is also located in Tropic so if you are looking for something a little more unique you might want to stay here. Some of the best places to stay in Tropic include:
Bryce Canyon Log Cabins
We were really tempted to stay in Bryce Canyon Log Cabins because we thought staying in a log cabin would be so cool plus the rate here was really tempting.
You might not get the facilities of a Best Western but there is just something a little bit unique and cool about staying in a log cabin. Plus, it really gives off the National Park vibes you are looking for when visiting a National Park.
The Bryce Canyon Log Cabins are decked out super cute with even a log wood bed.
The downside is that no breakfast is included or even a coffee maker. The decent rate makes up for this IMO.
Bryce Trails Bed and Breakfast
If you prefer breakfast being included in your stay, we would suggest Bryce Trails Bed and Breakfast in Tropic.
This place is consistently well rated with a review score of 9/10 on booking.com which means that guests really love staying here – always a good sign.
There is seriously nothing worse than being on vacation and staying somewhere bad. As a rule of thumb, we always think that if you book something with a rating of 9 or better or booking.com it is more of a sure thing. Of course nothing is ever guaranteed but it is a good sign!
If you need good wifi this is also a great option as the wifi score is a 9.5. Guests also really liked the breakfasts which are home cooked and change daily.
Panguitch – located about 25 minutes drive from the park entrance
The last option of where to stay near Bryce Canyon is the very small but cute town of Panguitch. I would put a stay in Panguitch down as my last choice because it is the furtherest away out of the 3 options, being about a 25 minute drive from the park entrance.
We did consider staying in Panguitch as we found some good quality and reasonably priced accommodation there but ended up thinking that an hour of driving each day (25 mins in and out) was too much for us.
What is cool about this small town in Utah it that it has some really cool old historic homes (including some that you can stay in). There are also a few festivals that are held in Panguitch in June such as the Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally, and the Quilt Walk so you may like to base yourself here if you are traveling in June and also want to visit one of the aforementioned festivals.
We did stop in Panguitch and got some nice coffee at Wanderlust Cowgirl Coffee if you are feeling like a refreshment on the way into the National Park.
The place we almost stayed in Panguitch was Panguitch House, a super super cute historic home in the centre of Panguitch.
What we really liked about this B&B is that it looked super clean and modern and also had rave reviews on booking.com. It was also very reasonably priced we felt for what it was.
We liked it so much that we very nearly stayed here. The only thing that held us back was the drive into the National Park each day. If this doesn’t faze you, I would say go for it as this place is really cool.
I did notice when looking that some rooms on the second level of the house have their own private entrance which we really liked as you have that homely feel without living with the host literally.
Where to stay inside Bryce Canyon?
Bryce Canyon Lodge
If you want to stay inside Bryce Canyon, the only hotel to to stay at include the park is Bryce Canyon lodge. It is often booked out (for example, it was booked out when we visited) so if you want to stay here you will need to book early.
We wouldn’t say that staying inside the National Park is essential as Bryce Canyon City is very close by and has what are in our opinion better accommodation options.
For example, you won’t find any aircon or TVs in these rooms, which may not be that essential to you but we would advise checking the weather before coming if you choose to stay here, as it can get quite hot in the middle of summer and I personally would not want to be staying without an aircon in the heat!
If you really don’t want any drive at all, this is a nice choice as it is located within walking distance of the canyon rim.
Bryce Canyon Campgrounds
There are also two campgrounds located directly within the National Park. Both of located in good proximity for exploring all Bryce Canyon has to offer.
The North Campground is open year round. From October 16th onwards, you don’t have to make a reservation as it is booked on a first come first served basis.
The Sunset campground is closed from October 31. Both campgrounds were actually closed when we visited so make sure you check their website in advance if you intend to camp. I think tent camping would be far too chilly from October onwards!
Places to stay between Bryce and Zion
Wondering where to stay near Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon?
There is nowhere exactly near both National Parks as they are a few hours drive from each other. However, if you did want to base yourself in just one location, we would suggest wither Cedar City or St George.
We actually did stay in Cedar City on our way to Bryce Canyon National Park, which is located about 1 hour from Zion National Park and 1.5 hours from Bryce Canyon. We actually ended up staying here by accident as a snow storm in Utah prevented us from traveling all the way to Bryce Canyon in one go.
We are actually glad we got an opportunity to stay in Cedar City as it was a really nice college town in Utah (we noticed all the young people in the area and figured it out!) The town is known for hosting the annual Shakespeare Festival. If you are looking for things to do nearby to break up your journey, the Cedar Breaks National Monument is nearby.
We stayed at La Quinta while we were in Cedar City which we would recommend as it was clean and comfortable and had a really nice breakfast in the morning. There was a lot of people traveling between Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park staying at the hotel.
The other option that we would recommend in Cedar City which was sold out during our stay is Courtyard by Marriott. Consistently well rated and very clean and comfortable, you really can’t go wrong when booking a stay here.
St. George is a great place to stay when visiting Zion National Park as it is only around 40 minutes drive away but it can also be used to explore both National Parks, with Bryce Canyon located around 2 hours drive away.
Of course exploring Bryce from St George would require long drives back and forth each day. You can complete most of the most popular hikes in Bryce Canyon in just 1 day so if you are content doing this, staying in St George might be a good option.
As the largest city in Southern Utah, there are tonnes of good options in town depending on your budget. We have stayed in St George a few times in the past. Most recently we stayed at La Quinta in St George and would recommend it. We find La Quinta hotels to be very consistent across the country and reasonably priced so we often stay in La Quintas if we have the option. If you are looking for something a little nicer, we would recommend Tru by Hilton.
Another option for a city nearby both Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon is to base yourself in Kanab which is 1.5 hours from Bryce and 30 minutes away from the east entrance of Zion National Park.
Kanab might be somewhere you want to consider visiting in any event as there are quite a few fun things to do in Kanab including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the Little Hollywood Movie Museum.
If you are looking for a recommendation in Kanab, we would suggest the Hampton Inn.
Bryce Canyon National Park: The Complete Guide
Kraig Becker is a writer based out of Roanoke, Virgina who has covered adventure travel and product reviews for TripSavvy since 2013.
Bryce Canyon National Park
When it comes to outstanding outdoor locations, Utah has a blessing of riches. From towering snowcapped peaks to arid deserts to narrow, twisting stone canyons, the state has something to offer just about anyone who enjoys exploring wild places. One of the best of those places is Bryce Canyon National Park, which is home to some of the most stunning and memorable landscapes found anywhere in the American West.
Located in the southwest corner of Utah, Bryce Canyon isn’t actually a canyon at all. Instead, it is a sprawling wilderness situated atop a massive plateau at the apex of the Grand Staircase Escalante. Spread out across 35,835 acres, the park comprises towering rock formations and a series of interconnected stone amphitheaters carved from the landscape by millennia of erosion brought on by frost and rushing water.
Named for a Mormon homesteader who lived in the region during the 1870s, Bryce Canyon was designated a national monument in 1923 and a national park five years later. Soon after, it became a popular destination for hikers, backpackers, and travelers, most of which come to see the park’s most famous rock formations—the hoodoos. Surprisingly tall and thin, these stone spires cover the landscape, making it appear more like the surface of Mars rather than southern Utah.
Whether viewed from the park’s upper boundaries or a trail deep in its interior, the hoodoos are a compelling draw for visitors from across the globe. In fact, the unique topography of Bryce Canyon lures more than 2.5 million people on an annual basis. That’s enough to rank it in the top 15 most visited national parks in the entire country.
Visitors to Bryce Canyon usually fall into two categories; those who come to hike its backcountry trails and those who prefer to drive between its scenic overlooks. No matter which of those activities draws you to the park, you’ll certainly come away thoroughly satisfied.
Of the 2.5 million visitors that pass through the park’s gates, the vast majority come to drive its 18-mile one-way scenic roadway. The route provides access to 13 stunning viewpoints, culminating at the famous Rainbow Point. This breathtaking overlook offers a grand view of Bryce’s beauty, which stretches for miles in each direction.
Savvy travelers will bypass all of the other stops along the road and make their way to Rainbow Point first. If you arrive early enough, it is possible to beat the crowd and have the place more or less to yourself. Afterward, backtrack along the road, stopping at other lookouts as you go. Each offers a stunning vantage point, but the most popular include Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, Sunrise Point, and Sunset Point.
Day hikers can access several trails directly from the main parking lot, taking in some epic views while en route. The Sunset to Sunrise trail is a paved, easy route that is only 1 mile in length and is accessible to most visitors, including those with disabilities. The Rim Trail is longer—stretching 11 miles in length—but is also relatively easy and provides a bit more solitude, especially if you get a mile or two in. The bird’s eye view of the hoodoos makes it an interesting walk, to say the least, so don’t forget to bring your camera.
For something a bit more challenging, try the 1.3-mile Navajo Loop, which begins and ends at Sunset Loop. Perhaps the most famous of all of Bryce’s trails, Navajo drops hikers down into the canyon itself, immersing them into the red rock formations. For something a little less busy, head to the Sheep Creek Trail to Swamp Canyon, which provides access to Bryce’s backcountry along its 4-mile length.
Experienced hikers and backpackers should add Peekaboo Loop to their list of “must-do” activities. The 5.5-mile trail features some steep climbing at times but takes adventurous visitors into the heart of Bryce Canyon and far away from the hustle and bustle of the parking lot. The 4.7-mile Bryce Amphitheater Traverse is also a particular favorite of park veterans.
Other things to do in Bryce Canyon include exploring the park by horseback and dropping by the visitor center or park museum. In the winter, the trails can be accessed by snowshoes as well, and backcountry camping is an option all year round. However, conditions can change rapidly within the park, so come prepared with the proper gear and skillset.
Where to Eat and Stay
If you’re planning on spending a few days exploring Bryce Canyon, you’ll find several options for where to eat and stay while in the area. Several small communities are located within easy driving distance, providing a selection of restaurants, hotels, and motels. For instance, nearby Antimony gives visitors a chance to channel their inner cowboy, while Boulder offers access to several other national parks and monuments, including Zion.
If you prefer to stay inside the national park itself, the Lodge at Bryce Canyon is an excellent option. Located within easy walking distance of the Bryce Amphitheater, the lodge features various room styles and cabins to choose from. An onsite dining room serves up delicious meals all day long, and there is even a gift shop for picking up Bryce souvenirs. The Lodge does tend to sell out quickly during the summer months, however, so be sure to book your reservations early.
One of the more popular places to stay in Bryce Canyon country is Ruby’s Inn, located along the park’s shuttle route and features several activities. Ruby’s offers up comfortable rooms and RV and tent camping, along with horseback riding, mountain biking, ATV tours, and more.
Of course, the other option for staying inside the park is to take up residence at one of Bryce’s lovely campsites. RV camping is available at both the North Campground and Sunset Campground, while backcountry camping is an option for backpackers. The park does require backcountry campers to stay at designated campsites only and requires a permit, which can be obtained at the visitor center. There is also a $5 per person fee for all campers over the age of 16.
Day trippers looking for something to eat inside the park should head over to Valhalla Pizzeria & Coffee Shop. Snacks and cold beverages are also available at the General Store, which is found near Sunrise Point.
Due to its remote location, a vehicle is a necessity when visiting Bryce Canyon. The closest large airports are found in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, each three-plus away. Smaller airports can be found in nearby Cedar City and St. George, but even those locations require a minimum of a 1.5-hour drive.
To reach the park from the north, drive south along I-15 to exit 95, taking UT-20 east to US-89. From there, turn south to UT-12, then east to UT-63, once again heading south until you arrive at the park. If you’re coming from the south, you’ll head north on I-15, following the same directions after taking exit 95.
As you would expect, the park’s facilities—including the visitor center, lodge, General Store, and museum—are all wheelchair-friendly. That includes restrooms, parking lots, and other public areas. Likewise, the various scenic viewpoints found along Bryce’s road offer accessible parking areas and ramps. There is even a 1/2-mile section of the Rim Trail that is wheelchair accessible, although most other routes offer little to no access. For more information, check out the National Park Services access guide for Bryce Canyon.
Tips and Tricks for Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park Like an Expert
Gravity defying hoodoos dot a gorgeous high desert canyon in Utah’s famous Bryce Canyon National Park. As one of the smaller national parks in Utah’s Mighty Five, there’s still quite a lot to see. Here’s your complete guide to visiting Bryce Canyon National Park.
As an expert hiker, traveler and full-time freelance writer for the outdoors, I’ve seen quite a few amazing places. Visiting Bryce Canyon certainly tops out high on the list. With insider knowledge, you’ll make your stay at Bryce an unforgettable experience.
About This Guide to Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park
There’s quite a bit to know when it comes to visiting Bryce Canyon National Park. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Why visit Bryce Canyon
- Where is Bryce Canyon?
- Places to stay
- Camping near Bryce Canyon
- Points of interest and things to do in Bryce Canyon
- Tips for visiting Bryce Canyon
- Additional planning resources
Why Visit Bryce Canyon?
Simply put, this landscape is out of this world. I’ve been all over the American Southwest countless times and I have yet to find a place that’s as jaw-dropping as Bryce Canyon (the Grand Canyon is a close second).
Come to Bryce to enjoy the many amazing viewpoints and relatively mellow hiking trails. Since the park is so small, much of the area is highly accessible, making it an ideal place for kids, newbie outdoors folks, photographers, and those who may need some assistance.
Bryce Canyon National Park Map
Located just outside of Bryce, Utah (a small town mostly dedicated to tourism) in the heart of southwestern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is an easy stop to add to any Southwestern road trip itinerary.
There’s only one way in and out of the park, making it a crowded spot and potential bottleneck. When you’re visiting Bryce Canyon, plan on arriving in the park well before 8am to ensure you can snag parking. If you’re a late riser, opt to take the park shuttle.
Image courtesy of the National Parks Service.
When to Visit Bryce Canyon
Although you can visit Bryce Canyon throughout the year, the best time to visit Bryce Canyon is during the fall months. Typically the weather is clear, temps are cooler and the crowds are less. It’s one of the top rated National Parks in the US for fall.
Spring is also a great time to visit, however the weather is typically still quite cool and there is potential for snow.
Summer is the busiest time int he park and it tends to be really hot throughout the day and cool at night so come prepared.
Visiting Bryce Canyon in winter provides the most solitude, but trails can sometimes close due to icy conditions.
Regardless of when you visit, keep in mind that Bryce Canyon sits at an elevation of 8,000-plus feet. You’ll want to take care to drink plenty of water, wear sun protection, and acclimatize safely.
Where to Stay in Bryce Canyon National Park
For the most creature comforts, you can stay in the nearby town of Bryce. This small town serves only tourists, so expect to pay higher prices for basic lodging.
Since the park is so popular, lodging is often filled with busloads of tourists making their way to Utah’s Big Five (five national parks in Southern Utah). There are plenty of other towns nearby, as well as an RV campground with a few amenities.
If you’d like to stay inside the park, there are two paid campgrounds within the Bryce Canyon boundaries as well. Make your reservation well in advance to guarantee a spot.
Keep in mind, that due to construction near the campgrounds, they are currently operating on a first-come-first-serve basis. This hasn’t always been the case, so do call the rangers for the most up-to-date info.
Free Camping Near Bryce Canyon National Park
I’ve mentioned how to find free camping near National Parks, and Bryce Canyon has plenty of spots to boondock or camp for free. Keep in mind these camping areas lack any amenities, so be sure to pack it out and Leave No Trace.
There is a dirt road right next to the park entrance (on the right), simply turn down the road and the place is littered with free camping. If that road is full, there are also options on the opposite side, although I’m unsure of the road quality.
How Many Days Should I Spend in Bryce Canyon National Park?
I recommend spending one to two days visiting Bryce Canyon, National Park. Of course, if you’ve got more time, then certainly take a leisurely pace.
You can certainly visit Bryce Canyon in one day, but be sure to spend at least 24 hours here. Seeing the sunrise over the canyon is a once in a lifetime experience.
A full day will allow you to see most of the viewpoints as well as go on a hike or two, such as the famous Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop.
Unless you plan on backcountry travel, two full days gives you enough time to really see the Canyon.
Pro tip: It’s $30 per day per vehicle to enter the park. If you re-enter on the same day, you’ll have to pay the fee again. Planning on visiting for multiple days? Or maybe you’re visiting a few national parks within a 12 month period? Snag a national parks annual pass to save some money.
Things to Do in Bryce Canyon National Park
There are plenty of fun-filled things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park. However, since it’s a smaller park, you can easily enjoy multiple activities in one day. Here’s a look at a few can’t miss activities in Bryce Canyon.
- Check out some amazing hiking trails in Bryce Canyon
- Road or mountain bike trails outside of the park
- Catch a stunning sunrise at one of the beautiful Bryce Canyon viewpoints
- Stop by a ranger program and learn about the park’s history and ecology.
- Take a scenic drive
- Go on a horseriding adventure
Tips for Avoiding Crowds at Bryce Canyon
One of the major drawbacks of visiting Bryce Canyon National Park is the crowds. As one of the prettiest national parks in the US, this area sees tons of traffic, even when there’s bad weather.
Compared to the utter solitude of the nearby San Rafael Swell and Escalante, this place can seem like a metropolis. Here are a few tips for avoiding the crowds:
- Get up for sunrise. Avoid Sunrise Point, which is packed with photographers. Instead, drop down the canyon just a touch or visit the nearby Sunset Point.
- Go during late fall through early spring. Freezing temps mean less people.
- Hike! Many of the longer hiking trails in Bryce see very little traffic.
- Visit during the week.
What to Pack for Bryce Canyon National Park
You’ll want to be prepared for any conditions while visiting Bryce Canyon. Even in the summer the temperatures can swing from the 40s into the 90s.
You’ll also want to bring plenty of water and salty snacks to help you stay hydrated throughout the day. Take 2 liters on your hike and keep extra water in the car so you can re-hydrate when you return.
Sun protection is also extremely important. Although there are plenty of pines and the tall rocks provide some shade, you’re still in the desert.
Lastly, don’t forget a camera! You’ll be snapping Insta-worhy photos left and right.