Few places captivate the mind and soul like Southern Utah. From Zion to Bryce Canyon, the unique rock formations, red rocks, massive canyons, and stunning views will have your head spinning.
Inside, we’ll dive into all you need to know about visiting this magical area and then how to plan your trip with a 5-day itinerary! So get your backs packed; we’re doing Zion to Bryce Cayon NOW!
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Zion to Bryce Canyon Adventure Guide
Five days is a perfect amount of time to tackle the Zion and Bryce area. So enjoy this five-day itinerary for the southern Utah region.
5-day Zion to Bryce Canyon Itinerary
As always, take this with a grain of salt and adjust as you want. For example, you’ll do Angels Landing whenever your permit allows. So plug and play when you have to!
Day 1 – Arrive at Zion National Park
- Check into your Springdale hotel or campground.
- Hike the Narrows (make sure to have waterproof shoes, hiking poles, and a water filter)
- If you have time, check out the Emerald Pools on the way back
Day 2- Explore Zion National Park
- Angels Landing (if you have permits) – if not, you can still hike up to Scout Lookout and Walters Wiggles
- Hike Observation Point. But you’ll have to access it from the secondary route as the main trail is closed.
- Check out Weeping Rock which is one of Zion’s waterfalls.
- Hangout at Zion Lodge
Day 3 – Zion National Park
- Hike Kolob Arch is in the upper left corner of Zion National Park and is a 13-mile trek with moderate elevation gain.
- Hike to the Canyon View Overlook
- Take part in one of the tours around Zion
Day 4 – Zion to Bryce Canyon
- Drive the two hours to Bryce. Stop by the Checkerboard on the way out
- Arrive in Bryce. Hike Navajo Loop, Wall Street, and/or Queens Garden Trail
- Hike between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point
- Check into the hotel or campground
Day 5 – Bryce Canyon and leave
- Drive the Bryce Scenic Road up to Rainbow Point and stop at the turnoffs
- Head home
Best Stops Along the Way
There are some truly unique and mind-blowing places, from Zion to Bryce Canyon. You won’t want to miss them!
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts who want to hike or ride ATVs over vibrant pink sand dunes, explore unique geological formations, and witness the park’s incredible views.
Kodachrome Basin State Park
Nestled in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Kodachrome Basin State Park offers visitors the chance to explore stunning geological formations, such as towering sandstone chimneys and spires, and enjoy a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and camping amidst breathtaking vistas.
Snow Canyon State Park
Located near St. George, Snow Canyon State Park is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts who want to marvel at the area’s unique red rock formations, go hiking or rock climbing, or enjoy a picnic with dazzling views of the surrounding canyons and mountains.
Red Canyon/Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon
Red Canyon/Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon offers visitors the chance to explore a stunning natural wonderland of narrow slot canyons, towering rock formations, and unique geological features that are perfect for hiking, canyoneering, and photography.
Find yourself in a hidden cave with a crazy sand dune in front of you. It’s become a great place to adventure to, but it requires 4×4 and some off-road travel. Be prepared before visiting.
Near Paria Townsite, Cottonwood Cove is a nice little area to adventure to that is off the beaten path and away from the crowds.
Located in southern Utah near the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Paria Townsite is a historic ghost town that offers visitors a glimpse into the area’s fascinating past, stunning views of the surrounding cliffs, and a range of outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. But, of course, the best part is the Rainbow Hills.
Outside the town of Kanab in southern Utah, Mammoth Cave is an impressive underground cavern system that offers visitors the chance to explore a unique world of stalactites, stalagmites, and other stunning geological formations, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in geology and natural history.
Buckskin Gulch is a marvelous slot canyon system that’s on public lands. If you’re in the area, you need to see this. Drive southeast of Kanab for about 45 minutes to reach it.
Near Kanab in southern Utah, Moqui Cave is a natural limestone cave that has been transformed into a unique museum showcasing a fascinating collection of ancient artifacts, fossils, and geological specimens, making it an excellent destination for history and science enthusiasts.
Duck Creek Ice Cave
Duck Creek Ice Cave is a fascinating geological formation with a permanent ice cave that remains frozen even in summer. It is a great destination for those looking to escape the heat and explore the area’s unique natural wonders.
Preparing for your Zion to Bryce Canyon trip
As you plan your trip, have the appropriate hiking gear.
Hiking gear you’ll want to have in the Utah National Parks
- 32L – 40L backpack
- Water shoes or Sandals
- Hiking Boots
- Hiking Base Layer: Sun shirt (men’s) (women’s)
- Lighter Down Jacket
- Water filter
- Sunglasses, Wide Brimmed Hat, Sunblock
- Wind Jacket (Rain Jacket too if you think it could rain)
- Hiking Poles
I’m looking for guided tours. Can you help?
A lot of the tours are not specifically inside the National Park. But if you’re looking for fantastic excursions in the surrounding areas, you can get some unique experiences checked off your bucket list!
Guided Tours near Zion
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Guided Tours near Bryce Canyon
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Where To Stay Near Zion and Bryce Canyon
Springdale and Hurricane are great places to stay when visiting Zion. Both are near the park’s entrance, with Springdale mere feet from the Visitor Center.
Bryce Canyon Accommodations
You can stay close to the National Park, which is excellent for reducing drive time. The city of Bryce and Bryce Canyon City are your best bets. Additionally, Tropic, UT, will have lodging for you.
Tidbits to know before your trip to Zion National Park
How many days do I need in Zion?
Between 2-3 days is just suitable for exploring Zion. Hopefully, this will give you time to snag a day before Angels Landing permit, hike the narrows, and see other great locations!
What is the busiest month to visit Zion?
The busiest month (s) are likely June and July. This is the middle of summer, with most families traveling to the National Parks. If you’re not beholden to a child’s summer vacation, I’d plan your Zion to Bryce Canyon trip, not during these two months.
What MUST I see in Zion National Park?
The five places you need to see in Zion when you visit:
- Angels Landing
- Observation Point
- The Narrows
- Canyon View Overlook
- The Checkerboard
What is the elevation of Zion National Park?
Zion sits about 4,000 feet above sea level, with some park areas slightly greater. Even though you’re at some elevation, Zion National Park still gets warm during the summer. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water!
Tidbits to know before your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park
There is a lot to see and know about Bryce Canyon National Park! Let’s get crackin’!
How long do you need to spend at Bryce Canyon?
For as grand and beautiful as Bryce Canyon is, you only need 1-2 days. Obviously, you could take more if you’re doing a backpacking trip, but for most people, you can knock everything out in one long day.
What MUST I see in Bryce Canyon National Park?
Five things to see in Bryce Canyon National Park while you visit:
- Wall Street
- Rainbow Point
- Thors Hammer
- Navajo Garden
- Sunrise Point
What is the elevation of Bryce Canyon?
Bryce has one of the highest elevations for a National Park in the US. At 7,700 feet, it is lovely during the summer and sees lots of snow in the winter. Furthermore, Rainbow Point, at the end of the road, has an elevation of 9,114 feet – the highest in the park.
Taking the Bryce Canyon National Park Shuttle
You can take a shuttle throughout Bryce Canyon National Park if you don’t want to drive or if the parking lot is full.
FAQ: Zion to Bryce Canyon
Visiting two National Parks can be a bit hectic. Below are the most pertinent things to knwo before you embark on your Zion to Bryce Canyon road trip!
Can you see Zion and Bryce in one day?
You can do Zion to Bryce Canyon in a day, but you’ll be tight on time if you don’t go during the long summer months. So I would recommend getting an early start and briefly checking out Canyon Overlook Trail or hiking in the Narrows.
Then, beeline it towards Bryce Canyon, where you can do shorter but popular hikes. I’d recommend the Navajo Gardens Loop. Then, soak in the sunset from any of the beautiful viewpoints in the park.
Should I spend more time in Zion or Bryce?
I think you should spend a little bit longer in Zion. You can see nearly everything in Bryce Canyon in one day and definitely in two. However, Zion is more expansive and has more hikes to offer. So when planning your Zion to Bryce Canyon trip, spend more time in Zion National Park.
How long of a drive is Zion to Bryce Canyon?
It’s a two-hour drive from Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park.
What is the best time to visit Zion and Bryce Canyon?
While the summer months are doable because of the higher elevation of these two Southern Utah National Parks, it’s also when everyone is visiting these two National Parks. While Zion to Bryce Canyon is not as popular as other parks, it still sees its share of millions of tourists.
Indeed, most visitors flock to Zion National Park vs. Bryce Canyon National Park. In 2022, 4.7 million people had adventures in Zion, while only half went to Bryce.
As for the best time, March through May and September through October would be great, as you won’t be battling crowds, and your weather will still be great! When visiting Zion to Bryce Canyon, temperatures could be as chilly as freezing and snowing while getting into the 100s. It’s a unique area with a wide range of weather outcomes.
Average Temperature during the Summer in Zion to Bryce Canyon
87-93 degrees during the summer
Bryce Canyon Temperatures
75-80 degrees during the summer months
Is the drive from Zion to Bryce pretty?
It’s a decent drive but not as good as the actual National Parks. The best part will be when you’re heading west through Zion from Springdale to Mt. Carmel Junction. Then the next best part is on SR 12 on your way into Bryce Canyon National Park. Seeing the red rock and hoodoos is wild!
Do you need reservations for Bryce and Zion?
As of April 2023, you do not need permits to visit Zion National Park or Bryce National Park. However, you need permits to hike the famous Angels Landing and Subway in Zion. The rest of the magnificent park is open for all exploration!
Continuing, remember that you cannot drive your car into Zion Canyon during the shuttle season. The only way to access the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is on the shuttle. There is no permit or reservation needed to board. This shuttle will take you to The Narrows, Angels Landing, and other trailheads.
Lastly, I recommend purchasing the America The Beautiful Pass to enter the parks.
Are there any services from Zion to Bryce Canyon?
Yes, there are some. The best bet is the Mount Carmel Junction. This has a small store and a gas station. I’d suggest filling up gas here. You’ll pass through some smaller towns on the way north from Zion to Bryce Canyon, but they aren’t special.
If you’re looking to stay overnight in this area, there are a few options.
How much does it cost to visit Zion and Bryce Canyon?
If you buy the aforementioned America the Beautiful Pass, it will cost you $80, and you’ll be able to visit any National Park or Recreation Area free of charge after that. However, if you don’t want to do that, it costs $35 to enter Zion National Park and $35 to see Bryce Canyon National Park.
Both of those entrance fees are good for seven days.
Conclusion: Zion to Bryce Canyon
I wish you all a fantastic trip from Zion to Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah! This place is a gem, and I hope you enjoy it. Remember to follow the Leave No Trace principle and to treat this land with respect so those who visit after you can enjoy it all the same.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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