Last Updated on January 18, 2024 by Kelly
Bryce Canyon National Park was one of our favorite national parks from our 3-week road trip to Utah and Arizona. Although there are a lot of posts about visiting Bryce Canyon National Park with kids, we couldn’t find any posts that were specific to visiting Bryce Canyon with a toddler or a baby. If you have a toddler or a baby, you know that there are some unique considerations for traveling at this age! You might be wondering about safety, activities for very young children, and what sights you will reasonably be able to see. (All while you navigate drive times and nap times!) We visited Bryce Canyon National Park with our toddler (23 months old at the time), and we are sharing our best tips. In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know to travel with a toddler or a baby to Bryce Canyon.
Disclaimer: Safety and weather considerations change daily, so this article can’t tell you whether or not it’s safe for you to hike with your child to these locations on any given day. This post is for informational purposes. We merely share our experience.
Toddler-Friendly Hikes and Overlooks at Bryce Canyon
We’re breaking this section into three parts:
- Short Hikes
- Stroller-Friendly Trails
- Easy Overlooks
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1. Short Hikes at Bryce Canyon with a Toddler or a Baby
Bryce Canyon National Park has several short hikes that are very family friendly. These hikes are not stroller-friendly, but you could use a hiking carrier.
Queens Garden Trail
The Queens Garden Trail is the easiest of the trails that descend into the canyon. It’s 1.8 miles long out-and-back, with 320 feet of elevation gain. The cool thing about this trail is that you’ll get to walk through a maze of hoodoos for a whole new perspective! The entrance to the Queens Garden Trail is at Sunrise Point.
Navajo Loop Trail
The Navajo Loop Trail also descends into the canyon. It’s 1.3 miles long with 550 feet of elevation gain. This hike will also let you wander through the hoodoos, and you’ll have an excellent view of the park’s most famous hoodoo: Thor’s Hammer. You’ll probably be a little out of breath hiking back up from this one.
Mossy Cave Trail
One of our favorite hikes was actually located right outside of the main park. The Mossy Cave Trail is only accessible by personal vehicle. (There isn’t a shuttle stop here.) We like this hike because it’s incredibly short (less than a mile!) and gives you a little of everything: a cave, hoodoos, a stream, a turret arch, and a waterfall. Our toddler walked most of the way herself, and we carried her during the few portions that we were concerned about minor drop-offs. We wrote a full post about the Mossy Cave Trail because we liked it so much.
2. Stroller-Friendly Trails at Bryce Canyon for Toddlers and Babies
Rim Trail: Sunrise Point to Sunset Point
The only ADA accessible trail within the park is the portion of the Rim Trail between Sunrise Point and Sunset Point. It’s a paved trail and stroller-friendly. You’ll have views of the canyon below you as you walk the rim. This is also a convenient trail because the lodge is along the way, so you can easily stop for a snack or a bathroom break. (Both of which happen a lot with toddlers!)
Being able to take your stroller with you for this one will give your back a break. It also makes it ideal for a stroller nap. There’s plenty of benches along this trail, so you can really take your time and enjoy the view before you.
3. Easy Scenic Overlooks at Bryce Canyon
In addition to the trails, we recommend stopping by two more points of interest.
You can take the shuttle or drive to Inspiration Point. There’s a very short trail that will take you to an epic viewing platform of the canyon below you. You’ll get a unique angle from this side of the canyon. It’s just a short walk, which makes it very doable for toddlers and babies.
We also recommend that you stop by Bryce Point. (Also accessible by car or shuttle.) It’s just a short walk to the viewing platform, so it makes this a very toddler-friendly stop.
Family-Friendly Hotels Near Bryce Canyon
Location, location, location.
With a toddler or a baby, we recommend staying as close to the park as possible. This will reduce daily drive time so you don’t have to worry about your child spending too much time in a carseat. (And getting cranky.)
If you can swing it, we recommend making reservations at the only hotel within the park itself: The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. The lodge is located right between Sunrise Point and Sunset Point along the Rim Trail, so the canyon rim is just a short distance away. You won’t have to worry about parking or beating the crowds at the park entrance. You can even choose between booking a hotel room or a private cabin. The lodge has dining options and a general store on-site, so it’s super convenient to stay there.
We also recommend two hotels that are just outside of the park entrance. The first is Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn, which is just a 7-minute drive to the visitor center. This hotel has it all: restaurants, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gift store, and plenty of scheduled activities. There is a shuttle stop right outside the hotel to take you to the park.
The second hotel is the Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel, which is just an 8-minute drive to the visitor center. This is the hotel we stayed at, and we really appreciated the large rooms and double-sinks outside of the bathroom. This hotel also had the best continental breakfast of our entire road trip. (I wish we could eat like that every day!) This hotel also has a shuttle stop right outside of the entrance to take you to the park. We’d highly recommend this hotel to others with young children.
We wrote an entire post dedicated to lodging options at Bryce Canyon National Park. We have a full list of hotels and campgrounds at Bryce Canyon linked here.
What to Pack for a Trip to Bryce Canyon with a Toddler or Baby
The Snoozeshade products and Phil&Teds travel crib were gifted to us.
We’ve included a few of our favorite pieces of gear that have made traveling with a toddler more easy at Bryce Canyon. We love the Thule Urban Glide 2 jogger stroller. It handles paved roads and gravel trails like a dream. We have put tons of miles on ours (we go running with it all the time), and we have never had any issues.
It’s also important to have a comfortable hiking carrier. We use our hiking carrier for longer hikes, and we love that it is lightweight and has a sunshade with rain flaps.
When our daughter was younger, we used the Ergo.
For sleep, we can’t say enough good things about the Snoozeshade products. We have the stroller cover for our stroller, and we love it because it is air-permeable and still protects against UV rays. It makes the stroller dark so it’s perfect for naps on the go! We also swear by their pack and play cover. It keeps the pack and play nice and dark for bedtime, so you don’t have to worry about sharing a hotel room with your toddler or inadequate window coverings. (Good sleep on vacation is invaluable! You definitely need solid sleep if you’ve been chasing a toddler all day!)
We also bring our own pack and play from home. We were able to do this because we took a road trip and didn’t fly. Most hotels will have cribs or pack and plays available, but we love the reliability of always having one with us. (And we know it’s clean!)
If you have a younger toddler, we recommend this travel crib from Phil&Teds. It weighs less than 8 pounds, and we were able to pack it in our luggage when we flew on planes!
We also recommend bringing a sunhat with a neck flap for good sun protection.
Also be sure to check out our complete post on our favorite travel products for babies and toddlers!
Toddler and Baby-Friendly Activities Near Bryce Canyon
A lot of blogs talk about family-friendly hikes, but few go beyond hiking as activities to keep little ones busy. We compiled this list of activities near Bryce Canyon so that you have some ideas to keep your toddler entertained while you are outside of the park as well!
Within town, there is a playground near the Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn. (Located a block north on UT-63.) We went to the playground after dinner when it was a little cooler, and our toddler appreciated the freedom of being able to roam around and play.
Depending on where you stay, your hotel may have a pool. (The Lodge at Bryce Canyon does not have a pool, but the Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn and Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel both have pools.) Going for a swim after nap time is a great way to beat the heat! (As always, practice good water safety and supervision when young children are near water.)
The Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn also coordinates wagon rides. Our toddler loved seeing all of the horses lined up!
Open seasonly, Ruby’s Inn hosts the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo. This is a perfect activity for some outdoor entertainment that is family-friendly.
Family-Friendly Restaurants Near Bryce Canyon
Within the park, the Lodge at Bryce Canyon has a dining room, a pizza place, and a general store with takeout options.
In town, we really liked the buffet at Ruby’s Inn Cowboy’s Buffet & Steak Room. We were able to grab a plate of food as soon as we were seated, so we didn’t have to wait forever for food to be served. We were able to get in and out really quick, and our toddler was able to eat right away. This made dining as a family really easy.
The Canyon Diner is located right next to Ruby’s Inn and is a good place to go for fast-food.
We also really liked the food at Bryce Canyon Pines. The Green Bean Fries were a crunchy appetizer with a kick, and the Banana Blueberry Cream Pie might have been our most favorite pie ever!
Safety Considerations at Bryce Canyon
There’s a few things we kept in mind while we were exploring Bryce Canyon with a toddler.
We made sure to bring enough water for everyone in your party. The high desert can be very arid. We like to keep our water cool by using an insulated water bottle. During the summer, it’s important to be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion (especially if you are hiking).
Before heading out for a hike, we checked current trail conditions on the National Park Service website or spoke with a park ranger.
We were aware of steep drop-offs along the rim. (We made sure to stay on the marked trails.)
Summary: Bryce Canyon with a Toddler or a Baby
In summary, we recommend the following activities at Bryce Canyon National Park for a toddler or a baby:
- Rim Trail from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point
- Queens Garden Trail
- Navajo Loop Trail
- Mossy Cave Trail
- Playground at Bryce City Park
- Wagon rides at Ruby’s Inn
- Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo
We hope this post was helpful as you plan your trip to Bryce Canyon with a toddler or a baby! We sure had a great time with ours!
Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information.