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"Bryce Canyon National Park is not a canyon, but rather it is a spectacular series of   
14 huge amphitheaters, each of which is carved at least 1,000 feet into the pastel palette of
of limestone along the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Each of the amphitheaters is crowded with 
animated rock sculptures. Spires, pinnacles, windows, and arches accentuate a
seemingly unreal landscape from another planet."
~ from The Hoodoo, the park's newspaper and hiking guide

Those fascinating amphitheaters are what every visitor to Bryce Canyon comes to see!

Most observe the rock formations in the canyons from the "rim," or edge of the cliff above the amphitheaters. There are five very popular observation points within the first three miles of the entrance gate that overlook the largest, most elaborate amphitheaters (Fairyland, Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration, and Bryce) and ten more distant overlooks on the Southern Scenic Drive.

Here's a small detailed map showing the busiest part of the park near the main Bryce Amphitheater. Check the park website for the readable version. The Rim Trail from Fairyland Point (at the top) to Bryce Point is marked in yellow:

As noted in the last entry, visitors can either drive their own vehicles to all of these overlooks or use the free shuttle bus system to access Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration, and Bryce Points.

Visitors can also walk along the Rim Trail, which extends about six miles between Fairyland and Bryce Points. That's an even better way to see more details of the rock formations. (The best way is to get down into the canyon among the hoodoos, but that's the subject of subsequent entries.)

This multi-page entry shows scenes from the Rim Trail and almost all of the park overlooks, starting with the most popular ones above the main amphitheater.


A wide walking path extends at or near the edge of the plateau rim from Fairyland Point to Bryce Point, a distance of 6+ miles. It can be easily accessed from Fairyland, Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration, and Bryce Points, as well as North Campground and the lodge.

The only part of the trail that is paved and fairly level is the half mile between Sunrise and Sunset Points above the main canyon amphitheater. That's also the busiest segment:

The majority of the trail is dirt and it undulates between observation points, sometimes rather steeply. It is often quite close to the edge of the "rim" of the amphitheater. If you're acrophobic (or aero-acrophobic) you can avoid the edge of the cliff by walking on the far side of the path.

I have hiked the entire length of the rim but not all at one time. Following are some photos of the views from the popular overlooks mentioned above and the Rim Trail connecting them.


The southern end of the Rim Trail begins at the Bryce Point parking area and heads north a few hundred feet along post-and-rail fencing, then drops down to the overlook at the actual point, which juts out into the canyon.

These photos go northbound from the Bryce Point parking area:

The southern end of the Rim Trail is at the Bryce Point parking area (elev. 8,300 feet).




"Alligator" formation


View from the point, east toward the Aquarius Plateau (upper left) and the town of Tropic in the valley

View north from the point to the large Bryce Amphitheater

Parts of the very scenic Peekaboo Trail can be seen snaking through the hoodoos.

The next views are from the Rim Trail going north toward Inspiration Point, a distance of about 1.5 miles:

View of the "grottoes" in the cliffs near Bryce Point; the Rim Trail continues around the bend.

The Rim Trail is often close to the edge of the cliff.

Arrow marks a large "window" in a rock fin close to the Rim Trail.



View down to part of the Bryce Point Trail that connects with Peekaboo Trail

The "back" side of the Wall of Windows is in the center of this photo. It is much more impressive
 seen from below, on the Peekaboo Trail, when you can see the blue sky through the windows.

Arrow marks the upper overlook at Inspiration Point.

The Rim Trail goes uphill to the highest of three overlooks at Inspiration Point.


The trail descends, sometimes rather steeply, in 7/10ths of a mile walking north from the upper overlook at Inspiration Point to the main overlook at Sunset Point. There are many good views of the formations in Bryce Amphitheater from the three overlooks and the next section of the trail:

The upper Inspiration Point overlook, like most of the other points, juts out into the
amphitheater and affords great views of the rock formations in three directions.

Views north (above) and south (below) from the upper overlook at Inspiration Point


Rim Trail below Inspiration Point

Closer view of formations along the Peekaboo Trail loop

Arrows mark Peekaboo Trail (R), spur trail (center), and path to 
the Wall Street section of the Navajo Trail loop (L)

Looking north toward the "Silent City" formation in the amphitheater below Sunset Point

More detail of the pastel-colored rock walls sculpted by erosion

Getting closer to the "Silent City" formations

Hilly section of the Rim Trail approaching Sunset Point

Looking back south to Bryce Point (L. arrow) and Inspiration Point (R. arrow)

Formations below the rim near Sunset Point


View from rim at Sunset Point down to switch-backing trail
near top of "Wall Street" slot canyon on the Navajo Trail Loop

Continued on the next page:  scenes from Sunset to Fairyland Point, including sunrise photos

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil