Bryce Canyon Backpacking Under Rim Trail & Yellow Creek
The most popular trail for backpackers is the Under-the-Rim Trail that extends from Bryce Point all the way to the southern end of the park at Rainbow Point.
Backpacking and hiking is the best decision in bryce canyon. Backpacking in Bryce Canyon national park is a hybrid experience. Bryce Canyon’s landscape is unique – there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else on earth.The sorbet-colored, sandcastle-like spires and hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park pop like a Dr Seuss picture book creation. Though the smallest of southern Utah’s national parks, this is perhaps the most immediately visually stunning, particularly at sunrise and sunset when an orange wash sets the otherworldly rock formations ablaze. Steep trails descend from the rim into the 1000ft amphitheaters of pastel daggers, then continue through a maze of fragrant juniper and undulating high-mountain desert. The location, 77 miles east of Zion and 39 miles west of Escalante, helps make this a must-stop on any southern Utah park itinerary.
Views from the canyon rim are spectacular, but the views are even better when you hike down in among the hoodoos and other interesting formations. It’s not quite a desert, and not quite a pine forest. And to be completely fair, Bryce Canyon national park really isn’t a canyon at all. It’s more like a handful of canyons with similar terrain. Hybrid, indeed. The fact that Bryce can’t be easily summed up only adds to its mystique, and made it a “must-do” backpacking trip on my Utah tick list. The most popular trail for backpackers is the Under-the-Rim Trail that extends from Bryce Point all the way to the southern end of the park at Rainbow Point. Most hikers take 3 days and 2 nights to do the entire 23 mile section.
Backcountry hikers have the luxury of numerous trailheads on the canyon rim. Most start from Bryce Point and head south, but we decided to begin our hike at Swamp Canyon and head back towards Bryce Point. The Sheep Creek Connecting Trail took us 2 miles to the Under-the-Rim Trail. The first mile of hiking brought us through a partly burned pine forest on the rim of the canyon. Most of the trees were charred from controlled burns performed by the Park Service. Soon enough we were plunged into the Sheep Creek area. Washes, tall pines, scrub oak and the brilliantly colored walls of the Pink Cliffs are just some of the sites backpackers will enjoy along the way. Just as you are settling into the scenery of the canyon floor it’s time to start the first of several steep climbs.
Permits for Backpacking in Bryce Canyon
Permits, which are available at the visitor center, are required for all overnight trips into the backcountry. Cost is $5 for one or two people, $10 for three to six people, and $15 for 7 to 15 people (group sites only). Permits cannot be reserved, but must be obtained at the park during the 48 hours preceding your hike. Although the number of permits issued is limited, park officials say they seldom run out. Permits can be obtained daily from 8am until 1 hour before the visitor center closes.
By the time you arrive on the ridge overlooking the Yellow Creek amphitheater, your legs will be feeling it. It’s not long from the ridge to the campsites. For our trip, we chose the 1st of three sites in the area. They are named Yellow Creek Campsite (southernmost site), Yellow Creek Group site (middle site) and Right Fork Yellow Creek Campsite (closest to Bryce Point). As you drop into the area from the ridge, you will notice the forest is much thicker here. This is because Yellow Creek is one of the few reliable year round water sources in Bryce. The trees and flowers are dense and healthy thanks to the life force of this small stream.
Under the Rim Trail
Running just below the rim between Bryce and Rainbow points, the Under the Rim Trail has numerous fairly steep inclines and descents, with an overall elevation change of 1,500 feet. There are five camping areas along the route, plus a group camp area. Doing this whole trail should take you 2 to 3 days. 23 mile round trip. This is the longest trail in Bryce Canyon. It is a moderately strenuous (elevation change about 1500′) and remote backpack from Bryce Point, through forested areas below the rim, to Rainbow Point. There are 8 designated campsites along the trail.
Camping and Backpacking Gear in Bryce National Park
On your next trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, escape the crowds of the lodges or nearby hotels and enjoy the outdoors as it was meant to be – either camping in a nearby campground or backpacking into the wilderness. When you rent our backpacking or camping gear, you’ll see how much money you can save by renting rather than buying. Rental of backpacking and camping gear for Bryce Canyon National Park is easy; just click on the “Browse Rental Gear” tab above to get started. You can rent tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, hydration gear, lights, SPOT GPS trackers – anything you need for a wonderful outdoor experience. We also have new gear for sale as well as any supplies and accessories you might need for your national park adventure.