Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park is like getting lost in an intricate maze of twisting wondrous shapes, that wind through the arid, haunting land like something from a fairytale.
This labyrinth of stone pinnacles forces hikers to weave in and out of magnificent reddish rocks.
Bryce Canyon's "just for kids" program is offered from June to August. Parents can sign kids up for the program at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center, prior to the 3 pm program. Kids will spend time learning about the Bryce Canyon environment, folklore, geology, plants and animals by playing games and having fun. Parents are required to stay with their kids during the hour long program. When the family goes hiking, look for shorter trails that lack significant elevation change. Keep in mind that kids often enjoy looking at the the smaller things seen along a hike, like a lizard or interesting leaves. Healthy, yet enjoyable snacks can make hiking more fun for kids. After doing some of the trails like Mossy Cave, kids can take the rock steps down to the stream beneath the bridge and get their feet wet. There are frogs, tadpoles, tiny fish and an array of insects to keep busy bodies happy.
Since Bryce appears to be a magical wonderland full of castles and mythical stone creatures it would not seem to be hard to choose trails that are kid friendly, but in Bryce many of the trails head downhill quickly making the return steep, which for most younger kids, is miserable. Although this can be trying for kids it can be more difficult for parents that end up carrying kids. Be sure to carry plenty of water, as well.
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Rim Trail - 11 mile round trip
The Rim Trail is an easy and well-traveled hike. It traverses the rim, from Fairyland Point to Bryce Point, connecting all the scenic overlooks for these two points. The section between Sunrise and Sunset Points is where baby strollers and wheelchairs can be used.
Mossy Trail - 1 mile round trip
The Mossy Trail is an easy hike without significant elevation change. The entire mile-long round trip is different from the rest of Bryce Canyon National Park. To locate the trail, drive past the Bryce Canyon entrance and keep going north until you see a small trailhead sign to your right. This is a nice stream-side walk to a small waterfall and a small mossy overhang or cave. The Mossy Cave Trail is a wonderful hike to take kids or to find solitude away from the main amphitheater.
Bristlecone Pine Trail - 1 mile round trip
This hike is a fun one for kids who are often delighted to find out just what is the oldest living thing on the earth.
Navajo / Peekaboo Combo - 2.9 mile round trip
This hike is a good choice if you are short on time and will only be able to hike one trail. The path combines Navajo and Peekaboo and begins at Sunset Point.
Queens Garden Trail - 1.8 mile round trip.
This is a short trail and although there is a climb, it is considered to be the least difficult trail leading below the rim.