Bryce Canyon National Park Lodging: Campgrounds, Cabins, Securing Reservations in Bryce, Tropic and More

by Amy Myers

There is no place in the world like Bryce Canyon National Park – literally. The park is home to the highest concentration of “hoodoos” the narrow, sky-high rock towers that draw 1.5 million visitors every year. From above, visitors marvel at the sheer density of the bizarre structures. Once you dive deeper into the park, you realize the intricacies of each of the geological gems, only adding to the magic of the experience.

With how mesmerizing Bryce Canyon is, it’s not surprising that so many visitors book a stay in or close to the national park. That said, there are countless ways to experience the southwestern destination, and every one of them is right.

Tourists enjoy the view of the spire-shaped rock formations (hoodoos) in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah on August 26, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

Camping and Lodging in Bryce Canyon National Park

First, a Few Things to Know Before You Go

Be bear aware. This is incredibly important to your and the wildlife’s safety while camping in Bryce Canyon National Park. Following these guidelines is critical in preventing current and future interactions with animals. You’ll need to invest in bear-proof canisters to store any food or smell-ables you bring with you to the campsite, especially in the backcountry. These containers must be hard-sided and lockable as there are no food storage containers in the park. In addition, you should not wear the clothes you cook in to sleep or eat any food in your tent.

Treat the trees with care. While Bryce Canyon is a desert environment, it has an incredibly lush variety of pines, aspens and spruces. In order to keep these conifers close to the campsites, the park prohibits campers from hanging anything on the tall tree’s trunks or branches. That means no hammocks unless they’re free-standing, and no bear bags or critter lines.

North and Sunset Campgrounds

Located just minutes from one another, the North and Sunset Campgrounds provide much of the same amenities and views of Bryce Canyon National Park. Roughly half of the sites at each campground are for RVs and the other half are for tents. There aren’t any hookups, but there are just enough comforts to keep you from missing the real front-country. Here, you can take advantage of potable water, trash and recycling services, coin-operated laundry, flush toilets, picnic tables and a campground amphitheater. Be aware, though, that neither campground has cell service which is good for escaping the rest of the world, but not so good when you need to contact emergency services. That said, it might be smart to have a backup form of communication.

The Lodge at Bryce Canyon

There’s no shame in needing a few more creature comforts while visiting a national park, and that’s why the Lodge at Bryce Canyon provides a few more amenities to help bring a little more front-country into your trip. In fact, the venue has quite a few different options to suit the needs of every kind of lodge guest with motel and cabin rooms as well as luxury suites. Cabin and motel rooms have amenities like a king- or queen-sized bed, full baths, a semi-private porch or balcony and heat. Meanwhile, the guest suite, a 155 square foot room, has these features plus a writing desk and chair. And the whole resort has access to the onsite Bryce Canyon Dining Room.

Bryce Canyon Backcountry Camping

There are quite a few guidelines for backcountry camping in Bryce Canyon National Park. This is as much to keep campers safe as it is to protect the natural elements and wildlife that occupy the gorgeous red rock landscape year-round. First and foremost, you need a backcountry permit to access the wilder regions of the park. Bryce Canyon’s BC permit costs $10 plus an additional $5 per person. These are available only in person at the park’s visitor center, and you can purchase them up to 48 hours in advance of your stay.

Once you’ve secured the proper paperwork, you’ll need to make sure you have the right gear that will help you follow the park’s restrictions.

Here are a couple of tips to help you plan:

Stake your tent only on established sites. While you won’t be staying at an actual campground, you’ll have to stick to those flat patches without any brush to lay your tent.

Keep your pets at home. While dogs are allowed on developed campgrounds, they cannot be anywhere in the backcountry of Bryce Canyon, including trails and campsites. In fact, the only other place that you can bring your four-legged companions is on actual roads, and you also can’t leave them unattended at any point during your visit in the park.

Get comfortable with catholes. Whenever you need to go, you’ll have to bring a trowel and waste bag with you. Bryce Canyon requires that you dig a hole six to eight inches deep and 200 feet away from any water and campsites for any excrement. You’ll need to pack out any toilet paper you use, too.

Whenever venturing through the backcountry, you should have a topography map, compass, rain gear, hat and sunscreen on hand at all times. You can see a full list of the designated backcountry campsites and guidelines here.

Places to Stay Outside of Bryce Canyon National Park Borders

While Bryce Canyon National Park has plenty of options for lodging and camping, there are plenty of unique places to spend the night outside of the park, too. The towns of Bryce and Tropic, especially, have quite a few campgrounds, lodges and resorts to choose from. And both have plenty of attractions, museums and restaurants in close proximity, too. That means you’ll get to know Utah’s culture as much as you will Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon Pines Motel, RV Park and Campground

Surrounded by the Ponderosa Pine Forest is Bryce Canyon Pines Campground. This location has every option that both campers and motel guests need. Campers at both the RV and tent sites have access to a fire pit, picnic table, restrooms, hot showers, laundry services, lots of shade and a general store. Here, you can also hang hammocks and other gear on the trees, so long as it doesn’t hurt the trunk or branches. As for motel guests, they can take advantage of the onsite restaurant, outdoor pool, AC and heating, grocery store, cable TV, linens, laundry services, hot tubs and cribs.

Wander Camp Bryce Canyon

Wander Camp Bryce Canyon is just a 15-minute drive from the national park. The campground is a picturesque experience from the minute you arrive onsite. Located along scenic Highway 12, the campground capitalizes on canyon views that surround the area.

Wander Camp offers a high-scale tent camping experience. Although it operates off-grid, it still has a few more amenities than traditional camping, like rustic furniture, linens, showers, flush toilets, picnic tables and a campfire area. Currently, the campground doesn’t offer any food services but soon will have an onsite restaurant as well.

Bryce Canyon Inn

Like Wander Camp, Bryce Canyon Inn is just a short drive from the park’s entrance and is located along Highway 12. This is the premiere spot for lodgers looking to incorporate the surrounding natural elements into their experience. Both the cabins and the lodge have gorgeous wood structuring and have lots of windows to give lodge guests plenty of natural light and opportunities to gaze at Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos. Within the cabins, there is either one king-sized or two queen-sized beds. Other features include a fridge, microwave, cable TV, full bathroom, coffee maker, wifi and onsite coin-laundry facility. There are even a few pet-friendly cabins and dry tent camping sites, too.

Another huge pull to Bryce Canyon Inn is the onsite restaurant, The Pizza Place, which serves hand-tossed pizzas as well as salads, sandwiches, wine, beer and more. Meanwhile, the Bryce Canyon Coffee Company, located in the lobby of the lodge, is just as popular but for their state-famous coffee and espresso. Not to mention, the cafe has free WiFi, too, for those that need to send an email or check in with family.