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7 Best Campgrounds near Bryce Canyon National Park

Jul 24, 2017

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most unique and awe-inspiring parks in the American Southwest. Even among Utah's "Mighty 5" parks, this one stands out. The multihued hoodoos, all of which seem to exude their own personality as you walk between them, create an almost surreal landscape. Camping around Bryce provides an economical and practical way to experience this park, and also allows you to soak up a little nature at the same time.

View over Bryce Canyon National Park
View over Bryce Canyon National Park | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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The rim of Bryce Canyon sits at an elevation of between 8,000 and 9,100 feet. This means, even at this southern latitude, temperatures can be very cool, particularly at night. During the summer months, when the lower elevations are oppressively hot, camping at Bryce can be a welcome treat. From fall until spring, campers should be prepared for cold temperatures. Overnight lows can reach below freezing any night of the year. Many campgrounds in the area are closed during the winter months. Campgrounds at lower elevations, like Kodachrome Basin, may offer good alternatives in the shoulder months.

1 Bryce National Park North Campground

Bryce National Park North Campground
Bryce National Park North Campground | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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For the full Bryce Canyon experience, the best place to base yourself is in the park and preferably at the North Campground. From here, you have easy access to the Rim Trail and Sunrise Point, one of the most scenic areas of the park. Covered in huge pine trees and spread out over rolling hills, the North Campground has a woodsy and almost backcountry feel to it. Sites are spacious and have plenty of distance between them. While the large trees do not provide a great deal of privacy at ground level, the hills add an element of separation.

Be aware that this campground is set at approximately 8,900 feet above sea level, and temperatures up here are much cooler than in some of the surrounding areas, such as Zion National Park or St. George. Snow can be found in Bryce Canyon National Park well into late April or even May, and overnight temperatures can easily dip to below freezing even during the summer months.

This campground is open all year, although some sections close in the off season. Two loops are open to RVs, and two loops are open to tents. Thirteen RV sites are reservable. The remaining 86 RV and tent sites are first-come, first-served. Reservations may be made up to 240 days in advance. Facilities include flush toilets, coin-operated showers and laundry, and a small store with groceries and snacks.

2 Bryce National Park Sunset Campground

Bryce National Park Sunset Campground
Bryce National Park Sunset Campground | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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Also centrally located within the park and close to the trailheads at Sunset Point, Sunset Campground has a very similar setting to the North Campground, minus the hills. It's also closer to the main road, but since this is only the park road, traffic is not a problem after sunset, when the tourists are done with their sightseeing. This campground is only open from mid-May to mid-October. A total of 20 tent-only sites and one group site are reservable. The remaining 80 RV and tent sites are first-come, first-served. Facilities include flush toilets.

3 Ruby's Inn RV Park and Campground

Ruby's Inn RV Park and Campground
Ruby's Inn RV Park and Campground | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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Less than three miles from the park entrance is the town of Bryce Canyon City, the closest community to the park. If you can't find a campsite in the park, this is the next best place to set up. Ruby's Inn RV Park and Campground is a huge operation with a mix of camping options. They accommodate tents and RVs but also offer teepee rentals and camping cabins. In addition to the campground, they operate the Best Western Plus Ruby's Inn.

Despite being right in town, the property backs onto a natural area, and the campsites are mostly spread out in a forest setting, with large, well-spaced sites at the base of tall pine trees. Large RVs are accommodated in a flat parking area. Ruby's has 250 campsites, all with electric, water, and full hookups, as well as an area for tents. On-site is a general store and a pool and hot tub. The campground is open from April 1 to October 31.

Address: 300 S Main Highway 63, Bryce Canyon

4 Bryce Canyon Pines Campground

Bryce Canyon Pines Campground
Bryce Canyon Pines Campground | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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Located along highway 12, about 10 minutes west of Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce Canyon Pines Campground is another good option for camping near the park. Bryce Canyon Pines is a complex on two sides of the highway that includes a campground and store on one side, and the Bryce Canyon Pines Motel and a restaurant across the street. It's set off on its own, but everything you need is right here. The campground is set among huge pine trees, and the large sites are nicely spaced.

Pull-through RV sites offer full hookups. Tent campers are also welcome, and group sites are available. Facilities include restrooms, showers, laundry, pool, and hot tub. The elevation here is approximately 7,600 feet, which is considerably lower than the park but still high, with cool temperatures at night. The campground is open from late May to late October.

5 King Creek Campground in Dixie National Forest

King Creek Campground in Dixie National Forest
King Creek Campground in Dixie National Forest | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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If you are looking for a true nature retreat but still want to be within striking distance of Bryce Canyon National Park, King Creek Campground in Dixie National Forest might be what you're after. Set in a forest of ponderosa pines behind the lovely Tropic Reservoir, this BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campground offers a great opportunity to see wildlife and enjoy some peace and quiet. Many people come here simply to boat, canoe, fish for trout, or access nearby ATV trails.

The campground is located about seven miles down a smooth and wide dirt road off Highway 12, west of the park. Total drive time to Bryce Canyon National Park from King Creek is about 35 minutes. Campsites here are large and private. Individual sites are all first-come, first-served, but two isolated group campsites can be reserved in advance. Amenities include flush toilets, and a campground host is on-site. The campground is set at 8,000 feet and open from late May to early September.

6 Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park
Kodachrome Basin State Park | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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Kodachrome Basin State Park is more than 3,000 feet lower than Bryce Canyon National Park and can be a good option for camping when temperatures are cool. The lower elevation here means warmer temperatures, particularly at night. This scenic little park, with dramatic stone spires in vibrant orange and cream colors, is well worth exploring in its own right. Drive time to Bryce Canyon National Park is about 35 minutes.

Kodachrome has two campgrounds. Basin Campground is the larger of the two, with standard and full hookup sites. This is the most scenic of the two, set close to spires and hills. Near the entrance to the park is a more primitive campground for tents.

In total, the park has 48 sites, 15 with full hookups and one group site. Although a couple of standard and full hookup sites are first-come, first-served, the rest of the individual sites are reservable, and due to the popularity of this park, it's best to book a site in advance. You can reserve a site here up to four months in advance, but group sites can be booked 11 months in advance.

7 Red Canyon Campground

About 14 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park, Red Canyon Campground is a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campground in Dixie National Forest. Conveniently located right off Highway 12, the campground is set in a pine forest with low shrubs, offering plenty of shade and privacy between sites. Although it is convenient for campers wanting to explore Bryce Canyon, Red Canyon offers its own unique beauty. Many people camp here to enjoy the surrounding scenery and trails, some of which leave right from this campground. For more information on the area, stop by the Red Canyon Visitor Center, just two minutes west of the campground.

Red Canyon Campground, set at an elevation of 7,400 feet, has 35 sites, flush toilets, coin-operated showers, picnic tables, and grills at each site, but no hookups. Camping is open here from May 1 to October 1.

Where to Stay near Bryce Canyon National Park when Campgrounds are Closed or Full

Where to Stay near Bryce Canyon National Park when Campgrounds are Closed or Full
Where to Stay near Bryce Canyon National Park when Campgrounds are Closed or Full | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
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If you can't find camping, or if the weather is not cooperating with your trip, a variety of lodging options can be found either in the park or nearby.

  • The historic Bryce Canyon Lodge has the absolute best location and offers an enchanting experience. Just a few minute's stroll from the edge of the canyon at Sunrise Point, the hotel has a private setting, nestled among huge pine trees. Charming stone cabins are scattered behind the main lodge, and a separate building offers motel-style rooms. The main lodge was built in the 1920s and has a romantic wood fireplace for guests to gather around and a dining room serving up tasty meals.
  • Just a few miles outside the park gate in Bryce Canyon City is the BEST WESTERN PLUS Ruby's Inn. Ruby's is a long-standing institution in the community, and this is more than just a basic hotel. You can arrange horseback riding trips, helicopter tours, and other outings through the hotel. In the evenings, they have cowboy shows and other entertainment to help get you into the spirit of the West.
  • For more of a budget option, check out Bryce Canyon Pines, a few miles outside of Bryce Canyon City. This location is slightly less convenient than staying in the town but offers better value. It's on the highway but set off on its own. The complex, which spans both sides of the highway, includes the motel, a restaurant, store, and a campground.

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