What to Do On a Rainy Day in Bryce Canyon

orange and white hoodoos in the amphitheater of Bryce Canyon National Park

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What should you do if it’s raining on your one day in Bryce Canyon? Hike anyways! (Obviously check all the weather reports and listen to the rangers and don’t go out if they tell you not to.) But here is the story of our rainy day in Bryce Canyon.

Hike Peekaboo Loop

We decided to start the day by hiking Peekaboo Loop. Peekaboo loop is described as a “steep, ever-changing hike spent entirely below the rim” which was quite accurate. With a roundtrip distance of 5.5 miles and almost 1600 feet of elevation change (most of it at the end climbing out of the canyon), this makes for a nice little burner of a trek.

view of Bryce canyon orange hoodoos with some green trees
VIew on the way down

This hike gave us more stunning vistas of the amphitheater, and showcased many natural arches at the Wall of Windows. Here visitors can see how ice cracks the limestone, and then mildly acidic rain is able to soak through and erode more of the rock away, creating new hoodoos.

The Wall of Windows

Get caught in the rain

It was on this hike that we got to experience firsthand how water erosion shapes the canyon. On the second half of our hike, as we were ascending out of the canyon, we got caught in a summer downpour. The sky had been threatening rain all day; that morning we had even delayed our hike due to some light sprinkling. We managed to avoid the rain for the first two hours, but the last two were a different story.

We saw and heard lots of these critters throughout our hike.

Fortunately, the downpour began right when we came upon the one pit toilet on the hike. Becca hid in there while I found a nice pine tree to shelter under. Between that, and our rain gear, we emerged relatively unscathed from the storm, despite the hail at the tail end of it.

Once we realized we weren’t going to be soaking wet, it was actually enjoyable to see the canyon after a storm. Rivers of water cascaded down the amphitheater, running off in reddish brown colors and leaving behind very cakey mud that clung to our boots.

Despite the rain, we still had a great time on this hike, which took us about 4 hours to complete.

Note the orange mud at the bottom of the picture.
LImestone in its natural form is white. What gives the rocks their orange and red color is tiny bits of iron in the limestone that oxidized, or rust.

Hike Bristlecone Pine trail at Rainbow Point

Next, we drove all the way to the end of the scenic drive to visit Rainbow Point. There, we completed another 1 mile loop on the Bristlecone Pine trail.

View from one of the lookouts on the Bristlecone Pine trail

I loved this section of the park because we were able to see so many trees up against the rocks. The scenery also changes from hoodoos to more cliffs as you drive towards the southern end of the park.

Enjoy the scenic drive.

After going all the way to the end of the drive, we stopped at several scenic spots on the way back, like Natural Bridge lookout and Inspiration Point.

View from Lower Inspiration Point

Camp in the rain.

After a long day in the park, with lots of hiking and driving, we finished the rainy day off with an equally rainy evening. Nothing like cooking under an umbrella and eating dinner in your car to make for a memorable evening.

So glad I brought the umbrella

This wrapped up our last day in Bryce Canyon. Next up, a gorgeous hike in Grand Staircase Escalante on our way to Capitol Reef! Check out our first day in Bryce if you missed it.

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