This Perfect 6-Day Itinerary for Bryce Canyon, Zion, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas hits three major national parks in the American Southwest and includes a one night stay in Las Vegas for those desperate to get back to city life or simply wanting to check out Sin City.
In this 6-day itinerary, you are arriving and departing from Las Vegas and renting a car. However, if you have your own car, the itinerary still works, but you might want to just start or end in Las Vegas depending on where you are coming from and going to.
Day 1: Bryce Canyon National Park
Once you arrive in Las Vegas and rent your car, you have about a 4 hour drive until you arrive at Bryce Canyon National Park. If your flight lands early in the day, you might have time for a hike in Bryce Canyon on Day 1. Otherwise, once you get settled in at Bryce check out the lookouts along the Rim Trail like Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunrise Point, and Sunset Point.
There are plenty of hotels to stay at near Bryce Canyon City. However, if you are planning on camping, make sure you reserve your campsite in Bryce Canyon ahead of time because they will fill up! You can reserve your campsite here.
If all the campsites are reserved, they may have some walk-up sites available, but you will have to get there early in order to get one. If you miss out on a walk-up campsite (we did), there are free camping sites located in the Dixie National Forest right outside of the Bryce Canyon National Park entrance. Turn down a dirt road (on the left leaving the park or on the right before entering the park) and find an open campsite. There are no amenities there, but you get what you pay for. . . or don’t pay for in this case.
Day 2: Bryce Canyon National Park and Drive to Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is definitely the smallest of the 3 national parks you will be visiting on this trip, but it’s incredible, eye-catching colors and other world-like hoodoos are make it worth the visit. Plus, it is not as crowded as Zion.
Today’s hike will all depend on your ability and how much you want to hike. The top hikes to check out are Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop, which you can do together. This hike is a 2.9 mile loop and has 600 feet of elevation change. You will see beautiful hoodoos and some of the most interesting geographical formations in Bryce Canyon.
The other, longer hike is the Bryce Amphitheater Traverse. It starts at Bryce Point and goes down into the canyon along part of Peekaboo Loop. When you hit the Queen’s Garden Trail, you climb back out of the canyon to Sunrise Point. This hike is a bit more strenuous as it covers 4.7 miles and has 1,010 feet in elevation change.
Once you’re done with your hike(s), you can shower off at the General Store in Bryce Canyon for $3, or skip the shower and start your 2.5 hour drive to Zion National Park!
When you get to Zion National Park, head to wherever you are staying. If you made your reservations for a campsite ahead of time, you’re good to go. If you didn’t, stop by the campgrounds to see if they happen to have any openings. it can’t hurt to check!
Day 3: Zion National Park
Since you have two full days in Zion, you get your pick of hikes. The most popular hikes in Zion National Park are The Narrows and Angel’s Landing. Both of the hikes are well worth the difficulty and crowds.
There are a few ways you can do The Narrows in Zion. The easiest, and most popular, is hiking bottom-up and back in the North Fork Virgin River. You can also do a top-down hike as a long day hike or as an overnight hike. Given the fact that you are only in Zion for two days on this itinerary, stick with the bottom-up and back hike. You’ll get to experience everything The Narrows has to offer.
The hike is in the river nearly all of the time, so be prepared with clothes that are either waterproof or can get wet and dry quickly. You will also want a dry bag or waterproof backpack to keep your stuff dry. These are essential items while hiking The Narrows at Zion.
There are two crucial things to check before hiking The Narrows: the water flow and weather forecast. If the Virgin River is flowing too fast, it is not recommended to hike The Narrows. In fact, they will even shut down access to The Narrows if there is too much water flowing due to rain or snowmelt.
Secondly, it is important to watch the weather forecast when hiking The Narrows because you are hiking in a slot canyon. Although it might be clear skies by you, if there is a storm upriver, a flash flood can happen and a wall of water will come rushing down and wash you away. This is very dangerous, and people have died from flash floods.
Check the weather conditions at the Visitors’ Center before hiking The Narrows. If The Narrows are impossible to hike, your first day there, they may be possible for your second day, so don’t worry and do Angel’s Landing on day one at Zion.
Day 4: Zion National Park
Assuming you did The Narrows hike at Zion yesterday, hike Angel’s Landing today. If you could not do it yesterday, flip flop these two hikes.
Angel’s Landing is a strenuous hike that’s about 5.4 miles that gains about 1,500 feet in elevation. After going up numerous switchbacks, you get to Scout’s Lookout. This is where a lot of people stop their journey. However, to make it to Angel’s Landing, you have to hike a narrow path an extra 0.5 miles out and then the same 0.5 miles back.
This narrow path out to Angel’s Landing is where many turn back or do not even attempt it. It is as narrow as about 3 feet in a few places, but is generally wider than that. Although 6-8 feet is about as wide as the trail gets, and there are 1,000+ drop-offs on either side at all times.
Angel’s Landing is not for the faint of heart, children, or those with fears of heights. There was one point when Mike was hiking and saw his shoe with 3 inches of rock to the left of it and then 1,000+ feet down the river at the bottom on Zion Canyon.
If you are having second thoughts about hiking Angel’s Landing, try it, hike slowly, focus on each and every step, don’t look down, and hold onto the chain. Do it with a friend and go together with the more confident hiker in front.
Hiking out to Angel’s Landing is totally worth it. The view is incredible, but conquering the hike itself is an achievement in and of itself.
Once you finish hiking Angel’s Landing and get back down to the bottom of the canyon, treat yourself to a shower, dinner, drink, or whatever you want. You deserve it!
Other possible hikes in Zion National Park are Observation Point, the Emerald Pools, and the Watchmen Trail. Of course, there are other hikes, but these are ones we recommend.
Day 5: Grand Canyon National Park
Leave Zion early in the morning and drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s a bit of a drive, but hey, you get to see the Grand Canyon!
When you get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, drive up to the Lodge and do the short, but spectacular, hike out on Bright Angel Point Trail. It’s a quick, easy hike that will give you great viewpoints on the Grand Canyon for photos.
After this, head out to the much more strenuous North Kaibab Trail. There is parking by the trailhead, which you pass on your way into the Lodge, or you can park by the Backcountry Permit Office and walk about 0.5 miles to the trailhead.
The North Kaibab Trail ventures down into the Grand Canyon. The earlier you start the better because the further into the Canyon you go, the hotter it will get. It is also a much more difficult hike back up out of the Grand Canyon than it is going down into it.
While you can hike all the way down to the Colorado River at the bottom on this trail, if you happen to get a little later start, hike down to the red arch, take a break, and turn around and hike back up. Make sure you have at least 2 liters of water to get you back up in the summer heat though.
If you want, you can camp at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, or you make the drive back to Las Vegas and spend a night as you fly out tomorrow. Making the drive to Las Vegas puts a lot of driving into one day, but it will make your next day easier.
Other possibilities of Day 5 of this 6-Day Itinerary would be to stop at Antelope Canyon, Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch, or Horseshoe Bend.
Day 6: Las Vegas
If you spent last night camping at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, pack up early and drive to Las Vegas, return your rental car, and get to the airport.
If you opted to drive to Las Vegas from the Grand Canyon on day 5, enjoy your day in Las Vegas. Relax by the pool. Gamble a little. Walk the strip. Do whatever you want. You are in Vegas!
When it’s time to catch your flight, return your rental car and get to the airport.