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Swamp Canyon Loop

  • Difficulty
  • 7.2km
  • 219m
  • 1.5-2h

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This loop trail may be less popular than some others in the park – but still provides the chance to see some awesome rock formations. You’ll link up with the Under The Rim Trail for a short section.

Getting there

Enter Bryce Canyon National Park, just south of the town of Bryce. Enter the park and continue along the scenic drive, past the visitor’s centre and pay station. After paying at Bryce Point (along with other congested pullouts) you will have to look closely for the Swamp Canyon trailhead on your left hand side. It is poorly marked, and many people stop here just for the view. The parking area can fill quickly!

elevation

Total Gain: 219m

About

Type of Hike Loop
Crowd Levels Low
Route Signage Excellent
Toilets None
Family Friendly Yes
Backcountry Campgrounds Along the Under The Rim Trail, see visitors centre
When to Do Spring, early summer and fall, avoid summer heat and winter snow

 Detailed Description

Starting to the left of the main viewpoint find the trailhead. Continue down a short way until you reach a junction. You can complete this loop in either direction, however this write-up will discuss going left at the fork to complete the loop clockwise, heading along the Sheep Creek Connecting Trail.

After turning left you will hike through a stunning field lined with ponderosa pines. You will continue north paralleling the rim for a short ways, then the trail will veer left. Here it will start to descend down a wide, low graded gully.

You will descend down under the rim and be given sporadic views of the red and pink cliffs lining the canyon. Soon you will reach a junction, from which your next direction is poorly marked. Turn right here along the Under The Rim Trail. This path is flat and connects the Sheep Creek Connecting Trial to the Swamp Canyon Connecting Trail. This is approximately the halfway point of the trail.

Winding through under the rim you will be treated with beautiful views up to your right of the cliffs and several hoodoos. You will also hike through a partially burnt section of forest, which is especially beautiful!

Shortly after, you will reach another junction and turn right, heading along the Swamp Canyon Connecting trail. This path is well graded and will soon begin to ascend up the wide Swamp Canyon. Here you will get your best views, as the forest is typically quite sparse. Looking back you will be able to see the expansive plan below the Bryce Canyon rim, as well as colourful hills in the distance!

Shortly you will be able to see the viewpoint and the tourists that typically occupy its perch. Complete the final few switchbacks, turn left at the fork you began at, and find your vehicle!

Insider Hints

  • Both the Ship Creek and Right Fork Swamp Canyon campgrounds make excellent options for a really easy backpacking trip!