Maybe you need some activities to fill up your itinerary. Maybe you like exploring the lesser-known areas surrounding popular national parks. Maybe you’re just killing time at work while dreaming of a trip to southern Utah.
Whatever your path to landing on this page, welcome! Enjoy this list of nine underrated places to explore near Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bull Valley Gorge. Photo by Anita Glod.
1. Bull Valley Gorge
Bull Valley Gorge, a small piece of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, wows all who enter it. One might even say it’s gorge-ous (please don’t stop reading).
This slot canyon can be accessed via an unpaved and somewhat rough road. The hike itself is as short or as long as you make it. As always, take the proper precautions when hiking in an area where flash flooding is a possibility.
2. Anasazi State Park Museum
Go back in time at Anasazi State Park Museum. Nearly 1,000 years to be exact. Here, you can observe a village in which two different ancient cultures blended.
Cedar Breaks National Monument. Photo by Sharon Adams.
3. Cedar Breaks National Monument
Break out your oxygen mask because Cedar Breaks National Monument sits at a high 10,000 feet. After arriving, sit and stare for a while at the jaw-dropping views overlooking the half-mile-deep amphitheater.
Once you’ve caught your breath, get up and get moving! Cedar Breaks hosts a wide variety of both summer and winter activities including hiking, biking, stargazing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skiing.
4. Otter Creek State Park
Otter Creek State Park’s large reservoir is a fantastic destination for boaters. Additionally, those who fish will gleefully discover the water full of a variety of trout.
The park is also a terrific spot for birding and ATV users. Visitors are able to drive down ATV trails and whip out their binoculars to watch large numbers of birds migrate. Preferably not at the same time, however. Keep those eyes on the road.
Kodachrome Basin State Park. Photo by Jim MacPherson.
5. Kodachrome Basin State Park
Soak in being surrounded by massive spires of red rock while wandering through Kodachrome Basin State Park. While hiking and mountain biking are possibilities in the park, you can also choose to take part in some less common activities such as horseback riding or disc golf!
6. Panguitch Lake
Similar to Otter Creek State Park, Panguitch Lake is home to stellar trout fishing. Specifically, rainbow, brook, cutthroat, and brown trout are found in its waters. You can also participate in either motorized or non-motorized boating via two public ramps.
Grosvenor Arch. Photo by Jim MacPherson.
7. Grosvenor Arch
Only about 10 miles outside of Kodachrome Basin State Park lies Grosvenor Arch. Located in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this double arch can be accessed via the dirt Cottonwood Canyon Road.
8. Red Canyon Recreation Area
If you’re visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, there’s a good chance you’ll pass by the Red Canyon Recreation Area at some point. Just outside of the park and part of Dixie National Forest, this area provides hiking trails, mountain biking routes, paved bike paths, horse trails, and ATV routes.
Hole-in-the-Rock Road. Photo by @nessiethestockrubi.
9. Hole-in-the-Rock Road
Tired of hiking around? Give your legs a break by driving the 62-mile (one-way) scenic Hole-in-the-Rock Road. Most of this road can be accessed by a high clearance vehicle without four-wheel drive as long as road conditions are dry.
For tips on what to keep your eye out for along the way, the National Park Service has put together a helpful little guide.
10. Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
By its name, you might think Escalante Petrified Forest State Park is all about some rock-like trees. However, not only is there petrified wood to discover via hiking trails, but there are also opportunities to mountain bike as well as paddle.
While Bryce Canyon National Park is reason enough to come to stay at Bryce Valley Lodging, we think it’s clear that there’s so much more to this stunning area. We hope we’ve opened your eyes to at least a few underrated landscapes nearby. For more insider information to help make your stay as memorable as possible, dive into more of our blogs!