Bristlecone Loop

Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 8940 - 9115 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Rainbow Point
Fee: $15 individual, $30/vehicle, $35/annual pass
Attractions: Scenic overlooks

The Bristlecone Loop trail is located in Bryce Canyon National Park. The short trail makes a loop through the forested mountain top of Rainbow Point. From various places along the rim hikers are treated to magnificent views of the southern section of Bryce Canyon National Park and far beyond.

Rainbow Point is the southernmost trailhead in the park. It can be accessed by private vehicle or the free shuttle bus. Vehicles towing trailers are not allowed on the last 13 mile stretch of the road. Probably because they wouldn't be able to turn around once they got there.

The trail is a wide well groomed path for the entire length that is easy to follow and probably suitable for baby strollers.

There are good views of the surrounding valleys that change from one viewpoint to the next as the trail loops around the point.

The loop begins just a short distance from the trailhead. This post describes following the trail in the clockwise direction.

The thick forest of pine and spruce trees is the common fare for woodlands of this elevation.

The trail comes to another intersection with the Riggs Spring and Yovimpa Point trails. Continuing straight ahead will keep you on the Bristlecone Loop.

A small kiosk sits at the first viewing area at the end of the point.

The trail continues around the point to another, more elevated, viewing area.

The forest covered pink cliffs stand out in the sunshine.

The bristlecone pine that is the namesake for the trail is different from most other pine trees. The soft, heavily needled, branches droop under their own weight. Bristlecones can live for over  a thousand years surviving harsh conditions and drought.

The trail loops back toward the trailhead through the trees with just enough variety to keep the hike interesting.

The Bristlecone Loop trail takes visitors to the highest part of Bryce Canyon. The trail itself only has a couple hundred feet of elevation change, spread out over gentle grades, that makes it an easy hike for most people. Take the free shuttle bus and let someone else do the driving while you keep an eye out for deer and antelope that are frequently spotted along the road. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.