Under the Rim Trail

HARD 35 reviews
#16 of 31 trails in

Under the Rim Trail is a 22.4 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Bryce, Utah that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November.

DISTANCE
22.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,366 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wildlife

blowdown

washed out

no dogs

Please note this trail can be very strenuous and water is hard to find. The water has been reported to be contaminated with E Coli. Please be sure to boil all water. For more detailed information on water and other conditions, please check on Bryce Canyon National Park's website. Because this is a long and strenuous backpacking trek, be sure to do extensive research on current conditions and preparation before starting your journey on the trail.

1 month ago

Me and my 2 brothers (ages 22, 26, and 27) just completed this in 2 days/1 night. We started at Rainbow point. Caught the shuttle at 9 from the visitors center and arrived at rainbow point th after the scenic shuttle ride. The bus driver gave a tour through a mic on the way. Views of beauty begin instantly and never end. Difficult mostly downhill hike to our first rest at iron springs. We were fresh so the difficulty was no problem. Iron springs had plenty of water. We were warned of E. coli to be present at all water sources and advised to filter and boil or filter and treat with tablets or drops. I used a Sawyer squeeze only and have not felt any issues as of this review (will edit if the bugs catch up to me). We then hiked to natural bridge which is were we reserved to camp but had plenty of gas left so we had a lunch and kept hiking. Natural bridge campsite had flies that bothered us. They didn’t bite but were pretty annoying. The campsites itself was in a lower wooded area. Right past the campsite there was some puddles of water but we did not fill up. We kept on hiking to swamp canyon campsite where we decided to set up camp. My brothers hiked down the trail a little bit past to find water (they found cloudy still water in a creek bed about 1000 ft down the trail from camp) while I secured camp against heavy winds. A heavy rainstorm fell on us thru the night. It was epic. We woke up to the sunrise, had coffee, and tore down camp to start day 2. We hiked past the creek where my brothers found water the night before to find clear flowing water due the night’s rain. Filled up here water here which was our last time to take water from a water source on the trail. Long hard day of hiking led us past the last half of the epic trail. Breaks along the way. Water was plentiful at yellow creek but there were E. coli warning signs posted that were not at the previous water sources so we were scared to drink it. I wish I would have anyways because we were low on water and ran out 2 miles to the end. There was flowing water up to the right fork yellow creek campsite which we also didn’t test. The last few miles were hard and constant elevation gain. Lots of breaks due to fatigue but we made it to Bryce point to catch the shuttle back to the visitors center. No water on the bus which I was praying for but at one of the stops on the way to the vc I spotted a water fountain so we all ran off the bus to quench our megathirst while passengers were getting on. We jumped right back on the bus and got dropped off at the visitors center where we started this long, hard, hot, beautiful, amazing journey.

7/28/2018: Day 1 ~11 miles
7/29/2018: Day 2 ~12 miles

Be mindful not to completely rely on backcountry water sources. We got lucky and found flowing water at 3 or 4 different sources.

Trail is pretty easy to follow except a few parts where we had to back track due to dried creeks looking like trails. But cairns (rock stacks) guided most of the tricky parts.

Lots of downed trees to dodge, dip, dive, duck, and dodge

Mosquitoes non existent from my experience, but annoying flies would buzz in your ear at some spots if you sat too long to rest.

Heavier than necessary packs, low water, and 2/3 of us live at sea level played apart in my difficulty rating.

10/10 would do again
10/10 would bring more water or secondary purification method for ease of mind
And always remember: dehydration will kill you a hell of a lot faster than E. coli.

Hopes this helps.

backpacking
1 month ago

Super fun backpacking trip! We did this in 2 leisurely days in the northbound direction, camped one night at Right Fork Swamp Canyon. Strongly recommended hike, and very suitable for beginners with decent legs.

Pros:
1) Great variety of scenery, from up-close views of the rim, to panoramas of the canyon, to dense forest. Memorable sections for us included the initial descent into the canyon from Rainbow Point, a spooky section of the park near the middle of the trail that was devastated in a forest fire, Swamp Canyon, and the Hat Shop.
2) Altitude varies throughout the trail, but apart from the last few miles where you have to climb back up to the top of the canyon, it's a very manageable hike. Apart from the distance, would rate it a moderate.
3) Off the beaten track, you'll feel like you have the entire park to yourself. We did this trip in May. We saw nobody the first day, and two pairs of hikers the second day (until we met the throng of tourists waiting for us at Bryce Point).
4) Logistically pretty straightforward. We did virtually no advance planning (apart from bringing our gear). We arrived one day ahead of time to get our permits and book our seats on the Rainbow shuttle. The park lends bear canisters for free and gives a basic map that we found sufficient for our hike. We camped in one of the official campsites the night before setting off. The Rainbow Shuttle drops you off at one end of the trail, and all you do is walk back, which means you don't need to worry about transport back to your car. Campsites and forks are well marked. The trail passes through multiple paths that go back to the highway, if you need to return to civilization earlier than expected.

Cons:
1) Water sources are unreliable, so you will probably have to bring enough water for the entire trek (very doable since it's a short hike).
2) The trail is easy to follow 98% of the time, but there are parts where it seems to disappear. Usually, this happens when the trail meets a creek or wash. Keep a lookout for Cairns, we never had to walk more than a few yards to find where the trail continued. Also, expect to jump over a lot of logs.
3) Loved the views on this trail, but those expecting to see tons of hoodoos and the rock formations Bryce is known for will be disappointed. Take an extra day to do some day hikes in Bryce amphitheater to get the best of both!

2 months ago

Bring lots of water! We were lucky and found two tiny streams (more of a trickle really) and had great water filters. The trail was beautiful and fellow backpackers have done a great job of not leaving anything behind. Some parts are washed out so bring a map and compass. Sunscreen is a must. It’s a great trip for beginners because it’s so close to the road for most of it.

hiking
3 months ago

Took the 9am shuttle from the lodge to drop us off at Rainbow Point. So got a late start hiking at 10am. Water available at iron springs, at about the halfway point just pass Swamp Canyon campground, and a couple miles before the end. Lots of up and down as you meander through the various amphitheaters. Heavily forested which did blocked some potential views of the rim but beautiful nonetheless less. But there was ample places to see views that one could not see from the top. Must have had to step/climb over 80 fallen trees and plenty of sandy ascents. Towards the end of the hike make sure you look back as you can see across the canyon at where you started. Overall beautiful hike and would do it again. We completed the entire trail in just over 10 hours. Be careful as you arrive at Bryce point the last shuttle leaves at 7:37pm. Good thing we packed our hitch hiking thumbs. Otherwise it’s another 2 mike hike back to the lodge.

backpacking
3 months ago

Amazing backpacking hike! We did Bryce Point to Rainbow Point since the Rainbow Point Tour bus was full for the day. (Call at least 24 hours in advance to secure a spot on the bus!) Did the trek over one night. The lady who gave us the permit thought we were crazy. This trail is tough! One night was hard but it was awesome. We stayed at Swamp Canyon campground and holy crap, best camp spot on the whole trail. It's up top with amazing views of the valley! Water was hard to find (which the visitor center told us), but we ended up finding more than expected. We carried what we should have in case we didn't find small water spots. E. Coli is present in the water so you must filter and use iodine tablets or boil all water. We did see a bear in Swamp Canyon. The visitor center offers free bear canisters as hanging your food is not enough! We started at noon on Friday and got to Rainbow Point at 1pm on Saturday. The last tour bus leaves Rainbow at 3pm and takes about an hour to get back to your car, so be patient. Overall, this hike was a 11/10! You will be sore if you complete it within 24 hours :)

backpacking
3 months ago

5/10: Day 1 we started the hike at Rainbow Point and ended the day staying at Right Fork Swamp Creek. There was no water from the start of the hike until we found some about a mile before camp. The E. coli warning had not come out yet, but we filtered and boiled the water and didn't get sick. The next day we hiked to Bryce Point. We underestimated how clear the trail would be. There were a lot of fallen trees that covered the trail. Overall, it was a fun backpacking trip but DO NOT underestimate the difficulty of this hike. We are in really good shape and struggled through parts.

backpacking
3 months ago

5/26: Hiked south from Bryce Point with intentions of camping at Natural Bridge and finishing the morning of Day 2. I either underestimated the trail or overestimated the group I was with because we ended up camping at Swamp Canyon and bailing out there the next day. This is probably best done in 2 nights, unless you want a suffer fest. Water was found at Yellow Creek and just north of Swamp Canyon. The E.coli warning is no big deal since you should be filtering or boiling water anyways. Sawyer Squeeze Mini worked fine. If planning on taking a shuttle to or from Rainbow Point, you need to call ahead and make a free reservation to use it (4358345290). I believe the bear threat to be a little exaggerated as well. Trail was well marked from Bryce Point to Swamp Canyon. Lots of deadfall trees the further south you get though.

backpacking
4 months ago

We started at Bryce Point and hiked south. Our first stop for the night was at the Sheep Creek site. We were told by NPS that there was a reliable water source at Sheep Creek, but the creek was dried up. We had seen some water sources as we walked down the trail at Yellow Creek, but there wasn’t much of a stream and the water was contaminated with E. coli which we were not informed about. There were many washouts in the trail and some of the cairns were knocked down, causing us to get lost a few times at the creek bed crossings. Once we arrived at the Sheep Creek site, a sign told us that it was closed due to bear activity. We had gotten a permit for this site at the park that morning and were told nothing of this. We ended up taking the Sheep creek connecting trail out the next morning due to a lack of water. If you are going to do this hike, be prepared and pack plenty of water. Also, get a better map than what you are provided at the visitor center, that map is unreliable.

backpacking
4 months ago

Not sure if there is somewhere on AllTrails to ask questions about a particular trail but my boyfriend and I plan to backpack this trail this Saturday (May 19) to Monday (21st) starting at the Agua connecting trail from the Ponderosa parking lot. Does anyone know if the trail is cleared from the land slide or at least doable with a 25 pound pack on and hiking poles? Also, are the water sources silty and likely to clog our filters and should plan to bring additional filter mechanisms, or are our camel back filter straws OK? Any sightings or signs of bears on the trail recently? Is it true no fires allowed and you have to pack out even human waste? Or can you bury it 6 inches deep? Thanks to who ever has the knowledge!

backpacking
4 months ago

Started at the Pondarosa connecting trail. A ways into the connecting trail, we found that a huge rockslide had destroyed several of the switchbacks. Getting down was tough for 100 or so yards. Water running about a mile south of the right fork campground. Yellow creek is running well, but bring stoves to boil or iodine tablets due to E. coli. Also, water was running pretty well about 2.5 miles south of Bryce point. I overprepared with clothing, which is OK. It was pretty hot during the day, and mild temperatures at night. Hiking poles were very valuable when it came to some of the steep gravely hillsides. It was a great experience, with many breathtaking views. Great mix of up and down and Relatively flat areas.

4 months ago

Trail sporadically offers some gorgeous views; otherwise, it's a lot of forest walking. But the gorgeous views really are gorgeous, and the trail is much less crowded (particularly the further south you go).

As of 4/28/2018, all of the creek/wash crossings were well signed with cairns, and in general, the trail is very easy to identify. It's not always as easy to follow because of the inordinate number of dead falls across the trail and wash outs. I also heard from another hiker that the Agua Canyon connector has been covered by landslide, even though NPS advised him it was clear.

This was a very tough day hike without a car shuttle because the Rainbow PT tour shuttle is the only shuttle that goes out to Rainbow Point and it only picks up at stops north of Sunset Campground (i.e., you can't park at Bryce Point and board the tour there). It requires reservations (really) and leaves at only 9am and 1:30, taking about an hour to reach Rainbow. During April and May, the last regular shuttle picks up from Bryce at 5:52, meaning you have 8 hours to cover 21 miles and roughly 5k of cumulative elevation gain. This window is not helped by the fact that NPS appears not to have maintained the trail (other than the cairns, which may not have even been them) for YEARS. The number of deadfalls, washouts, and looming snags was shocking for a trail that has such numerous, easy access points for maintenance and is the sole trail for over half the park. This is especially true south of the Yellow Creek sites. Amazing considering the tiny amount of trail in the park. Basically it seems that NPS doesn't care about access to the park south of Bryce Point and is only serving auto tourists and casual hikers, who are far more likely to simply hit the tiny amount of trails in the north. Shame on the BCNP superintendent. Completely misplaced priorities or sheer laziness, it's inexcusable either way.

hiking
7 months ago

I only did the lower half of the trail, going down Swamp Canyon from UT 63, and then heading south. Simply amazing. Little trafficked, maybe because of the bear warning signs at the time. Went through different landscapes and forest thicknesses. Well worth it!

backpacking
9 months ago

the preferred method is to take the free 9AM Rainbow Shuttle (435-834-5290 to reserve) from either the Shuttle Station or the Visitor Center to Rainbow Point, hike 12.4 miles north to Right Fork Swamp Canyon (with water 0.8 miles from RFSC near the Swamp Canyon parking lot), camp overnight, hike 10.5 miles to Bryce Point, and then take the free Park Shuttle which runs about every fifteen minutes from Bryce Point back to your vehicle (though some people prefer to camp a second night at Right Fork Yellow Creek and hike the last STEEP 2.8 mile section out to Bryce Point in the morning, which then makes this a two night hike, with overnights at RFSC and RFYC). the reasoning for this is: A. Rainbow Point is 9000'+, Bryce is 8000'+, so returning you lose elevation, B. the north end of the park above RFSC is wetter than the south end so you're hiking towards more reliable water for the second day of the hike, C. if you shuttle out to the end and hike back, you're hiking towards your car in the busy end of the park and thus do not need to schedule a ride as you would hiking towards Rainbow Point. Backcountry Permit Fee is $5 per person for seven days, bear canisters are required and provided free at the Visitor Center (Bryce's trees are not suitable for hanging bear bags), AND PLEASE obtain your permit the evening before hiking instead of the morning of the shuttle out as the Visitor Center opens at 8am, the morning Rainbow Shuttle leaves at 9am, there is often a line and the shuttle won't wait (though worst case scenario, you could take the afternoon 1:30pm Rainbow Shuttle to Ponderosa and start there, shaving 4.8miles off the first day hiking to Right Fork Swamp Canyon - questions? call the VC 435-834-5322

backpacking
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Three of my friends and I backpacked Under the Rim from Bryce Point to Swamp Canyon and back. The first night we camped at Right Fork Swamp Canyon, hiked back towards the trailhead the next day, camped the second night at Right Fork Yellow Creek, and woke up at 4am the next day so we could do a sunrise hike out of the canyon! This was, by far, one of my favorite backpacking routes. The trail is a great workout with decent elevation change, the usage is very low once you get away from Bryce Point, and the canyon views are absolutely breathtaking. I recommend getting up early and watching the sunrise/staying up late enough for the stars at night. I really hope to come back to this trail and experience again the peace all four of us found here.

We backpacked in 44L of water with us as the rangers were unsure of water levels at Yellow Creek when we called ahead. There ended up being a decent enough stream that you could definitely filter water out of, but if you're going much past Yellow Creek and/or backpacking I definitely recommend bringing at least 4-5L of water/person/day (more if you're going to be using the water for cooking). Some reviews have said that this trail is poorly marked but, along the route we did, it was very clear. I can't speak for past Swamp Canyon but if you're only going that far you shouldn't need a compass. The visitor center rents out bear canisters for free (you must have a bear canister if staying overnight) and will provide you with a free backcountry map!

hiking
Monday, February 27, 2017

We hiked about an eight mile stretch of this trail. We entered at the Auga canyon connecting trail and dropped directly into the bottom via some impressive switch backs. Then we headed North until we hit Whiteman connecting trail. Great hike, we want to go back and finish the entire trail. This was during the 4th of July and the park was packed on all of the short trails that we hiked. We only saw one other person the entire time. Will definitely go back for this one alone.

backpacking
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

This is magical.. every so many miles the landscape changes from rocky, forested to sandy and sagebrushy. Elevation gains and losses happy often. YOU MUST CAMP at Yellow Creek!! Best spot in the park along the trial in the Rainbow Point area. MUST DO if you are in Bryce. I lived in the park and hiked it all.

hiking
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An absolutely beautiful, secluded trail. The trail is barely marked at all so night hiking isn't the best since the trail is more for sightseeing rather than getting from point a to b. I'd recommend an actual topo map and compass since the trail is so void of markings. This trail will make the sound of a river the most beautiful sound in the world to you, just remember to bring iodine tablets.

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