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Queens Garden to Navajo Loop Trail

  • Difficulty
  • 5km
  • 168m
  • 1-1.25h

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This popular loop connects the Queen Garden Trail with one branch of the Navajo Loop Trail, returning along a section of the Rim Trail. Moving through an impressive number of hoodoos and awesome rock formations, this hike is certainly popular for a reason!

Getting there

Enter Bryce Canyon National Park, just south of the town of Bryce. Shortly after you pass through the park payment gates you will see a sign towards Sunrise Point. Turn left here and follow signs for the point, parking in the large parking area.

elevation

Total Gain: 168m

About

Type of Hike Loop
Crowd Levels High
Route Signage Excellent
Toilets At trailhead
Family Friendly Yes If they are able to ascend this much
Backcountry Campgrounds None
When to Do Spring, early summer and fall, avoid summer heat and winter snow

 Detailed Description

Beginning from the Sunrise Point parking area near the general store, head out to the rim and turn right. Continue along the scenic Rim Trail for a very short ways before meeting a junction. Turn left here towards Queen Garden and start the descent. Though the path is well graded and wide, there is still often loose gravel and dust on the trail, so watch out!

As the path switchbacks down along a dominant ridge you will get increasingly closer views of the hundreds of hoodoos that occupy the ‘Amphitheatre’ of Bryce Canyon. These awesome rock formations where not totally carved by erosion, as you might find in the Grand Canyon or Canyon. Instead, they are principally caused by the freezing and thawing of snow and ice every winter!

The hike continues to descend to a lower plateau of the canyon. Here you will walk through ponderosa pine trees as you contour around even more hoodoos and rock towers. The trail down here is not completely flat, and ungulates up and down along ridge lines and gullies. Soon you will reach a junction with the horse trail, continue to the right to remains on the Queen Garden Trail.

Approximately halfway through the hike you will reach a junction. Turn right here towards Sunset Point along the Navajo Loop Trail. Feel free to take either leg of the Navajo Loop Trail, however know that the lower (left) one is often closed due to rock fall and ice in the winter. We recommend taking the upper (right) one as it yields better views of the Amphitheater.

The trail will soon start to switchback up a narrow gully. Here you will regain all the elevation you blissfully lost at the beginning of the hike. Finally, when you see the metal fence along the rim near Sunset Point, you are about to crest the canyon. Once you have finished the climb, turn right and walk along the paved Rim Trail back to Sunrise Point and your car.

Insider Hints

  • This is the most popular hike in the park – get here early to avoid swarming crowds!