Julie United States 14 Comments

Bryce Canyon National Park may be small in size but it has an enormous wow factor. With its orange and pink hoodoos and sandstone rock formations, Bryce Canyon is one of the most unique national parks in the United States. By hiking Bryce Canyon and visiting its numerous viewpoints, you can have the best experience here.

There are numerous hiking trails in Bryce Canyon. Some are less than one mile in length and take an hour or less, while others are all day affairs.

The most popular trails are the Queens Garden Trail and the Navajo Loop Trail. On these two trails, get up close with the hoodoos, see Thor’s Hammer, and walk through canyons, arches, and forests of pine trees.

This hike combines Queens Garden with the Navajo Loop Trail and a portion of the Rim Trail, for the overall best hiking experience in Bryce Canyon.

Hiking Bryce Canyon

Facts About the Hike

Distance: 2.75 miles
Elevation Gain: 620 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Length of Time: 2 – 3 hours

Sunset Point

Sunset Point is the starting and ending point for this hike. Park in the parking lot at Sunset Point. When you step out to the overlook, be prepared to be amazed!

Sunset Point Bryce

Sunrise Point

From Sunset Point, walk north on the Rim Trail, towards Sunrise Point. This is a flat, easy to walk trail with an awesome view over Bryce.

Rim Trail View

Queens Garden Trail

The Queens Garden Trail starts at Sunrise Point. From here, it is an easy, 0.8 mile hike down into the valley of Bryce Canyon. Before you know it, the hoodoos will be towering overhead. Enjoy the winding trails, walk through the arches carved into the rocks, and photograph the amazing views.

Queens Garden Sign

Overlooking Queens Garden Trail

Bryce Canyon

The Trail


Queens Garden Trail Bryce

Tunnel View

Tim at Bryce

There comes a point where the trail comes to a fork. Follow the signs to stay on the Queens Garden Trail. It takes just two minutes to walk to end of this trail. Here’s what you will see.

Queens Garden View

Retrace your steps back to the fork and then follow the signs to the Navajo Loop Trail. This valley trail is 0.7 miles long and connects the Queens Garden Trail with the Navajo Loop Trail. Most of the trail is through pine forests. It’s relatively flat and easy to walk.

Navajo Loop Trail

The Navajo Loop Trail makes a loop, starting and ending at Sunset Point. The popular things to see on this trail are Thor’s Hammer, Wall Street (the only slot canyon in Bryce), and Two Bridges. Since you will be joining this trail halfway into the loop, you have a decision to make: take the Wall Street branch or take the Two Bridges/Thor’s Hammer branch.

During our visit, Wall Street was closed, forcing us to hike up via Two Bridges. However, if Wall Street is open during your visit, we recommend taking this branch. Wall Street is an awesome section of trail and I am bummed we missed out on seeing this. Note: Wall Street is closed during the winter months. It was still closed during our visit in early May.

Either way you choose, it is a strenuous 0.6 mile hike to the top with 550 feet of climbing.

Here are photos from Two Bridges branch of the Navajo Loop.

Two Bridges

Two Bridges

Navajo Loop Trail

Hiking Bryce Canyon

Navajo Loop Switchbacks

Thors Hammer View

Navajo Trail

Once you are back at Sunset Point, the hike is over. If you hiked up Wall Street, you should make a short detour and see Thor’s Hammer. It’s one of the most photographed hoodoos in the park and worth seeing. From Sunset Point, walk down the Two Bridges branch just a short distance until you get to Thor’s Hammer.

Thors Hammer

How to Have the Best Experience

You can do this hike in reverse. From Sunset Point, hike down the Navajo Loop Trail and up the Queens Garden Trail. By going this way, you avoid hiking up the switchbacks on the Navajo Loop Trail.

Getting here early has its advantages. Avoid the crowds on the trails and avoid the midday heat during the summer months.

Bring plenty of water, especially when the weather is warm.

Bryce Canyon sits at a relatively high elevation, 8,000 feet. It is normal to feel out of breath here, even with short climbs. The final climb out of the amphitheater can be tough, so expect to take several breaks to catch your breath on the way back up.

Bring a jacket. Even during the summer months it can be chilly here, especially early and late in the day.

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Bryce Canyon Inn, located in Tropic. We had a cabin with two queen beds and ensuite bathroom. This place was great – clean, quiet, and comfortable. We ate dinner at the The Pizza Place, which was nothing special, but it was convenient. From Tropic, it took 15 minutes to drive to the park.

Planning a trip to Bryce Canyon? Check out our Bryce Canyon Travel Guide, and learn about the best views of the park, how to manage your time, and where to stay.

Have you been to Bryce Canyon? If you have any questions, comment below!

Bryce Canyon Hike Queens Garden Trail


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Comments 14

  1. We will be staying in Zion for a few days and plan to do a day trip to Bryce from there. We will definitely use your suggestions for our hikes and what to see. Once we leave Zion, we’re heading to Monument Valley for two nights. I read your post about what to do there. I was so excited, but then went to Monument Valley web site and it’s on Indian land and is closed so we can’t do the Tribal Park Loop or Wildcat Trail, or take a tour! I think the visitor center is closed, too. Do you have any suggestions of other things we could do. We’re staying at Goulding’s Lodge. We were going to stop in Page on the way from Zion, but it looks like Antelope canyon is also closed! Any suggestions for monument valley and Page are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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      Hello Laurel. It’s a bummer about Monument Valley being closed. You can go up through Mexican Hat, see the Goosenecks State Park, and drive through Valley of the Gods. There is also a really cool mountain pass you can drive, the Moki Dugway (we have not done it yet…didn’t know about it the two times we have been to Monument Valley, unfortunately). I think that all of these places should be open. Cheers, Julie

  2. We will be coming in April with our kids, 9 and 11. They are active and have hiked before (Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park) but not a lot of experience. Would this be OK for them? I know you can’t predict the weather, but is at least part of it generally do-able that early in the season?

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      As for the hike, your kids should be fine. It’s not that difficult of a trail, just a big ascent back up to the rim, but doable for kids your age, for sure. And it’s a safe trail…no real drop offs or anything like that. As for the weather, in April, just have to wait and see. Most likely the weather will be fine, snow isn’t likely that time of year, but you just never know. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

  3. Recently had knee surgery (will be 6 weeks post op when at Bryce Canyon & Zion)
    What are your suggested trails for nice hikes great views but not so strenuous trails?

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      Hello Heather. I guess that depends on what kind of surgery you had. If it’s a knee scope (arthroscopy) you could be quite active (depending on your activity level before the surgery). In Bryce, the Navajo Queens Garden Loop might be a bit much, but if you feel great, you could consider walking at least part of the Queens Garden Trail (it’s beautiful!). I don’t think I’d recommend the entire loop because of the hills. But you could walk along the rim at Bryce. In Zion, the Riverside Walk, Canyon Overlook, and Emerald Pools are nice options. By the way, before doing this blog full time, I worked as a Physician Assistant in orthopedics, so I have lots of experience with post-op knee surgeries. If you have any further questions, feel free to send us an email and info@earthtrekkers.com. Cheers, Julie

  4. My wife and I were there last month. Unfortunately, the Navajo Trail is closed for maintenance. We wanted to hike this trail but had to choose another. Bryce Canyon National Park is still worth the trip, however.

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  5. This post was very helpful! Do you need a guide or can this hike be done without one? I’d hate to spend money unnecessarily.

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      No need for a guide. Just follow our instructions and the trail markers (and the other people on the trail 🙂 ). Cheers, Julie

  6. Did you have time to go see the other viewpoints after this hike? We want to do this hike and visit about 1-2 viewpoints like bryce point/rainbow point after, but not sure how the timing will be. Are there shuttles from point to point? ie can i take a shuttle from sunset/sunrise point to bryce/rainbow point then back to the front where the shuttle area is?


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      This hike only takes about 3 hours so you will have plenty of time to see the other viewpoints. You can take a shuttle from Sunset and Sunrise Point to Bryce and Inspiration Point, but I do not believe that you can take a shuttle to Rainbow Point. If you haven’t seen it, you might learn more about Bryce Canyon on this post. Cheers, Julie

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