Julie United States 24 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.

Queens Garden + Navajo Loop Hiking Stats

Distance: 2.75 miles
Total Ascent: 620 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Length of Time: 2 – 3 hours

Queens Garden Navajo Elevation Profile

Elevation profile

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

Queens Garden + Navajo Loop

Step-By-Step Trail Guide

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

Switchback

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

Helpful Tips 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.

One day in Bryce Canyon. Learn how to plan your time in our One Day in Bryce Canyon Itinerary.

Bryce Canyon Guide


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

More Information for Your Trip to Bryce Canyon

BRYCE CANYON: Take a look at our Bryce Canyon National Park Travel Guide for important travel planning tips, sample itineraries, advice on when to go, where to stay, and more.

UTAH’S MIGHTY 5: Utah’s Mighty 5 is a collection of five national parks in Utah. Learn more about the parks and how to plan your visit in our Guide to Utah’s Mighty 5.

AMERICAN SOUTHWEST ITINERARY: If you have 10 days, learn how to road trip through the American Southwest, visiting several national parks, state parks, and scenic spots in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.

ZION NATIONAL PARK: Check out our Zion National Park Travel Guide for important travel planning tips, sample itineraries, advice on when to go, where to stay, and more. Learn how to plan your perfect Zion itinerary, whether you have a day or a week.

MORE GREAT HIKES IN THE NATIONAL PARKS: From hikes to the tallest peaks to beautiful coast trails, read our Guide to the Best Day Hikes in the US National Parks. If you prefer to keep your hikes short and sweet, read our guide to the Best Short Hikes in the National Parks.

VISIT THE US NATIONAL PARKS: Looking for your next big adventure? Read our article about the 15 Best National Parks, where we narrow down the long list into 15 must-see parks. You can also learn more about the national parks (and get the full list) in our Guide to the US National Parks. Finally, if you are traveling as a family, here are the best parks to visit with kids.

 

If this is part of a bigger road trip through the USA, visit our United States Travel Guide and our Utah Travel Guide for more inspiration and travel planning tips.

Bryce Canyon Hike Queens Garden Trail

 

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Comments 24

  1. Avatar for Erika Hatch
    Erika Hatch

    Julie,

    Your website is the first place I go to now to plan my travels!! Thank you so much for putting in the time and effort to keep it active and so comprehensive.

    All my best to you and your inspiring family.

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  2. Avatar for Aleksei
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