Top 3 Hikes in Bryce Canyon

Janine Brandt | 07.07.20

Step into the deep canyons and soaring sandstones at Bryce Canyon National Park and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world. With its orange and yellow hoodoo formations, rolling canyon cliffs, and dramatic viewpoints, its stark beauty feels almost extraterrestrial.

 

The best way to explore the park is no doubt on foot. With dozens of unique and thrilling hiking trails that wind through its scenes, visitors have no shortage of paths to choose from. If you’re only visiting for a day, you’ll want to hit the high points to experience the best Bryce Canyon has to offer. To make your day easier, here are the top three hikes in Bryce Canyon!

 

Navajo Loop Trail

Distance: 1.4-mile (2.2km) loop

Difficulty: Moderate

One of the most popular trails in the park, the Navajo Loop Trail is a short but stunning trek through the most iconic landmarks in Bryce Canyon. It begins and ends at Sunset Pointe, winding through colorful hoodoos, ancient bristlecone pines, and trickling streams. Along the way, you’ll pass Thor’s Hammer, the largest hoodoo in the park; Wall Street, a narrow section framed by soaring hoodoos on either side; and Two Bridges, one of the park’s most impressive formations.

 

If you’re feeling adventurous, extend the hike into a varied three-mile trek by diverging to the Queen’s Garden trail. Here, you’ll wander among the park’s hoodoo formations from below, spotting fascinating faces and shapes in their vibrant colors. See if you can spot the queen herself!

 

Tip: For the most enjoyable hike, take the loop counterclockwise from Sunset Pointe; you’ll appreciate the immense size of Wall Street far more going downhill than climbing back up!

 

Peek-a-Boo Loop

Distance: 5.5 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

The Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail is one of the park’s most challenging day hikes, but its otherworldly scenes are more than worth the work. The trip takes you into the famous Bryce Amphitheater to explore its beauty from below, giving you a thrilling look at its immense size and stunning features from the ground-up.

 

Begin your trek at Bryce Point, where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the park and the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument in the distance. From here, you’ll zig-zag your way down a series of steep switchbacks to descend into the Amphitheater with its maze of soaring sandstone, snow-covered pines, and hoodoo formations.

 

While you stroll along the canyon floor, keep your eyes peeled for The Cathedral and The Wall of Windows; these unique formations are some of the most popular photo-ops in the park. After about two miles, take the Bryce Point junction to begin the steep climb back to the canyon rim.

 

Tip: The Peek-A-Boo Loop can also be reached from a junction on the Navajo Trail; ambitious hikers often combine the two treks with Queen’s Garden for a long but comprehensive trip through the best features of the park.

 

Fairyland Loop

Distance: 8.0 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

If you want to explore Bryce Canyon away from the crowds, you’ll want to trek Fairyland Loop. This magical hike begins at Fairyland Point, offering breathtaking views from the rim before dropping nearly 900 feet to the valley floor below.

 

As you descend into Fairyland Canyon along the north ridge of Boat Mesa, you’ll encounter the stunningly diverse terrain that sits below the rim. Wind your way through unique hoodoos, fairytale arches, and grand vistas before climbing the canyon’s other side. Here, you’ll get a striking view of the Sinking Ship Mesa, a huge formation that looks just like a sinking ship.

 

As you exit the canyon, you’ll pass the trail junction to Tower Bridge. This is a great spot to rest your legs, grab a snack, and enjoy an impressive “bottom-up” view of the canyon. From here, it’s a quick 1.5-mile trek back to the rim, where you’ll have a stunning view of China Wall to your left.

 

Fairyland Loop is the longest trail in the park and is considered strenuous thanks to multiple steep climbs and sharp descents along the way. It takes about 3.5 hours to complete, so plan your day accordingly before striking out on this magical journey!

 

Tip: You can hike Fairyland Loop from either direction at Fairyland Point. Keep in mind that if you hike clockwise, your climb out of the canyon will be short but steep; take it counterclockwise for a longer but gradual ascent.

 

After a day spent trekking through the park, your legs (and lungs) are sure to be burning. Rest both at one of our comfortable and convenient rentals right near the park! If you can’t get enough of the canyon’s scenic beauty, Under The Rim is a luxurious 3-bedroom cabin just 3 miles from the park that offers stunning views of the canyon rim from your back deck.

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