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Maybe you’re conversant in the enduring orange and pink hoodoos scattered throughout the valley of Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park in Southern Utah. If you’re quick on time and need to expertise these hoodoos up shut on a scenic, average day hike, take a look at the Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path.

The Navajo Loop Path and Queens Backyard Path are technically two separate trails, however they’re typically mixed right into a single loop hike that has turn into the most well-liked hike in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park. The Navajo Loop Path options iconic switchbacks and views of the Thor’s Hammer hoodoo, whereas the Queens Backyard Path is thought for its panoramic views of the Bryce Amphitheater with hoodoos and spires so far as the attention can see.

This was my first hike in Bryce Canyon after I visited in 2023, and I LOVED this path! It was an fulfilling day hike that by no means felt too difficult, and I favored climbing amongst the hoodoos that make Bryce such a singular place.

On this submit, I share all the pieces you have to learn about climbing the Bryce Canyon Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path that can assist you plan your hike and know what to anticipate on the path.

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Essential Reminder: Because it goes in the entire locations we share, please apply good path etiquette and bear in mind to Depart No Hint. This implies packing out your whole rubbish (together with rest room paper), being respectful to others, and following the established guidelines.

Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path Fundamentals

These stats are for the Navajo Loop Path by way of the Two Bridges path to Queens Backyard Path. It’s attainable to take the Navajo Loop Path by way of the Wall Road route as an alternative of Two Bridges; nevertheless, this part of the path is closed for repairs by way of Memorial Day of 2024 and through the winter season.

Path Fundamentals

  • Distance: 3.0 miles
  • Kind: Loop
  • Elevation Acquire: 652 toes
  • Time: 1.5-2 hours
  • Issue: Average
  • Trailhead: Sundown or Dawn Level
  • Map: AllTrails

Greatest Time of 12 months to Hike the Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path

Like different trails in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, the Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path hike is open year-round, which means you’ll be able to benefit from the path in all forms of climate. The finest time to go to Bryce Canyon relies on what sort of expertise you’re in search of.

Spring and fall are nice occasions to discover Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park as a result of there tends to be cooler climate and fewer folks on the paths.

It’s also magical to hike this path within the winter to see the colourful orange hoodoos with a recent layer of snow on prime of them. If you happen to hike the Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path within the winter, carry traction units (I exploit Kahtoola MICROspikes) because the path can get icy and slick.

Summer time months (June by way of September) are the busiest time of yr to go to Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park. If you happen to go to throughout this time, be ready for crowded trails. Put on correct solar safety and carry loads of water as there are uncovered sections.

View of hoodoos in the Bryce Amphitheater from the Rim Trail with a blue sky and clouds.
View of the Bryce Amphitheater on a cloudy day in October / Photograph Credit score: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

Attending to the Trailhead

To hike the Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path, you’ll be able to park within the parking zone for both Dawn Level or Sundown Level (and begin the hike from both level). Sundown Level has restrooms with a water-fill station open year-round, whereas Dawn Level has a Normal Retailer close to the parking zone with snacks.

There isn’t any different good thing about parking at or beginning the hike at Sundown Level versus Dawn Level. You will notice the views from every lookout level through the hike.

After coming into Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, comply with the primary street a few mile previous the customer heart. You will notice an indication to show left into the parking zone for Dawn Level. If this lot is full otherwise you unintentionally miss the flip, comply with the street one other half mile to the left flip for the Sundown Level parking zone.

If you happen to desire to not drive, another choice is to take the free park shuttle. It runs each 10-Quarter-hour from April to October from 8:00 a.m. to six:00 p.m. with prolonged hours within the summertime. You may park at varied areas in Bryce Canyon Metropolis and board the shuttle with proof of a park entry move. You can even catch the shuttle from a number of factors contained in the park together with the Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park Customer Heart, which has a big parking zone.

The outside of the General Store in Bryce Canyon National Park near sunrise point.
If you happen to park at Dawn Level, you’ll be able to swing by the Normal Retailer to seize a snack for the hike

What’s a Hoodoo?

The spiky, tall rock formations throughout Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park are known as hoodoos. A hoodoo is a tall spire shaped by way of compression and erosion. The Earth’s motion compressed and twisted the sandstone, inflicting it to crack into teams of tall blocks.

Water, ice, and wind erode the cracks within the blocks. Water thins the edges of the blocks, and holes kind of their heart. Because the erosion continues, the tops of those holes crumble.

Most erosion in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park outcomes from “frost wedging,” which happens when rain accumulates, freezes, and expands within the cracks of the rocks, creating even bigger cracks. This course of finally leads to the formation of tall spires known as hoodoos. 

Hoodoos along the Queens Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park with a tunnel inside of a fin.
Hoodoos alongside the Queens Backyard Path with a tunnel inside a hoodoo fin / Photograph Credit score: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

Navajo Loop Path Options

There are notable path options alongside the Bryce Canyon Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path to admire throughout your hike. These options will help you gauge your distance and supply good stopping factors for photographs and breaks.

As defined within the tip part under, I made a decision to start out at Dawn Level and hike the Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path counterclockwise. I describe the options in that order.

As a substitute of following the Navajo Loop Path as described by way of the switchbacks resulting in Two Bridges, you’ll be able to take the Wall Road department of the Navajo Loop Path. It’s the solely slot canyon in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park. There’s one other set of well-known switchbacks alongside this part of the Navajo Loop.

As of January 2024, the Wall Road department is closed on account of path harm, however it’s anticipated to reopen by Memorial Day 2024. This department can also be sometimes closed throughout winter months on account of ice.

Mile 0 – Dawn Level

From the highest of Dawn Level, you’ll be able to see a number of hoodoo formations akin to Boat Mesa, the Sinking Ship, and the Aquarius Plateau. With related views to Sundown Level, each spots are nice locations to catch a dawn or a sundown in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park. The solar illuminates the hoodoos with beautiful hues of darkish orange and purple.

Mile 0.5 – Sundown Level

Strolling alongside the Rim Path from Dawn Level to Sundown Level, you will notice quite a few hoodoos generally known as the Silent Metropolis. You can even see the enduring Thor’s Hammer hoodoo (talked about under). It’s the solely dog-friendly portion of the path, so you may even see a number of folks strolling their canines on leashes.

View of Thor's Hammer hoodoo from Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park.
View of Thor’s Hammer Hoodoo from Sundown Level / Photograph Credit score: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

Mile 0.5Thor’s Hammer

Arguably essentially the most well-known hoodoo in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, Thor’s Hammer hoodoo stands tall in its glory. You may see this hoodoo from the Rim Path close to Sundown Level, and you too can get a better view of it from the primary few switchbacks talked about under throughout your descent of the Navajo Loop Path.

Mile 0.8Switchbacks

You’ll descend a sequence of steep switchbacks surrounded by towering canyon partitions. Watch out to not go too quick – in accordance with the Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park web site, most accidents occur whereas strolling down this preliminary part of the Navajo Loop Path. If you happen to take the Wall Road part, you’ll encounter a unique set of switchbacks there main into the slot canyon.

Mile 1.0Two Bridges

After descending the switchbacks, you will notice an indication for Two Bridges. Because the title states, these are two pure bridges, one above the opposite. From this characteristic to Queens Backyard, you’ll hike amongst pine timber on a comparatively flat trek by way of the Bryce Canyon Valley flooring.

Mile 2.1Queens Backyard & Queen Victoria

The Queens Backyard is a brief, 0.1-mile offshoot from the loop, that includes an abundance of hoodoos and the Queen Victoria Hoodoo. Chances are you’ll skip this characteristic and proceed on the loop, however it’s value deviating a number of further steps. The Queen Victoria Hoodoo is among the prime three most well-known hoodoos in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, and it appears similar to a queen on her throne!

Queen Victoria hoodoo in the Queens Garden section of the Queens Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park. There is a blue sky and clouds in the background.
The Queen Victoria hoodoo within the Queens Backyard / Photograph Credit score: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

Mile 2.3Tunnels

You’re going to get to stroll beneath three pure tunnels by way of hoodoo fins throughout this hike, the primary of which you’ll encounter simply after the Queens Backyard. These tunnels are considered one of my favourite options of this path. The tunnels are quick, and most of the people squat to stroll beneath them. They solely require a number of strides to stroll by way of.

Mile 2.6ET Hoodoo

Referencing the well-known film E.T. the Further-Terrestrial, the ET Hoodoo is a big, white hoodoo recognized for its distinctive form. You’ll proceed to climb uphill from right here again to Dawn Level. This part is most troublesome when climbing counterclockwise, so take breaks as wanted.

ET Hoodoo along the Queens Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park.
The ET Hoodoo on the Queens Backyard Path / Photograph Credit score: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

Quick on time? Listed below are choices to shorten the hike:

  • Hike the Navajo Loop Path: This 1.5-mile loop is a average hike with an elevation achieve of 515 toes. You will notice Sundown Level, Thor’s Hammer Hoodoo, Two Bridges, and the Wall Road slot canyon and encounter two units of switchbacks. Ensure you plan this hike for when the Wall Road route is open through the spring, summer season, and fall.
  • Hike the Queens Backyard Path: If you wish to see the epic views of the hoodoos and Queens Backyard however don’t need to cope with the switchbacks of the Navajo Loop Path, this can be the perfect route for you. The Queens Backyard Path is a 2.1-mile out-and-back average hike with an elevation achieve of 459 toes. You will notice Dawn Level, ET Hoodoo, Queens Backyard, Queen Victoria Hoodoo, and stroll by way of the three tunnels.

Ideas for Mountain climbing the Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path

The Bryce Canyon Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path hike is comparatively straightforward to average. I like to recommend it for first-time guests as a place to begin for exploring Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park. The following tips will aid you get essentially the most out of this hike!

Hike the path counterclockwise

Because the path types a loop, you’ll be able to hike it clockwise or counterclockwise. Some critiques suggest climbing clockwise as you get epic views of the valley whereas progressively descending the path from Dawn Level.

Nevertheless, I strongly suggest climbing the path counterclockwise to keep away from ending your hike with the steep switchbacks on the Navajo Loop Path. I noticed many hikers of all skills battle to ascend these switchbacks and heard them say they want they might have taken the opposite course.

However, when you’ve got unhealthy knees, it’s possible you’ll take into account climbing the path clockwise for that reason, since descending the switchbacks may very well be laborious in your knees.

People walking on switchbacks along the Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Hikers on a switchback part of the Navajo Loop Path / Photograph Credit score: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

Making ready on your hike

  • What to Carry: Though this hike is comparatively quick at 3 miles, it is very important pack the 10 day climbing necessities, together with loads of water, snacks, and solar safety. There’s nowhere to refill your water on the path as soon as you start the hike, and there are uncovered stretches.
  • Begin Early: I like to recommend beginning your hike earlier than 8:00 a.m., particularly in the summertime. It should aid you to keep away from the crowds and the mid-day warmth.
  • Be Conscious of the Altitude: Bryce Canyon has the very best elevation out of all of Utah’s Mighty 5 Nationwide Parks, with this park sitting above 7,400 toes. Whereas altitude illness isn’t a giant threat, you’ll need to ensure you are hydrated, and if you’re coming from sea stage, you would possibly end up extra out of breath than standard.
  • Put together for the Climate: By way of garments, put on layers and put together for surprising climate. Though I started my hike with clear circumstances, the sky rapidly remodeled from blue skies into storm clouds all through my hike. I used to be grateful to have my rain jacket with me in case.
  • Path Circumstances: Put on breathable climbing footwear or boots with good traction to keep away from slipping on unfastened rock scree. Within the winter, you’ll want to carry traction units because the path may be icy and slippery.
  • Cell Service: The path is fairly easy to comply with and has signage on the place to go. Nevertheless, since there may be restricted cell service in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, I like to recommend downloading a path map earlier than you enter the park to be secure.

Follow good path etiquette

Be courteous to the atmosphere and your fellow hikers by following correct climbing path etiquette. Hikers going uphill all the time have the fitting of approach. That is particularly vital to recollect on the steep switchback part of the Navajo Loop path, as this space tends to get fairly congested with folks.

Bear in mind to keep on the designated path. Though the hoodoos and rocks are fairly, don’t contact them. Not solely can it trigger harm to the formations, it can lead to a hefty fantastic from the Nationwide Park Service.

Tunnel inside the fin of a hoodoo along the Queens Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Tunnel within the fin of a hoodoo alongside Queens Backyard Path / Photograph Credit score: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path Packing Record

For a full record of what to pack, take a look at this record of Day Mountain climbing Necessities.

The primary items of drugs you’ll need for climbing the Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path embrace:

  • Daypack with a 3L hydration reservoir. Bear in mind to start out your hike with loads of water since you can not refill alongside the path. You may fill your water on the water-fill station close to the restrooms on the Sundown Level parking zone.
  • A solar hat such because the Wallaroo Sedona Hat (BFT readers get 20% off with the code “BEARFOOT20”)
  • Loads of sunscreen
  • Buff to guard your neck from the solar
  • Rain jacket in case of storms
  • Mountain climbing snacks to munch on throughout breaks
  • Collapsible trekking poles – these will assist relieve pressure in your knees on the switchbacks and aid you preserve your stability on unfastened rocks
  • Grippy climbing footwear – I like to recommend climbing boots or footwear with good traction to offer stability
  • Traction units akin to MICROspikes when you’re climbing in snowy or icy circumstances

Need to discover Bryce Canyon much more? Take a look at these assets:

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Have you ever hiked the Navajo Loop and Queens Backyard Path in Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park? What was your expertise like? What suggestions would you add? Depart a remark under!



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