3 Trails, 6 Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park (They’re All You Need)

Utah’s magnificent wind- and water-sculpted landscapes are unlike any other on earth. From deep canyons to towering pillars, from awesome arches to wide valleys, they have the power to enchant every visitor—to put a spell on anyone who decides to explore them on foot.

Bryce Canyon National Park, especially, is best seen from its trails. Although you can certainly drive the park’s scenic drive and walk the panoramic Rim Trail, you’re encouraged to go for a longer, more strenuous and more beautiful hike. Descending from the rim is what you’re encouraged to do and the three hiking trails in Bryce Canyon Canyon National Park outlined in this post are how to do it.

Hiker in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Out-of-This-World Landscapes

The highest of all Utah national parks, Bryce Canyon forms the upper step of what’s known as the Grand Staircase. This vast part of the Colorado Plateau is sculpted by water and characterized by canyons, river systems, rock formations and valleys.

The name “Grand Staircase” is appropriate. When looking at a down-scaled cross-section of the Colorado Plateau, you can see the different “steps” of this giant natural staircase of rock. Bryce Canyon is the highest level, its elevation between 8,000 and 9,000 feet (2,400 and 2,700 meters). Going down, you’ll pass successively through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Zion National Park and Grand Canyon National Park, which is the lowest step of the Grand Staircase.

This, in other words, is a region of absolute natural magnificence.

Just think about all those awesome U.S. national parks, all squeezed together within easy driving distance from one another.

3 Trails, 6 Different Hikes

With its total area of 56 square miles (145 km²), Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the smaller national parks in America. Its relatively small size makes it a great park for a day trip. Often combined with nearby parks like Zion and/or Grand Canyon, this is one of the most visited parks in the system.

Just like in those neighboring national parks in Utah and Arizona, the best way to experience the amazing (and otherworldly) landscapes in Bryce Canyon is hiking. Strap on some sturdy boots—consider bringing crampons, too, if you’re not visiting in summer. Fill up your water bottle and go explore.


Further Reading:


Bryce Amphitheater, Bryce Canyon Hiking Trails, Utah

Note that, although its name has the word “canyon” in it, this isn’t actually a canyon at all.

Instead of canyons, the park’s landscapes consist of several natural amphitheaters, filled with rock formations, situated on the edge of a desert plateau. The flowing water that creates the deep canyons elsewhere in the region isn’t present in Bryce Canyon. However, water still is the sculptor in the park. Over countless centuries, it has chiseled the park’s iconic rock formations through chemical weathering and a physical event called “frost-wedging”.

The majority of hiking trails in Bryce Canyon National Park are in and around Bryce Amphitheater, the park’s largest and most famous natural amphitheater. This is its absolute star attraction and focal point, the place where you’ll find most of the hoodoos that so typify the park. Bryce Amphitheater is home to hundreds upon hundreds of these towering, narrow pinnacles and pillars of red rock. It’s a surreal sight, really.

If you’re spending a day in Bryce Canyon National Park, I strongly encourage you to hit the following three trails. You can hike these three Bryce Amphitheater trails individually or combine them in whatever way you please. They intersect, which offers you excellent opportunities for longer and more challenging hikes.

Separately and combined, they add up to six different hikes for you to choose from.

These three awesome hiking trails in Bryce Canyon National Park allow you to explore Bryce Amphitheater up-close and in-depth. The detailed map and trail information below show you exactly how you can link these Bryce Canyon trails together.


Bryce Amphitheater Area Map


Bryce Canyon Hikes – 3 Individual Trails


Navajo Loop Trail (Yellow)

Two Bridges in Bryce Canyon National Park

This short but spectacular trail passes by Thor’s Hammer, one of the most famous rock formations in the park. Make no mistake, though. The Navajo Loop Trail iss very steep in certain sections. When hiked in a clockwise direction, the last part of this moderate hike involves climbing no fewer than fifteen switchbacks. Other notable highlights on the way are Two Bridges and Wall Street.

  • Distance: 1.3 miles (2.2 kilometers), loop
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Trailhead: Sunset Point

Queens Garden Trail (Blue)

Queens Garden, Bryce Canyon National Park

The Queens Garden Trail is the easiest trail into Bryce Amphitheater. Starting from Sunrise Point, it leads you alongside hoodoos to Queen Victoria, a striking hoodoo. Because of its shortness and low grade of steepness, this easy hike is the best hike into the canyon for small children. (The trail continues past Queens Garden until it connects with the Navajo Loop Trail.)

  • Distance: 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometers), to Queen Victoria and back
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Trailhead: Sunrise Point

Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail (Red)

Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail, Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park

Of all hiking trails in Bryce Canyon National Park, this is my personal favorite. Its decent length and challenging aspects, combined with a variety of scenery and terrain, including the striking Wall of Windows, make this a superb day hike. Note that the descent into and ascent back out of the heart of Bryce Amphitheater is quite steep, which is why this trail is classified as strenuous.

  • Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometers), loop
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: strenuous
  • Trailhead: Bryce Point

Bryce Canyon Hikes – 3 Trail Combinations


Queens Garden/Navajo Loop (Yellow/Blue)

Sunset at Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon National Park

The combination of the Queens Garden and Navajo Loop Trails is the most popular hike in Bryce Canyon. This great hike also includes a section of the Rim Trail, specifically the scenic stroll between Sunrise and Sunset Points.

  • Distance: 2.9 miles (4.6 kilometers), loop
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Trailhead: Sunrise or Sunset Point
  • Made up of: Queens Garden and Navajo Loop Trails

Navajo/Peek-a-Boo Combination (Yellow/Red)

Wall of Windows, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Starting from Sunset Point, this hike links the Navajo Loop and Peek-a-Boo Trails, creating a mini-figure 8. It takes you past a number of striking rock formations, including Thor’s Hammer, the Wall of Windows and Two Bridges.

  • Distance: 4.9 miles (7.8 kilometers), double loop
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: strenuous
  • Trailhead: Sunset Point
  • Made up of: Navajo Loop and Peek-a-Boo Trails

Figure 8 Combination (Yellow/Red/Blue)

Thor's Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

The ultimate of all day hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park, the so-called “Figure 8 Combination” combines all three individual trails outlined above. This sensational loop hike takes in essentially all major highlights in Bryce Amphitheater.

  • Distance: 6.4 miles (10.2 kilometers), double loop
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: strenuous
  • Trailhead: Sunrise or Sunset Point
  • Made up of: Queens Garden, Navajo Loop and Peek-a-Boo Trails

The Figure 8 Combination is arguably the best of all hiking trails in Bryce Canyon National Park. However, note that, to see the same highlights, it’s also possible to do the above-mentioned Queens/Navajo Loop Trail and Peek-a-Boo Trail separately, which is what I did during my visit.

I hiked the Peek-a-Boo Trail in the late-afternoon and the Queens/Navajo Loop Trail the following morning.

Peek-A-Boo Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park Hikes


Travel Guides

You can find tons more information in these recommended travel guides. Check them out, they’re always handy to have with you when visiting these kinds of places.


My Hiking Gear


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Have You Hiked Any of These Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park? I’d Love to Hear About Your Experiences in the Comments Below!

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