Hiking Queens Garden Trail, Rim Trail, Peekaboo Trail, and Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Note to my fellow wanderers: This guide was written from my first-hand experiences. I try my best not to over-glamorize any location I travel to because I want HappyWander’s content to be as authentic as possible. My goal is to provide you real information so that you can have the best possible adventures wandering the world. Enjoy!

With snow-capped mountains, vast canyons, and a certain vastness not found in many places, Utah is quickly becoming one of my favorite states. Bryce Canyon is certainly a part of that magic due to its unique geological formations known as hoodoos, which are spire-shaped rock formations created by erosion over millions of years, along with its vibrant colors, stunning vistas, and diverse landscapes that create a mesmerizing and otherworldly environment. When I arrived, it felt like a new world had opened up for me. I was in a state of shock seeing this place covered in snow. This was my first view:

Overview of Queens Garden Trail, Rim Trail, Peekabook Trail, and Navajo Loop Trail

Located in Southern Utah more towards the middle, Bryce Canyon is one  you don’t want to skip. Zion National Park gets the most hype I feel like, but as for hikes go, Bryce is super fun and unique. Nearly every turn you encounter something new and exciting. In this section, I’ll help answer several frequently asked questions you may have yourself.

Bryce Canyon Elevation Map

This is a map (via alltrails.com) of the route I did.

Where to Park

To start this hike, I parked at Sunset point parking area. In early March there were plenty of spots in this area. I won’t call it a parking lot, because it’s a round about with parking spots around the entire perimeter.

Here is the address:

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunset Point,
Sunset Pt Rd, Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764

Distance Traveled

According to Alltrails.com, I traveled 6.14 miles, which seemed about right. I combined several hikes into one, which was one of the better decisions I made. Most people seemed to only hike the first loop (see map above), so the 2nd loop (Peekaboo Loop Trail) was nearly empty.

How Long Does it Take to Hike?

I arrived at around 1:00 PM after driving from Vegas (about 4 and a half hours, plus the 1 hour time change). I finished the hike around 4:30 PM, totaling about 3.5 hours. This gave me enough time to stretch and get into position to view the sunset, which was a bit underwhelming because the direction the sun sets in relation to Bryce Canyon. However, the sunrise is a gamechanger here! You can view my Bryce Canyon Sunrise adventure to learn where I posted up for some of the best sunrise views I’ve ever seen.

Elevation Change

According to Alltrails.com, you climb 1457 feet of elevation, which is spread out pretty well. The only steep areas I experienced were the 2 switchbacks, especially the 2nd one going through Navajo Loop Trail back to Sunset Point. Unfortunately Wall Street was closed for the season due to a collapse somewhere along the way.

Bryce Canyon Elevation Map

Queens Garden Trail, Rim Trail, Peekabook Trail, and Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park elevation profile (via alltrails.com)

Difficulty

If you exercise regularly this hike is not too difficult. Be sure to wear the right shoes, specifically waterproof boots for the snow and mud. If you hike this one in the summer, you still may experience some mud after a rain, making the trail somewhat slippery. That being said, it’s not that difficult of a hike. The switchbacks will make you work hard and you’ll most likely be out of breath at the top.

Overall, I’d give this hike a 7.5 / 10 in difficulty.

Permits

You will need to purchase a pass into the park, but there are no permits for this hike.

Cost

You’ll need to pay to enter Bryce Canyon National Park, which as of March 2024, is $35. I’d recommend purchasing the national parks pass that will allow you to visit all national parks in the United States in 2024 as many times as you’d like for $80 (as of March 2024).

When to Go

This park is open year round. I loved going in early March due to the snow, which I think adds even more beauty to this already amazing hike. In addition, the off season will bring fewer people to the park, so if you enjoy you space and being in more solitude on your adventure, go in the off season. I think any time of the year is a great time to go to Bryce Canyon, so don’t let timing turn you away.

Recommended Gear

Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park is a great hiking experience. I’ll highlight the gear that I brought in early March, as well as additional gear that might benefit you:

  • Layers: Depending on the weather, I’d recommend wearing layers. thermal pants and a thermal long sleeve, as well as a pair of waterproof athletic pants, and a light jacket. I also brought a pair of thin gloves for my hands. My body temperature tends to run hot on hikes, so I didn’t wear super warm clothing. However, if you stay for sunset, it got quite cold and I found myself shivering. My hands were absolutely freezing (to the point of pain) while watching the sunrise, even with gloves. So I’d recommend bringing layers, and maybe even an extra pair of gloves (You had an extra pair of gloves this whole time? Yeah, we’re in the Rockies).
  • Hiking backpack with straps: If you don’t have a backpack with straps, I recommend you get one. They aren’t too expensive on Amazon. Your shoulders and back will thank you later. This hike, while not difficult, still has some ups and downs that can pay your body a toll without the proper gear.
  • Portable charger: If you take a lot of photos / videos like me, you’ll want to bring a portable charger for your phone. I also use the alltrails.com app to navigate so having enough battery is important.
  • Water bladder: If you want to save on weight and also help your backpack be more balanced than carrying a big bottle of water in your bag, a water bladder is important. I personally use a 3L water bladder and I drank about half of it on this hike. This hike was in relatively cold weather (20s – 40s) so I didn’t need as much water as you will if you go in warmer weather.
  • Hiking shoes: Hiking shoes that are waterproof will benefit you if you go in on this trail. There was quite a bit of snow and mud on the trail when I went, as well as rough terrain that can hurt your feet if you don’t have the proper footwear.
  • Snacks: Who doesn’t like snacks? While hiking, even on a short hike like this, you burn lots of calories. My personal go-to’s on this hike were: Honey roasted peanuts, gummy bears, and protein bars.
  • Bug spray: I didn’t experience bugs on this hike, so this wasn’t really needed. However, you may want to use some just in case, especially in summer.
  • First aid kit: It’s a good idea to bring Band-Aids, a bandage, and some cut cleaning items. I have needed band-aids in the past from slipping on rocks, but I did not on this hike. I did fall, but it was safely in the padded snow on a trail while taking a video.
  • Sunscreen: While a good portion of this hike is shaded in the trees, there are some areas where you’ll be exposed to sun. I used sunscreen on this hike, even in winter.
  • Flashlight: If you go anytime near sunset, I’d recommend having a flashlight.

Nice to Have Gear:

Here are a few items that would make your Bryce Canyon hiking experience even better:

  • Shoe impact insoles: These can help as you traverse hard rocks along the way.
  • Phone tripod: If you go alone or with a group and want great pictures, a phone tripod is key. I use one on every hike I go on. You may not need to use one very often because there were quite a few people on this trail that you could ask to take a picture for you.

The Play By Play: My Route Hiking Queens Garden Trail, Rim Trail, Peekaboo Trail, and Navajo Loop Trail

So what’s it like hiking Queens Garden Trail, Rim Trail, Peekaboo Trail, and Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park? Read my hiking guide play by play below:

Parking Area

In the offseason in early March when I went, there was plenty of parking. The nice thing about this national park compared to others I’ve been to is the well thought-out and spacious parking round-abouts in some of the sections (others have traditional parking lots, but it’s still very easy to navigate). There is also a nice bathroom in the center of the parking area, which was very convenient after driving 4 hours to get to Bryce Canyon!

Rim Trail

Almost immediately after leaving the parking lot, you’ll start the hike around the Rim Trail, and what a view! I was quite blown away and excited to be at Bryce Canyon after seeing this view:

One fellow hiker I did not know asked me “why are you smiling?” and I said “I’m just so thrilled to be here today.” The Rim Trail pretty much treks along the Northwest side of this hike until you reach Queens Garden Trail.

Queens Garden Trail

Queens Garden Trail is the first time on this hike you’ll start to zig and zag through some of the hoodoos and canyons.

The weather the day I hiked Bryce Canyon was sunny and chill, but absolutely fantastic hiking weather:

This trail extends all the way back to Sunset Point (via Rim Trail), which is where I started. However, I took the Tropic Trail on the South side to connect to Peekaboo Loop Trail, which adds another 3+ miles. You’ll have plenty of great spots to take photos, like this one:

Tropic Trail

Tropic Trail is a small trail with little incline that connects the two loops of Queens Garden Trail and Peekaboo Loop Trail. This is the section that was pretty empty when I went as most people continued on Queens Garden Trail back to Sunset Point. The snow was beautiful in this part of the hike:

 

Peekaboo Loop Trail

When I was researching Bryce Canyon hikes, I didn’t read too much about Peekaboo Loop Trail. The more popular Wall Street and Queens Garden Trail get a lion’s share of the attention it seems like, but Peekaboo is vastly underrated, especially the 2nd half of it if you go clockwise. On the West side of this trail, the magic happens. Here is a section I enjoyed that shows you various cut-out holes in the canyon, which probably has something do with the name Peekaboo?

Continuing onward, you’ll encounter the first of the big switchbacks, which leads to a great view:

Finally, I want to show you my absolute favorite section of this trail. It is located in between 2 canyon walls, with an epic view of the Hoodoos:

I stayed here for 15 minutes and declared it “my spot.” So you may do the same once you see it for yourself.

Navajo Loop Trail

So, Navajo Loop Trail was not my first choice to get back to Sunset Point. However, Bryce Canyon closed the final section of the Queens Garden Trail that includes the Wall Street section. I was thinking about ignoring the sign but I talked to a few hikers and they told me that there had been a collapse earlier in the winter season, which completely messed up the trail. So Navajo Loop Trail it was!

Similar to Wall Street, there is a giant set of switchbacks on this trail. It seems like almost the entire trail is uphill, so get ready for some cardio. This portion of the hike is also beautiful, zig zagging through parts of the canyon as you make your way to higher elevation:

One of the last portions of this trail is the giant switchbacks at the end that lead you up to Sunset Point. I was huffing and puffing the entire way up, it’s deceptively steep and probably one of the hardest parts of this entire hike. But once again, the hard work pays off with an epic view at the end.

I did stay until sunset after the hike, but was a tad disappointed with the sunset. I thought given the name “Sunset Point” that the sunset would be epic, but since the views face the East, it should be renamed to Sunrise Point. Here is what it looked like:

Sunset at Bryce Canyon National Park

You can read more on my sunset spot at Bryce Canyon.

 

After Hike Dinner

After hiking Queens Garden Trail, Rim Trail, Peekaboo Trail, and Navajo Loop Trail, I was in need of some major calories (especially since this was day 1 of 3 hikes I’d do around Utah and California).

I went to Pizza Place located at 21 N Main St, Tropic, UT 84776, which is about 10 miles outside the park. I ordered 1 large pizza with bacon and pepperoni, as well as a cheese bread that came with ranch and tomato dipping sauces. I managed to eat half of both, but threw the leftovers in the fridge for lunch the next day before my next hike at Zion National Park.

Pizza Place at Bryce Canyon National Park

There aren’t many options for food, but Pizza Place is well worth the drive to order a take out or sit down in. I was a big fan of their pizza, and highly recommend if you need calories to go here. Strangely at the time, their phone number wasn’t working so I just drove out hoping they’d be open. Great decision!

About My Experience Hiking at Bryce Canyon National Park

Overall, hiking at Bryce Canyon National Park was great. This was one of my favorite hikes ever, it’s just so unique. If you live anywhere in the world without red canyons, this hike will be special for you. Add in some snow, and you have yourself a winter wonderland adventure. Below I’ll highlight some of my favorite parts, as well as some of my least favorite parts of this hike.

Favorite Parts

Here are a few of my favorite parts of hiking Queens Garden Trail, Rim Trail, Peekaboo Trail, and Navajo Loop Trail:

The Views:

Right from the start at the parking lot, the views are amazing. Every time you are required to climb a switchback, it opens up to a new view, which is definitely a morale booster.

The Peekaboo Loop Trail:

Apparently not many people hike this second loop. I saw hundreds of people doing the main loop at Queens Garden Trail, but only 4 or 5 doing Peekaboo Loop Trail. I loved the solitude of hiking on this trial, but the views are underrated. There is one specific opening that was probably my favorite of the entire hike. I recall it’s past the midpoint of the Peekaboo Loop going clockwise. I posted a video of this section above.

Least Favorite Parts

Here is my least favorite part of this hike:

Wall Street Closed:

I was disappointed to learn that Wall Street was closed for the season due to a collapse that blocked the trail somewhere past Wall Street. I was excited about this portion of the hike as it’s a highly sought after section of hiking in Bryce Canyon. Perhaps next time!

Other than that, I wasn’t disappointed by much!

Overall Score

First of all, Bryce Canyon is stunning. The orangish/reddish hoodoos (I think that is the name) stunning. When I went in March, there was an added brilliance of white snow, which sharply contrasted the hoodoos. I give this trail a 9.7 / 10 for its unique beauty. I loved every moment on this hike.

Final Thoughts on Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah

Bryce Canyon is a magical place. It’s quite far from “civilization” except for the small town outside the park. I loved that aspect of this adventure, being out in nature is one of the greatest gifts we have on Earth. If you enjoy wandering in nature with epic views and something new at every turn, I highly recommend hiking Bryce Canyon National Park. If you’re staying overnight nearby, be sure to go see the sunrise, you won’t regret it.

Happy wandering to you!

Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Hello! Welcome to HappyWanders! My name is Anthony, I'm on a mission to live a life full of adventure and to help you to do the same. As an ex-corporate worker and current entrepreneur, I've been working to design a life with more time for adventure and less time for the 9-5 grind. If you're ready for an adventure, you're my type of person!

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