Navajo Loop Trail
If you’ve only got a limited time to hike in Bryce Canyon National Park, the Navajo Loop trail is a must do. Stepping over the rim, hikers are immediately greeted by the tallest hoodoo in the park, Thor’s Hammer. Continuing down the right side of the trail, look down the dizzying switchbacks descending into Wall Street. As you wind your way down, the walls rise around you until you reach the near-subterranean bottom. Sunlight and centuries old douglas fir trees greet hikers coming from the dark and gloom of wall street. Soon you will reach the junction of the Peekaboo Loop Spur, and the Queen’s Garden connector trail. Don’t forget to take a picture with the ‘Hike the Hoodoos’ benchmark. The Navajo Loop Trail continues around the palisades of Wall Street to Two Bridges alcove. This trail is quite popular and showcases some of the best hoodoos in the park.
Getting to the Navajo Loop Trailhead
The Navajo Loop is most easily accessed from the Sunset Point parking area. Visitors can take the Park Shuttle, or their personal vehicles to the parking area. To reach the Sunset Point Parking area from the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park, drive 1.2 miles south on UT-63 from the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center. Take a left on the Sunset Point Road. Parking can fill up during the busy summer months, so get there early or ride the Park Shuttle. The Navajo Loop Trailhead is located a short distance from the parking area at the rim of Bryce Canyon.
3 Best Ways to Hike the Navajo Loop Trail
There are multiple options for hiking Bryce Canyon National Park’s amazing loop trails.
Below are the best options for day hiking the Navajo Loop Trail:
|Navajo Loop||1.3 mi||500 ft||Moderate||Loop|
|Navajo Loop to Queen’s Garden||2.5 mi||600 ft||Moderate||Loop|
|Navajo/Peekaboo Loop||4.5 mi||1400 ft||Strenuous||Loop|
1. Navajo Loop (Counter Clockwise)
Although neither side is really a cake walk, hiking the Navajo Loop counter clockwise is the way to go. Most other hikers take the loop clockwise placing the uphill portion of the hike in Wall Street. Honestly, it is tough to enjoy the immensity of it when your lungs and legs are on fire. Descending into the void of this seemingly bottomless chasm helps solidify just how monstrous these walls are. Secondly, there are a few excellent rest breaks if you hike uphill on the north leg of the Navajo Loop. Two Bridges, the expansive vistas of Bryce Valley and beyond, and Thor’s Hammer are perfect excuses to stop and take in some much needed oxygen. To hike this loop, go right at the fork just below the rim, descend through Wall Street, then stay left at the junction at the bottom of the canyon.
2. Navajo Loop to Queen’s Garden
This popular loop connection is perfect for an intermediate distance hike. Connecting the Navajo and Queen’s Garden trails also treats hikers to the real flavor of Bryce Canyon National Park. Stop just below the rim for a bird’s eye view of the tallest hoodoo in Bryce Canyon, the 150 foot tall Thor’s Hammer. Next, take the right fork in the trail down through the dizzying switchbacks of Wall Street. Now for the crux of this loop; take a left at the major junction at the bottom of the canyon. The trail is well-signed, and if you find yourself immediately travelling uphill, just turn around at Two Bridges and act like you knew where to go all along. The Queen’s Garden connector will take you directly to the court of the Queen. A steep uphill hike will bring you back to the rim at Sunrise Point.
3. Navajo/Peekaboo Loop
For a longer distance hike, you can’t beat the figure 8 loop of the Navajo/Peekaboo Trail. To begin this loop, take a right at the first fork below the rim and make the stunning descent through the bowels of Wall Street. Then, take the connector trail to the right at the major junction at the bottom of the canyon. This Connector will bring you to the Peekaboo Loop. Left or right, it’s time to choose your own adventure from here. Heads up, the horseback rides take the loop clockwise, so counter clockwise is the less dusty option. You can choose to take the steep one mile uphill spur to Bryce Point and ride the Park Shuttle back as an alternative to completing the full Peekaboo Loop. If you choose to finish the loop, take the connector trail back to the Navajo Trail and complete the full circuit.
Maximize Your Visit to Bryce Canyon National Park on a Hiking Tour
Guided day hike tours and multi-day packages allow visitors the opportunity to make the most of their time in Bryce Canyon National Park and to do it hassle-free. Guided tours include gear (backpack, trekking poles, crampons in winter), meals, accommodations on multi-day tours, local transportation, and a professional Utah hiking guide. Through their knowledge, stories, and personal passion, guides can bring a place to life in a way that’s much more difficult to do on your own. Read more about Bryce Canyon National Park.
3 Day Hikes Near Navajo Loop Trail
Want to see more of Bryce Canyon National Park’s amazing hoodoos? Check out these other terrific nearby hikes.
|Queen’s Garden Trail||2-3 mi||400-600 ft||Moderate||Out and Back or Loop|
|Rim Trail||5.5 mi||300 ft||Moderate||Thru-Hike|
|Tower Bridge Trail||3.5 mi||800 ft||Moderate||Out and Back|
1.Queen’s Garden Trail
The Queen’s Garden Loop Trail is the ideal short distance hike to experience Bryce Canyon’s spectacular hoodoos. Descending from Sunrise Point, hikers are instantly immersed in hoodoos of all shapes and sizes. Look out to the horizon on a clear day and you can see the 80 miles distant peak of Navajo Mountain. Closer inspection of the hoodoo formations reveals a palette of vermillions, yellows, pinks, purples, and white. Pose for photos in the hand-carved tunnels that go right through the walls of Bryce Canyon’s many fins of rock. At the end of the trail, her majesty awaits. See if you can spot her among the pillars of oddly-shaped white rock, and have fun guessing what she is standing on. Your imagination can truly run wild looking for faces, animals, and shapes in the hoodoos on the Queens Garden Loop Trail.
2. Rim Trail
The Rim Trail is the perfect way to experience Bryce Canyon National Park without dropping into the canyon. Visitors start from Fairyland Point or Bryce Point and hike the jaw-dropping 5.5 miles along the rim of Bryce Canyon’s amphitheaters. Peer over the edge, if you dare, into the chasms of the Silent City. Stroll among the stoic ponderosa and ancient bristlecone pines on your way from Bryce Point to the aptly named Inspiration Point. From Sunset Point, watch hikers winding their way up the steep switchbacks of Wall Street. Listen to the whispering of quaking aspen between Sunrise Point and Fairyland Point. All the while, the largest collection of hoodoos in the world is at your feet. In winter, strap on snow shoes for an unforgettable winter hike high above the frosted pinnacles and spires of Bryce Canyon. The vistas are never-ending along the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon.
3. Tower Bridge Trail
Actually part of the Fairyland Loop Trail, the Tower Bridge Trail is the perfect intermediate distance hike for visitors to Bryce Canyon National Park. Enjoy views of some of Bryce Canyon National Park’s most iconic hoodoo formations such as the Chinese Wall and Crescent Castles. The real star of the show, the Tower Bridge, waits at the halfway point of this hike. A short 200 yard spur trail will take you to the base of this formation that bears a striking resemblance to the defining landmark of London. Tarry a while and admire the beautiful natural architecture before starting the uphill hike back to the rim. You may even be greeted by an elegant resident of the park, the Steller’s Jay. Energetic hikers may want to continue on the Fairyland Loop Trail to add a few extra miles.
Join a Guided Backpacking Trip
Joining a Backpacking Tour near Bryce Canyon National Park is a worry-free, adventurous way to experience the Bryce Canyon area. With your gear, meals, local transportation, permits, and fees taken care of for you, you can travel light and focus 100% on enjoying the hiking experience, while the guide company takes care of everything else. Also, by going with local experts you’ll enjoy a greater level of safety and gain a much better understanding of the history and ecology of this remarkable region. Read more about guided backpacking trips near Bryce Canyon National Park.
When to Hike and Seasonal Considerations
The Navajo Loop is best hiked from late spring to early winter. Due to the extremely steep and fragile nature of the trail, the Navajo Loop closes during the winter and early spring months. Additionally, other trails below the rim of the canyon are subject to closure when avalanche danger is present. Check trail conditions before you hike. Carry plenty of water and be aware of the weather. Hiking along the rim of the canyon is extremely dangerous during stormy weather.
A permit is required for all overnight backpacking trips in Bryce Canyon National Park. It is also highly recommended to bring a bear-resistant food canister for your night under the stars. For more information on Bryce Canyon National Park’s permit system and to learn more about backpacking in this amazing park, click here.
Suggested Packing List
Day Hike Packing List
- 2-3 liters of water (more in summer)
- Salty, calorie-rich snacks
- trekking poles
- crampons or snowshoes (in winter)
- wide-brimmed hat
- sunscreen and sunglasses
- cotton t-shirt (spring-fall)
- non-cotton t-shirt (winter)
- rain jacket
- warm non-cotton layer
- 1st-aid kit
Backpacking Packing List
- all items listed for day hikes PLUS
- extra water (water sources in Bryce Canyon are unreliable
- multi-day backpack
- 3-season tent
- sleeping bag
- sleeping pad
- backpacking stove and fuel
- backpacking meals
- bear canister
- 2 pairs wool socks
- extra t-shirt
Please Respect Our National Parks – Leave No Trace
We strongly recommend abiding by all Leave No Trace ethics guidelines and practices so that our national parks and public lands are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations and for the people and animals who call these places home. Simple things like packing out your trash, obeying national park rules, and respecting the peace and quiet of our national park trails is a great start. If you’re going on a backpacking trip, you can read about more about the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.