Bryce Canyon National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful fantasyland of multi-hued bizarre rock formations. Second only to Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys in Turkey, Bryce Canyon with its so-called hoodoos is a unique place on earth that can’t be missed on a road trip in the US. In fact, it should be at the top of your list. As a travel couple with different interests, we usually don’t come to an agreement so quickly but it’s a whole different story when it comes to the beauty of Bryce Canyon. Beyond dispute, it’s our second favorite national park in the US right after Yellowstone (we’ve seen all major ones in AZ, CA, and South UT), and here is your guide to best hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce Canyon is compact compared to the other national parks in the US, and one day is absolutely sufficient to take in the sweeping vistas from multiple viewpoints and hike through a maze of hoodoos eroded into a variety of fanciful shapes. The park is filled with short, incredibly scenic trails, but the best hiking in Bryce Canyon is arguably the Figure 8 Loop, combining Queen’s Garden, Peek-a-boo Loop, and Navajo Loop trails into an epic hike. At each turn, we were blown away by the scenery as the trail would wind its way through a labyrinth of spire-shaped rock formations. I couldn’t help but take hundreds of pictures, and here is the happiness shot.
The Figure 8 Loop can be accessed from either Sunrise or Sunset point along the rim. We started the hike at Sunset point at dawn, then followed the Navajo trail sign and descended into the canyon. From here, the trail went up and down as we hiked around the Peek-a-Boo loop and Queen’s Garden. Eventually, we climbed up to the canyon’s rim at Sunrise point and walked back to our starting point.
|When you follow the Navajo trail at sunrise, you should be able to capture sun-rays through one of the eyes of the mask-shaped rock formation.
The complete Figure 8 loop is 6.4 mi /10.2 km with an elevation difference of 1575 ft/480 m in total. All trails are well marked and well maintained, so it’s easy to stay on track. In our book, the hike is on the easy-moderate side which took us no more than 3-4 hours with all the photo stops. The US National Park Service classifies this hike as strenuous and estimates the duration as 4-5 hours. It all depends on your fitness level, though in any case start your day early for fewer crowds, and the best photo opportunities with warm purples, pinks, and glowing oranges. Needless to say, remember to bring sufficient water, wear layers of clothing, and get an America the Beautiful National Park Pass.