Navajo Loop / Queen’s Garden Trail is one of the most iconic sections of Bryce Canyon and one of the best hikes in the whole park! It’s just shy of three miles, yet goes down through some of the coolest landscape in the center of Bryce Canyon. This is popular, so if you are there in a peak time, go very early.
The trail is a loop so it can begin at either Sunrise or Sunset Point. These are neighboring parking lots along the west rim. There is a paved trail that goes between these two spots, so even those who cannot hike, can see it from different perspectives.
The trail down from Sunset Point has the most dramatic elevation change, so it is probably easier to go down on that side.
The Sunrise Point side has some elevation change, then even path, then elevation change, more even path, repeated, so it’s easier to catch your breath if you go back up that side.
I will be describing this trail in this counter-clockwise direction. You can park at Sunset or Sunrise Points and walk over to Sunset to head down, since it’s a loop and sometime you’ll be walking that section.
After one switchback the trail splits. To the right is the amazing Wall Street. That section had closed for the winter when we were just there, but here are a few images before the closed gate.
There is a tiny path just above Wall Street that just goes to a window in the rock.
Since Wall Street was closed we headed left towards Two Bridges. Wall Street and Two Bridges are both landmarks you pass along the Navajo Loop trail. On the left trail we will first pass another iconic landmark: Thor’s Hammer.
There are some other cool formations! This sunrise shot makes it look fake, but this is the real deal.
Shortly thereafter is the series of switchbacks that are the dramatic elevation change! If you come on a summer weekend, it will be much more crowded along the trail.
It’s a nice smooth trail, so it’s nice for walking, but that is a lot of switchbacks! It’s so awesome to see the walls getting higher and higher as you descend into the canyon.
At the base there is a tiny corner you have to turn to look up at Two Bridges. Keep your eyes open for the sign as soon as it flattens out.
The trail opens up after you get the the bottom.
There is a couple benches with a junction. You can head mostly straight to continue on the Navajo Loop or to the junction with Peekaboo Canyon. We took the sharp left to the Queen’s Garden trail. A chipmunk was entertaining us and we saw a few more along the way.
Queen’s Garden Trail
This section of the trail has a much different feel. You can see some of the hoodoos in the distance, but much of the views are of the pines.
There is a little tiny slot canyon type section and then more pines.
When you see the tunnel coming up on the right you actually want to turn the opposite direction for the detour to Queen Victoria’s Garden.
This section is named after a hoodoo that looks a bit like Queen Victoria sitting on her throne. The hoodoo on the far left is Queen Victoria, but she is facing towards the left, so you get a profile.
After you have seen it, return to the door in the rock and walk through it.
The path winds around the canyon.
The views are spectacular!
Do you see the tiny people walking along the trail at the base of the hoodoos? That’s us!
We could look up and see the spires towering overhead!
There are a couple more cool doorways through the rock along the Queen’s Garden trail.
The path continues making it’s way north to be on the Sunrise side of the canyon.
When the path has regained some of the elevation, there is a view back towards the Queen’s Garden where the Victoria hoodoo is located.
The views as you rise are so beautiful!
Heading up to Sunrise Point is definitely uphill, but it isn’t too steep.
Once you get to the rim there is a little part that is away from the edge, but much of it you have amazing views of the rim. There is a fence and railing along part of it and sometime you are just far from the edge.
The Navajo Loop / Queen’s Garden Trail is phenomenal, so if you can handle a moderate hike, I highly recommend it. Our family was a little tired after it, but they were champs!
Stats: Distance – 2.9 mile loop
Approximate hiking time – 1-3 hours
Elevation gain – 646 feet
Difficulty – Moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – Yes
Seasons to hike – Year Round (use micro-spikes when icy or snowy about November through March. You can rent them in town. Navajo Loop may close if there is rain.)
Permits needed – $35 per vehicle for 7-day pass or National Parks Pass
Pets allowed – No