If you only have time for one hike at Bryce Canyon National Park, the Queens/Navajo Combination Loop Hike is by far my favorite hike. This hike includes stunning vistas, neatly marked hiking trails, amazing photography opportunities, as well as a steep ascent through towering hoodoos. Though challenging, it is also family friendly. Going in October 2018 allowed us to also see several patches of snow along the vistas, which provided a beautiful contrast with the red rock. As this is Bryce Canyon’s most popular trail, you will want to get there early to ensure parking, good lighting, and a pleasant trip. Keep reading to learn more about this amazing hike and to experience the Queens/Navajo Combination Loop Hike for yourself!
Queens/Navajo Loop Hike Trail Details & Location
Difficulty: Moderate | Round Trip Distance: 2.9 mi | Elevation Gain: 600 ft. | Time: 2-3 hrs
Trailhead Location: The Queens/Navajo Combination Loop Hike can start at either Sunrise Point or Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Starting at Sunset Point will start you off on the Navajo Loop. While some people do this, I don’t recommend it.
Instead, I highly recommend starting at Sunrise Point on the Queens Garden Trail. I feel this way for two reasons.
First, by beginning the hike at Sunrise Point, we were able to watch and photograph the sunrise over the Bryce Amphitheater before starting our hike. We arrived 20 minutes before sunrise, and while it was crowded, we still got a parking spot. I quickly ran to the top of sunrise point, set up my tripod, and then began taking pictures.
Afterwards, we began our hike down the Queens Garden Trail.
Hiking down the Queen’s Garden Trail just after sunrise allowed us to continue enjoying the early morning light and sunrise well into our hike.
It was spectacular!
Second, the descent down into the canyon via the Queens Garden Trail was much prettier and gentler on our legs. According to the National Park Service, “The Queens Garden Trail beginning at Sunrise Point, descending 320 feet (98m), is considered the least difficult trail entering the canyon from the rim.” Starting here allowed us to ease ourselves down the hiking trail and to enjoy our surroundings.
The Queen’s Garden Trail
The Queens Garden Trail lasted for 1.8 mi on the Queens/Navajo Combination Loop. At one point along the trail, we actually got to walk through a hoodoo!
We also saw several tiny natural windows dotted along the desert landscape.
At every turn, my teenage daughter exclaimed, “This is SO beautiful! I think this may be my new favorite National Park!”
And how can you blame her?
Walking amidst the hoodoos transports you. We felt like we were on an alien planet dotted with bits of ancient green trees and patches of white snow. Native American legend states that these ancient hoodoos were once their ancestors immortalized into stone. I can see why they believed that. We often thought we saw faces upon these unearthly rock formations.
After hiking for about an hour, we finally reached a fork in the trail.
We deviated from the Queens/Navajo Combination Loop Hike for a few hundred feet to see Queens Garden. Queens Garden was named after a rock formation that looked like Queen Victoria.
Can you find her in the above photograph? I think it was worth deviating off of the path to see. In addition to seeing Queen Victoria, Queens Garden also contained one of the signs for the “Hike the Hoodoos” challenge. After drinking some water, taking photos, and eating snacks, we continued on down towards the Navajo Loop connecting trails.
The Navajo Loop
When we reached the Navajo Loop, we found another sign for the “Hike the Hoodoos” challenge. After we took our selfie, we then came to a crossroads.
At the base of the Navajo Loop, where the Queens Garden Trail meets up with it, there are several options you can take.
Either path will bring you up out of the hoodoos to Sunset Point.
I personally recommend taking the fork on the Navajo Loop towards Wall Street.
The path on the Navajo Loop towards Wall Street quickly changes from a forested fairyland to a steep incline of solid rock.
Wall Street on the Navajo Loop
Entering Wall Street was spectacular!!! This is the last part of the Queens/Navajo Loop Combination Hike. Take your time hiking up this monstrosity.
It is nothing but steep switchbacks, weaving in and out between the tall hoodoo towers.
But, with some patience and a lot of effort, we finally emerged from Wall Street.
Sunset Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Finally, we arrived at Sunset Point. All I can say is “WOW!!!” This vista point took my breath away. We had a gentle cloud cover for most of our hike, which provided magnificent lighting and drama for this photograph.
The final stretch of the Queens/Navajo Loop Combination Hike includes part of the Rim Trail. It was .5 miles from Sunset Point back to Sunrise Point, where our car was parked. If you are too tired to complete the loop (as my two little girls were), then you can send your strongest hikers on ahead and wait for them to come pick you up. Sunset point has parking, benches to rest on, as well as bathrooms and dumpsters. The view at Sunset Point totally made the hike up Wall Street worth it! I will definitely be back.
I hope you get the opportunity to hike the Queens/Navajo Loop Combination Hike as well as visit Bryce Canyon National Park for yourself. If not, at least you can see it through my photos! Thanks for reading and sharing my adventures with me!
Do you love National Parks as much as I do? Click on the map below to follow my blog and get a
To purchase some of my photographs through the stock agency, visit Shutterstock or contact me today!
Please note, this website contains ads and affiliate links. Thank you for your support and for making this site possible!