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Hiking the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon

The Navajo Loop and the Queen’s Garden Trail are two of the most scenic hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park – and you can combine them into one! The Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail is a perfect way to experience the scenery that Bryce Canyon has to offer, taking you down into the canyon, along the hoodoos and rock formations, and through the unique landscape.

This guide will tell you about hiking the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail, and everything you need to know!

Head’s up: some of these links are affiliate links, so I get a commission if you make a purchase (at no cost to you). But that’s great, because I was going to share anyway, and this helps me keep making free guides for you!

About the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail

This hike is fairly steep, and it descends down before coming back up, so keep that in mind! But, it’s a doable trail for beginner hikers, as long as you bring enough water – the hike has almost no shade.

Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail Stats

  • Distance: 2.9 miles (4.6 kilometers) loop
  • Elevation Gain: 625 feet (191 meters)
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Hike Time: I consider myself to be an average hiker, and this trail took me 1 hours and 42 minutes. You can check out my hike on Strava!

Leave No Trace on the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail

Anytime you’re outdoors, it’s essential that you practice Leave No Trace (LNT). LNT is a set of seven principles that help us understand our impact on the outdoors – because while we usually have good intentions, the environment is more fragile than we think, and one snap-second decision can cause damage to the environment that will take the earth years, even decades to repair. This is a pretty popular hike, so it’s super important to make sure to prevent damage!

Leave No Trace means enjoying the outdoors without disrupting nature, as much as it’s possible to do so. Here are the 7 principles of LNT, and how they apply when you hike the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail!

  • Plan ahead and prepare – read this guide, make sure you have the right gear, and bring extra water.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces – stay on the trail and don’t take any shortcuts, as this causes erosion, kills plant life, and damages trails.
  • Dispose of waste properly – don’t leave trash, or anything else, behind. Pack it out!
  • Leave what you find – I know it can be tempting to take a cool rock, but leave these things where they belong! Animals often use these, and if everyone takes one, the trail won’t be as pretty.
  • Minimize campfire impacts – campfires are not allowed on the trail.
  • Respect wildlife – don’t approach wild animals, and never feed them.
  • Be considerate of other visitors – yield to other hikers, and be respectful – no speakers or loud music.

The Best Time to Hike the Navajo Loop and Queen’s GArden Trail

The best time to hike the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail is usually April through October, though the ends of this range can be unpredictable.

Though the trail is in a desert landscape, it sits at a high altitude. The average elevation in the park is 8,000 feet, which means it gets pretty chilly! It also means that there’s less oxygen in the air, so you might find yourself more out of breath than usual. Snow definitely accumulates in the winter, and snow storms can happen into the spring and as early as October.

Summer is definitely the most popular time to visit, so you will run into more crowds. The weather is warm, reaching the high 70s or low 80s during the day. It’s a great time for hiking and exploring the park, but in July and August, afternoon thunderstorms are common. They usually pass quickly, but it rains pretty heavily, so plan your adventures for earlier or later in the day.

I recommend hiking in late spring or early fall for warm weather, fewer crowds, and comfortable daytime temperatures! It does get chilly at night, so bring some layers.

Don’t Forget Your Pass!

To hike the Navajo Trail and Queen’s Garden Trail, you will need to pay the entrance fee for the park – and you’ll need to display your pass in your car anytime you park.

It costs $35 per car, but if you visit national parks often (or at least more than twice a year), I recommend getting an America the Beautiful Pass! It’s an annual pass that will get you into every national park in the country for an entire year, for just $80.

You can purchase either pass on your way into the park, or get an America the Beautiful pass online ahead of time!

What to Bring to Hike the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail

When you hike the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail, here’s what you’ll need to bring!


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Directions to the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail

The trailhead for the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden hike is located in Bryce Canyon National Park. If you’re flying in for your trip, Bryce Canyon National Park is pretty remote, and a little far from major airports. The closest big airports are in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.

Expedia is a good way to find flights and rental cars, and I super recommend signing up for Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – they send you amazing deals, so you can find cheap flights. The free account is great and totally worth the few minutes it takes to sign up, and I do recommend the premium account too!

You do need a car to get to the park. If you fly, you can rent a car through Discover Cars or Rental Cars. But, a great alternative to a rental car is a tiny home on wheels! With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option for vans is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb for campers – you can rent a van, RV, or trailer from a person in the area.

To get to Bryce Canyon National Park from Las Vegas, you’ll take I-15 > UT-9 > US-89 > UT-12 into the park. If you go this way, I definitely recommend stopping at Zion National Park. The drive is about four and a half hours.

From Salt Lake City, you’ll take I-15 > UT-20 > UT-89 > UT-12. This drive is four hours long.

Once you get to the park, you can either drive right to the trailhead, or park your car at the shuttle station in Bryce Canyon City and take the shuttle to Sunset Point to start your hike. This can be nice because it’s a popular hike, so finding parking can sometimes be difficult.

The parking lot is on Sunset Point Road, and you’ll go to Sunset Point to start the hike

Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trailhead Coordinates: 37.6234106, -112.167355

Hiking the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail

Once you’ve parked and are ready to start hiking, here’s what you can expect on the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail!

Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trailhead

The trailhead for this hike is at Sunset Point (but you can also start at Sunrise Point, if you prefer). I did this hike counterclockwise, starting by descending on the Navajo Trail and then going uphill at Queen’s Garden – the uphill portion is a little less steep this way.

A view of the Navajo Loop and Queen's Garden trail from Sunset Point.

From the parking area, it’s a quick walk to the overlook, and from there you can go one of two ways on the Navajo trail. To the left will be a trail that goes down the east side of the Navajo Loop, taking you to viewpoints like Thor’s Hammer and the Two Bridges. To the right will be a series of switchbacks called Wall Street, which descend through the walls of a narrow canyon. Wall Street is often closed due to rock falls, and it was when I visited, so I went the other way.

A view of Wall Street from Sunset Point

Down on the Navajo Loop

As you start heading downhill on the Navajo Loop, you’ll pass Thor’s Hammer, an iconic hoodoo that’s shaped like, well, Thor’s Hammer.

A hoodoo called Thor's Hammer along the Navajo Loop and Queen's Garden Trail.

Then, you’ll come to a series of switchbacks, shortly after which there’s a detour to see the Two Bridges. The detour is really short, so I recommend going that way before coming back to the trail!

Soon after that, you’ll get to a junction where you can go left to do the Queen’s Garden Trail, or go right to finish the Navajo Loop.

Queen’s Garden Trail

Continue on to the Queen’s Garden Trail, and soon you’ll find yourself surrounded by hoodoos. There’s another detour to see the Queen Victoria hoodoo, which looks like a queen on her throne.

The Queen Victoria hoodoo along the Navajo Loop and Queen's Garden Trail.

After that, continue on through the tunnel in the rock, and you’ll start going uphill. You’ll walk thorough the Queen’s Garden, the hoodoos that surround Queen Victoria, and slowly start ascending to see it from above.

Sunrise Point

Soon you’ll find yourself back at the rim of Bryce Canyon, at Sunrise Point. Take in the view from here, then keep going back to Sunset Point and the parking area.

Where to Stay Near the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail

You can turn your hike into a little getaway, and stay somewhere close by!

camping near the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail

For camping near Bryce Canyon National Park, I recommend using The Dyrt – it’s the best way to find campsites. You can use the free version to find campsites, but with The Dyrt Pro you’ll also be able to see the boundaries of national forest land all around the national park. On national forest land, you can camp anywhere for free! You can try The Dyrt before you commit, and click here for a free trial.

There are plenty of options for free camping near Bryce Canyon National Park – so check out this guide to learn how to find free campsites!

Try the Dirt Pro

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hotels near the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail

Hotels are always an easy, convenient option, and there are plenty of hotels, motels, and inns near Bryce Canyon National Park! Bryce Canyon City is just outside the park, and the nearby town of Tropic has a lot of options.

Check out the Bryce Canyon View Lodge, and the adorable Bryce Canyon Log Cabins.

For more options, check out this map of places to stay. Make sure to change the dates, and zoom out to see all of your options!

Booking.com

Cabins, Glamping, & Yurts

For a unique place to stay during your trip, check out Hipcamp! It’s like Airbnb for campsites – and you can find yurts, cabins (like this cabin near the Redwoods), glamping sites, and more. 

You can even get $10 off your first booking here!

A Camper van

With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb – you can rent vans, RVs, and trailers from people who live nearby!

More Adventures Near the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail

Have you hiked this trail, or are you adding it to your bucket list? Let me know in a comment below!

For more adventures in the park, be sure to check out this guide to Bryce Canyon National Park, which has a few sample itineraries and more hikes in the park. Afterwards, I recommend heading to Zion National Park, which is just a two hour drive and definitely a must see in Utah! If you’re heading north, Fifth Water Hot Springs is a great hike close to Salt Lake City.

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