Following our visit to Cedar Breaks National Monument, we were excited to see the Hoodoos of Bryce Amphitheater, the park’s main attraction. This amphitheater is a vast basin of rich oranges, pinks, and reds in which stands thousands of statuesque pinnacles known as “hoodoos”. We spent two days hiking in and around the wonderland that is Bryce Amphitheater.
Navajo, Peekaboo, & Queen’s Garden Loop
On our first exploration day in the park we chose to hike what the visitor guide describes as “The Figure-8 Combination”. This trail combines the Navajo Loop, Peekaboo Loop, & Queen’s Garden trails into one awesome 6.4 mile trip through Bryce Amphitheater. After parking near the Sunrise Point overlook, we packed our packs and headed for the trail.
We first stopped at Sunrise Point for our first overlook of the amphitheater. Our initial reaction was similar to that of Cedar Breaks, the hoodoos seem infinitely different to one another and each stand as their own unique statue dressed in orange and red sandstone. From Sunset Point we headed down into the amphitheater via the Navajo Loop giving us a chance to get up close and personal with the hoodoos. At the end of the Navajo Loop, we found a nice spot for lunch and took a break before continuing on to Peekaboo.
The Peekaboo Loop is a constant up and down hike completely below the rim of the amphitheater past beautiful sandstone formations and stunning overlooks. There are also multiple places on the trail blocked by natural walls and can only be passed via a tunnel, which only added to the adventurous nature of the trail. After completing Peekaboo Loop, the final section was Queen’s Garden.
Named for a famous hoodoo in the shape of a statue of Queen Victoria, Queens Garden is fun hike that led us up out of the amphitheater and past some of the more interesting hoodoos we had seen that day. Once at the top, we headed to the general store for some post cards and a couple of popsicles. All in all, a great first day at Bryce Canyon!
For our second day at Bryce, we chose to hike the Fairyland Loop. This trail is 8 miles in length and is lesser travelled than the trails near Sunrise Point. We parked at the same location as the day before and once again prepared our packs then headed for the trail. The trail led us up and down through the northern portion of Bryce Amphitheater along various overlooks and down into valleys with majestic hoodoos on either side.
The hoodoos in this area felt more grouped together and it seemed that they were more eroded causing them to look different to their neighbors to the south. We hiked through the amphitheater until climbing up to Fairyland Point from which we could see the whole area we had just walked through. The rest of the hike back was along the rim of the amphitheater and we were treated with stunning overlooks until we reached the trailhead.
Upon returning the van, we hit the scenic drive through the remainder of the park, stopping at the points of interest and overlooks along the way.
Bryce Canyon National Park is one of those “out of this world” places that is unlike any other park we have visited. This was our second of southern Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks and we were stoked to see the remaining three. We highly recommend you make the journey to this awesome piece of mother nature’s artwork.
Thanks for reading!