Bryce Canyon National Park was the 2nd stop on our hiking trip through Utah.
We had made it to the trailhead for Queens Garden but decided to check out the view from Sunrise Point before starting the hike, which is right next to the marked trailhead.
The air was quickly warming and the colors of the canyon grew much more vivid as the sun rose. The gray sky was now a clear and happy blue. Sunrise Point definitely got us ready to see those hoodoos up close!
We quickly got up close to the hoodoos as we continued down the trail. The trail curved its path steadily down into the canyon, showcasing panoramic views around every corner.
For those concerned about footing, the sandy path was slippery in parts and we saw more than one person fall on their butt as they tried to hurry down the trail. Careful hikers should be fine, but with a baby on my back I wish I had brought a walking stick for insurance.
As we approached the canyon floor, we came across some neat features. This tunnel through the sandstone was part of the trail and served as a bit of a bottleneck as people stopped for photos from both directions.
Some of the best views were available from the canyon floor. We took our time walking around and checking out the trail offshoots to see specific hoodoos. Don’t miss the signed spur trail to see the Queen Victoria hoodoo!
After a brief walk through some uneventful terrain, we came upon the start of the ascent. Unlike coming down into the canyon, this part of the trail was a series of switchbacks that loomed directly above us.
Taking one look at the climb ahead of him, our 3-year-old announced he was too tired to continue and would need to be carried for the rest of the hike. Nooooooo! The afternoon sun was reaching its apex and although the loop isn’t very long (about 3 miles total) the remaining climb was strenuous, especially now carrying an extra 35 pounds of dead weight! It’s also worth noting that Bryce Canyon is at 8,000-9,000 feet elevation, which makes the ascent a bit more challenging.
We had almost made it to the top of the canyon and were now fully sweaty. At the top of the switchbacks we were rewarded with another spectacular view. As we continued there was a clear shot of the most photographed hoodoo in the park: Thor’s Hammer.
In the end, this hike was an incredible collection of sights and views you won’t find anywhere else in the world. With pleasant walking, strenuous hiking and plenty of opportunity to enjoy nature at your own pace, I think this is a hike that shouldn’t be missed. All in only 3 miles!