We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“An Excellent, Not Too Strenuous, Trail 'Combo' Offering a Great Range of Different Views”

Navajo/Queens Garden Loop
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: 2.9-mile hiking trail that leads to rock formations shaped like Queen Victoria and her garden.
London, UK
Level Contributor
172 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 400 helpful votes
“An Excellent, Not Too Strenuous, Trail 'Combo' Offering a Great Range of Different Views”
Reviewed 25 April 2012

I visited the quite wonderful Bryce Canyon NP for one and a bit days as part of my month-long tour of the Utah/Arizona natural attractions last year. It was the second time I had been there, the previous time some 25 years earlier when things were MUCH quieter ! I have also posted a separate review for the NP as a whole, which includes details of the free shuttle and free bus tour.

Bryce is an absolute gem of a NP which I found to be MUCH more enjoyable on my 2nd visit. It is justifiably popular (especially as it is nearest to the phenomenally busy Zion NP) so it can get busy, but as the region is quite large it is possible to get a bit of isolation. To put things in perspective though, whilst it may get busy at 'peak' times the numbers are rarely more than HALF of those for Zion; due to the different climate at Bryce, the winter numbers are usually around 1/4 of those for Zion....

I have compiled an extensive Trip Advisor 'Trip List' for my tour, which includes 'extra' attractions and also has links to the other individual TA reviews I've contributed for the accommodation/attractions I visited - it has been made a Trip Advisor 'Itinerary'; I hope it is of interest and use to you - I plan to add visitor information sections/viewable media sections..... The most direct way to access it is by clicking my review-count below my profile name to the left of this review text. Alternatively, see after my review below the dashed line...

You can also access my Bryce NP review that way...

After doing the bus tour in the morning I was left the rest of the day to view/hike using the shuttle system, which included this trail.

Do remember that you can view trail details on the various Bryce NP maps which you should get when visiting but are are also online. Please see my TL for the relevant 'Visitor Information', which includes the Internet link to the specific NPS webpage where they 'live'. For my tour I had a hiking guide which I found useful to get an idea of the trail highlights and any pitfalls which might exist.

This was the only NP I visited which had a thoroughly comprehensive trail guide (inside 'The Hoodoo' newspaper-style pamphlet, downloadable/offered free at the visitor centre) which provided the all-important ascent/descent side-views/details for each hike. Considering how steep the trails down into the main gorge are, it is an invaluable guide to helping you decide not only which trails to attempt but also in which direction to walk them ! You can also download/get pamphlets for specific trails.

I had already planned to hike this trail as it seemed to offer a good opportunity to get around quite a large area of the amphitheatre 'basin'.

*** Most importantly, I did this trail descending via the VERY steep 'Navajo Loop' from Sunset Pt then ascending to Sunrise Pt using the more sedate 'Queen's Garden' Trail; do this the other way around and you have a nightmare ascent on the 'Navajo Loop' instead !

Having said that, the only reason I knew beforehand the best route to take for my suggested route detailed above was courtesy of the driver on the excellent, aforementioned, bus tour I took in the morning. Without that I would have hiked as per my plan which was in the opposite direction, meaning I would have been one of the many huffing and puffing hikers going up the steepest section I passed as I, instead, went down !

If you've just come from Zion you'll be in for a bit of a shock as the surroundings are VERY different in nature at Bryce. For a start, you are at a starting altitude of some 8000ft (most of what you do goes down from that into the canyon of course), which is nearly 4000ft higher than Zion. So, snow/cold is more likely and even summer evenings can be chilly - when I left my motel in nearby Hatch at the start of my full-day I had to scrape ice off the car windows ! Things warned up significant during the day though !

The general appearance is far more desert-like and of course the natural rock formations and colours are DRAMATICALLY different. The rock formations are grotesquely, but also beautifully, shaped - you rarely see grass and almost everything has a beautiful reddish tint.

*** Early morning I might have been scraping ice off the car windows, BUT you need to be aware that the daytime temperatures in the warmer months can soar dramatically. If you're hiking trails then you MUST take water with you and some kind of sun protection !

Hiking the 'Navajo Loop' from Sunset Pt then ascending to Sunrise Pt using the more sedate 'Queen's Garden' Trail was a fantastic experience and extremely enjoyable. Despite having seen all those people struggling up as I went down (this route is listed as the most popular), once I was in the basin I hardly ever saw anyone - this made the experience even better. The views and photo opportunities are copious and it's well-worth panning around to capture more than just a 'snapshot' of the surroundings. The trails themselves are lightly sandy underfoot but the ascents can be, as I've mentioned, quite strenuous - the effort is worth it though.

You'll see that the Bryce Hiking Guide gives this 'combo' route an entry of it's own - the walking distance is 2.9 miles with a descent/ascent of some 600ft; it is well signposted throughout, which is important as there are a few trail junctions to pass....

From 'Sunset Point' the descent can be a little tricky (it comprises a series of swtitchbacks) as it is so steep and even the slightest moisture can make the sand base potentially slippery. However, you're likely to be going slow as you not only have to make way for all those unfortunate 'uphill' hikers but also stop every now and then to soak up the close-proximity views of the rock formations on this, the rock face of the amphitheatre. If you stop at the right places you can also snatch some interesting views through arches and narrow 'canyons' and the like.

Once you're in the basin proper a lot of vegetation/trees are added to the scenery and things should become a bit quieter. You walk east first of all, away from the amphitheatre rock face, into undulating and sandy terrain but still surrounded of course by all those different types of reddish-tinted rock formations. As you then start your relatively sedate ascent there are quite a few interesting arch passages and other unusual features to enhance the views.

Of course, the 'highlight' is to catch sight of 'The Queen', which for those unaware or in need of correction is the small rock 'statue', perched on a strangely shaped rock slab which does indeed bear a striking similarity to the profile of our very own Queen Victoria (1819-1901) - marvellous !

Soon you are ascending proper on occasionally exposed (wide) ridges, generally heading west towards 'Sunrise Point', but you should be looking north as much as possible as that is a view-direction limited elsewhere. On reaching the scenic road 'plateau' my recommendation is to then head towards the nearby General Store and treat yourself to a well-earned ice cream !

There are rarely views anything less than superb and the experiences you can have in the canyon amphitheatre 'basin' amongst the ground-level rocks, looking up the rock faces to the viewpoints/scenic road are often memorable. The viewpoints themselves offer excellent vistas of the amphitheatre as well as distant panoramas with mountains at the furthest reach.

Bryce Canyon NP is an essential visit and you can do/see a lot in even one day. I think that even if you've lots of time in the park that hiking the 'Navajo Loop' trail from 'Sunset Pt' then ascending to 'Sunrise Pt' using the more sedate 'Queen's Garden' trail is time well spent and will be most enjoyable - just make you sure you do it in that direction !

I will add any relevant photos/videos after this review is posted by TA.

----------------------------

As well as the method described near the start of this review my TA 'Trip List' can also be accessed from the 'Utah Itineraries' link on the right of the Utah Forum page. Or the direct link is :

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/GoListDetail-i24850-Las_Vegas_to_Zion_Bryce_and_other.html

Alternatively, to search via TA, it is entitled 'Las Vegas to Zion, Bryce and other SUtah Natl Parks + Monument Valley-May 2011'.

Please feel free to send me messages with any questions.

Visited May 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank LPWilliams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Turn Your Opinions into Points!
Turn your opinions into JPMiles
Turn your opinions into PAYBACK Points
*You can enroll in only one programme at a time to earn rewards for reviews.
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
JPMiles / PAYBACK
50

1,203 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    1,079
    115
    9
    0
    0
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
90 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Best Hiking Option”
Reviewed 24 April 2012

Start at Sunset Point and take the Navajo trail down into the canyon via Wall Street. At the 4 trail crossroad go the the Peek-a-boo loop and take the loop clockwise after going .3 miles to the start of the loop. After the loop backtrack the .3 mile and take the Queen's garden trail back out of the canyon to Sunrise Point. This route will take 4 hours or more.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Snowmanpez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
huntington beach
Level Contributor
123 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Strenuous but awesome”
Reviewed 22 April 2012

I have been on a lot of hikes but this hike is one of my favorites. it is strenuous but my 6 year old boy did it so it isn't too bad. We went in April so i can imagine it being a bit harder if the weather was hotter. You have to do this hike...hiking through and down and across the hoodoos was so great.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank dilly4j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
105 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“well worth the effort”
Reviewed 21 April 2012

It's not as difficult as it looks and gives you a whole different persepctive of the canyon. Don't hesitate. just do it.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
Thank Dale525
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Breathtaking! Awesome!”
Reviewed 19 April 2012

Don't hesitate, just do it! One of the most beautiful wonders I've ever seen!!!

Helpful?
Thank Ericweir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Navajo/Queens Garden Loop also viewed

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
 
Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
 

Been to Navajo/Queens Garden Loop? Share your experiences!

Turn Your Opinions into Points!
Turn your opinions into JPMiles
Turn your opinions into PAYBACK Points
*You can enroll in only one programme at a time to earn rewards for reviews.
JPMiles / PAYBACK
50
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing