Hiking Trails National Parks Travel

Bryce Canyon National Park: Queens Garden Trail Loop Hike

Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden

After a great day at Zion National Park hiking to Angels Landing and Emerald Pools, we woke up early the following day to make the drive to Bryce Canyon National Park. The first few hours of the drive on HWYs 9 and 89 were in the dark, which is unfortunate, because I’m sure the views would have been stunning. All along the highway there are flashing signs with deer on them. These signs tend to be just about everywhere, but never have they been so accurate for me while driving. In just a short stretch of a few miles, I saw a huge buck and a few does right alongside the road.

The sun began to rise just before we turned onto HWY 12, the road that leads into Bryce Canyon. The sky was crystal clear, and the temperature was a brisk 7 degrees. After spending the first moments of my day driving through darkness, it was a real treat to see the colors start to come alive on the horizon.

Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
HWY 12
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Entering Bryce Canyon

We arrived at the park at around 7:30 AM, and made our way to Sunrise Point. The air outside was frigid, but the rising sun made it feel quite pleasant. The parked seemed rather empty, and there were only 2 cars parked near the trailhead. We made sure to bring along our microspikes, as there as a ton of ice and snow. We eneded up not needing them, but if you plan on hiking this trail in the late Fall or Winter, it doesn’t hurt to come prepared.

This hike is 3 miles with 580 feet of elevation change. 

Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
From Sunrise Point
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
The Hike Begins

The Queens Garden trail begins with a downhill stretch towards Queen Victoria and a vast array of hoodoos.  Hoodoos are the spires of sedimentary rock seen at parks like Zion. It was astonishing to see them up close and personal.

Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Heading Downhill
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Hoodoos Up Close
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Into The Hoodoo Forrest

After about a mile of hiking, the earth beneath my feet began to change. Much like the Grand Canyon, the browns turn to reds as you descend into millions of years of geological history. One of my favorite parts of hiking the Queens Garden trail is the corridors and pathways that have been cut into the rock for passage into the canyon. The early morning lighting on the canyon walls made each entry and exit feel quite magical.

Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Through The Door
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Behind Door #2

The deeper we hiked into the canyon, the better the views became. There were hoodoos in every direction. As we reached the bottom of the trail, the grade leveled out for a short stretch as we entered into a snowy wooded area.

Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Safe Passage
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
The Earth Begins To Change
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Shade and Snow

For the hike back up to complete the loop, there are two trail options. The first is the Navajo Loop Trail, and the second is the Two Bridges Trail. We decided on the Two Bridges trail and set off to regain the 580 of elevation we just lost on the way down.

Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Two Bridges
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
The Switchbacks Up

The uphill out of the canyon felt much quicker than the downhill into it. The sweeping views of Bryce were in perfect view with all the glory of a Fall morning. We could see a few people congregating at Sunset Point, but the numbers were small. There is something about sub freezing temperatures that keeps most people from venturing outside.

Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
Bryce Canyon National Park Queens Garden
On The Walk Back to Sunrise Point

We reached Sunset Point and took a few more pictures before hoping on the rim trail back to Sunrise Point and the warmth of my car. As beautiful as the views were in Zion, this morning hike at Bryce Canyon was on another level. We spent a little time after this hiking driving around the park and taking in some more views before getting back on the road and making our way to Capitol Reef National Park.

I'm Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

25 comments on “Bryce Canyon National Park: Queens Garden Trail Loop Hike

  1. Fantastic gallery of photos. My wife and I went to Zion, but was not able to get to Bryce on the same trip. It’s definitely on our list to go next time around.

  2. Wonderful. I’d love to visit one day.

  3. Yes the photos are fantastic!

  4. For such a short walk that is one unbelievable array of rock formations that you come across. Great photos!

  5. Great time to be there with the light snow pack. I had similar luck on my trip in April of 2014.

  6. I was here in an April many years ago, my day looked exactly like yours! It was so nice to see snow, a surprise I wasn’t expecting! Thanks for letting me relive the memories through your awesome photos!

  7. wowwww..i miss that place

  8. Stunning photos! The light streaming through those passages looks magical. What a beautiful hike!

  9. My husband and I visited there and it was ten degrees overnight while we were camping. It looks like it may not have been much warmer for you guys!

  10. very beautiful 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  11. It’s a beautiful place, isn’t it? We’ve been there both summer and winter and it’s amazing at any time. However, there was no hiking to be had when we were there in winter as the trails were completely invisible under several feet of snow. Thanks for sharing.

    • It is! We arrived just in time as a large snow storm just hit the area. I think we probably got some of the last good hiking in before the Spring thaw. I’m hoping to return in Spring or Summer to see the parks again in a new season.

  12. I know your photos only capture a small portion of the beauty which makes me really really excited!! Thank you for posting 🙂

    • Thanks, Audrey! That’s the tough thing with photography. I try my best to capture the essence and beauty of each location, but it’s near impossible with these vast landscapes.

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