Bryce Canyon National Park is usually visited as an add-on to Zion National Park. Because of its proximity to Zion most visitor take a day road trip to see Bryce. If you are just driving through the park and stopping at the viewpoints you will get some amazing views of Bryce, but if you are interested in exploring more of the park and getting up close and personal to hoodoos there is no better hike than Figure 8.
Figure 8 loop is a combination of Navajo Loop, Peek-a-Boo Loop and Queens Garden. It is a moderate hike with a duration of about 4 hrs. Most of the park highlights can be seen on this loop: Thor’s Hammer, Wall Street, Wall of Windows, Hoodoos, Tunnels, Queen Victoria, and scenic Bryce Amphitheater.
Figure 8 Loop Stats
Distance: 6.4 miles
Starting Elevation: ~ 8000 ft
Elevation Change: ~ 1600 ft.
Duration: 4 – 5 hrs.
Parking Lot: Available
Restrooms: Available at the trailhead and on the Peek-a-Boo Loop
Picnic Tables: Available at the trailhead
Water: Available at the trailhead and nowhere else on the trial
Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
Trail Path: Sunset Point – Navajo Loop – Wall Street – Peek-a-Boo Loop (3.0 miles) – Navajo Loop – Queens Garden – Sunrise Point – Sunset Point
For more information about trail conditions and COVID restrictions in the park always check the National Parks Services website.
What to Bring With You on the Hike
Plenty of water – Hydration packs in your backpack work the best. You can put ice in them and add water on top which keeps them cold.
Layers – When we started in the morning the temperature was in the mid-40s, by the time we were done it was in the mid-80s. Bring clothes with you that you can easily put on or take off. We both had our convertible hiking pants on, that we converted to shorts by the time we were done.
Sunscreen – During summer months this is a must.
Snacks – Refreshing snacks to help with hydration and give you energy (apples, oranges, bananas, celery, and carrots with peanut butter or hummus)
Hiking Poles – Whenever we are hiking with a lot of ascending and descending, we bring the hiking poles with us. For this hike, they are not a must but were helpful coming back up out of the canyon.
Figure 8 Loop Hike
The trailhead is at Sunset Point which is also where parking, bathroom facilities, and water are available to use before starting a hike. Try to get to the trailhead as early as possible in the morning as the parking lot fills up quickly or check the shuttle schedule and take a shuttle bus to the trailhead. Bryce is high in elevation and weather in the canyon can change drastically, it is best to wear easily removable layers.
As you arrive to the Sunset Point the beauty of the view will take your breath away and it doesn’t stop there. Bryce may be Utah’s most fascinating park because erosion has molded a landscape of hoodoos and spires that makes you feel like you are walking through a forest of rocks.
From Sunset Point you will embark on the Navajo Loop toward Wall Street where the switchbacks start right off the bat and this is the main reason we suggest starting at the Sunset Point. They are much easier to overcome at the beginning of the hike going down then on the way back when you have been hiking for hours already.
TIP: Right at the beginning as you are going to the right toward Wall Street, make sure not to miss Thor’s Hammer to the left.
Walking through the narrow passages on Wall Street makes you feel so small and insignificant. We could not help but completely admire the trees that have wiggled their way around the rocks to survive and thrive. Once out of Wall Street, the trail opens up and completely changes. You are inside of the canyon looking up now and shortly after you will find the connection trail to Peek-a-Boo Loop.
Peek-a-Boo Loop is 3.0 miles long with a lot of ascends and descends. At the trailhead, we advise starting clockwise (to the left) since this is a more gradual way to ascend than going counterclockwise (to the right).
TIP: This trail is shared with horses and you will see and smell the droppings everywhere. If you see the horses coming, make sure you step to the side they have a right of way.
Views on the Peek-a-Boo trail will leave you in awe. Everywhere you turn the beauty is unmatched. On this loop is where you will find a Wall of Windows, more hoodoos, tunnels, coiled-up Ponderosa Pine trees, and vast views. About 1.3 miles into the loop is a restroom open during the summer months.
After this point, the trail turns into more tight switchbacks to the unexpected tunnel in the trail with another amazing view. Most of the trail from this point on is downhill to the start of the loop.
Once we completed the loop, still amazed by all the beauty we just saw, we found a few rocks in the shade we used as chairs and took a short break. From here using the connector trail we got back to the Navajo Loop and instead of completing the loop, we followed the signs to the Queens Garden trail.
The Queens Garden trail is the last trail to complete the Figure 8 Loop and is mostly uphill, as what comes down must come up. By this time sun was high up and there is no shade on this trail whatsoever, make sure you bring sunscreen and lots of water. The entire Queens Trail is only 1.6 miles, and a little more if you take a side trail to visit the Queen Vicotria, but it is all uphill to Sunrise Point.
From Sunrise Point to Sunset Point and where our car was parked is a 0.5-mile walk on a flat and paved surface – part of The Rim Trial.
It is impossible to stop taking pictures when in Bryce, it is a geological wonderland with endless vistas so take your time and take the views in. After this gorgeous hike, you can order takeout from the Bryce Canyon Lodge (they were only offering take-outs at the time we visited – COVID) sit on one of the picnic tables available, and reflected on a beauty you just witnessed earlier in the day.
Before leaving the park if you still have some energy left you can drive up to Bryce Point (the highest point in the park 8200 ft) and look over the part of the hike you just completed.
Other helpful posts…
5-Day Road Trip – Zion-Bryce-Grand Canyon
The Best Hike In The Canyonlands – Chesler Park/Joint Trail Loop
Easy Must Do Hikes in Capitol Reef
Must Do Hikes in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Alternative Ways To Hike To The Observation Point in Zion