Hiking the Figure 8 Loop in Bryce Canyon is a perfect way to explore many of the best sights in the park. One step into Bryce Canyon and you will feel like you’re on another planet. Or maybe a fairytale world with life-size sand castles, because I don’t know if other planets are quite as extraordinary as Bryce Canyon.
The point is, Bryce Canyon is absolutely amazing, magical, and awe-inspiring. There are few places that make you legitimately question how such a place could naturally appear in this world. With its turrets of orange rock, otherwise known as hoodoos, Bryce Canyon is reminiscent of something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
- Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park
- Figure 8 Loop Hike Details
- Planning your visit to Bryce Canyon
- Other useful resources
Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park
As far as national parks go, Bryce Canyon is relatively small. You can see a good portion of the park with one day of hiking.
There are a few main trails in the park that can easily be combined to create longer hikes. The best way to see the highlights of Bryce Canyon is to hike what is known as the Figure 8 Loop. This loop takes leads you on a full tour of the canyon, combining the following 4 trails:
- Queen’s Garden Trail
- Peekaboo Loop
- Navajo Loop Trail
- Rim Trail (Sunrise Point to Sunset Point, or vice versa)
In this article, we will lay out everything you need to know to hike the Figure 8 Loop, one of the best hikes in Bryce Canyon.
Figure 8 Loop Hike Details
Figure 8 Loop: Queen’s Garden Trail – Peekaboo Loop – Navajo Loop Trail – Rim Trail
- Hiking distance | 6.3 miles
- Elevation gain | 1600 feet
- Total time | 3 – 4 hours
- Epic-ness rating | 9
- Difficulty | moderate
Find this hike on AllTrails: Wall Street and Queen’s Garden Loop to Peekaboo Loop (Figure 8 Trail)
How difficult is the Figure 8 Loop hike?
While this hike isn’t especially long, please keep in mind that it is a reverse summit, meaning you first hike down into the canyon. Make sure that you save enough energy to get back to the top at the end, and be prepared with plenty of extra water.
Getting to the Figure 8 Loop trailhead
There are two possible starting trailheads for the Figure 8 Loop hike:
The trailheads are connected via a flat, easy 0.5 mile hike along the rim trail, so it really doesn’t matter too much which you start from.
We recommend starting from Sunrise Point and hiking clockwise for two reasons:
- To avoid descending the steep, winding switchbacks of Wall Street, and
- To save one of the most iconic spots in Bryce Canyon for last. While the hike up Wall Street will be grueling, it’s better on your knees to go up than down.
Parking at Sunrise or Sunset Point
Beware that the parking lots for both trailheads fill up quickly, so arrive early if you plan to drive yourself.
Otherwise, you may take the park shuttle which begins operating at 8:00 AM. The parking lot at Sunset Point is slightly larger than Sunrise Point, so you may have an easier time finding parking there.
Trails that make up the Figure 8 Loop
The Figure 8 loop joins together several smaller trails, as displayed on the map below.
You have the option to take either side of the Navajo Loop trail, although we recommend the left/south trail to see Bryce Canyon’s famous Wall Street. We started our hike with the Queen’s Garden Trail from Sunrise Point, but you can easily reverse the direction and start with the Navajo Loop Trail from Sunset Point.
Queen’s Garden (1 way)
Distance: 1 mile
Elevation: 320 feet (descent)
Distance: 3.3 miles
Elevation: 950 feet
Navajo Loop Trail
Distance: 0.9 mile (Wallstreet Side)
Elevation: 550 feet
Rim Trail (Sunrise Point to Sunset Point)
Distance: 0.5 Mile
Elevation: nearly flat
Queen’s Garden Trail
From Sunrise Point, pickup the Queen’s Garden trail and begin descending into Bryce Canyon.
Immediately you will be wowed by the unique landscape. With every twist and turn, there are hoodoos of every shape and style. About half a mile in, you will reach Queen Victoria, a large hoodoo after which the trail is named.
At 1.5 miles into the hike, you will reach an intersection. Take a left to head towards the Peekaboo Loop. Continue for another 0.3 miles before reaching the start of the Peekaboo Loop.
When you start Peekaboo Loop, you have the option to begin either to the left or the right. We recommend starting to the left, for the best views of the Wall of Windows. The loop starts out almost immediately with a steep incline for the first half a mile, until you reach the Peekaboo Arch.
The Wall of Windows
At 3.4 miles into the hike, you will come upon the Wall of Windows, a magnificent wall of hoodoos that range from light to dark orange, resembling a series of drip castles with two “windows” peering through.
Navajo Loop Trail
After taking the 0.3 mile connector trail following the Peekaboo loop, you will again reach an intersection. Here you want to take a sharp left to continue onto the Navajo Loop Trail towards Sunset Point. The Navajo Loop trail also continues straight ahead, but the trail to the left will take you past Bryce’s famous Wall Street.
From the start of the Navajo Loop trail, it’s only about 0.7 miles back to the rim, but be prepared for steep switchbacks.
With about 0.3 miles to the rim, you will reach Wall Street, where the switchbacks begin. Luckily, this section is so short that the steep climb will be over in no time! Plus, the views from Wall Street are absolutely incredible – it’s without a doubt one of the most iconic spots in Bryce Canyon!
Possible Trail Closures
Note that one or both sides of the Navajo Loop trail may be closed due to snow if you are hiking in winter or early spring. If the Wall Street side is closed, you may also continue straight from the Peekaboo Loop onto the righthand side of the Navajo Loop trail.
When we hiked the Figure 8 Loop in mid-March, the entire Navajo Loop was closed so we had to continue back to Sunrise Point via the Queen’s Garden Trail (we’ve since returned to Bryce Canyon to revisit this beautiful trail!).
Sunset Point to Sunrise Point
The final half a mile is an easy flat walk along the Rim Trail from Sunset Point back to Sunrise Point, where you started the hike.
Planning your visit to Bryce Canyon
Getting to Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah. It’s conveniently located about an hour and a half from Zion National Park and just under 3 hours from Page, AZ (where you can see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend), making for perfect road trip options!
If you are planning to arrive by plane, your best bet is to fly into Las Vegas, rent a car, and then drive about 4 hours to the park.
7-Day Pass (per car) | $35
Annual Pass | $80
This Figure 8 Loop hike is located inside Bryce Canyon National Park, so you’ll have to purchase a $35 per car pass that is valid for 7 days. You also have the option to purchase an annual US National Parks Pass for $80, which is worthwhile if you plan to visit 3 or more national parks over the next year.
What to pack for the Figure 8 Loop hike
- Microspikes: If hiking in fall – spring, the trail may still be icy.
- Hiking boots: This is a long hike with some slippery portions – you don’t want to be hiking in tennis shoes.
- Plenty of water: Inside the canyon can get very hot, especially in the summer. Make sure you are prepared with at least 2 liters of water
- Snacks/lunch: To keep you energized over this long hike.
- National Park Pass: If you already have an annual National Park pass, be sure to bring it. Otherwise, you can purchase a 1 week Bryce Canyon pass or annual National Park pass at the gate.
- Hiking poles (Black Diamond Distance Z poles) | useful for the steep sections of the Figure 8 Loop.
- Backpack with bladder (Hers: CamelBak Helena 20L, His: Camelback Rim Runner 22L)
- Sunglasses (Goodr)
- Gloves and hats: mornings in the spring and fall in Bryce Canyon tend to be chilly!
- Camera (Nikon Z6) with Peak Design Camera Clip and Matador Camera Bag
- Down Jacket (Hers: Arc’teryx Cerium LT Down Hoodie, His: Cotopaxi Fuego Men’s)| Be prepared for chilly mornings in Bryce Canyon, especially during the spring and fall.
When to hike the Figure 8 Loop
The best time to hike in Bryce Canyon is during the summer, between May and September. In the late spring and early fall, snow storms are possible which may cause trail closures.
We hiked in late March and some of the trails, including the Navajo Loop, were still closed due to snow. Additionally, parts of the Peekaboo loop were still covered in several inches of snow making the trail slippery in spots. We wore crampons and recommend doing the same if you are planning to hike in March, maybe even early April.
The canyon is typically several degrees warmer inside than at the rim, so prepare accordingly. Please be aware that during the summer, thunderstorms are frequent and very dangerous inside the canyon.
Trail Conditions & Closures
The Navajo Loop trail is typically closed in the winter through late March due to icy trail conditions. If both sides of the Navajo Loop trail are closed, you’ll need to hike back to Sunrise Point via the Queen’s Garden Trail. Although you’ll miss the famous “Wallstreet” section of the hike, the rest of the Figure 8 Loop is still completely worth the hike if the Navajo Loop is closed.
If you love to hike and you’re planning to visit Bryce Canyon National Park, the Figure 8 Loop is a must-do! With just over 6 miles, you get a complete tour of this incredible dream-like place.
Other Useful Resources
Planning a trip to Bryce Canyon? Be sure to check out the Fairyland Loop, one of our favorite day hikes in Bryce Canyon:
Planning a road trip through Utah or Arizona? You may also find these resources useful:
- Zion: Zion West Rim Trail: Backpacking Guide
- Zion & Bryce Canyon | The Best 3 Day Zion & Bryce Canyon Itinerary
- Arizona: How to Spend One Amazing Day in Page, Arizona
- Arizona: 4 Beautiful Hikes You Can’t Miss in Sedona, Arizona
- Grand Canyon: How to Hike to the Bottom of the Grand Canyon: South Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail
- Grand Staircase: 12 Amazing Grand Staircase Escalante Hikes
- Canyonlands: How to Hike to Druid Arch in Canyonlands
For all things Utah: Utah Travel Guide
We hope you enjoy hiking in this magical place as much as we did! Please feel free to reach out with any questions about the Figure 8 Loop or the Bryce Canyon trails.