Hiking,  U.S.A

One of Nat Geo’s Favorite Hikes- Bryce’s Queen’s Garden Navajo Loop: A Photo Essay

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

Descending (one of about 5x) in to the Bryce valley

Nat Geo’s Favorite Hikes

Three national parks. Four trails. Four days. The Queens Garden-Peekaboo-Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon was definitely our favorite.

National Geographic includes the three mile Queens Garden/Navajo Loop Trail in their 20 best hikes in national parks. Per the pony-tailed, grizzly bearded park ranger’s suggestion (he was groovy), we added the 5.5 mile Peek-a-boo Loop to the three mile Queens Garden-Navajo and enjoyed an almost full-day journey around Bryce’s highlights.

We actually encountered a couple from Minnesota on the trail who travels out to Utah every year. They’ve done all the parks, most of the trails, and they couldn’t get over the beauty of the one we were all on. They said it was by far their favorite.

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

It definitely snowed in November.

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes.

He was clearly not as cold as I was…

And the streams were nicely frozen.

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

Fluctuating Temperatures

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

In the shade it was freezing.

Nat Geo's Favorite HikesWalking up-hill in the sun heated us up quickly. I felt like Taylor Swift, wardrobe changing every 30 minutes… fleece on… fleece off. Back on again. Phew- hot – strip it off.

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

Needless to say, layers are important during Bryce’s fall- but not complicated layers. We had thick, puffy jackets that we never used (except for those first freezing 10 minutes when the sun was rising and wind whipping off the top of the canyon).

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

Don’t let the nursery-name fool you. Peek-a-boo was a serious 5.5 mile, up-down-up hill hike.

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

We found a few key spots to rest, nourish, and study the trail map.

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

Finding a spot to lunch

Alan loves to go off exploring on his own. Sometimes it’s a bit tricky reeling him in…

Nat Geo's Favorite HikesNat Geo's Favorite Hikes

And apparently we started a trend picking our rest spots. This couple seemed to perch every place we staked out after we had moved on.

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

I loved all the switch-back trails climbing in to and out of the valley, through the massive, narrow gorges.

Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

This is a good perspective shot. You can really get a sense for how huge the canyon walls are.
Nat Geo's Favorite Hikes

If you like dramatic, other-worldly scenery, a comfortable climate, a challenging yet safe hike (this was no Angel’s Landing!), and a completely unique U.S. national park experience, Bryce Canyon’s Queen’s Garden-Peekaboo-Navajo Loop is for you! It’s awe-inspiring.

Have I convinced you yet? ;-)

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