Located about 50 miles northeast of Zion National Park in southern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park gets far less visitors than Zion or the Grand Canyon and offers something entirely unique and special to the area: Hoodoos. These spiral weather-shaped cones cover the entire floor of the canyon making for an epic photo backdrop and challenging terrain. Unlike Zion where you enter the park from below, your adventures in Bryce Canyon begin above the action, where you can around the rim, down into the canyon and through 5,000-year-old forests.
Here are the 6 best hikes to see the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon:
This 5.5-mile hike is great for those who want to see Bryce Canyon without exerting too much energy. More like a long walk, you’ll get incredible views of the changing landscape along the rim and a good overview of the cavernous terrain.
Bristlecone Loop Trail
A short 1-mile hike that is perfect for families with children not yet equipped to tackle the canyon, you’ll walk through a subalpine fir forest of Bristlecone Pine trees, the oldest tree species in the world. Talk about a real-life science lesson!
Navajo Loop / Queen's Garden Trails
Named “One of the top 10 canyon hikes in the US,” by National Geographic, this loop is worth the entire trip to Bryce. A 3-mile route with views from above and below, start at Sunset Point (the steepest part of the trail) and hike down to the base of the canyon, where the towering Hoodoos surround you before stopping at the Queen Victoria before continuing on.
This 8-mile loop isn’t one of the popular hikes in the park, which is exactly why we’re suggesting it. You’ll encounter fewer people and feel like you have the breathtaking scenery all to yourself. This is also a great hike in winter if you pack your snowshoes or waterproof boots.
Riggs Spring Loop Trail
A doozey at 9-miles, the heavily forested Riggs Spring can definitely be done in one day, but some hikers suggest making it an overnight trip and camping half way through if you’re more keen on taking breaks. A spring is located near the midway point offering some respite and shade for the weary traveler.
Under the Rim Trail
Combining several trails into one 23-mile journey, Under the Rim is best done as a backcountry trip spread out over three days. An awesome, albeit long, desert trek that shows off the canyon in a way few have experienced before, the trip also offers the opportunity for stargazing, and Bryce Canyon is well known for having some of the clearest views in the US. With almost zero light pollution, you’ll be able to see over 7,500 stars, the Milky Way, Venus and Jupiter.