Friday, April 10, 2009

Bryce Canyon "Figure 8" hike, Bryce Canyon National park, Utah

………and hike into the canyon we did!

Upon a recommendation from a ranger, we did the “Figure 8” Combination ~ Navajo Loop, Peekaboo Loop, and the Queens Garden. This was a 6 ½ mile, 1785’ elevation change hike that can be summarized in one word: muddy!

The hike began at Sunset Point walking down muddy switchbacks until we entered what is called Wall Street ~ a narrow pathway with high walls on either side.

This part of the hike had outstanding upclose views of the hoodoos. In fact, it seemed to be the most dense collection, and we pretty much stopped every minute or so for another breathtaking view, and a subsequent attempt to capture it in a picture. It was especially cool to see the hoodoos with snow!

About half-way into Navajo Loop, we took a connecting trail to Peekaboo Loop, but you can continue on the loop for a shorter hike and see two natural bridges and Thor’s Hammer.

The connecting trail took us to the 3 miles round-trip Peekaboo Loop, and this is where it was the muddiest – it was a puzzle to decide where to walk – along the sides of the trail where it was less muddy, the snow which was becoming muddy, or when there were no other options – straight down the muddy middle.

Peekaboo Loop took us to views from within the canyon that were not available from the rim. Here the stereotypical “Bryce Canyon hoodoos” began to lessen, but the formations were still absolutely beautiful.

Quite honestly, this loop seemed a lot more than 3 miles, but we think it’s because we had to fight the deep mud the entire time. With each step forward, we slid back a couple inches, and it was more effort to unstuck our feet from the mud, than if we were walking on dry land.

(Remember, we said the trail was muddy....................That's Suzanne's boot during the hike.)

Once Peekaboo Loop is complete, you have options – return by completing the Navajo Loop (called the mini figure 8), or continue onto the Queens Garden trail (which can also be a loop in its own right) for a longer hike, which is what we did. The Queen’s Garden was a much dryer trail, which was a nice reprieve from the mucking along in the mud. It was much more open, with breathtaking views of vast openness, and more incredible geological formations.

As we ascended out of the canyon, for the last mile or so, it seemed as if we were back on the rim, but they were all false ends – the trail goes for 1.7 miles, and when you do get the rim, you’ll know it! But not done yet – to get back to the car, we still walked the ½ mile from where Queens Garden begins/ends (Sunrise Point) and where we started the loop – Sunset Point. This happened to be quite beautiful as well, and is recommended as a short (accessible) walk.

All-in-all, it was an excellent hike, although I’ll admit that half-way through, in all the mud, we were a bit cranky! ;-)

Want to see more Bryce Canyon Photos ~ click here!


Jerry and Suzy said...

What can we say? Your consistently wonderful photos, the exquisite blue sky, the snow / hoodoo contrasts. You can have the mud! Did your feet and your boots survive?

Suzanne and Brad said...

Thanks, as always for your lovely compliments.

Yup - our boots survivied! We actually like knowing that on our boots is a little dirt from wherever we've hiked ~ Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Redwoods, Canada, and now, Bryce!

Danny &Shula Oren said...

Excellent shots,every turn new formations,loved it.

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