Sandwiched away between Dixie National Forest and Grand Staircase-Escalante NM lies Bryce Canyon National Park. Let me just start by saying that there is absolutely nothing I could compare this place to because it is so unique. The park is famous for its ‘hoodoos’ which are the rock spirals within the park. What made me fall in love with this place though, was the colors. The rocks boasts an almost perfect gradient of orange to white rock, and to make it even more surreal there is an even more perfect contrast of green pine trees dotted along the canyon.
When choosing a hike, I knew I wanted something that would give me both views from the rim but also would allow me to see the hoodoos up close and personal. After doing some research, my friend and I decided we would do Wall Street and Queen’s Garden which is a 3.3 mile loop. We started at sunrise point and walked toward to sunset point (to the right) to find the entrance to the Wall Street trail.
From there we descended down the trail, and into another world. As you make your way down the switchbacks, the hoodoos start to tower over you. It almost feels like you are on Mars or something because of the red glow between the canyon walls. The walk down is steep at some points, however it is not hard to keep your balance because the trail is so well maintained.
Once you make it through Wall Street, keep following the loop that leads you to Queen’s Garden Trail. You will see many rock formations in Bryce, but these are one of the parks most well loved. The Queen’s Garden Trail is named after Queen Victoria, as at the end of the trail there is a rock that has a formation just like the Queen. It’s ironic because Native Americans believed that the hoodoos were actually people that had been trapped and frozen inside by an evil coyote god. As you go on you will go through this mini slot canyon, this was my favorite part of the hike because I loved how the rock somewhat closed in on you. For claustrophobic people reading this, don’t worry this part only takes about a minute.
The hike will take you through many different elevation levels, so you can get different views of the park. Make sure to have proper footwear because the switchbacks can be really challenging at points. Along the way you will find places to rest, and this also is a great opportunity to enjoy the quietness and energy of the park.
You don’t need expensive gear, regular hiking boots or tennis shoes will do just fine. Make sure you have a backpack and in your backpack you have plenty of water, some quick snacks, and sunscreen! Some of my favorite trail snacks are WOLO Wander Bars, dark chocolate almonds, and fruit. Just make sure you are bringing things that can provide you with the energy you need! As you reach the end of your hike the incline gets steeper and steeper but the scenery is unreal! Just imagine a white and orange sanded desert.
Lastly be sure to stop for a look in the many arches you will find a long the way. They really made me feel like I was walking through some sort of magical storybook. This place has a lot to offer, we enjoyed pizza at the local pizza spot in the park. There are little shops and the people you find along the trail are quite friendly.
The National Parks Service does a tremendous job of maintaining this place so that people can enjoy it. Do your part and be sure to stay on the trails, be respectful of the space you are in and the spaces of others, really just LEAVE NO TRACE. We want people to be able to enjoy these places for years to come, we need to make sure we are doing our part to make that possible.