As one of the most popular trails in Bryce Canyon National Park, the Queen’s Garden Trail should be on everyone’s bucket list. Despite the crowds, it’s an amazing loop hike unlike anything else on earth.
In this guide to hiking the Queen’s Garden Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park, we’ll cover everything you need to know for a successful hike.
It’s my full-time job to write about hiking across the world. Every year I travel to Utah’s deserts and spend countless hours exploring the best trails in the desert. As an expert, I’m here to give you the inside scoop to hiking the Queen’s Garden Trail.
About this Guide to Hiking the Queen’s Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon
We’ll dive into the juicy details to prepare you for a trip to Bryce Canyon. I’ll cover everything you need to know hike the Queen’s Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park. Here’s what to expect:
- When to hike the Queen’s Garden Trail
- Queen’s Garden Trail location
- Trail facts and information for your hike
- Tips for hiking in Bryce Canyon
- Other amazing hikes in Bryce Canyon you can access from the Queen’s Garden Trail
- What to pack for your hike
- Other Things to do in Bryce Canyon
- Additional planning resources
When is the Best Time to Hike the Queen’s Garden Trail?
Since the Queen’s Garden Trail is the most popular trail in Bryce Canyon, I recommend you start your hike at sunrise. It’s not only jaw-droppingly beautiful, but you’ll have a lot of time to enjoy the trail with virtually no people.
The best time to visit Bryce Canyon is during the fall or spring months. Although the weather is warmer in the summer, the area is overrun with crowds and it feels more like being at a theme park than in nature. Aim for visiting in September/October, or late March through Mid-May.
Keep in mind the trail can close if it’s too icy or snowy. Although the winter is a gorgeous time to visit the park, you may encounter some bad luck if the trail is closed!
How to Get to the Queen’s Garden Trail
Bryce Canyon National Park is located just south of the town of Bryce on Highway 62 in Southern Utah. It’s a super-rural area, and only truly accessible by car.
The closest airport is either Las Vegas International (4 – hour drive) or Salt Lake City (also 4 hours). St George, Utah is the closest larger town and is about 2 hours and 15 minutes away.
Once you enter the park, continue on the main road until you see signs for Sunrise Point. This is a big, paved parking lot that is a great place to base yourself when visiting Bryce Canyon. You’ll find the start of the trail just to the left of Sunrise Point if you’re facing the canyon.
How Long to Hike the Queen’s Garden Trail?
The best part about hiking the Queen’s Garden Trail is that it’s a relatively easy hike that’s suitable for almost anyone. The trail doesn’t have a lot of obstacles, so if you’re in a wheelchair, you may want some help getting up and down the hills, but you won’t have to worry about rocks.
It takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to hike just the Queen’s Garden Loop Trail, but you can easily add on other amazing trails, such as Wall Street and Navajo Loop for a longer journey.
Practical Trail Information
The Queen’s Garden Trail makes a perfect hike for all abilities. Even though it’s easier, seasoned hikers will have to scoop their jaws off the ground with how beautiful it is. Here is some practical information:
- Distance: 2.6 miles
- Difficulty: Easy
- Elevation Gain: 623 feet. The beginning can feel a little steep, take your time, there are handrails part way.
- Bryce Canyon Park Fees: $35 per car, or free with the America the Beautiful Park’s Pass
Start by taking the Queen’s Garden Trail. All trail junctions are well marked, so follow the signs until you reach the Navajo Loop. Link up with the Navajo Loop to head back towards the top of Bryce Canyon. Then use the paved walkway to reach the start of the trailhead again (0.1 miles) or walk back to your car.
You’ll hike your way down to the Bryce Canyon floor. Down here you’ll get a sense for just how tall the hoodoos, or giant sandstone pillars, really are. You’ll also encounter some shade from nearby pine trees.
Bask in the spectacular green and red colors. Take your time going underneath the archways. You’ll find yourself surrounded by a garden of hoodoo sculptures. These formations are made by the rain and wind pouring through the canyon for millennia.
Tips for Queen’s Garden Trail Hike
Hiking the Queen’s Garden Trail isn’t rocket science. However, there are a few important things to remember when you’re hiking in the desert.
Also, don’t forget, Bryce Canyon National Park sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet. You’ll likely feel the altitude. If you feel short of breath, slow down and take your time!
- Be prepared by bringing plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen.
- Acclimatize properly for the altitude and hike slowly if you need to. It’s so beautiful you’ll want to take lots of breaks anyway.
- Start EARLY. This trail feels more like a line at Disneyland than a hiking trail by mid-day, so take care and start before 7 am or at sunrise for the most solitude.
- Leave it better than you found it. Always practice Leave No Trace and be ready to poop in a bag if you have to go or wait until you reach a toilet at the parking lot.
- Take your time. It’s a beautiful trail with plenty of photography options.
- Respect all signage and don’t climb the hoodoos.
- Learn about the Native American history. This is sacred land for the Paiute People. They still see this space as sacred, so travel here like you’re traveling on sacred ground.
Other Great Trails to Link to in Bryce Canyon
One of the best parts about hiking the Queen’s Garden Trail is that you can link up with a bunch of other amazing hiking trails in Bryce Canyon. Here’s a look at a few add-ons for your hike:
- Wall Street. Wind your way up steep switchbacks and impossibly tall hoodoos on this mega-epic hike. 3.1 miles total. Easy to moderate. The end is tough but worth it.
- Hike to Bryce Point. A large loop that circumnavigates the main canyon area. Steep in parts, but stunning. A moderate, 6-mile hike round trip. You may also be able to catch the shuttle if it’s running.
- Queen’s Garden to Inspiration Point. Another incredible hike to a lovely viewpoint. Head from Queen’s Garden to Wall Street, then take the Rim Trail to Inspiration Point. You can catch the shuttle for a 2.8-mile easy hike or hike back to the start for an additional 0.5 miles.
What to Pack
Be prepared for your Bryce Canyon hike by packing all of the essentials. You’ll want to bring plenty of water (at least 2 liters per person, more in the summer months), sunscreen, sunglasses, sunhat, and snacks.
Other items are a headlamp (just in case) a map or a GPS app on your phone, a first aid kit, and extra layers. If you have bad knees, trekking poles are very helpful on the steep terrain.
Other Things to Do in Bryce Canyon
There are plenty of things to do in Bryce Canyon and lots of beautiful sights to uncover. Make a day out of your Queen’s Garden hike by adding on a few extras:
- Take a scenic drive to the many Bryce Canyon Viewpoints
- Camp inside the park or boondock just outside the park entrance (first dirt road on the right).
- Go for a scenic helicopter tour
- Participate in a free ranger program
- Catch a sunrise and sunset.
You’re all set to make the most out of your Queen’s Garden hike in Bryce Canyon. Remember to start early in order to beat the crowds and experience the magic of this other-worldly landscape Happy trails!
Additional Resources for Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park
Get expert travel advice to Utah’s most incredible outdoor destinations.
- How to Beat the Crowds in Bryce Canyon National Park: One Day Itinerary (coming soon)
- Tips for Camping in the Desert
- Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park (coming soon)