Bryce Canyon National Park, situated in southwestern Utah, is a stunning national park with incredible scenery in every direction. While Bryce Canyon is a relatively small national park with the possibility to enjoy all its scenery within a single day, you cannot underestimate the otherworldly beauty found here.
The Figure 8 Loop in Bryce Canyon is a great way to enjoy all this landscape offers. Incorporating four separate trails into one, the Figure 8 Loop allows you to enjoy the best of the park within a short period. With all four trails combined, you can generally expect to hike for around 4 hours.
- Distance: 6.4 miles (round trip)
- Estimated Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
- Elevation: 1,600 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate To Challenging
How Long Does It Take To Hike Figure 8 In Bryce Canyon?
The Figure 8 Trail in Bryce Canyon is a relatively challenging hike in Bryce Canyon that combines four interconnected trails into one. Rather than attempting each trail on its own, the combination allows for a unique experience that shows any visitor the incredible beauty throughout the canyon.
The four combined trails that form the Figure 8 trail are the rim trail, Queen’s Garden Trail, and the Navajo Loop Trail. All in all, it should take around four hours to do the entire Figure 8. This will, of course, depend on your fitness levels and how frequently you pause to take photos.
With incredible formations of rock abounding, you will most likely want to pause often to take the surrounding scenery and enjoy its otherworldly beauty. The large, orange rock turrets, also known as hoodoos, are the most significant feature of this canyon and will leave you awestruck by their fascinating forms.
The combined trail features significant elevation changes involving some extremely steep stretches. At the trailhead – which is either Sunset Point or Sunrise Point, depending on your preference – you are standing at 8,000 feet above sea level.
You are at 7,490 feet at Queens Garden and 7,800 feet at Peekaboo Loop. At Navajo Trail, the elevation again reaches 8,000 feet.
Like any canyon hike, the Figure 8 Trail is a reverse summit. This simply means that you begin by hiking downwards and get to the top of the hike towards the end.
While you can embark on this hike in either of two directions, park officials recommend starting at Sunrise point and moving in a clockwise direction. There are several reasons for this. One of the reasons is the park rangers who move through the canyon on horseback.
However, for hikers, there are several advantages to doing the hike in this direction. Firstly, you will avoid starting the hike on a steep incline. The switchbacks of the “Wall Street” section of the hike are notoriously steep and can be rather difficult and unpleasant to navigate in a downwards direction.
While it can be physically challenging to hike this steep section while climbing upwards, the steep climb is relatively short, and you will quickly find yourself on relatively even ground again. When dealing with such steep climbs, it’s also far better for your knees to go upwards than going downwards.
Another advantage of taking the trail in this direction is that you will save the most iconic section of the hike for last. Most will argue that the views of the “Wall of Windows” as well as several other features of the landscape are far better when seen from this direction.
Whichever way you look at it, the Figure 8 trail will essentially give you a full tour of the canyon by combining the park’s main trails into one incredibly scenic trail.
By starting at Sunset Point and moving in a clockwise direction, you will begin with the Queen’s Garden trail with a distance of one mile and a 320-foot descent. The Peekaboo Loop is the next segment of the trail, and it is 3.3 miles long with a 950-foot elevation.
Next, you will move through the Navajo Loop Trail, preferably opting for the southern/left side of the trail to allow you to experience the infamous Wallstreet part of the canyon. At the top of this section, you will find yourself at Sunset Point, after which you can make your way along the Rim Trail to bring you back to Sunrise Point.
Rim Trail In Bryce Canyon
The Rim Trail is a relatively flat, half-mile-long trail that connects Sunrise Point and Sunset Point along the top edge of the canyon. Both of these points are trailheads for the Figure 8 Trail, and both feature parking areas for guests embarking on any of the hiking trails in the area.
Queen’s Garden Trail In Bryce Canyon
Queen’s Garden Trail begins with an almost immediate descent into the canyon from Sunrise Point. This exceptionally unique landscape draws you in straight away. The iconic hoodoos quickly surround you in every direction, mesmerizing you with their unique forms.
One of the most significant features along this trail is the Queen Victoria hoodoo that gave the trail its name.
Peekaboo Loop Trail In Bryce Canyon
The Peekaboo Loop Trail is the next segment of the Figure 8 Trail. This trail allows you to go in either direction, thanks to being circular in nature. Most would recommend starting with the left side of the Peekaboo Loop. This will allow you to enjoy the best view of the well-known Wall of Windows.
This fascinating feature comprises a wall of countless castle-shaped hoodoos with two large holes resembling windows.
Navajo Loop Trail In Bryce Canyon
The next intersection brings you to the start of the Navajo Loop Trail. Again, you choose to go left or right, but it is recommended that you take the left trail to allow you to enjoy the Wall Street section.
This stunning part of the trail comprises a series of steep switchbacks. However, the steep climb does not last long, and the views are absolutely stunning.
Whether you are a first-time visitor to Bryce Canyon or not, the Figure 8 Trail affords its visitors the opportunity to enjoy the park’s best offerings in one stunning hike. By embarking on this four-hour trail, you will see some of the park’s most iconic features within a short period.