Simply the best trail we have ever done.
I know I have said it before but this trail was 8.5 km long and we never once said “Are we there yet?”. The trail just didn’t seem long since around every corner there was something more to amaze us. The pictures are a pale imitation.
It was tough deciding to do this rather strenuous trail after yesterday’s long hike but the weather today was perfect. Clear deep blue skies, high in the low 20s, and just enough wind to be refreshing. Also the forecast for the rest of the week is marginal so it was now or never.
The trail starts at Sunset Point. You first go down the very steep Navajo Loop Trail switchbacks. Then you follow the loop up and down through the wonders of the canyon floor before we climbed back up the Navajo Trail.
The park guide said it should take 3-4 hours. We started down at 9:30 am and were back at 2 pm. I am amazed that we got that close to the estimate because we stopped a lot for pictures and lunch.
BTW Jennie says we have now hiked 205 km on this trip.
The map also shows the Bryce Point and Inspiration Point overlooks that we went to after the hike.
My tablet shut off part way through the hike so the elevation profile is in two parts with a bit missing. There were almost no flat spots, but we didn’t mind.
We had some nice early morning (for us) views of the canyon from the top at Sunset Point.
Looking down the start of the Navajo Trail. This set of switchbacks only goes down to the dark slot you can see in the picture below.
Down we go. On the way back up I was talking to one of the parks people and we said that during the summer this section has two solid lines of people, one up and one down. I guess all the tour busses stop here and everyone wants to say that they went down into the canyon.
Once you get to the slot the real switchbacks begin.
This is an ugly vertical panorama but it gives you an idea of the size of the walls above us.
Once you exit the switchbacks you still have a long way down to go.
Part way down there is a side canyon with two bridges.
Sunset Point to canyon floor is about a 600 foot drop in elevation but it felt like more because those middle switchbacks were very steep.
The Peekaboo Trails starts at the bottom. You first cross a wide wash which I think is the main drainage channel for the entire canyon.
Looking up towards the Bryce Canyon Overlook.
This formation had a set of evil looking eyes.
If you look closely below one of them has gotten a pupil.
It was a bit of a scramble to get up there.
Heading to the first tunnel.
We could see the Inspiration Point Overlook from here.
It looks kind of precarious,
Another notch to go through with Bryce Point high in the background.
And then to the Wall of Windows. Jennie is bottom right.
We had lunch where Jennie is standing, above, with an awe inspiring view.
Somehow these hand prints were over Jennie’s head. Who knows what vintage they are.
Like a forest of pagodas.
Looking back on our lunch spot.
Then up another set of tight switchbacks,
To another tunnel.
I asked Jennie to pose against this slot, not knowing that she was standing on a narrow ridge.
This was behind her.
We got to this slot that was quite scary for Jennie. It was quite steep and the trail took an immediate right turn at the end so it looked like we were walking into nothing.
Another great wide view.
Inspiration Point is top left.
Expanded, scroll right.
Sunset Point is about 3/4 to the right, above. It looked busy.
Looking down at the canyon bottom and the start of the Peekaboo Trail.
At the bottom we sat and had a rest and snack while this guy watched.
Back up the Navajo Trail we go.
As we were going up there was nobody on it.
We rested at all the shady corners.
Then is got busy. Someone was leading a tour, VERY carefully, down.
They were doing some work on the upper switchbacks so we had to wait a while so we didn’t get hit by falling rocks.
We headed off to Bryce Point Overlook. We got there just after a tour bus.
After they left.
We could see down onto the trail. They are allowed to take horse tours on it.
I think we timed it properly. There was one ahead of us from the hoof print direction and the fresh “evidence” but we never met one.
I don’t think I would want to be on a horse or mule on that trail. There were some pretty narrow spots that would make even me very nervous about not being in control.
On to Inspiration Point Overlook.
The Wall of Windows from behind and above.
The whole view.
Expanded and annotated. I drew in the trail where I could find it.
It looked like it would have been a great day to go see the sunset at one of the overlooks but we were too tired.