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Navajo Loop/Peek-a-boo Loop

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park Links:

May 20th, 1998

6.0 miles
1770 vertical feet
Total Time: 5:20

Rating: 7/10

Directions:   View Driving Map

Ben, Weihaw, and I hiked the Navajo Loop and Peek-a-boo Loop at Bryce Canyon National Park.

My original plan was to combine the Navajo Loop, Peek-a-boo Loop, and connector trail to Bryce Point, returning on the Rim Trail. But we would later find that wasn't possible.

We started out toward Sunrise Point. Which was wrong, since the start is at Sunset Point. Oops. We turned around and walked the half mile to Sunset Point. There was a slightly chill breeze as we started our hike. It warmed up a bit as the day went on, but it wasn't nearly as hot as Zion.

Thor's Hammer

We started off by going down the northern section of the Navajo loop, getting a good look at Thor's Hammer along the way. Since I didn't think we would be coming back this way, we headed up the southern section halfway, to Wall Street. This is where Douglas firs grow seemingly out of nowhere, reaching high up between the canyon walls. Beyond them is a set of switchbacks leading up to the top.

Descending towards Wall Street

A Douglas fir on Wall Street

At this point, Jay decided he wanted to read a book and skip the hike, partly because he'd been to Bryce before. So Ben, Weihaw and I continued on without him. We headed back down the way we came, and then went on the western section of the Peek-a-boo loop. We passed the Wall of Windows and had some great views of the entire park.

I'm sure this has a name but I don't know what it is.

Wall of Windows

The trail went up and down, climbing 70 feet here, falling another 60 here,. Along the way, we passed a couple of hikers coming the opposite direction who informed us that the connector trail we wanted to take to Bryce was closed. We weren't sure if we believed them, but in any case we could just complete the loop anyway.

View through one of the short tunnels along the trail.

More windows

We encountered a trail maintenance crew right after passing through a tunnel, and they confirmed the connector trail was closed. At the stables we saw this was indeed the case. The trail was closed due to ice and snow. Oh well. We continued back along the eastern section of the Peek-a-boo loop. Oh, did I say stables? The Peek-a-boo loop is used as part of a mule ride. And, oh yes, we could smell it. When we finally reached a place where the smell wasn't prevalent, we stopped to have lunch. Just as we were finishing, a mule ride (about 15 of them) passed us in the opposite direction.

Mules coming our way!

Continuing on, we ran into Susan, who we'd seen at Observation Point the previous day. The interesting thing about doing the trip the way we did (Zion and then Bryce) is that most people do the same thing, so we saw some of the same people. The other thing that was very apparent is that, I'd estimate 75% of the people we saw at Bryce were international tourists, mostly from Europe. This may have been enhanced by the fact that it was a Wednesday, and before most schools had let out for summer.

Ben takes a break on Wall Street

We eventually made our way back to the Navajo Loop, and went up via Wall Street. Here there's an impressive series of switchbacks. Near the top, there's a little opening -- maybe 3 feet high, which people have to go through before reaching a bunch of 15-foot switchbacks. As I approached them from the bottom, I saw one person come out of that opening. Then another. And another. Turns out an entire tour group was going through -- it looked like something straight out of a cartoon.

A tour group descends the switchbacks

As we went up the remaining switchbacks, I mentioned to Ben that the visitor center might close, and he actually ran up the switchbacks at the thought of getting his coveted Zion patch (he didn't, since we were at Bryce). It was only when we reached the top that we realized the skies had begun to darken, and clouds covered the sky. It would even rain a few hours later, but at least we had great weather for our hike.

Return to Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon trip report.

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