The Navajo Loop Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park, no matter the season.
You start this trail from the “top” of the canyon, or the Rim Trail. And then go into the canyon for amazing very Bryce Canyon views!
There are different ways you can do this trail to make it a worthy winter Bryce Canyon hike, including doing just the first part of it.
The first part of the Navajo Trail is also where you can get another angle of the iconic Thor’s Hammer.
This trail is easy to access. There’s a parking lot right near the trailhead of the Navajo Loop Trail. You’ll drive to Sunset Point.
In winter, the Navajo Loop Trail can be a great choice to be able to get in some snow hiking while seeing some of those epic “very Bryce Canyon” winter scenes!
The Navajo Loop trailhead is at Sunset Point.
Sunset Point is at an elevation of around 8,000 feet (2440m).
The loop trail is listed at around 1.3 miles, and it’s officially recommended that you give yourself 1-2 hours for the Navajo Trail hike. Since the way back is uphill, you can expect it to take longer than going down.
“Wall Street” part of Navajo Loop Trail is closed in winter
The section of the trail called “Wall Street” is typically closed for the winter. This makes it so that in winter, the Navajo Loop Trail becomes an out-and-back trail, and not a loop trail. Although there are ways to do a loop hike that includes the Navajo Trail, with your options below!
Ways you can do the Navajo Loop Trail
1. Hike down the trail, and then hike back up the way you came
You can make it an out-and-back and end up directly back at the parking lot where you started. Doing it as an out-and-back means that you can make it as short as you want. You can turn around at any time. You can go down to just before the steep switchbacks start so you can avoid have to climb the steep incline up! You can go down to the section called “Two Bridges” and then turn around. (Two Bridges is not particularly spectacular but can give you a turnaround point.)
You can also go to Queens Garden, and then turn around. Or, any other spot on the trail! Hike down 20 minutes, and the come back up, too! As far as views go, it can be worth it no matter how much (or how little) time you spend on the trail, I think!
2. Combine this hike with another trail to make it the Queens Garden + Navajo Loop
This is a popular way to hike the Navajo Loop Trail.
The Navajo Loop Trail connects to the Queens Garden Trail. You can start with either trail, but the National Park Service recommends going in the clockwise direction which means starting at Sunrise Point on the Queens Garden Trail.
So doing it like this, you can take the Queens Garden Trail down, and then the Navajo Loop back up.
The Navajo Loop trailhead and Queens Garden trailhead are both at the Rim Trail, and you’ll walk about a half mile on the Rim Trail for it to become a loop. This will be about a 3 mile hike and it’s officially recommended to give yourself 2-3 hours.
3. Combine this hike with another trail to make it the Navajo Loop + Peekaboo Loop
This is another combination of trails you can do that includes the Navajo Loop Trail. The Peekaboo Loop Trail connects to the Navajo Loop. This will be about a 5 mile hike and it’s recommended to give yourself 3-4 hours.
4. Combine this hike with another 2 trails to make it the Queens Garden + Navajo Loop + Peekaboo Loop
If you are looking for a longer winter hike, you can add the Peekaboo Loop Trail to the Queens Garden Trail. This can give you some additional distance with some more great “very Bryce Canyon” winter landscape views. This will be about a 6 mile hike and it’s recommended you give yourself 4-5 hours.
Map of Navajo Loop Trail with the other hiking options
To get a better idea with the visual, have a look at the map below (you can zoom in and out) or see it on Google Maps.
You can see where Sunset Point (start of Navajo Loop Trail) and Sunrise Point (start of Queens Garden Trail) are located. These 2 points are on the Rim Trail.
You can also see where the trail connects at Navajo Loop and Queens Garden. You’ll see “Wall Street” on the map, and again, this part of the trail is closed.
And finally, you can also see where the trail connects to the Peekaboo Loop Trail if you’re interested in making it a longer winter hike.
You can probably ignore the given timings by google maps for how long it will take since this isn’t a normal walk! Plus, you will probably want to stop to take some pictures.
What to wear hiking on Navajo Loop Trail in winter
Possibly the #1 thing that can be VERY helpful when visiting Bryce Canyon in winter is ice traction devices that you can slip on over your shoes! This is whether or not you hike.
There are some popular viewpoints that can be up a steep icy hill even without stepping foot onto an official hiking trail. And even on flat sections there can be some ice.
This is the path from the Sunset Point parking lot to the start of the Navajo Loop Trail – icy patches!
At a minimum, you can look to bring (and wear) yaktrax or nanospikes on the trail. As long as there’s snow on the trail, I say you might as well wear them! Another option is microspikes which will grip the snow and ice better.
You will also likely be very happy to wear some sort of waterproof shoes. I think waterproof hiking boots can be perfect. You do want waterproof, because you don’t want the snow to melt (possibly from the sun or body/foot heat even if it’s below freezing temperatures) and then create cold wet feet. Wool socks would also be a good choice. Not only will they provide a bit more warmth than normal socks, but they also can wick away sweat and be more comfortable too.
And hiking poles will also be good with the steep terrain you’ll sometimes encounter on the Navajo Loop Trail.
And that’s a bit about how you can make the Navajo Loop Trail a part of your winter Bryce Canyon visit!
Now here are more ideas to plan out the rest of your time at Bryce Canyon!
HAPPY HIKING BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK IN WINTER ON THE NAVAJO LOOP TRAIL!