The Queens Garden Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park, no matter the season.
And according to the National Park Service, this trail is considered to be the least difficult hiking trail when you’re starting from the “top” of the canyon, or the Rim Trail.
This trail is also easy to access. There’s a parking lot right near the trailhead of Queens Garden Trail. You’ll drive to Sunrise Point.
As described by the National Park Service:
Queen’s Garden is the least difficult trail descending into Bryce Amphitheater.
Down-and-back hike to Queen Victoria hoodoo.
Queen Victoria hoodoo in Bryce Canyon
Also described by the National Park Service:
At Bryce Canyon, weathering can alter huge rocks within a lifetime.
Rain and frost-wedging carve these stones into curious shapes, including the Queen Victoria hoodoo, which was named for a statue in London, England.
If you use your imagination, you might see the hoodoo queen riding an animal.
Do you see it?! Yeah I don’t either… we’ll just call it wrong angle. 😉 Look for it when you’re there!
In winter, the Queens Garden 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 Queens Garden trailhead is at Sunrise Point.
Sunrise Point is at an elevation of around 8,015 feet (2,440m).
Queens Garden is at an elevation of around 7,635 feet (2,327m).
The trail is 1.8 miles one way, and it’s officially recommended that you give yourself 1-2 hours. It can be reasonable to get down to Queens Garden (the “destination”) in less an an hour. Since the way back is uphill, you can expect it to take longer than going down.
So there are a few ways you can do the Queens Garden Trail.
1. Hike down to the end of the trail to the “Queens Garden” for which the trail is named, 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.
2. Combine this hike with another trail to make it the Queens Garden + Navajo Loop
This is a popular way to hike Queens Garden. The Queens Garden Trail connects to the Navajo Loop Trail, and you can take the Navajo Loop to get back up to the Rim Trail. This will be about a 3 mile hike and it’s officially recommended to give yourself 2-3 hours. If you do it this way, you will end up at Sunset Point. It’s another 0.6 miles to hike along the Rim Trail to get back to Sunrise Point from Sunset Point.
3. 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, adding the Peekaboo Loop Trail can give you some additional distance with some more great “very Bryce Canyon” winter landscape views. The Peekaboo Loop Trail connects to the Navajo Loop. This will be about a 6 mile hike and it’s recommended you give yourself 4-5 hours.
Map of Queens Garden 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 Sunrise Point (start of Queens Garden Trail) and Sunset Point (start of Navajo Loop Trail) are located. These 2 points are on the Rim Trail.
You can also see where the trail connects at Queens Garden and Navajo Loop. Part of the Navajo Loop Trail is closed for winter, and this includes “Wall Street” as indicated on the map.
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 Queens Garden 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.
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 Queen’s Garden Trail.
A bit of what you’ll see with a hike to Queens Garden in winter!
I did this hike in December 2019.
First catch the views from Sunrise Point
Then off you go to Queens Garden!
And that’s a bit of what you’ll see on the Queens Garden Trail!
And once you reach the end of the Queens Garden trail…
Head back the way you came so you can go directly back to your car…
Or go back a different way, by way of the Navajo Loop Trail (and maybe add in the Peekaboo Loop Trail!). By going back on the Navajo Loop Trail, you’ll come back to the “top” of the canyon and end up on the Rim Trail near Sunset Point. From here, it’ll be about a 10-15 minute walk on the Rim Trail back to Sunrise Point.
You’ll see sign posts on the trail.
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 QUEENS GARDEN TRAIL!