We stayed at an Airbnb in Brian Head between our days at Bryce Canyon. It was kind of far away, but we really enjoyed getting to see a part of Cedar Breaks National Monument as well as explore a little ski town. Plus our Airbnb had an indoor pool and a full kitchen. We like renting condos and small homes so that we can save money by bringing and cooking our own food.
For day two, we’d decided to hike the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop. This is a longer but much more scenic hike than what we did on day one.
Where: Bryce Canyon, beginning from Sunset Point OR Sunrise Point (we started at Sunrise Point which apparently isn’t recommended)
Grown-up difficulty: easy-moderate
Five year old difficulty: moderate
Length: 2.5-3 miles
To see: hoodoos, evergreens, Thor’s Hammer, caves, birds
Busyness: moderately busy
Alltrails link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/navajo-loop-and-queens-garden-trail
NPS link: https://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/qgnavajocombo.htm
As mentioned above, we started from Sunset Point which I didn’t realize the NPS doesn’t recommend. We hiked down a few switchbacks into the canyon floor where we were surrounded by hoodoos and caves and firs. It was very exciting to get to be so close to the scenery we’d seen distantly the day before. My anxiety was much calmer this day, as there were just a few cliffs-mostly safe hiking. The kids were able to run a bit and let out energy. We spotted a Stellar’s Jay (able to identify thanks to these again!) that followed us around for awhile.
The kids loved finding caves to hide in. It was a tad chilly in addition to the natural shade, so base layers and fleece were necessary. Check out my posts on cold weather gear if you need help figuring out what will keep you and your kids warm. The Queen’s Garden was structurally interesting, and we loved hiking through some windows in the wall.
The last portion was hard on all of us. Our 2 year old was napping in the KP on my back, and hiking up all of the switchbacks was kind of miserable. But we did it! And it was totally worth it.
Faves: being IN the canyon, surrounded by the red hoodoos and the bright green evergreens
Gear: base layers for all, hiking boots if you have weak ankles like me, day packs with water and snacks, Pocket Naturalist Guides to entertain the kids (and distract them from being tired), hats, fleece jackets