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Oh Bryce Canyon! This is the one place on our recent trip to Utah that included Arches National Park and Zion National Park that I wish we could have spent more time. Good thing we are always just a few plans away from our next vacation! We chose to do just one day at Bryce Canyon as we trekked across Utah and I’m so glad that we chose to spend it on the Navajo Loop Trail.
If there is one trail in the park that captures all that is Bryce Canyon it is definitely the Navajo Loop Trail!
Hiking The Navajo Loop Trail: What You Need To Know!
We visited this trail area in March. The elevation at the start and end points is much higher than where you will be once you walk down into the canyon. We started our morning out feeling very chilly – hats, gloves, and layers upon layers! While I was a bit worried about the chill at first – we were sweating and out of our layers by the end. Just make sure you have a pack to load your layers in as you take them off.
This loop is fairly popular and easy to navigate which makes it great for families. To get lost on this trail you would almost have to TRY and go off the main path. Despite the popularity we still had great views, plenty of space, and saw an entire family of mule deer up close and personal.
You will start this hike off by going down into the Canyon, which does mean at the end you have to hike up a path out. Don’t worry though, even our seven year old managed it just fine. We chose to go down the slower more winding path at sunrise point into the Canyon and there were a lot of great places to stop for photos and to take in the views.
After we reached the bottom of the canyon the path was relaxed and gorgeous, leading us through some nice forested areas. People had setup canvases along the trail and were painting pictures which my kid loved to watch. Then an entire family of Mule Deer crossed our path, baby in tow. We kept a safe distance and watched silently for quite some time. It was relaxing and fun.
Before we knew it, the time to hike back up and out had arrived. I won’t lie, the switchbacks up to sunset point at the rim were tough! We had to stop a few times and catch our breath and I was glad we had plenty of water. Still, the great sense of accomplishment when we reached the top could not be denied. One of the best parts of hiking is being able to try new things and stretch your limits and these switchbacks definitely did that for this Iowa crew!
There were a few items I was glad we had on this hike – otherwise it would have been a bit miserable. One of the big ones being our hydration packs. I didn’t let the cool morning fool me – the air is dry and I was SO glad to have plenty of water on our hike.
Here is a list of things I would highly recommend you take with you on your hike!
If you have a family member under age three you can’t go wrong hiking with an Ergo carrier. I have used mine on the trail for miles and miles with all three of my girls!
Other Things To Do During One Day At Bryce Canyon
If you are only in Bryce Canyon one day like we were, there are a couple other things you should definitely do. For starters, you need to stop by the visitor center. They have some great displays about the canyon history and the gorgeous night sky that Bryce Canyon is known for. This is also where you would pick up a packet for the Junior Ranger program that kids can do while at the park.
The other thing you need to do is drive the scenic route along the canyon. What we did was drive all the way to the far end of the road without stopping, turn around, and then use the trip back to stop at the scenic view points. This was easiest because then all the pull outs for the views were on the correct side of the road for pulling in and out!
Bryce Canyon is a beautiful place that I would recommend to any family traveling through the area and I can’t wait to go back and camp!